Wellness Nutrition Eat Well 10 Possible Weight Loss Effects Some effects you may expect, while others might be surprising. By Amanda MacMillan Amanda MacMillan Amanda MacMillan is a health and science writer and editor. Her work appears across brands like Health, Prevention, SELF, O Magazine, Travel + Leisure, Time Out New York, and National Geographic's The Green Guide. health's editorial guidelines Updated on December 16, 2022 Medically reviewed by Barbie Cervoni, MS, RD, CDCES, CDN Medically reviewed by Barbie Cervoni, MS, RD, CDCES, CDN Twitter Website Barbie Cervoni, MS, RD, CD/N, CDE, is a registered dietitian (RD) and certified diabetes care and education specialist (CDCES). She has spent most of her career counseling patients with diabetes, across all ages. learn more Share Tweet Pin Email Adobe Stock Dropping just 5% to 10% of your body weight can improve your overall health. This weight loss can reduce your risk for chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. However, there are quite a few effects of losing weight—here are 10 of them. Your Energy Level May Skyrocket A 2019 study said that the total amount of energy spent to maintain different body functions (e.g., breathing) and physical activity—as well as resting energy—decrease when an individual loses weight. In other words, when you're at a lower weight, you use less energy to simply go about your day, Adam Tsai, MD, a former physician at Kaiser Permanente Colorado in Denver and a spokesperson for the Obesity Society, told Health. Thus, a big energy boost is often the first thing people notice when they start losing weight. What To Know About Your Energy Levels Your Relationship May Be Affected When you lose weight, your partner might end up doing the same. That was the finding of a study examining the untreated spouses of participants in either a formal or a self-guided weight management program. By the six-month mark, about a third of the spouses lost 3% or more of their initial body weight. "There is good evidence that people gain weight when their spouses do, and our research suggests the flip side is true too," lead author Amy Gorin, PhD, professor of psychological sciences and director of the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy at the University of Connecticut, told Health. That may be partly due to the shared food environment—like having more fruits and veggies in the home, said Gorin. Also, researchers investigated the weight change perspectives of romantic partners in terms of body image, gender, sexual orientation, and experiences within the relationship. They found that high quality relationships were connected to seeing minimal changes in a partner's weight. Your Risk of Cancer Will Be Lower Overweight and obesity have been linked to an increased risk of several types of cancers. While researchers continue to try sorting out the exact relationship, it appears that excess body weight may increase cancer risk in several different ways through: Boosting inflammationInfluencing hormonesAffecting cell growth Additionally, the relationship with body weight is thought to be stronger for some cancers more than others. For example, it's suggested to be a factor in more than half of all endometrial cancers. Your Level of Depression May Vary Concerning weight changes and depression, it's not always possible to tell what comes first, explained Dr. Tsai. In other words, a "bi-directional relationship" exists between the two conditions, meaning that obesity may cause depression or vice versa. "Depression typically improves with weight loss," explained Dr. Tsai. A 2021 review concerning obesity, depression, diet, and exercise offered support for this change: People who lost weight experienced fewer depressive symptoms. You Can Create New Healthy Habits Over the span of eight to 14 weeks, using habit-based interventions helped individuals lose a significant amount of weight. Those interventions included: Doing certain health-related tasks (e.g., eating a certain amount of produce) each dayBreaking unhealthy exercise and diet behaviorsForming new healthy exercise and diet behaviors Exercising can make your joints hurt and lungs burn more than when you're at a healthier weight, said Dr. Tsai. However, taking your time to gradually lose weight with exercise and a good diet may eventually lead to habitual workouts and healthy eating choices. Healthy Habits You Can Start Quickly Your Bones May Change While it's true that weight loss is associated with bone loss, it's a bigger concern if you become underweight or follow an unhealthy diet. Extra weight might make your bones stronger as a result of you having to carry that weight, but it also damages joints. However, weight-bearing and resistance exercises (which could lead to some weight loss) can help to build and maintain strong bones. You May Be Able to Reduce or Eliminate Medications Maintaining a healthy weight can help protect you from diabetes and heart