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Weight-Loss Motivation: 9 Reasons to Reach Your Weight-Loss Goals

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    You'll Be Less Likely to Get Inflammatory Conditions

    Your weight-loss motivation: Fat—especially belly fat—is filled with cells that release pro-inflammatory substances into your body, which means your immune system is too busy to fight off other types of inflammation. This increases your risk of anything with an -itis (arthritis, dermatitis, colitis): "If you're genetically predisposed to these conditions, obesity puts you at a higher risk," says Pamela Peeke, MD, author of Body for Life for Women. Lose weight and you'll see many of the aches, pains, rashes, and other discomforts subside.

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    You'll Reduce Your Risk of Cancer

    Your weight-loss motivation: Being obese increases your risk of at least seven types of cancer: bowel, breast, gall bladder, kidney, pancreatic, throat, and uterine. In fact, your risk of developing one of these cancers is approximately 40 percent higher than if you maintained a healthy weight, according to Cancer Research UK. The reason? That same chronic inflammation we mentioned before.

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    Your Heart Will Be Stronger

    Your weight-loss motivation: Excess fat around your heart or lining your blood vessels makes blood flow difficult and increases your risk of a heart attack. "Every 5 point increase in BMI increases mortality from cardiovascular events and diseases 30 percent," says Peeke. But as you lose weight, blood flow becomes easier, lowering your risk of heart disease.

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    You'll Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes

    Your weight-loss motivation: "If you eat an unhealthy diet, and you're lucky, you just keep making insulin as you need it, and you keep getting heavier and heavier," says Roxanne Sukol, MD, a specialist in Preventive Medicine for Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. "But when you can't quite make enough insulin to catch all that sugar, then your sugars stay a little too high, a little too long, floating around in your blood steam waiting for more insulin." Eventually, your body can't make enough insulin, causing diabetes. "But start eating a healthier diet (unprocessed foods high in fiber) and you'll reduce your insulin load and risk of diabetes," says Sukol. "And when you do, your pants will fit better, too."

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    You'll Sleep Better

    Your weight-loss motivation: Weight loss lessened the severity of obstructive sleep apnea (a sleep disorder characterized by the stopping and starting of breathing) in a study published in Sleep. "Once you drop enough weight, you'll notice changes in the ability to breathe easier," says Peeke. (Belly fat pushes your diaphragm up, decreasing lung volume.)

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    You'll Boost Fertility

    Your weight-loss motivation: Wanna be a mom? Women with BMIs between 35 and 40 have a 23 to 43 percent decreased chance of getting pregnant compared to women whose BMI is 29, according to Peeke. Not to mention, being overweight during pregnancy increases your risk of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia—and your child's risk of heart disease later in life, according to research presented at the American Heart Association 2014 Scientific Sessions in Chicago. "Don't consider getting pregnant until you're at a healthy weight," says Peeke.

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    You May Live Longer

    Your weight-loss motivation: "A grand majority of researchers found that being 80 pounds overweight can shorten your life expectancy by 10-plus years," says Peeke. "And 14-plus years if you're 100 pounds overweight."

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    You'll Have a Better Quality of Life

    Your weight-loss motivation: A healthy weight doesn't just increase the amount of years you're on this earth—it makes you better able to enjoy them. "Forty to fifty pounds of excess weight can rob you of two decades of healthy life," says Peeke. That means two decades of doctor's appointments, medical treatments, living with pain, and being out of breath—instead of, say, running around outside with your kids.

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    One Last Thing...

    Just like you can't spot-train, you can't determine the specific health benefit your weight loss will produce. Everything in the body is interconnected, so losing weight isn't just going to help your heart, just your brain, or just your immune system, says Peeke. Your whole body is going to reap the rewards. Convinced? Check out these 10 Strategies to Lose Fat and Keep It Off.