Of course, contestants on television shows like "The Biggest Loser" can lose lots -- whole lots -- of weight. And why not? They have an entire team of people constantly coaching, instructing and motivating them to shed pounds and get in shape.
If the rest of us had our own team of experts, we too might have a fighting chance at losing weight, getting fit and staying that way.
Here's to a fighting chance.
Amassing a cadre of experts is not only possible, it can also be affordable. No budget for weekly visits with a personal trainer? Work with one over the Internet to achieve those exercise goals. Can't afford one-on-one sessions with a registered dietitian? Get all the basics of healthy eating, along with practical advice, online. Need emotional support? Find people who understand your trials and tribulations in a nearby Weight Watchers meeting or on a message board.
As for a doctor's guidance, first consider whether you need it and, if so, make the most of that session and his or her input.
Ready? Here's how to round up your own team, most of it only a mouse click away.
Nearly all standard health advice begins with this caveat: Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise or diet program. But let's be honest -- most people skip that step, deciding instead to dive into the latest diet bestseller or hop on the treadmill.
For some, that could be dangerous. We explain who needs to see a doctor and what they should expect.
With massive amounts of information -- and misinformation -- lining bookstore shelves and filling an endless parade of magazines, it's no wonder many people see nutrition as a labyrinth of proteins, carbs, fats, vitamins and fiber, especially with weight loss.
But sound nutrition and limited menu-planning advice are out there -- much of it free and from registered dietitians.
Figuring out exactly how to exercise isn't easy -- and personal trainers don't come cheap. Some charge $100 per hour, pricey for many budgets.
The next best thing is training guidance via Internet and phone. This increasingly viable alternative offers many of the techniques found in one-on-one training, usually for much less money -- from one-half to one-fifth the cost.
Weight loss doesn't have to be a solo pursuit. Noshing rice cakes and trudging on the treadmill in solitude can be lonely. Loneliness leads to depression. And depression leads to a pint of Häagen-Dazs Fleur de Sel Caramel. A support group is essential for navigating the rough patches that can derail even the most well-intentioned fitness and diet plans.