Weird Side Effects of Weight Loss
Losing weight is a great way to kickstart your health if you're pushing the scales.
If you're planning to lose some excess weight, good on you - but be aware there are some weird side effects that you could encounter along the way.
University College London researched 2,000 adults over the space of four years. They found subjects who lost at least 5% of their overall body weight were 78% more likely to report depression.
This could be because people may view weight loss as a key to happiness. "If I could lose this excess weight I'd be happy". Then, when they are not any happier after losing it, depression can take hold. The underlying reasons for unhappiness should be addressed alongside weight loss.
Research has linked weight loss to improved memory, particularly in older women. A Swedish study found after six months of weight loss, their brains were more active in the memory forming area and less active when they recalled memories.
When you put on weight your skin stretches to accommodate it. This also happens in pregnancy. When fat melts away the skin isn't always elastic enough to retract.
Loose skin is more likely to affect older people, those who lose weight rapidly and those who have yo-yo dieted in the past. Building up muscles beneath sagging skin can help to sculpt your body, but in extreme cases surgery is needed to remove excess skin folds.
Research has shown that when you lose weight in tandem with your other half, you're more likely to succeed but separately it can cause strife in your relationship. This can be due to a change of lifestyle, such as hitting the gym instead of socialising, or being perceived as showing more interest in your new exercising hobby than your partner.
Your new look may also leave your partner jealous or feeling guilty that they haven't lost weight and addressed their health issues. Personality changes can alter the power balance in a relationship too. A newfound confidence and sexiness can leave people feeling they might lose you or feeling like they lost the upper hand.
This also applies to friendships. Dropping social plans such as a meal out in favour of the gym might not go down well with your friends.
Foods Tastes Different
Stanford University researchers found that after dramatic weight loss (in this case bariatric surgery) 87% of participants said their food tasted different. Half said it was sharper, the other duller. Another second study from the Leicester Royal Infirmary in the United Kingdom, discovered ¾ of weight loss patients found they disliked certain foods after surgery - usually dairy and meat options. Whether this is a psychological or physical reaction is not known.
It Lowers The Risk Of Cancer
Obesity is linked to certain types of cancer such as breast and bowel cancers. It's thought fat triggers inflammation and cell changes. If you lose weight, your risk reduces along with your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Study participants who lost 5% of their body weight slept around 22 minutes longer according to the University of Pennsylvania.
Obesity is associated with sleep apnoea. When fat has melted away the airways are less restricted. It may also mean that you quit snoring - something your partner will be delighted with.
Sleeping well also helps to burn fat which in turn helps you to keep the weight off.
Losing weight quickly can lead to the formation of gallstones. These are stones that accumulate in your gallbladder and ducts. Removing fat from your diet means the gallbladder doesn't work so frequently and therefore bile builds up and creates stones. Surgery is required to remove stones when they cause pain, nausea and confusion.
Exercise Will Become Fun
Something you probably didn't expect after a painful time exercising and restricting your meals but when you are fit and active, exercise is less painful on your knees, heart rate, and muscles. You may find you actually enjoy it!
Your eyesight may improve
A University of Georgia study found a higher body fat percentage was mirrored by lower levels of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin in eye tissue. Losing weight can also protect against diabetes which affects eyesight.
What if you remain overweight?
The NHS attributes these conditions to obesity and suggests it shortens the lifespan by three to 10 years depending on severity.
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Some cancers
- High cholesterol and atherosclerosis
- Coronary heart disease
- Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD)
- Reduced fertility
- Osteoarthritis – a condition involving pain and stiffness in your joints
- Liver disease and kidney disease
- Pregnancy complications, such as gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia
Although some of these weird weight loss effects are not positive that shouldn't put you off losing weight if you need to. The benefits of a healthy BMI are numerous. It can extend your life and help you enjoy yourself. Just be aware that a weight loss journey can impact other areas of life - not only your waistline.