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8 Reasons to lose weight (that don’t include the number on the scale)

Losing weight isn’t just about the number on the scale – it’s about improving your overall health and well-being. Sure, watching what you eat and exercising regularly are both important. But when it comes to healthy weight management, there are other factors at play, including genetics, hormones, and your overall lifestyle.

Taking a holistic approach to weight loss means considering all these factors and making sustainable changes. Trust us, shedding those extra kilos will not only help you feel more confident about your appearance, but it can also improve your mental and physical well-being.

Here are eight reasons to focus on weight loss as a holistic approach to feeling healthier and happier, mentally and physically.

Decreased risk of type 2 diabetes

In Australia, more than half (53%) of diabetes cases are attributable to excess weight (1).

Obesity and type 2 diabetes are strongly linked, with obesity being a significant risk factor for developing diabetes (2). For example, if a woman has a BMI exceeding 30 kg/m2, she is at a 28 times higher risk of developing diabetes compared to a woman with a healthy BMI (2).

Losing weight can significantly decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This is because excess weight, particularly in the abdominal area, is a major risk factor for the development of this disease. When you lose weight, you reduce the amount of fat in your body, and this, in turn, reduces the resistance of your cells to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.

In addition, losing weight can also help to reduce other risk factors for type 2 diabetes, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and inflammation. Overall, weight loss can be an effective way to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and to manage the disease if it has already been diagnosed.

Better sleep quality

58% of moderate-to-severe sleep apnea cases can be attributed to obesity (3).

Obesity is a significant factor that contributes to both snoring and sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder characterised by repeated episodes of breathing cessation during sleep. The reason behind this is primarily due to the excess fat and reduced muscle activity in the upper respiratory tract, which narrows the airway (4). As a result, snoring becomes more frequent, as a narrower throat is more susceptible to vibration (5).

Weight loss has been found to be one of the most effective non-surgical treatments for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). According to research, weight loss leads to a significant reduction in the severity of OSA and the frequency of apnea events by reducing excess weight and fat around the neck area, making it easier for air to pass through (6).

Lowered risk of heart disease

Obesity contributed to 25% of the disease burden associated with coronary heart disease in Australia in 2015 (7).

Being overweight can increase the fatty build-up in your arteries, making excess weight a major risk factor for heart disease. Weight loss can help to lower your blood pressure, reduce your cholesterol levels, and improve your insulin sensitivity. All of these factors are key contributors to heart disease, so by shedding the extra kilos, you’re taking vital steps to protect your heart health.

Improved blood pressure

Obesity may account for 78% of hypertension cases in men and 65% in women (8).

Excess weight can be a real danger to your health, especially when it comes to blood pressure. When you start to gain extra weight, your body produces more of a hormone called leptin, which can increase your blood pressure. This can put extra stress on your heart and make it harder for blood to flow through your vessels.

Weight loss is one way to improve your blood pressure. When you put effort into reaching a healthy weight, there’s less pressure on your heart to pump blood through your body. Plus, losing weight can reduce inflammation, which is another cause of high blood pressure.

Just make sure you go about losing weight in a healthy and sustainable way rather than following the latest crash diets or quick fixes you’ve spotted on social media. Talk to your doctor or a healthcare professional to come up with a plan that works for you, including regular exercise and a balanced diet.

Improved fertility (for women and men)

Studies indicate that women with a higher BMI are three times more likely to experience fertility issues (9).

Although infertility has various causes, there is a well-established link between obesity and female fertility. Hormonal imbalances caused by obesity can affect ovulation and menstruation, resulting in difficulty conceiving. Obesity can also have adverse effects on pregnancy outcomes, including a higher risk of miscarriage, pregnancy complications, and birth defects. Often, babies born to obese mothers are at increased risk of admission to neonatal intensive care (10).

However, it isn’t just the women. Male fertility is also affected by obesity, with men having a higher BMI being more likely to experience infertility (11). Factors such as sleep apnea, hormonal changes, and an elevated scrotum temperature can affect the quantity and movement of sperm.

Excess body weight can disrupt hormone levels, leading to reduced fertility. Losing weight can restore normal hormone levels, reduce inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity, and increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. According to studies (12), even a slight reduction in body weight can improve pregnancy outcomes. Hence, weight loss is often recommended by fertility specialists if weight is suspected to be a contributing factor to infertility.

Better mental health

Research suggests that anywhere between 20% to 60% of individuals with obesity also suffer from psychiatric illnesses (13).

There is a strong correlation between obesity, depression, and anxiety. Individuals with obesity are more prone to depression, and those with depression have a higher likelihood of becoming obese (14). It’s a horrible cycle.

One of the key ways weight loss can improve mental health is through improved brain function. Weight loss has been found to increase blood flow to the brain and enhance the function of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine – hormones responsible for regulating mood, sleep, and appetite.

