Men’s Health Week starts today and sees a number of initiatives helping to address the horrifying statistic that one in five men dies before he reaches 65. To support this MAN v FAT wants to get over 1,000 men to take our Health Report this week. It’s a simple, three minute quiz which provides you with an in-depth report on how you compare to other men your age. Give it a go, or anonymously nominate a man you’re concerned about. In celebration of this, we’ve put together ten surprising things you might not know about losing weight.

1) You get smarterdisapprove

There’s already more than enough stigma around being overweight so let’s treat this as a positive incentive rather than yet another stick to beat fat guys with. However, there have been several studies which seem to show that cognitive function decreases in line with a higher BMI. A five year study of 2,200 adults published by Neurology journal showed that those with a BMI of under 20 could recall 56% of words in a vocabulary test, whereas those with a BMI over 30 could only recall 44%. A Kent State University study showed that twelve weeks after significant weight loss the newly slim had improved their memory and concentration.

2) You might get toxic

One surprising quality of fat is that it holds onto environmental pollutants – so when you lose fat, some of those pollutants are released back into the body. Research published in The International Journal of Obesity looked at over 1,000 adults and found that those who had lost significant weight had a 50% higher level of pollutants in their blood. All of which is an added incentive to make sure your diet favours wholesome foods and that you get plenty of water – which helps with weight loss anyway.

3) You get paid more

If it wasn’t bad enough that overweight and obese men get hammered on every form of insurance going, there’s also hard evidence that being fat can damage your career. A review of research by Wayne State University examined 25 years of weight-related bias and concluded that weight did make an impact. This was most keenly felt at the interview and assessment stage of a job, but as someone progressed in their career their weight was less likely to be a factor.

4) You might get depressed

A study from University College London followed 2,000 overweight adults for four years. Those who lost at least 5% body weight were 78% more likely to report depression! Why? Well, part of it is that we have a hugely unrealistic expectation of what losing weight will do for our lives. Sort out a rubbish relationship? Of course! Make us love our jobs? Definitely. Some men find that when they’ve lost the weight those problems still exist – read Tim Bauer’s account of his weight loss. And never forget that weight isn’t the only challenge you face.

5) You become more popular

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Between the weight and the cold he’s got no chance.

File this under depressing rather than surprising. According to an Arizona State University report into 59,000 people’s friends – those who were overweight had fewer friends. They were also more likely to be rejected as a friend by someone of healthy weight. This more or less confirms every bleak thought overweight men have wondered when they stare at the paucity of invitations in their diaries.

6) You Get Your Penis Back

1 in 3 men are too fat to see their own penis. Of course, the really worrying measure is when you’re too fat to see anyone else’s penis, but it can still be pretty dispiriting to bid farewell to your old chap. Research suggests that for every 30-50lbs of weight loss you will regain an inch of visible penis. Instant motivation!

7) Your sex life improves

Maybe it’s because you can now see your penis to know what you’re doing with it, or perhaps it’s because you no longer feel self-conscious about being seen naked but those of a healthy weight are more likely to have a better sex life. Obese people were 25% more likely to report that all was not well in the bedroom.

8) But take care because…

If you have lost weight and are feeling frisky as a result just be careful because your sperm and erection count is likely to go up now you’re slimmer. A report in the journal Human Reproduction said that typical ejaculate volumes were 3.3ml for men in a normal weight range and 2.8 ml for men in the obese category. It’s not just volume either – potency takes a hit too, men with a waist circumference of 40” and up had a 22% lower sperm count than men whose waist was under 37”. Something to chew on.

9) You get better quality Zzzs

Staying with the happiness in bed theme – your sleep will almost certainly improve as you lose weight. Research from Johns Hopkins University showed that it wasn’t just losing weight that was the key to improving your sleep quality, but losing belly fat. Links too have been proven between getting more than 150 minutes of exercise per week and better quality sleep.

10) You get ill less

It’s been known for some time that obesity increases the number of pro-inflammatory cells in the body and that these cells are linked to a number of particularly odious diseases. Fortunately, it seems that if you can lose the weight then your risks return to the same as if you’d never been fat at all. So all of those coughs and colds could become a thing of the past if you simply manage to win your battle against fat.

Fancy taking a Health Report or nominating another man to do it?