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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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June 13 2017

Cool Things You Notice Happening Once You Start to Lose Weight

By Mark Sisson
41 Comments

Inline_Side_Effects_Weight_LossMost people come to the Primal Blueprint because they want to lose weight. Ask any purveyor of a specific diet and they’ll say much the same thing. The majority of people are interested in dropping body fat, looking good naked, and fitting into their clothes. The interest in overall health, fitness, and lifestyle tends to develop organically out of that. Come for the weight loss, stay for the blue-blocking goggles.

There’s a tendency to view weight loss as superficial compared to the other stuff. That’s a mistake. Weight loss isn’t just about belt notches and positive experiences with mirrors. It confers measurable and, most importantly, tangible benefits to health, happiness, and daily functionality almost immediately. Fat loss, it turns out, isn’t a flighty pursuit. It solves a lot of serious problems and makes some really cool things happen.

Like what?

Your Joints Stop Hurting So Much

Crippling osteoarthritis is relatively rare, but almost everyone has a joint that creaks, pops, aches, or occasionally flares up in pain. Weight loss improves that pain by reducing the forces acting on the joints when you walk (though increasing your walking speed attenuates this, somewhat), with each lost pound reducing forces acting on the knee joint by a factor of four. Patients with psoriatic arthritis who lose weight report less inflammation and more activity; same goes for osteoarthritis patients. All that said, people with joint hypermobility may experience increased pain with weight loss.

You’re Not So Hungry (Hopefully)

This one depends on the manner in which you lose weight. If you’re starving yourself, forcing a low-fat, high-carb diet, willing yourself to reduce calories despite your physiology clamoring for more food, you’ll be hungry—maybe hungrier than you can even handle. If you go Primal on the other hand—higher fat, lower carb, plenty of protein, a focus on nutrient density—you probably won’t be very hungry. You’ll become fat-adapted, which lets you coast effortlessly for hours between meals. Instead of snacking on whatever garbage they put out in the office, you snack on your adipose tissue.

You Sleep Better

Weight loss seems to improve sleep quality, whether it’s from diet alone or exercise and diet, especially if the weight comes off the belly. Even moderate weight loss remains the best treatment (and preventive measure) for sleep apnea, in many cases outright curing it.

Exercise Suddenly Appeals to You

That’s the real secret about exercise and weight loss: The relationship is reversed. While the right kinds of exercise can certainly make fat loss more effective and help you retain lean mass during dieting, most people are surprised to discover that losing weight makes them want to move. One reason is that a lighter body makes movement less onerous. You can do more things without those extra 40 pounds. You can climb higher, hike longer, do more pullups and pushups, jump farther, run faster. Physical exertion is more fun and rewarding when you’re not lugging around extra weight. As we all know, intrinsic reward makes you more likely to stick to a workout plan.

Your Groove Returns

There are many reasons why being overweight or obese impairs the libido. You lose self-confidence. You feel less attractive than you used to. There may even be logistical difficulties. And on a physiological level, the biological mechanisms that make sex happen don’t work as well when you’re overweight or obese. Testosterone (which affects libido in both men and women) plummets. Endothelial function suffers, impairing necessary blood flow to certain erogenous regions of the body. When you start losing weight, your sex hormones normalize. Blood flows once again. Your libido returns. And let’s be blunt here. You’ll feel lustier (and attract it in return) when you’re at a healthier body weight—not “skinny,” but healthy.

You Think More Clearly

Obese adults with mild cognitive impairment who lose weight enjoy better cognitive function. This may not hold true in all situations. College wrestlers who drop weight quickly, for example, suffer (temporary) cognitive impairments (mood and memory), and older adults who lose weight in the later years are at a greater risk for mild cognitive impairment; in that population, weight loss tracks with Alzheimer’s progression. I suspect these older adults developing Alzheimer’s are losing more lean mass than fat mass. By and large, studies show that fat loss improves your brain health.

