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Other physiological benefits of weightloss?

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Old 08-08-2011, 12:03 AM   #1
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Default Other physiological benefits of weightloss?

I'm a grad student and teacher (eventually, hopefully, professor) by trade, so something that's always interested me is the correlation between weight loss and improved brain function. So I was wondering, as you've lost weight, have you noticed other changes your body (besides the obvious ones: reduced fat, increased muscle, decreased cholesterol, etc)?

For example, have you noticed changes in your mental clarity, wit, intelligence, focus, breathing, physical stamina, digestion, vision, hearing, etc? You can also feel free to share any other secondary benefits of weight loss on your body.

Thanks!

EDIT: In response to Heather's thoughts that this might be insulting to heavy people: please understand that these studies aren't necessarily saying "thin" people are smarter than "fat" people. This thread has to do with how nutrition, exercise, and weight loss affect one's body, making the organs function better (including the brain). For more information:

http://healthland.time.com/2011/04/1...-a-few-pounds/ Time magazine quote: "Losing weight comes with a host of health benefits — including making your brain sharper"
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Old 08-08-2011, 12:25 AM   #2
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I've received a few comments at work lately that I really seem to be enjoying myself and have become very entertaining by people who have known me a while but perhaps not well. However I think this is 95% self confidence, as I've always been a bit of a smartass, just only with close friends.

The irony? When I started the job 3 years ago I only weighed 195. Ah well.


Edited to add - I would say my digestion has been worse, though I think this is because sometimes I forget to eat enough and start getting weird bloating / intestinal issues that I think are due to not enough calories.
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Old 08-08-2011, 01:08 AM   #3
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mental clarity, wit, intelligence, focus - I haven't noticed any changes in these. I would LOVE it, though, if losing weight made me smarter!

breathing, physical stamina, digestion - These are areas in which I have noticed changes. I breathe more easily and more comfortably when I'm in bed at night, and I snore less. My physical stamina has definitely improved; I recall being at the zoo with my family in April, and when everyone else was complaining about the hills and all the walking, I felt completely comfortable. And I can remember at my highest weight how I hated shaving my legs in the shower - the leg on which I was resting my weight (as I shaved the other) would get tired so quickly. Now I don't notice any of that kind of fatigue in my legs. These changes to stamina, though, may be due as much (or more) to exercise as to the weight loss specifically. My digestion has definitely changed as well, and for the better. Not to be too graphic, but my stomach used to be a mess (diarrhea almost daily), and now that I'm much more focused on eating well my bm's are very regular.

I notice lots of other positive changes that are more directly the result of having lost some weight. One that I love is that my feet never hurt anymore. My feet used to hurt so much just from walking around for a few hours in normal shoes, and now I never notice them. Also, I used to get terrible edema in my ankles just from sitting at work for several hours, and now I seldom notice any edema at all. And I used to have heartburn/indigestion regularly (a few times per week), but now it's extremely rare. Those changes, which impact my every day comfort, have been pretty awesome.
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Old 08-08-2011, 01:38 AM   #4
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the differences that ive noticed so far are increased confidence...but i think that's to be expected as you lose weight...i have less to no heartburn anymore which i credit to a diet of less-processed foods and, since ive cut back on sugar and carbs, much less need of my inhaler for minor asthma...i used to always get asthma at night, which we used to attribute to our cat that i was allergic to but we found our cat a new home and i continued to have asthma at night until i cut out nearly all carbs/sugars
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Old 08-08-2011, 03:14 AM   #5
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According to my heart surgeon weight loss saved my life!!


I started in January of this year at 317 and by mid April I had lost 55 pounds. This is when I found my self in the hospital needing cardiac bypass open heart surgery. When I told my surgeon how much weight I had lost he told me that it probably had saved my life. He went on to say that his experience is that men of my age who weigh 300 pounds or more frequently do not survive bypass surgery. They simply do not get off the operating table alive. He said my prognosis was excellent due to my weight loss.

I would have to say that that was a mighty good secondary benefit to weight loss.

Larry,
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Old 08-08-2011, 07:23 AM   #6
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I haven't noticed increased mental clarity, but I have noticed my breathing has improved. I am also a professor, and I sometimes teach classes online. I narrate presentations to give my students more of an in-class experience. Last year, when I had recorded a presentation and was reviewing it, I noticed that I sounded out of breath. It was so distracting sounding---even sort of creepy--LOL! So, I had to re-record, making a special effort not to breath so heavily. I was so saddened by this because I had never had this problem before and I just knew it was caused by my weight gain.

Fast forward to just a couple of weeks ago when I was recording another presentation. I had forgotten all about regulating my breathing and just spoke as usual. When I started to listen to it, I all of a sudden remembered that I had not paid attention to my breathing, but the recording sounded just fine. That means that my breathing is now normal. So, besides the smaller pants sizes, I'm really happy about that side benefit of losing weight.
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Old 08-08-2011, 08:01 AM   #7
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I've transformed into the sort of person who goes to clubs to hear live bands and dances for hours at a stretch.

95 pounds ago I couldn't have stayed on my feet for 3 hours, much less hopped around and danced. Now I not only can, but I find that I love to.

I'm generally just a lot more "game" to try things and throw myself into adventures, especially adventures with a physical component, much more readily than I did 95 pounds ago.

