It is important to know that some people may not need to lose weight because their weight may not be influencing their health at all. For most people, simply stopping weight gain is the first step to better health.
Often this will require identifying and addressing the causes of weight gain as well as changes in diet, physical activity, sleep, stress levels and other factors that may be driving weight gain. Successfully addressing these issues may not result in noticeable weight loss but can have a significant impact on health and well-being, including, more energy, greater physical fitness, less pain, greater self-esteem and better control of many obesity related health conditions like type 2 diabetes, hypertension or cholesterol levels.
Once you have achieved weight stability (i.e. prevention of further weight gain), even a modest sustained weight loss of 5% to 10% of total body weight can lead to additional health benefits including improvements in blood glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, arthritis, reflux disease, sleep apnea or infertility.
Even greater benefits on health and quality of life can be achieved with weight loss in the 20-30% range; however, this degree of sustainable weight loss is generally only achievable in patients undergoing bariatric (obesity) surgery.