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Yes, losing weight will cut your risk of scary chronic diseases and catastrophic health outcomes — but it can also noticeably improve your health in the present. What do you need to know?

We hear it over and over again — overweight and obesity are health-destroying, and efforts to start shedding the extra pounds can do wonders for your overall wellbeing. By losing weight, you'll reduce your risk of scary health outcomes like hypertension, stroke, diabetes, back pain, osteoarthritis, and even some kinds of cancer. Your odds of sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, kidney disease, sleep apnea, and pregnancy complications (if you're a woman of reproductive age) will go down, too.

Those are all important reasons to start losing weight if you're overweight or obese. But if you don't already battle some of the nastier results of overweight, they may also seem a little abstract. So here are some unexpected health benefits of weight loss that you can enjoy immediately — even if you're only a little overweight. 

Some of those benefits are tied directly to weight loss, while others are the result of a healthier diet and regular physical activity, improvements many people take on board as they enter their quest to drop their extra weight.

1. You may well feel less tired

Being overweight — and especially being obese — means your body needs to work much harder to carry out basic tasks, like walking up the stairs or even down to the mailbox. It's no wonder that research has found obese people to be much more tired than people who fall into the healthy weight range!

What's more, obesity puts you at risk of developing sleep apnea, a condition that causes shallow breathing and even periods during which you stop breathing at night. Sleep apnea is well known to lead to daytime sleepiness, as well, in part because it interferes with a good night's sleep. And yes, you can expect to sleep more soundly once you begin dropping pounds, too.

Even if you were only a little overweight, you may notice that you have more energy once the extra pounds come off. I did — and it was because my diet consisted mainly of carbs and lacked in the protein and nutrient department. When you eat right, you're bound to become more energetic. 

2. Your skin may be clearer

Sure, you may break out when you first go on a diet — but there's some research to suggest that losing weight through cleaner eating can go a long way towards combating acne. This may be because the kinds of diets that tend to contribute to weight loss either contain lots of hormones, or fats and sugars. Both can lead to zits. My skin has been a lot clearer since I changed my diet up and eliminated junk food.

3. You may get ill less often

Yes, really — it happened to me after I lost 10 kilos, but that anecdotal story isn't going to be enough. Here's why you may notice fewer respiratory infections, like colds:

  • Studies have shown that exercising regularly boosts your immune system, leading to a lower risk of infections. That benefit goes out the window if you overexercise, but if you have a common-sense workout routine going, and you didn't before you started losing weight, that could explain why you're sick less. 
  • A diet lacking in the essential nutrients your body depends on to keep you healthy is — surprise, surprise — bad for your immune system. Healthy and sustainable weight loss includes a balanced diet by definition, and adopting a healthier diet may give your immune system just the boost it needed to be able to defend you better. 

4. Things may get better between the sheets

It's been statistically proven that obesity interferes with your sex life — in many ways, from reduced physical ability to self-confidence issues. Women and very obese people are hardest-hit in this area. Did you know that formerly obese people who've lost weight report that their intimate lives get a lot more spicy and satisfying post-weight loss? You do now!

5. Your mood will probably improve

Yes, we know — starting a weight loss program can make you really grumpy, especially at the beginning, when you're hungry all the time and get a bit obsessed with all the tasty pleasures you now can't avail yourself to. Been there, done that. But if you keep at yes, your moood and overall mental health are likely to improve. Yes, studies agree. This may be the result of a combination of all the other benefits of weight loss. Who wouldn't feel better if they're physically fitter, healthier, enjoy better sleep, and aren't tired all the time?

6. Your brain may work better, too!

OK, this one's specific to people who follow low-carb diets, but since they're a common way to lose weight, we'll include it here. People losing weight with the help of low-carb programs start doing better on visuo-spatial tests and are more vigilant and able to problem-solve. They also report less confusion. So yes, weight loss can boost your brain power, too.

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