A 50-pound weight loss can make a major improvement in your overall health, depending on what you weighed to begin with and how overweight you were. Every organ in your body will benefit from a 50-pound loss. The more weight you have to lose, the less impact losing 50 pounds will have on your health, but even losing just 5 to 10 percent of your weight can result in positive health changes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A 50-pound loss means that your heart won't have to work nearly as hard to transport blood to all your tissues. If you're 25 pounds overweight, you have 5,000 miles of extra blood vessels in your body, mostly small capillaries, to feed the excess tissue, according to Western Washington University. So losing 50 pounds will divest your body of 10,000 miles of extra blood vessels. Because your heart has to pump forcefully enough to get blood to all those blood vessels, losing 50 pounds will reduce blood pressure, as your heart doesn't have to pump as hard. Not pumping so hard also takes the strain off the left ventricle of your heart, which often enlarges when you're overweight.
Being overweight greatly increases your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Losing just 7 to 10 percent of your body reduces your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 50 percent, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Even if you weigh 500 pounds, losing 50 pounds could reduce your risk. The less overweight you are, the more benefits you gain. An Italian study published in "Obesity" in 2004 studied the effects of weight loss on morbidly obese subjects with a body-mass index over 40 who underwent bariatric surgery. With a mean weight loss of 22 kilograms, or around 50 pounds, most no longer had diabetes after 12 to 18 months and had significant improvement in cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well.
Your joints will move easier when you lose 50 pounds. A weight loss of this magnitude puts far less strain on your knees, hips and feet. Your back and neck will also thank you. Your ability to walk longer distances will increase. If you have osteoarthritis, a common condition in adults older than age 50, for each pound of body weight you lose, you will reduce the forces on your knee by more than two-fold, a Danish study published in the July 2011 issue of "Osteoarthritis Cartilage" found. Weight loss of 50 pounds could reduce knee load by more than 100 pounds.
Both overweight women and men can have fertility issues related to weight. Overweight women often don't have regular menstrual periods, because they stop ovulating. When overweight women lost an average of just 22 pounds in an Australian study reported in "Human Reproduction" in 1998, 60 out of 67 started ovulating without any further treatment. The miscarriage rate dropped from 75 percent to a normal 18 percent after treatment. A 20-pound weight gain can decrease a man's fertility by 10 percent. Poor sperm quality or hormonal changes in male sex hormones could cause the difference, researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences report.
- Western Washington University: Wellness and Fitness Fact Archives
- Harvard School of Public Health: Simple Steps to Preventing Diabetes
- Nature.com; Obesity; Short-Term Effects of Weight Loss on the Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Morbidly Obese Patients
- Osteoarthritis Cartilage: Effects of an Intensive Weight Loss Upon Knee Joint Loading in Obese Adults with Knee Osteoarthritis
- Human Reproduction: Weight Loss in Obese Infertile Women Results in Improvement in Reproductive Outcome for All Forms of Fertility Treatment
- NIH News: Obesity in Men Linked to Infertility
A registered nurse with more than 25 years of experience in oncology, labor/delivery, neonatal intensive care, infertility and ophthalmology, Sharon Perkins has also coauthored and edited numerous health books for the Wiley "Dummies" series. Perkins also has extensive experience working in home health with medically fragile pediatric patients.