Findings from the 28th Annual Scientific Meeting of The Obesity Society stress the importance of "lifestyle interventions," such as structured weight loss programs and exercise. The research shows weight loss programs that focus on diet and exercise can help patients lose more than 20 pounds, decrease waist circumference and abdominal fat, and improve blood pressure.
But many people have excuses for not following that advice.
So how can you overcome those excuses?
CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton said on "The Early Show" Monday that, because the obesity rate is so high in the U.S., "You're not alone -- but the buck stops here."
She said you have to start by learning to like exercise to maintain a healthy weight. "Number one, your body likes it," she said. "Your body will feel good if you start to exercise. It is never too late to train those muscles to get back into shape. You need to lift weights, whether you are a male or a female. Your body needs lean muscle mass and you need to do cardio, aerobic. It makes a huge difference. You will have more success controlling your weight if you exercise."
"Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith said, "Most people hate -- who go -- hate to go to the gym. I think that's one of those things. You see those people looking like rabbits and running around all over the place and happy."
Ashton responded, "But you have to do an exercise that's fun for you, so it might not be in the gym -- walking your dog or playing with your kid or playing a sport -- but do something."
Another excuse: "I hate diet foods."
Ashton said, "We're talking about calories in and calories out. The out part is the exercise, the in is what you put in your mouth. On a day-to-day, meal-to-meal, hour-to-hour basis, if you know what you're putting in your mouth is not good fuel for your body, don't eat it, because those little habits really add up."
Other people say it's just too late to drop the weight.
Ashton said she had just two words for that: "Bill Clinton. ... We've seen the dramatic transformation (in) former President Clinton."
Smith said, "This guy is like a yo-yo."
Ashton replied, "This was the number one fast food-aholic now in the country, and now he's eating a plants-based diet, a lot of fruits and vegetables. He's dropped over 20 pounds, it makes a huge difference. It is never too late to revamp what you eat."
For other people, the excuse is, "I've tried and I failed."
Ashton said that struggle starts in the mind.
"It is absolutely frustrating when you constantly fall off the wagon so-to-speak, but get a support group, do something with a friend or co-worker and remember that every single day you have a brand new chance."