Health & Wellness Articles

Top 10 Reasons to Drop 10

Motivation to Lose

If you are overweight or obese, there are some powerful reasons to drop 10 percent of your body weight this year. Losing this amount of weight can significantly improve your health and well-being. It may not sound like a lot. In fact, most people trying to lose weight set much loftier goals for themselves, but unrealistic goals can often end in disaster.

A 10 percent goal is very doable...that’s 20 pounds for someone who weighs 200; 25 pounds for a person whose scale reads 250; and 30 pounds trimmed from a 300-pound person.

Top Ten Benefits
So, what are the top ten health benefits you can expect after dropping 10 percent of your weight? In no particular order, they are:
10. Better blood pressure
9.   Improved heart health and lower cholesterol levels
8.   Decreased risk for diabetes
7.   Enhanced sex life
6.   A better night’s sleep for those with obstructive sleep apnea
5.   Less pain associated with arthritis, joint disease, and lower back pain.
4.   Better breathing
3.   Decreased risk for colon and breast cancer
2.   A healthier gallbladder
1.   More energy

Getting Started
Along with the health benefits, there is power in achieving a 10 percent reduction in body weight. But getting started can be tricky—especially since there is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” weight loss program. So I have called upon experts in the field of nutrition and dietetics. I asked four of my closest dietitian friends and colleagues to share a few thoughts on ways to effectively start working toward this 10 percent weight loss goal.
  1. Certified in weight loss management, dietitian Kyle Thompson sees her role as a coach and motivator. In fact, she has lost over 100 pounds herself and kept if off for over 5 years. Kyle takes a bad news/good news approach. The bad news is that if you want to manage your weight, you cannot eat as much as you want of whatever you want. The good news is that portion control skills can allow most people to include all their favorite foods in a healthy diet. For a great carry-along explanation of portion sizes, download this printable pdf document from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
  2. With an interest and training in complimentary and alternative medicines, dietitian Kathy Cooley feels that once you have made a conscious decision to lose weight, you must be aware that it takes time and effort. Think of it as going back to school. You are going to learn about yourself, how many calories you can eat and still lose weight, and how active you need to be.

    Don’t try to add all this to an already very busy schedule. If possible let go of one responsibility, project, task, or job so you will have the time to devote to your weight loss program. Kathy also feels that one should make sleep a high priority and get 8 hours nightly. Research is showing that sleep deprived people have a much more difficult time losing weight. If you are having difficulty sleeping, talk to your doctor about having a sleep study done.
  3. Certified in diabetes education, dietitian Jennifer Catron effectively counsels those with weight issues and diabetes on a daily basis. Jennifer emphasizes that weight loss should not be a race, but rather a journey of forming and establishing healthy habits to last a lifetime. Jennifer believes that portion control is the key. Start by buying smaller cups, glasses, and bowls. Make sure you are using a nine-inch plate. When buying foods in large boxes and bags, divide the food into small, snack-size baggies before eating. This applies to foods like cereal, chips, pretzels, and crackers.

    Since the majority of American meals are eaten outside the home, Jennifer suggests that you ask for a doggie bag at the beginning of a meal. Portion half of your meal into the doggie bag first, and then enjoy the rest of your meal. This will cut down on the bloated portion, and also save you money—two meals for the price of one!
  4. With years of experience in eating disorders, family structure, and food dynamics, dietitian Trish Hunter says the first thing to focus on is hunger versus non-hunger eating. Hunger can also be called “stomach hunger”. Your stomach growls, you may feel lightheaded, and weak. Your body is giving you physical signs that it needs fuel. When you feel stomach hunger you should listen to your body and eat some nutrient dense foods until you feel comfortably full.

    Non-hunger eating is caused by “mouth hunger”. You suddenly want the taste or texture of something in your mouth but have no physical hunger cues. There is nothing wrong with eating when you experience mouth hunger, but it should be in very small amounts since your body does NOT need these calories.

    It is important to pay attention while you are eating or the mouth hunger will only increase. Therefore, don’t eat while watching television, driving the car, reading, or doing any activity that keeps your focus away from your food. Keeping a food journal can help you track how often you eat because of hunger or non-hunger.
So for the New Year, aim for the top ten! Try to gradually take off 10 percent of your body weight over the next 6 months. You’ll feel better and your body will love you inside and out. Happy New Year!

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Member Comments

  • Wonderful article!!!
  • Great incentives to lose 10lbs.!
  • Going for another 10%!
  • Great suggestions!
  • Great article and I've lost my 10%
  • If you won't believe in yourself, why should anyone else?
  • I'm struggling today because I didn't get enough sleep last night. I stayed up talking some political points with my daughter, and next thing I know it's a quarter to midnight! I've been doing SO WELL on getting to bed before 11pm for the past few weeks, so today I am REALLY feeling it! I'm guzzling coffee and just had a cream-filled donut - not good choices, I know. Also, the bit about "mouth hunger" is a good one. Sometimes if I see it, I want it and can't stop thinking about it. I'm still working on that one. Losing 10% of my weight would actually put me at my goal weight of 135 lbs, sounds good but SOOOO not easy. I've been trying for over a year and have made such little progress; nights like last night & attitude like this morning sure don't help! Oh well, at least lunch & dinner will be healthier than a donut. Try to get in that run this evening (probably a slow run, but better than nothing), and then get to bed by 10:30pm tonight. Hopefully that will give me a clearer head in the morning....
    I made a different sort of New Year's resolution at the beginning of this year - to just be healthier (portion control, reasonable workouts, fewer processed foods, more water). It has really paid off in a virtually painless way! I'm closing in on the 25 lb mark and eat just about whatever I want. (I just make sure I log EVERYTHING!) I feel better and my energy level is off the charts.
  • I have tried to solve the 'mouth hunger' problem by adding a list of 'Spoonfuls' to my tracker - a number of different combinations of small amountsof foods that I like on a dessert spoon. I have counted the calories for each combination as well as I can. It's like the fillings of a tiny cocktail sandwich - but no bread or canape of course. It has certainly helped me and may be of use to others.
  • Thank you for the comments. I am just starting my weight loss/life style changes.
    I did not realized how much I was eating until I began using the tracker. You have offered me the encouragement I needed.
  • thank you jiminyc for the updated link.
  • I lose weight slowly, but I cherish every pound lost since I am obese. In 14 months I have lost 25 lbs and I get heart burn 2x a week instead of 7x a week, parts of my body are closed to toned looking, and my double chin is almost gone. I have 39 more lbs to go. I'm hopeful to get to a normal BMI by December. I can go up many, many flights of stairs without tiring. I remember being 194 lbs and getting exhausted going up 1.5 flights.
  • So far I've lost 5% of my body weight and I feel amazing! I sleep great, my energy level is increasing, I can do so much more with my body, and I even focus better. I can't wait to see what 10% feels like!

About The Author

Becky Hand Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.