I haven't noticed any changes in my concentration or mental acuity, but these changes I describe above are not just changes in my physical strength and stamina. They are traceable to having greater strength and stamina, for sure, but it also feels like an attitude shift - I want to get out there and do things that challenge my body, and I am lot more fearless about taking on those challenges.
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Old 08-08-2011, 08:12 AM   #8
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I certainly have more mental clarity than I did before I started losing weight, but I think that should be attributed to getting more sleep. The additional sleep also helped to reduce/eliminate cravings; my body was craving sleep which I interpreted it as a craving for sweets. I have a neighbor who thought he was getting more forgetful in his 40s. Then when he started getting more sleep, he improved his mental clarity and lost 10lbs in 6 months without consciously changing any eating or movement patterns.

My physical stamina has certainly increased, that is from both weightloss and training for a 1/2 marathon. Both of which have improved my self confidence.
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Old 08-08-2011, 08:26 AM   #9
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I don't feel more intelligent as a result of my weight loss, but I did make a perfect score on test #2 in my Geography of Europe class, after getting hardcore back on track. First test, when I was just barely making an effort (i.e., hadn't REALLY changed much in my diet and wasn't exercising), I scored really poorly (D+). I text my mom on weigh-in days, and out of the blue last week she says I'm getting funnier. :: confused ::

I don't know how much of that has anything to do with weight loss, however. It could simply be that regular exercise and an improved diet have made me a happier person throughout the day, so I'm cracking jokes more frequently. It could be that because I wasn't depressed about my weight and in bed feeling helpless, I was able to concentrate better on studying for test #2. I don't think there's any way to know for sure.

My digestion, however, has definitely changed. I went from 1 bm per day pre-weight loss to 1 every 2-3 days. It's still within normal parameters, but I liked the predictability of my schedule before the weight loss.

Also, I've noticed in the last month that I've become much more open minded. I was open minded before (politically, morally, etc.), but not when it came to opinions I felt strongly about. Now I might state my opinion strongly, but a few minutes later, I find myself saying, "But I could see why she would do that because of X, Y, and Z." I have no idea how this could be correlated to weight loss. How could it make a person less stubborn/more open minded? But I've noticed these changes as I've lost weight. :: shrug ::
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Old 08-08-2011, 08:27 AM   #10
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If you put it another way, are you thinking that thin people are more mentally agile (smarter?) than obese people? I don't think I've ever heard any evidence of that... and obese people certainly don't need any more negative stereotypes...
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Old 08-08-2011, 11:02 AM   #11
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I have gone down from 180 chol. to 145 chol. since Feb. The scale has dropped, pants sizes. I have more energy. But I don't notice more focus, or mental clarity, but that has always been an issue for me. ADD and I don't take anything for it.
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Old 08-08-2011, 11:29 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heather View Post
If you put it another way, are you thinking that thin people are more mentally agile (smarter?) than obese people? I don't think I've ever heard any evidence of that... and obese people certainly don't need any more negative stereotypes...
No, that's not what she said and that is not what the evidence suggests. Evidence suggests that older obese people tend to lose their mental sharpness more than their thinner peers. And this makes complete sense to me because while thinness does not mean better fitness, more people who are fit are thin than heavy and fitter people are healthier people which includes how the brain functions. If your body is struggling with high blood pressure, high blood sugars, high cholesterol, etc, don't you think it slows the brain down too? Makes sense to me.... Of course, these are generalizations.

Now back to the OP. Yes, I do notice my mental faculties are improved with weight loss, but more than anything, I attribute that to better sleep which I started to get as soon as my health got better.

My complexion is way better. I sleep better, my cholesterol, blood sugars and blood pressure and now normal where they were all bad before. I have way more energy too. Now of course, I had a nearly dead thyroid going on too. So what led to what, who knows. It's all interrelated in my case.

Oh and I had developed a heart arrhythmia at is now gone too.
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Old 08-08-2011, 12:10 PM   #13
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I have noticed that I am more interested in challenging myself mentally - NYT Xword puzzle, Sudoku, completing jigsaw puzzle more quickly, as well as reading novels at a higher rate than before. Just like I want to go to the gym, I want to stimulate my mind, too.

Additionally, my skin has improved (no more itchy blotches), less nasal congestion and drainage, hair is shinier and feels softer, nails (hands and feet) are stronger, BMs are easy (neither diarrhea or pebbles) which helps the 'roids! I rarely use any analgesics so no headaches or body aches.

Is this related to improving my diet? Or exercise? Or the resulting weight loss? Or improved confidence? Or improved sleep cycles? Or positive attitude?
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Old 08-08-2011, 03:07 PM   #14
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I don't want to derail the thread, but the OP did ask whether the following improved with weight loss: "changes in your mental clarity, wit, intelligence, focus..." which does sound like it might be saying we are smarter when we are thinner.

As for me, my mental faculties were always my strength at any weight. For most of my life I ignored my weight and focused on the "mental side".
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Old 08-08-2011, 05:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heather View Post
If you put it another way, are you thinking that thin people are more mentally agile (smarter?) than obese people? I don't think I've ever heard any evidence of that... and obese people certainly don't need any more negative stereotypes...
Heather- I'm certainly not saying that. I'm referring to studies that suggest that diet and exercise, as well as weight loss, increase the function of the body's organs, including the brain. This is partially nutritional and partially cardiovascular (or, at least, that seems to be the current consensus). The idea, simply, is that diet (a quality diet, that is) + exercise= better body function, more blood to the organs and brain, and increased ability for the organs (including the brain) to heal themselves (which would include increasing the ease of developing new neural paths= better memory, quicker thought, etc).

Just because someone's thin doesn't mean they have a good diet or regularly exercise.
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