If you're like many people, you're completely intimidated by the thought of going on a strict medical weight loss regime. However, you can help beat that mindset by thinking of your weight loss journey as a series of small steps. Just losing five, ten, or fifteen pounds can have positive personal benefits. Following are six great reasons to lose five or more pounds!

You'll Save Money

Cutting down on snack foods and extra helpings during meals will have a positive impact on your bank account. It may not seem like much, but just cutting out a candy bar that costs a dollar on a daily basis can result in an extra $365 in your pocket on an annual basis. You'll save even more by replacing your morning mocha with a nice cup of green tea.

You'll Reduce Your Risk of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous condition that can be significantly exacerbated by even five or ten extra pounds. Because your body is carrying extra tissue, your windpipe walls are thicker, meaning that your airway to your lungs is smaller. This condition can get worse when you're sleeping, particularly if you tend to sleep on your side because you may further decrease the size of your windpipe by sleeping in this position.

You'll Increase Your Sex Drive!

Many people who are carrying a few extra pounds attribute their lack of sexual desire to decreased confidence levels due to their weight, but physiological issues may also play a part in lessened libido. Even losing ten pounds can cause sex hormones to become more active. Conditions that are common in those who are overweight, such as insulin resistance and high cholesterol can also negatively impact the sex drive.

You'll Decrease Your Joint Pain

Even shedding just a few pounds will result on less pressure -- and and therefor less pain -- on your joints. Knee joints are particularly vulnerable to damage caused by trying to carry too much weight. Every extra pound will cause three times that much pressure on your knee joints, and this can result in painful conditions such as arthritis over a period of time. Fortunately, the cushioning on your knees will build up again after you eliminate the stress of excess weight.

You'll Lower Your Risk of Developing Type II Diabetes

Type II diabetes has become increasingly common among U.S. citizens, with extra weight being a common denominator in the vast majority of those who develop this disease. Excess body weight causes cells to become resistant to insulin, which is one of the conditions that leads to full-blown Type II diabetes. Getting physically active and losing as few as ten to fifteen pounds can significantly lower your chances of developing insulin resistance.

You'll Reduce Your Risk of Developing Dementia

An overabundance of abdominal, or visceral, fat can cause you to be more vulnerable to dementia. That's because this particular type of fat has cells that contain chemicals that cause inflammation. When these chemicals are released into the body, they can cause memory loss. Over time, this will result in increased vulnerability to developing dementia. High cholesterol levels and elevated blood pressure are both common conditions caused by excess weight, and both of these have the potential to be contributory factors to Alzheimer's disease.

Fortunately, there are many options available these days for those who would like to lose weight. Professional diet doctors who can advise you on a personalized course of action in your weight loss journey can be found in every community. Modern weight loss plans range from individualized diet and exercise regimes to cosmetic procedures designed to remove excess weight -- be sure to discuss the possibilities with your health care professional.