What does 10 pounds of fat look like? It will vary depending on your starting weight, the kind of diet changes you make, and how fast you lose the weight. But the benefits of losing 10 pounds are more universal. By some markers, “overweight” means being 10 percent over your body’s ideal weight range, and “obese” is 20 percent and higher. So for a 150-pound person, losing 10 pounds can place them in a whole new medical bracket. Losing 10 pounds may sound like barely a molehill, but shedding 10 pounds is a fantastic feat—regardless of your starting weight. “There’s something magical about that first 10-pound weight loss that I don’t see at other markers,” says Lisa Ellis, RD, founder of Integrating Nutrition in White Plains, New York. “It tends to foster motivation.”
1. You’ll Sleep Better.
What does losing 10 pounds look like? It looks like a restful night’s sleep. When you lose 10 pounds, you’re sleeping better at night, which means your cortisol levels are lower. Lower cortisol levels equate to less stress and cravings for sugary and fatty foods. “People get better sleep, and sleep apnea can ease,” says Fiorella DiCarlo, R.D.N. and C.D.N. Carrying excess weight can put you at risk for sleep apnea, a sleep disorder in which the airway becomes blocked while snoozing, according to Harvard Women’s Health Watch. People who are overweight have extra tissue in the back of their throat, which can fall down over the airway and block the flow of air into the lungs while they sleep.
2. You’ll Lower Blood Sugar Levels.
Type 2 diabetes is no laughing matter. People with diabetes have an increased risk of strokes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and blindness. And, type 2 can be prevented or reversed with weight loss. If you can lose five to 10 percent of your body weight, you’ll lower your risk of developing diabetes by 58 percent, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine’s Digestive Weight Loss Center. Ellis says she sees a good reduction in blood sugar levels in her clients after a 10-pound weight loss.
3. You’ll Banish Bathroom Issues.
Losing 10 pounds looks like fat off your waistline and a better digestive system. If you weren’t pooping on the regular, you could be now. All that fiber you’re getting from whole, fresh produce means there’ll be less constipation and other digestion issues, especially for people who are not regular vegetable and fruit eaters, Ellis says. It’s the other GI bill, and it’s a gift that keeps on giving.
4. You’ll Boost Your Energy.
Increased energy, motivation, confidence, improved sleep—many of these benefits are woven together. We know that one symptom or benefit isn’t mutually exclusive because your body is a whole system of interlocking systems. But some foods are better for energy than others, and you’re likely eating them if you lost 10 pounds. “Some of the energy boost is because of the food you’ve removed from your diet to lose weight: less sugar, less alcohol, and maybe less heavy, fatty food,” Blum says.
5. You’ll Improve Your Fertility.
If making babies is a goal, you might want to lose some weight so that you have the opportunity to gain that baby weight. Studies have shown that losing as little as five percent of your body weight can dramatically improve your chances of pregnancy—and we’re not just talking about the female partner here.
6. You’ll Make Your Heart Happy.
Weight loss reduces the strain on your heart. “Losing as few as 10 pounds…can help manage or prevent high blood pressure in many overweight people (those with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or greater),” according to the American Heart Association. Heart health is also especially critical as women age. “After menopause, preventing heart disease is one of the most important things you want to do. Beforehand, it’s breast cancer,” says Blum.