When most people think of getting healthy, two words flash into their minds: weight loss. These two words are thrown around like the ultimate goal for being fit. If you can lose weight, you can have the healthy, sleek body you want.
In fact, weight isn’t the chief factor. You can have a high BMI, very low body fat, and be a super athlete. That’s why a lot of people hate to hear about studies that talk about lowering your BMI. However, BMI is truly helpful as a tool for statistical analysis. Not everyone who has a higher than average BMI has it because they’ve packed on muscle.
So, you have to use your common sense about judging your weight in relation to a whole other range of factors. The human body is not that good at dropping weight. That’s why you have to work at it through exercise and diet. That’s also why people go to extremes because they may not have the patience to work through whatever blockers they have in dropping weight.
There was a study from the European Society of Endocrinology, that showed even a slight reduction in your BMI can lead to serious improvements in your long-term health. More specifically, decreasing your BMI can dramatically reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Researchers examined over 2,000 patients, examining their BMI and incidences of diabetes. For 10 years, the researchers followed the patients. They found that those who didn’t decrease their BMI (dropping below 35%) had anywhere from 6-10% chance of becoming diabetic. Those who decreased their BMI by at least five units (5%) had a significantly lower rate of diabetes: just 2-3%. Losing five BMI units actually led some of the patients to be cured of their diabetes. It didn’t matter what their BMI was at the onset of the study—all that mattered was that they lost five BMI units.
In, people with a BMI higher than 35, 35-40 and 40-45 who did not lose weight after two years, type 2 diabetes incidence rates were 6.5%, 7.7%, and 9.3% respectively. Among those with initial BMI 35-40, 40-45 and greater than 45 who lost at least five BMI units after two years, type 2 diabetes incidence rates were 2.4%, 2.0%, and 3.4% respectively.
The researchers also found that the rate of patients cured of diabetes after losing five BMI units was independent of the starting BMI at all BMI levels measured. This trend was also observed after 10 years post surgery.
So, you don’t have to hit some mythical ideal weight or, chase some supermodel’s figure, you just have to make a relatively small change to see benefits. This is a universal truth of making changes to improve your health through fitness. Most people fail to see the small steps because they’re beating themselves up over their failure to meet unrealistic expectations.
1. European Society of Endocrinology. “Losing weight when obese can prevent or cure diabetes, whatever the initial BMI, study suggests.” ScienceDaily. (accessed May 2, 2017).