Weight-loss basics

Keeping a healthy weight is a balancing act. Calories play a large part. Weight loss comes down to burning more calories than are taken in from food. Cutting calories from food and drink and burning more calories by moving more are ways to do that.

That might seem simple. But it can be hard to find a weight-loss plan that works for you.

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 to start. Are you ready to make the needed changes? Also, plan smart. Think about how you'll handle challenges to your plan and minor setbacks.

For people who have serious health problems linked to weight, a doctor might suggest surgery or medicines to help with weight loss. If you're considering either, talk to your doctor about the possible benefits and risks.

But don't forget the bottom line: The key to losing weight and keeping it off is changing diet and exercise habits for the long haul.

Diet plans

There are plenty of diet plans. Check any magazine to see the latest and greatest diet plans. But how do you know if a diet plan fits your needs?

Ask yourself these questions about any diet plan you're thinking of trying:

  • Does it include foods from the major food groups: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean proteins and nuts?
  • Does it include foods you like? Does it include foods that you would enjoy eating for a lifetime, not just for weeks or months?
  • Can you easily find these foods in your local grocery store?
  • Will you be able to eat your favorite foods? Better yet, will you be able to eat all foods, even if some are in small amounts?
  • Does it fit your life and budget?
  • Does it have the amounts of nutrients and calories you need to lose weight safely?
  • Is regular physical activity part of the plan?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, keep looking. There are better diet plans out there for you.

The Mayo Clinic Diet

Tired of failed fad diets? Maybe it's time for a change. The Mayo Clinic Diet is a different approach to weight loss.

First, the Mayo Clinic Diet is based on research and clinical experience. Second, the Mayo Clinic Diet knows that long-term weight management needs to focus on more than the food you eat and the pounds you lose. It needs to focus on your overall health. The Mayo Clinic Diet helps you reshape your body and your life by taking on healthy habits and breaking unhealthy ones.

Diet and exercise

The key to weight loss is building new habits that lead to eating better and moving more. Eating better means eating healthy, lower calorie meals. Moving more means adding more physical activity, not just exercise, into your life.

Being active is vital to losing weight and keeping if off. An active body uses energy, measured in calories, to move. This helps burn the calories you take in from food you eat. And sitting too much isn't good for you.

Cleaning the house, making the bed, shopping, mowing and gardening are all forms of physical activity. Exercise, in contrast, is structured and repeated physical activity that you do regularly.

Whatever activity you choose, keep doing it. Aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. Aim to spread your activity out throughout the week.

Taking a brisk walk is an example of moderate activity. Vigorous activity might be jogging. Keep in mind that you may need more physical activity than usual to lose weight and keep it off.

Diet pills, supplements and surgery

Diet pills and surgery can help with weight loss when combined with a healthy diet and physical activity. But diet pills aren't for everyone. Neither is surgery.

For obesity and health problems related to weight, talk with your doctor about whether diet pills or surgery could help you. Ask your doctor about lifestyle changes you need to make to be successful over the long term.

A word of caution: Talk with a doctor before you try diet pills or supplements you can get without a prescription. They can have serious, often dangerous side effects.

Nov. 01, 2023