You Have More Energy

You’re suddenly tapping into a virtually inexhaustible reservoir of energy—your own body fat. When your insulin is controlled, and you can release and burn fat as needed, your energy levels are remarkably consistent. If you’re losing body fat, you’re burning body fat for energy, and it’s a nice clean burn. The steady release of energy you experience with fat loss is a far superior experience to the ups-and-downs of regular glucose infusions.

You’re More Productive

Studies show, with some equivocation, that weight loss improves employee productivity. Part of this is psychological. You look better, feel healthier, and that overall improved mood translates into more confidence and better output at work. But it’s also physiological. You’re sleeping better. You have more energy. You think more clearly.

Your Doctor’s Visits Go More Smoothly

Research consistently shows that weight loss improves biomarkers across the boardYou may not feel your blood pressure improving, your LDL becoming less oxidized, the dimming of your inflammatory status, or the large number of HDL particles coursing through your veins, but you’ll notice your health markers improving on lab tests and doctor visits.

You might notice a common thread running through all these changes: Many of them both perpetuate and are perpetuated by weight loss. You lose weight, and exercise is more fun and your joints don’t hurt as much, so you exercise more, and lose more fat and gain more muscle. You lose weight and suddenly your sex life improves, so you stop satisfying your pleasure centers with junk food, and you lose even more fat. Better sleep begets a lower desire for junk food, better insulin sensitivity, and faster workout recovery, allowing further fat loss.

Fat loss gets the ball rolling. Everything begins improving downstream of those first few pounds lost. Losing weight makes all the other positive changes to your healthy lifestyle easier, more effective, and more sustainable.

What are your favorite “side” symptoms of losing weight? What benefits weren’t mentioned in today’s article? Let me know down below.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Take care.

TAGS:  body fat

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41 thoughts on “Cool Things You Notice Happening Once You Start to Lose Weight”

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  1. The energy and will to exercise were definitely things I noticed. I even found a new job that has me outdoors and physically active after my 75lb weight loss. Now work is play that I get paid for.

    1. Same here regarding the energy, which also sparks motivation. Also, I don’t need to maintain a wardrobe in three different sizes since my weight is stable versus going up and down like a yo-yo.

        1. Only a person who wears a bra (i.e. a woman) will understand this one!

          1. And what about chaffing when the wire rubs over a high stomach… Excruciating, and the reason why I have not been able to wear pretty bras for years!

      1. She was answering the questions, “What are your favorite “side” symptoms of losing weight? What benefits weren’t mentioned in today’s article?” What was your point?

  2. I can definitely vouch for all of these. I have been primal for about a year and a half now I am down over 55 lbs of fat (making me 6’3″ and 210-215 depending), and I have no problem with IF or “compressed eating windows”, joints hurt far less meaning exercise hurts far less which means I do it more (and I experiment with different exercises, thought they mostly revolve around calisthenics, plyometrics, and isometrics) and my blood work and bp are far better than they were. I also have an autoimmune issue and l have no doubt that dropping the visceral fat has helped me manage. Thank you Mark and as always Grok On everyone.

  3. I’m very fortunate…weight has never been an issue for me. But I think that all of these things apply to a health journey in general. I changed my diet to clear my skin, but there were so many other positive side effects…first the anxiety and digestive issues that I just took for granted went away. I started to notice more energy, better focus and even more creativity. And it just keeps getting better…more confidence and overall enjoyment of life. Love what Mark said about coming for the weight loss, staying for the blue blocking goggles. I feel like with this lifestyle you are constantly learning and growing, and that’s what life is all about!

  4. Especially the pull ups. Pull ups are wonderful things, but they become impossible, obviously, once you’re carrying more fat than you’re able to lift (assistance aside).
    But, can we talk about the negatives? I used to float. I didn’t worry about drowning at all, and I could spend hours in the pool with very little effort. Now, if I exhale too much, I’m treading water. Also, unless and until you build up some BAT, it’s cold. So cold. Nobody told me it would be that cold.

