Maybe you’re losing weight to look great in a bikini. To dazzle at your high school reunion. Or just to improve your health. No matter what you’re motivation, once you’ve reached your goal, you’ll find that your life changes dramatically in ways you may not have anticipated. Here are eight amazing things that happen when you start losing weight:
1. Your old clothes can become your new clothes.
One of the unexpected side effects of big weight loss for many is the expense of buying new clothes. Everyone who loses weight is excited to get new, cute, sometimes showy duds, but the sticker can leave some shocked. Some people who lose lots of weight even need to replace their shoes, for instance, because they drop as much as a full size.
But your old clothes can help. If the back of your closet is filled with clothes that used to fit, they might fit again. Assuming they’re still in style, this can save you money and provide a double confidence boost: First, they’re clothes you liked in the first place, which is why you kept them all this time. So you know you’ll love them. Second, each time you put these garments on again and they fit, they can be a reminder of your success—which is a reward you deserve. Putting on these old clothes is also a reminder of the hard work it took to take the weight off… and the discipline you’ll need to keep it off.
2. You’ll sleep better.
Poor sleep is a double whammy for excess weight: Not getting enough sleep can be a stressor that messes with your blood sugar and can lead to weight gain. Obese people tend to get less and lower-quality sleep than thinner folks. Fifty-nine percent of obese patients suffer from sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea, where the sufferer stops breathing every so often (for up to 10 whole seconds!), can result in decreased oxygen in the blood and frequent wake-ups—resulting in poorer quality sleep. One of the main causes is excess soft tissue in the mouth and throat, which can block airways. Losing weight can reduce this excess tissue, resulting in better sleep. Which could give you (and your spouse!) a lot more get-up-and-go the next morning.
3. You’ll have more energy.
This could be tied to better sleep, but those who have succeeded in losing weight report that they have more energy. The reason could also stem from eating healthier foods, having less cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, or just not carrying as much weight around. When you’re overweight, you’re a de facto weight lifter at all times, forced to pick up and carry more weight when you walk, climb stairs and even breathe. Whatever the cause, you may have more pep when you’re carrying less weight.
4. You won’t need the A/C as often.
Weight loss success stories often mention feeling cold in the winter—after all, the body has less insulating fat when it weighs less. For the same reason, these folks also report that the summer is less sweltering. They can enjoy time outside without sweating as much, and don’t need to crank the A/C, which could lower their power bill and help save the environment.
Feeling a little chill in the winter may not be all bad, either: It can actually help you keep weight off. In a 2014 study from the Netherlands, scientists found that regular exposure to mildly cold air increased the amount of energy participants’ bodies needed to expend in order to maintain core body temperature. So a little shivering may actually help you maintain your weight loss!
5. You’ll lower your blood pressure, as well as heart disease and cancer risks.
The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that about one in five cancers diagnosed in the U.S. is related to being overweight, inactive or eating a poor diet. If your waist is wider than 39 inches, your body may already be having issues with insulin resistance, and your heart disease and diabetes risk are elevated.
Losing just five pounds can help put less strain on your heart, and further weight loss has been associated with lowered cancer risks, more efficient circulation, and a reduced risk of premature death.
6. People will start asking you for advice.
When you lose weight, you’ll get more attention—losers of big weight report that some of it is wanted from admirers, some unwanted from people who are jealous. But one thing they all report: People want to know how you did it, and they’ll ask you for advice.
Maybe you’ll file this under “annoying” attention, but you can also reframe the situation to put yourself back in their shoes: If you were struggling to lose weight, wouldn’t it have been great to have a confidant to ask for advice and consult with on struggles and methods to reach your goals? Feel honored to be asked for advice like this, and be as honest as you can to help them through their struggles.
7. Your skin will glow.
Assuming you eat more veggies in your effort to lose weight—and you should, since their fiber content can help make you feel full, control appetite and lower your overall risk of death—your skin will take on a whole new glow. In a 2011 study, scientists found that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables gave the skin a more healthy glow than spending time in the sun!
8. You’ll have proof that you can accomplish anything.
Around 70 percent of Americans are overweight or obese, and according to UCLA scientists, about 66 percent of people who try to lose weight via a restrictive diet wind up failing. So if you’ve lost weight, you’re in rare territory, among a select few with the combination of motivation and discipline required to succeed.
That’s huge! Any time you’re faced with a tough task or a seemingly unreachable goal, you’ll have the experience of losing weight to fall back on and motivate you: If you can do something that required that much time and sustained discipline, nothing is impossible.