When you’re trying to lose weight, you might be focused on fitting into that sexy black number hanging in your closet. But there are wonderful things happening inside your body that won’t be reflected on the scale, such as decreasing blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. Get the ego boost from Dr. Mike Moreno, author of The 17 Day Diet: A Doctor’s Plan Designed for Rapid Results.
Being overweight is a symptom of being unhealthy. Focus on your weight and your health will improve—instantly. Consider what the results of various research studies say about the rather immediate effects of healthy nutrition on the body:
After 15 minutes: After the first morning of eating a healthy breakfast, your stomach’s satiety signals have registered in your brain, and you feel full. The body’s internal chemistry is at its most active first thing in the morning, so your breakfast is then used to the maximum. If you eliminated processed foods (white bread, sugary cereals) for whole grains and lean proteins like egg whites, along with fresh fruit, you should feel energetic and mentally alert after just one meal.
After 3 hours: Your artery linings are able to expand sufficiently to increase blood flow to the body’s tissues and organs.
After 6 hours: The HDL (happy cholesterol) in your blood perks up and starts scouring LDL (lousy cholesterol) from the blood. You can think of LDLs as delivery trucks, depositing cholesterol in blood vessels, and HDLs as garbage trucks, taking them back to the liver where they’re broken down.
After 12 hours: Your body finally has an opportunity to burn the fat it has stored for energy because you’ve eliminated sugar. When you’re eating a lot of sugar, your body is so busy processing the sugar that it doesn’t have time to do its other job, which is to help the body burn fat. So guess what? The fat ends up hanging around.
After 16 hours: You get a restful night’s sleep.
After 24 hours: You’re 1 to 2 pounds lighter, because your body has begun to flush excess water and toxins from your system.
After 3 days: Once your body senses it’s losing weight, its blood-related numbers (cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar) start traveling in a healthy direction.
After 1 week: Your cholesterol levels can drop significantly. Blood levels of important disease-fighting antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E are higher. Your bowels are in better working order, and you should be at least 5 pounds lighter.
After 2 weeks: You’ll experience healthy drops in blood pressure if you’ve been diagnosed with hypertension. Expect to have lost up to 10 pounds by now.
After 1 month: Nobody has to filter out chunks of fast food from your blood anymore. By now, blood levels of LDL cholesterol can fall by nearly 30 percent—a drop similar to that seen with some cholesterol-lowering drugs.
After 6 weeks: You’ve lost so much weight you can’t buy new, smaller clothes fast enough. Yes, you should have lost quite a bit of weight (20 pounds is not unusual), and your blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels will be substantially improved.
After 12 weeks: Many significant health numbers—cholesterol, triglycerides (fat in the blood), blood pressure, glucose and insulin—should begin to, if not completely, normalize.
After 6 months: You’ll feel healthier because your body will be retaining more vitamins and minerals. Because you reduced your sugar intake significantly over this period, insulin production will have normalized. So your risk of developing type 2 diabetes is reduced, as this can be linked to a larger intake of sugar. Your energy levels have improved dramatically because your body has gone through a detoxing process. You’ve probably reached your goal. The hardest work is over, and now it’s time to learn how to eat to maintain your newly slender silhouette.