    1. Cold showers and ice baths along with just listening to a story from Wim Hof will help build cold resistance and internal temp regulation

      1. Never did ice baths. But, cold showers solved the problem, all right.

    2. If you get cold just put on another jumper, wear long johns under your trousers and buy an electric blanket – that’s what I do. Oh and find a heated pool or even better, buy a wetsuit which will keep you warm and help with buoyancy.

  5. All true! For another reason why exercise suddenly appeals to you read the book “why we get fat” by Gary Traubes. He describes animal experiments that show that eating the wrong food will dispose your body to getting fat (e.g.via a high insulin level). And in order to get fatter, your body will make you lazy…

  6. Good list and I like how tied it together. It just creates a ripple effect in your life that makes everything better. My favorite side effect is more money. Less money spent on total quantity of food but also less spent on processed junk. And more energy and focus for better quality of work.

  7. “Come for the weight loss, stay for the blue-blocking goggles.” That line is an absolute classic!!!

  8. I feel the same in me when I tried to do weight loss plans and now I feel the change in me the same points that discussed above is happening in my life.Thanks for the article this will surely inspire others and make them engage towards weight loss.

  9. Fantastic as ever Mark. Another element to the the points above is a more generalised new zest for life now that the bodies systems are back online and functioning optimally once more.

  10. Great post! I have definitely noticed improvements to my productivity and overall energy levels. It almost becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and gives you the motivation to keep at it!

  11. What about places like India and Nepal where body fat is considered attractive and there is nothing more sexy than fat tummy rolls sticking out from behind a colourful sari? Fat as unattractive is to some degree a social construct…

    1. Yes true. But when talking heathy and slimming, being less than obese is preferred. AND the families of India that are my friends do not have fat tummy rolls.
      That being said, I much prefer the healthy look of a more “sturdy” body (even a bit chubby) to the look of mag clothing models, both and female.

  12. There is nothing better than seeing your inches and numbers go down, but for me the biggest challenge was to maintain weight after losing it. And I have discovered the coolest thing in town strong black seed oil. Let me tell you this is a gift from the heavens. I make a tea of this oil and I take it regularly. With just a little exercise and clean eating I am doing great. I just do not spend hours upon hours in the gym now and still feel all the wonderful things mentioned in this article.

  13. Would someone explain the concept of “Blue-blocking goggles.” Sounds cool, but not quite sure what means. THANK YOU!

    1. Research has shown that blue light from electronic screens damages your retina and disrupts your sleep. Blue-blocking goggles limit the amount of blue light that gets to your eyes.

  14. My weight was above 100kg. When I started losing weight, the pain in my body was the worst scenario. I like your article very much. I smiled reading this article every single minute because things written in this article is what I felt that time. Thanks for the information. Keep up the good work.

  15. Any other ladies notice lighter and less painful periods? Since going primal/LCHF I no longer need painkillers or days off work! My daughters have noticed the same thing. I haven’t seen anyone else mention this.

    1. That’s interesting. My period was late after 4 weeks on Primal, and yes, it was lighter than usual. I’ll keep an eye on that. My biggest deal was getting through a month without any migraines….! Which is so many kinds of awesome.

  16. Anyone definitely need much energy to boost himself. but my problem is when i take less then 30 minutes i lost my energy and become tired. i take as much as water i can but not working. thanks for sharing nice article hope that’s time i recover myself.

  17. After reducing my weight from 125kg to 115kg, I finally do not wake up with back pain every day anymore. I’m also not completely drenched in sweat anymore when meeting up with someone three staircases or 500m away.

    Not directly related to weight loss but more with a low carb or ketogenic diet: my decades standing problem with dandruff has considerably improved as well as a years long rash-like problem on my breast region, among other skin problems.

  18. no doubt that once we lose weight , we feel more relaxed and energetic . These things can be felt by those who work hard to lose their weight . Those who already maintain their weight and health, they are already enjoying these things.

  19. You have missed to mention that it is far more easy to tie up your shoes as well as to see your pennis !

  20. I found an unexpected side effect. I can no longer count on momentum to get me through heavy resistance doors (for example, exterior doors with a strong wind blowing straight into them) and instead now have to use actual muscular force to overcome them.