10 Possible Weight Loss Effects

Some effects you may expect, while others might be surprising.

Female leg stepping on weigh scales. Healthy lifestyle, food and sport concept.
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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 function 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.

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 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 of a study published in May 2022 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, such as by:

  • Boosting inflammation
  • Influencing hormones
  • Affecting 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, per a 2020 review. Those interventions included:

  • Doing certain health-related tasks (e.g., eating a certain amount of produce) each day
  • Breaking unhealthy exercise and diet behaviors
  • Forming 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.

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, being 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.

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 (and even before) has also been linked to health outcomes for their children, such as:

  • Heart defects
  • Premature birth
  • Obesity
  • High 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 your healthcare provider.

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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.
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