How Much of a Difference Does 30 Pounds Make?

On a person with an average-size frame, 30 extra pounds can carry the label "obese" and all of its related health issues. Regular physical activity, combined with a healthy diet, can reduce body fat and lower levels of the dangerous cholesterol known as low-density lipoprotein -- or "bad" LDL -- while increasing levels of the disease-fighting "good" HDL cholesterol, or high-density lipoprotein. The benefits of losing 30 pounds don’t stop with your heart, but affect your whole body, improving your mind and ability to interact with the world.

Improved Function

Imagine carrying an average-size 4-year-old on your back, 24/7. Or lugging around a suitcase packed for a two-week vacation, never setting it down to rest. That's roughly the equivalent of 30 pounds of body fat. If this seems dramatic, perhaps it's why weight-loss television shows make contestants strap their weight-loss equivalents to their bodies near the end of the season. Extra weight -- especially 30 pounds -- can place you in the overweight to obese categories, depending on your height. With time, this added weight strains your muscles and bones, leading to an increased risk for osteoarthritis. Shedding that weight allows your bones and muscles to work under less strain.

Reduced Chance of Heart Disease and Diabetes

Three Reasons Why Smoking Should Be Banned

Learn More

Reducing "bad" cholesterol and improving "good" cholesterol has the potential to stave off atherosclerosis, the condition that builds clot-producing plaque in your arteries, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Losing 30 pounds by eating a heart-healthy diet low in saturated fats and exercising can reduce your chances of heart disease and diabetes by increasing the levels of HDL and lowering your LDL cholesterol values. Reducing your weight can have a positive effect on Type 2 diabetes, as well. After weight loss, some patients with this form of diabetes can manage their disease with diet and exercise alone, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Increased Respiratory Function

Added weight stresses the respiratory system, forcing the lungs to work harder and causing complications like sleep apnea, which causes you to stop breathing during the night. Decreasing your weight, according to Daniel Loube, Alicia Loube and Merrill Mitler, lowers the need for sleep apnea interventions, like surgery and continuous air pressure machines. Their 1994 research into weight loss as therapy for obstructive sleep apnea still applies today. Daytime breathing issues are common to those with increased body weights, as well. People exceeding their ideal body mass index -- or BMI -- are likely to experience dyspnea, or shortness of breath, concluded a 1998 study by Hamid Sahebjami, in the journal "Chest." The study, "Dyspnea in Obese Healthy Men," followed 23 obese men. Fifteen of the 23 reported shortness of breath while at rest, which Sahebjami notes is partly due to their weight.

Improved State of Mind

How to Convert BMI to Pounds

Learn More

Dropping 30 pounds can get you moving and even help you achieve that lifelong goal of running a 10K. But you'll also find the mental side effects that come with weight loss just as rewarding. According to psychologists Martin Sellborn and John Gunstad, being overweight can lead to cognitive decline. Shedding extra weight, Sellborn and Gunstad wrote in their 2012 "Journal of Alzheimer's Disease" paper, "Cognitive Function and Decline in Obesity," may reverse the process.