10 Reasons to Lose 10 Pounds

Jessica Girdwain, SELF magazine

Take off just 10 pounds and you'll...

SAVE BRAIN POWER: Women scored one point lower on a memory test for every unit higher in body-mass index. Translation: Fat may make you forgetful. Shed that last 10 and chances are you'll stay brilliant.

Related: Shed Pounds Without Starving

GET FASTER: Flab's a drag. Literally. For every pound of fat you lose, you run up to 4 seconds faster per mile; with 10 gone, that's up to 40 seconds off your mile time, says Paul Vanderburgh, Ed.D., an exercise physiologist at the University of Dayton. "Your body won't have to work as hard to go forward."

IMPROVE YOUR MOOD: You can feel more confident and upbeat by peeling off that tenner. It's enough of a change to raise your body image and energy level; it may even help lift depression.

BE READY FOR BABY, WHENEVER: "just a small amount of excess weight may alter pregnancy hormones such as progesterone-which can affect egg quality and prevent ovulation," says Meike Uhler, M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist at Fertility Centers of Illinois in Naperville. If you can't ovulate, you can't get pregnant.

Related: 20 Superfoods for Weight Loss

SHRINK YOUR FAT CELLS: Yep, you'll actually make the cells smaller. That means a tinier waist and other bit payoffs such as a healthier heart-ab flab raises your risk for heart disease.

EARN MORE DOUGH: Women with excess pounds make nearly $10,000 less per year than their average-weight coworkers. Possibly they are less assertive (it take cojones to ask for a raise!). Slim down and you may up your take-charge attitude and your take-home pay.

SEX UP YOUR SEX LIFE: "The biggest benefits in the bedroom come from weight loss and regular exercise. Both put women in touch with their bodies in a positive way, which increases sex drive," says Ronette Kolotkin, Ph.D., a consulting professor at Duke University School of Medicine. "Plus, there's no lingerie sexier than confidence-and a small loss can take you there."

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You know that extra pounds can lead to prediabietes (and diabetes!). But shedding 5 to 10 percent of your weight can slash that risk by nearly 60 percent. If you're 150 pounds, a 7.5-pound loss may keep you healthy.

STAY OFF THE SIDELINES: Downsize yourself and your risk of injury diminishes, too. Every pound of body weight translates to about 4 pounds of force on your ankles, knees and hips when you're walking, so 10 extra pounds on your frame means 40 more pounds of pressure on your joints. Trim down slightly and your joints will suffer less wear and tear.

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