• There are many more reasons to lose fat than just looking good...


There are many more reasons to lose fat than just looking good


Gulf News Guides spoke to a Registered Dietician, Tanya van Aswegen and a Consultant Endocrinologist, Dr. Andrew Jamieson, at Valiant Clinic to find out about how losing weight actually improves your life in more ways than looking good.

No one denies that looking good when losing some weight is amazing! But there is more than meets the eye to getting rid of that stubborn fat. The benefits of weight loss on your health are tremendous, mainly affecting wellbeing, quality of life, and life expectancy.

Does the type of fat you lose matter to how it affects your health?

The amount of body fat you have and where it’s stored in your body are equally important when it comes to the risk of diseases – that in some instances, may lead to death.

Fat can either be stored under your skin, subcutaneous fat, or concentrated around your abdomen, visceral fat.
Subcutaneous fat is felt on different parts of your body including arms and legs.

Whereas visceral fat cannot be seen, which means that increased visceral fat in the body comes with a higher risk of developing serious diseases including heart disease, diabetes, liver cirrhosis and cancer – as it’s concentrated around your liver, pancreas and intestines. It can potentially also affect how your hormones function.

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Doing a body composition analysis or measuring your waist circumference will be a good indicator to know if you have too much visceral fat. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends waist measurement for men to be less than 102cm and for females to be less than 88cm. These cut-offs are different for the South Asian population with a recommendation of less than 90cm for men and 80cm for women.

Losing weight through good diet and exercise will reduce both types of fat.

Benefits of losing fat

Decreasing your likelihood of getting sick

Losing 5 per cent of your total body weight over a 6-month period can really reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. For example, if you weigh 80kg this will equate to losing just 4kg. This modest weight loss can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by 40-50 per cent; reduce the risk of developing diabetes by 58 per cent and reduce the risk of high blood pressure by 65 per cent.

Similarly, if you already have conditions such as insulin resistance and high cholesterol, this can often be significantly improved by implementing good lifestyle choices and losing weight.

Pregnancy becomes easier

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Being overweight can influence the chance of becoming pregnant and affects the outcome of pregnancy; causing and increased risks of gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and preeclampsia in the mother.

Mental health improves

Being overweight also plays a crucial role in mental health and depression. Overweight individuals are known to, more often than not, have higher rates of depression and mood disorders. Healthier people also tend to have healthier minds.

Better sleep


Increased fat levels in the body result in sleeping problems, namely sleep apnoea (a condition where breathing is interrupted during sleep causing blood oxygen levels to fall to critically low levels). The pauses in breathing during sleep may well damage the body and brain by restricting oxygen flow, which results in increased risks of high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and diabetes.


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Being overweight often causes excess hair growth, acne, oily skin, and hair mediated by the effects of increased testosterone in the blood due to insulin resistance. Although this affects men’s skin and hormone levels, effects on women might be more evident due to hair growth and increased levels of testosterone.

When you eat better and exercise your skin becomes clearer and less oily. Your testosterone levels drop and hair growth decreases.

Remember that losing weight too quickly is not healthy. The process needs to be gradual and must ensure that your body is receiving all nutrients it needs. We all think we can direct our diet based on our own knowledge, but it is always recommended to consult with a registered dietitian for advice on lifestyle as well as an endocrinologist for treatment that is based on science and patient safety standards.

*This article only discusses healthy weight loss for bettering lifestyle and eating habits and does not talk to any uncontrolled, unhealthy, or disease-related weight loss.

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