Lost your enthusiasm for a morning run or meeting your best friend for Zumba? These eight encouraging reasons-none of them related to a smaller waist or tighter butt-will get you back in the rhythm. By Cathy Garrard, REDBOOK.
You'll have more spending money
It's a myth that junk food is cheap-although nutritionally there's no question that it is-particularly if you gobble it down all the time. Swap those three daily cans of soda for water and you'll save more than $500 per year. You'll hold on to more than triple that amount of cash if a box of donuts is your sugary poison. Don't let the drive-through value menu fool you: A two-pound bag of brown rice, which yields 18 servings, is just a dollar or two more than one large order of fries.
You'll dazzle at dinner parties.
Say "see ya" to awkward moments when you can't place that person who's chatting you up like a long-lost pal. When overweight women shed unwanted pounds, they recognize faces better, researchers at Umea University in Sweden found. It turns out that the areas of the brain that help you identify facial features are more active after six months of dieting. Weight loss may also help the brain rely on fewer resources to access stored information, which speeds up the process of placing a face.
Related: 21 Ways to Burn Fat Faster
You'll be happier
And not because you'll be blissed out over your tiny dress size. Both overweight and obese people are more likely to battle bouts of clinical depression than their thinner peers, according to Dutch researchers. It's kind of a chicken-or-the-egg question-experts aren't entirely sure if extra weight causes depression or vice versa, since studies have also found that depression can lead to packing on pounds.
You'll earn a higher salary
It turns out that living the svelte life can boost the zeroes on your paycheck. It may be a matter of societal bias, but women who weigh 25 pounds more than their average-weight colleagues earn $13,847 less each year, a University of Florida study found. If you add up that extra money over the course of a 30-year career, the sum is more than $400,000-enough to send four kids to college.
Related: 31 Days of Snacks for Grown-Ups
Your skin will look better
We're not just talking about fewer dimples and lumps. Obesity causes a slew of no-fun skin issues, including increased risk for infection, pimples and blemishes, and slower wound healing, according to a review in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. It also ups your risk for psoriasis and excessive hair growth, because extra fat may mess with hormone levels.
You'll sleep better
Being overweight is directly connected to sleep apnea, an interrupted breathing disorder that keeps millions of Americans from slumbering soundly through the night. The reason? When fat accumulates in the upper body, it becomes more difficult to breathe. Poor sleep sets you up for a vicious cycle of weight problems, too: People who log fewer than five hours of shut-eye a night are more likely to be overweight than those who get seven, according to a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Related: 25 Lazy Ways to Burn Extra Calories Just Like That
Your brain will benefit
Your joints aren't the only body parts that take beating from excess pounds. Carrying too much weight slogs down our brains, too. French researchers studied the cognitive abilities of normal weight, overweight, and clinically obese people, and found that among the heaviest group, test scores declined 22.5 percent faster over the course of the decade-long study. Experts aren't exactly sure why, but heart disease and inflammation-both associated with obesity-could be to blame.
Your vision will stay sharp
If you want to see the results of all your hard work, just look in the mirror-you're more likely to be able to do it without contact lenses or glasses. Obesity is linked to cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration, a fancy term for age-related blurriness in your central field of vision that can eventually lead to blindness, according to a review in the Survey of Ophthalmology. The connection isn't crystal clear, but excess body weight increases pressure inside the eye, one of the main glaucoma risk factors.
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