Weight-loss basics

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Your weight is a balancing act, and calories are part of that equation. Fad diets may promise you that counting carbs or eating a mountain of grapefruit will make the pounds drop off. But when it comes to weight loss, it's calories that count. Weight loss comes down to burning more calories than you take in. You can do that by reducing extra calories from food and beverages, and increasing calories burned through physical activity.

Once you understand that equation, you're ready to set your weight-loss goals and make a plan for reaching them. Remember, you don't have to do it alone. Talk to your doctor, family and friends for support. Ask yourself if now is a good time and if you're ready to make some necessary changes. Also, plan smart: Anticipate how you'll handle situations that challenge your resolve and the inevitable minor setbacks.

If you have serious health problems because of your weight, your doctor may suggest weight-loss surgery or medications for you. In this case, you and your doctor will need to thoroughly discuss the potential benefits and the possible risks.

But don't forget the bottom line: The key to successful weight loss is a commitment to making indefinite changes in your diet and exercise habits.

Apr. 05, 2014