To lose weight, you take in fewer calories than you expend. But where does your body get the extra energy it needs? Your fat cells. "As your body starts to pull energy from your fat cells to make up for the energy from the food you're not eating, your fat cells will shrink," says Dr. Mike Roussell
Shedding a few pounds may improve your body's ability to dial into your blood sugar. "Eating less and exerting yourself more will lead to greater insulin sensitivity, which allows your body to better control and stabilize blood sugar levels," says Roussell.
And it's not just your imagination. "When you reduce your calories to lose weight, your body will release higher amounts of a hormone called ghrelin. Ghrelin tells your brain that you are hungry and could eat," says Rousell. No wonder you're always hungry when you try to lose weight!
While inflammation is part of your body's natural defense system, carrying extra weight can cause it to go into overdrive, leading to chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
You know that your metabolism is the engine that drives calorie burn. And when you start to lose weight, your metabolic rate will decrease, because your body will need fewer calories per day to keep your body running.
It makes sense: The more you weigh, the more force you exert on your bones and joints when you move. And over time, that additional strain may lead to joint damage and osteoarthritis. Losing five pounds of excess weight could mean 20 fewer pounds of pressure on your precious joints.
According to a study published in Cell Metabolism, dropping a few pounds was enough to decrease not only liver fat but also intra-abdominal fat. That's the "bad" fat that clings to your organs and can trigger the release of molecules linked to a variety of health conditions.
Slimming down boosts HDL cholesterol—the good-for-you kind—and lowers triglycerides, decreasing your risk for heart disease.
Your body that is. When you begin to exercise as part of your weight loss plan, your body has to work hard to keep up with the new activity. But once you get the hang of it, your body requires less effort (and calories) to maintain the same level of activity, says Roussell.
Who couldn't use some more quality sleep? One study from the University of Pennsylvania found that even a small amount of weight loss can improve sleep. That means you'll have more energy and a better mood, too!