The Basics

To stay at a healthy weight, you need to balance the calories you eat with the calories you use up (or burn). To lose weight, you need to use more calories than you take in. A healthy diet and physical activity can help you reach your goal.

There is a right number of calories for you to eat each day.

How do I Know if I am Overweight?
Finding out your body mass index (BMI) is the best way to learn if you are overweight or obese.

Enter your height and weight into this Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator to find out your BMI number and what it means for you.

The Benefits

If you are overweight or obese, losing just 10 pounds may lower your risk of:

  * Type 2 diabetes
  * Heart disease
  * High blood pressure
  * Early death

Plus, eating healthy and being physically active can give you more energy throughout the day. Getting more active and eating healthy foods can also help you:

  * Lower your blood pressure
  * Lower your blood sugar
  * Raise your “good” cholesterol
  * Lower your “bad” cholesterol
  * Prevent heart and blood flow problems that can lead to heart disease and nerve damage

Talk to a Doctor
If you or a loved one is planning to lose weight, talk to a doctor. Your doctor will explain your options, like joining a weight loss program.

Take Action!

Make a promise to eat well, move more, and get support from family and friends. If you need to lose weight, do it slowly over time. Try losing 1–2 pounds per week.

Remember: to lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn.

Keep a Weight Diary

Write down:
  * What you eat
  * When you eat
  * How much you eat
  * Your physical activity
  * Your weight

Use this weight-loss log or make your own. When you know your habits, you will know what you want to change.

Get Active

Keep physically active to balance the calories you take in with the calories you use. Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes of activity a week. One way to do this is to be active for 30 minutes 5 times a week. Be sure to exercise for at least 10 minutes at a time. In addition, do strengthening activities (like sit-ups or lifting weights) 2 days a week.

If you don’t have time to exercise for 30 minutes, try to get moving for shorter 10-minute periods throughout the day. For example, walking for 10 minutes burns about 50 calories. Use this exercise calculator to find out how many calories your activity will burn.

Eat Smaller Portions
Eating healthy food is important. But you also need to pay attention to how much food you eat. Take this Portion Distortion Quiz to test your knowledge.

Here are some tips:

  * Eat small, healthy snacks during the day. This will keep you from over-eating at mealtimes.
  * Don’t eat out of the bag or package. Instead, put a small amount of food in a bowl.
  * Serve food on plates and leave the main dish on the stove. You will be less tempted to go back for seconds.
  * If you are eating out, only eat half of your meal. Take the other half home with you.
  * Read the label to find out how many servings are in a package. There may be more than one!
  * Eat slowly – this will give you time to feel full.

Learn how losing weight can help lower your risk of heart disease; overweight and obesity; and some cancers such as colorectal cancer.

What do you want to do today?
  * Print out this weight-loss log to keep track of how much you eat.
  * Get active. Take a 20 minute walk around your neighborhood. You will burn about 100 calories.
  * Find out the number of calories you need to eat each day.
  * Look at the nutrition label on your favorite cereal box. Compare the serving size listed to what you usually eat.
  * Send an e-card to encourage a friend or family member to stay healthy.