Improved self-esteem and confidence

Sadly, people with obesity often encounter discrimination in various aspects of life, such as education, personal relationships, and healthcare (15). This stigma can significantly impact their self-worth and confidence, leading to feelings of loneliness, lower self-esteem, and an increased risk of developing depression and anxiety (16,17).

Weight loss can have a positive impact on self-esteem by improving body image and physical health, which in turn can lead to increased confidence and a sense of self-worth. When people lose weight, they often feel better about their appearance and may receive positive feedback from others, which can boost their self-esteem even further.

Losing weight can also lead to improvements in physical health, such as the reduced risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease, improved mobility and energy levels, and better sleep quality. These physical improvements can also have a positive impact on mental health, as individuals may feel more capable and in control of their lives.

Self-esteem is complex and influenced by many factors beyond just body weight. It is essential to focus on developing a positive self-image and self-worth through a variety of means, such as building supportive relationships, engaging in activities that bring joy and fulfilment, and developing skills and talents.

Increased energy levels

Weight loss can help increase energy levels in a number of ways. First, losing excess weight can reduce the workload on the body, which can make it easier for the body to perform everyday tasks and activities. This can lead to a decrease in feelings of fatigue and exhaustion.

Additionally, carrying excess weight can put a strain on the cardiovascular system, as the heart has to work harder to pump blood and oxygen to all parts of the body. This can lead to feelings of fatigue and reduced energy levels. Losing weight can help reduce the strain on the cardiovascular system, leading to improved circulation and oxygen delivery, which can increase energy levels.

Finally, losing weight can improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control, which can help prevent dips in blood sugar levels that can lead to feelings of fatigue and low energy. Eating a healthy diet and engaging in regular physical activity as part of a weight loss program can help regulate blood sugar levels and provide a steady source of energy throughout the day.


It’s time to look after your health

Overall, weight loss can have many positive effects on physical and mental health, including increased energy levels, improved mood, and better overall quality of life.


  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017. Impact of overweight and obesity as a risk factor for chronic conditions: Australian Burden of Disease Study. Available at
  2. Barnes AS. The epidemic of obesity and diabetes: trends and treatments. Tex Heart Inst J. 2011;38(2):142-144.
  3. Young T, Peppard PE, Taheri S. Excess weight and sleep-disordered breathing. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2005;99(4):1592-1599. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00587.2005
  4. Jehan S, Zizi F, Pandi-Perumal SR, et al. Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Obesity: Implications for Public Health. Sleep Med Disord. 2017;1(4):00019.
  5. Sleep Health Foundation Snoring Fact Sheet,22 July 2016. Available at Accessed December 2021.
  6. Young T, Peppard PE, Taheri S. Excess weight and sleep-disordered breathing. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2005;99(4):1592-1599. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00587.2005
  7. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2020) Australian Burden of Disease Study 2015: Interactive data on risk factor burden., AIHW, Australian Government
  8. Aronow WS. Association of obesity with hypertension. Ann Transl Med. 2017;5(17):350. doi:10.21037/atm.2017.06.69
  9. Grodstein F, Goldman MB, Cramer DW. Body mass index and ovulatory infertility. Epidemiology. 1994;5(2):247-250. doi:10.1097/00001648-199403000-00016
  10. Callaway LK, Prins JB, Chang AM, McIntyre HD. The prevalence and impact of overweight and obesity in an Australian obstetric population. Med J Aust. 2006;184(2):56-59. doi:10.5694/j.1326-5377.2006.tb00115.x
  11. Du Plessis, S., Cabler, S., McAlister, D. et al.The effect of obesity on sperm disorders and male infertility. Nat Rev Urol7, 153–161 (2010).
  12. 10 – Clark AM, Thornley B, Tomlinson L, Galletley C, Norman RJ. Weight loss in obese infertile women results in improvement in reproductive outcome for all forms of fertility treatment. Hum Reprod. 1998;13(6):1502-1505. doi:10.1093/humrep/13.6.1502
  13. Sarwer DB, Polonsky HM. The Psychosocial Burden of Obesity. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2016;45(3):677-688. doi:10.1016/j.ecl.2016.04.016
  14. National Health and Medical Research Council (2013). Clinical practice guidelines for the management of overweight and obesity in adults, adolescents and children in Australia. Available at
  15. Puhl RM, Heuer CA. Obesity stigma: important considerations for public health. Am J Public Health. 2010;100(6):1019-1028. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2009.159491
  16. Jung FU, Luck-Sikorski C. Overweight and Lonely? A Representative Study on Loneliness in Obese People and Its Determinants. Obes Facts. 2019;12(4):440-447. doi:10.1159/000500095
  17. Friedman KE, Reichmann SK, Costanzo PR, Zelli A, Ashmore JA, Musante GJ. Weight stigmatization and ideological beliefs: relation to psychological functioning in obese adults. Obes Res. 2005;13(5):907-916. doi:10.1038/oby.2005.105
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