disease. However, if you already have these conditions, losing weight may still help. You may be able to take less blood pressure or cholesterol medication, for example, or learn to manage your type 2 diabetes without giving yourself daily insulin injections. "Weight-related conditions such as diabetes typically improve with weight loss," said Dr. Tsai, adding that there is a dose-response relationship. In other words, the greater the weight loss, the more improvement. Still, you don't want to stop taking medications on your own. If you want to make any changes with your medications, speak with a healthcare provider. They will provide oversight and guidance about how to go about those changes if it's possible to do so. You May Experience Changes With Your Skin One thing many people aren't prepared for after dramatic weight loss is loose, sagging skin. When a person loses weight, the excess skin occurs because their skin expanded when they were at a heavier weight. If weight loss results in loose skin, there are still things you can do to take care of your skin and keep it healthy. For example, staying hydrated, managing stress, and using moisturizer may all help improve how your skin looks and feels. Your Sleep Can Improve Higher weight and fat loss are linked to improved sleep health (e.g., increased sleep satisfaction and sleep efficiency). In particular, overweight puts you at risk of developing sleep apnea, a respiratory disorder that causes a person's airway to partially or completely collapse during sleep. Fat deposits in the neck can block the airway and disturb your sleep. "Losing weight usually means there's less there to physically constrict your breathing and less soft tissue to block the upper airways," said Dr. Tsai. How the 4-7-8 Breathing Technique Can Help You Sleep Better You Could Boost Your Chances of Pregnancy If you desire to and have been trying to become pregnant, weight loss can help increase your chances of conception. A higher weight can affect fertility. Also, having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal condition associated with obesity, is one of the most common reasons for infertility in people assigned female at birth. Additionally, a person's weight during pregnancy (and even before it) has also been linked to health outcomes for their children, such as: Heart defectsPremature birthObesityHigh cholesterol Thus, losing weight may help ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. A Quick Review Losing weight has a lot of potential effects. With weight loss, you may end up with more energy and gain healthy lifestyle habits, for example. You might also experience improvements in sleep and fertility. Ultimately, appropriate weight loss for your body can be beneficial for your physical and mental health in a variety of ways. If you have any questions or concerns regarding a weight loss journey, reach out to a healthcare provider. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Losing weight. Ostendorf DM, Caldwell AE, Creasy SA, et al. Physical activity energy expenditure and total daily energy expenditure in successful weight loss maintainers: energy expenditure and weight loss maintenance. Obesity. 2019;27(3):496-504. doi:10.1002/oby.22373 Gorin AA, Lenz EM, Cornelius T, Huedo-Medina T, Wojtanowski AC, Foster GD. Randomized controlled trial examining the ripple effect of a nationally available weight management program on untreated spouses: ripple effect in untreated spouses. Obesity. 2018;26(3):499-504. doi:10.1002/oby.22098 Markey CH, August KJ, Kelly K, Dunaev JP. Perceptions of weight change among romantic partners: considering body image, relationship experiences, gender, and sexual orientation. Front Glob Womens Health. 2022;0. doi:10.3389/fgwh.2022.798257 American Cancer Society. Does body weight affect cancer risk? Patsalos O, Keeler J, Schmidt U, Penninx BWJH, Young AH, Himmerich H. Diet, obesity, and depression: a systematic review. JPM. 2021;11(3):176. doi:10.3390/jpm11030176 Cleo G, Beller E, Glasziou P, Isenring E, Thomas R. Efficacy of habit-based weight loss interventions: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Behav Med. 2020;43(4):519-532. doi:10.1007/s10865-019-00100-w Papageorgiou M, Kerschan-Schindl K, Sathyapalan T, Pietschmann P. Is weight loss harmful for skeletal health in obese older adults? Gerontology. 2020;66(1):2-14. doi:10.1159/000500779 National Institute of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. Exercise for your bone health. National Institute of Health. Keep your skin healthy. Kline CE, Chasens ER, Bizhanova Z, et al. The association between sleep health and weight change during a 12-month behavioral weight loss intervention. Int J Obes. 2021;45(3):639-649. doi:10.1038/s41366-020-00728-8 National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Causes and risk factors. Office on Women's Health. Trying to conceive. Office on Women's Health. Weight, fertility, and pregnancy.