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The last few pounds

When you experience the first 10 pounds of weight loss, the benefits are usually noticeable. Clothes start fitting better, joints don’t ache as much and chances are you’re sleeping better. But there are plenty of benefits you don’t see as well.

Losing just 10 pounds lowers blood pressure by three to eight points (more for some), which is significant in terms of health. It can improve kidney function and decrease the strain on your heart. It can normalize hormones, decreasing the risk of breast cancer in women and increasing testosterone in men.

Sleep scores improve up to 20% with just modest weight loss of 10 to 15 pounds. Dr. Oz describes benefits of lowering cholesterol up to 10% just by losing 10 pounds, reduced risk of heart disease, dementia, cancer, diabetes and sleep apnea.

Reduced joint pain and reduced medications also make you a lot feel better. So if we see all these benefits from dropping just 10, imagine the benefits from losing all the extra weight you are carrying.

If 10 pounds is all the extra weight you have then that’s great, enjoy the benefits, but what if you have 40, 60 or even 100 pounds to lose? How would you feel after collapsing that much extra weight? Many people feel so good after losing just part of the weight that they stop short of the goal. Or perhaps they feel like they can never be that thin again or have never been that weight so they don’t feel that it is possible; it is so important, however, to not stop running halfway through the race. Don’t let any excuse sneak in and steal the finish line. Not following through to the end puts you at incredible risk for weight regain/relapse and all the problems that come with it.

This also brings up the question that aren’t the last 10 pounds just as important as the first 10? The answer is that they are actually more important if long-term weight loss maintenance is the goal. So make the commitment to see your weight journey through to the end. Don’t allow yourself to get lax on the habits, behaviors and actions required for you to see success, be it keeping a food journal, avoiding trigger foods, choosing salad over fries, etc. Take a close look at whether you may be indulging with a bite here or a taste there. Tackle the emotions, do the deep work, so no mental aspect goes unaddressed. Picture yourself doing something you wouldn’t have been able to do before, but will be able to do once all the weight has been collapsed. Make sure to root out all thoughts of deprivation and turn them into thoughts of empowerment.

Whatever you do and no matter how long it takes, finish the “race.”

Ashley Lucas has a doctorate in sports nutrition and chronic disease. She is also a registered dietitian nutritionist. She is the founder and owner of PHD Weight Loss and Nutrition, offering weight management and wellness services in the Four Corners. She can be reached at 764-4133.