Obesity is killing you

If you're obese, you know you need to lose weight. And if you need a little motivation and feel like you can't lose weight, consider this: Those extra pounds aren't just making you less healthy.

They're flat-out killing you.

Obesity will increase your risk of an early death by 20 percent, according to one new study. To put that into real-world numbers, that means you could expect to die about four years earlier than you would if you managed to lose some weight.

Believe it or not, that's not even the biggest risk.

If you're younger, the risks are even higher. If you're obese and between the ages of 45 and 64, for example, you could expect to die of heart disease nearly 13 years earlier than someone of a normal weight.

And if you manage to avoid heart disease, you're still not in the clear -- because your risk of death from everything else is higher, too. In fact, you could expect to die 7 years earlier than you would if you had kept a normal weight, according to the study in the American Journal of Public Health.

That's the bad news.

Now let me give you some good news: If you're still around to read this, there's no reason to lose hope and think you can't lose weight -- you can lose the weight and turn that risk around. And along with preventing heart disease and an early death, losing weight could also help prevent everything from diabetes to arthritis.

And the best news of all is that I have the "secret" to getting the job done, and I'm going to share it with you today.

You don't have to shell out an extra dime for magic pills or special equipment. And the plan couldn't be any simpler. All you have to do is eat a little better, eat a little less and move a little more.

For the best selection of filling, healthy foods -- including many you already love -- I recommend the Mediterranean diet. Along with helping you to lose weight, it can also protect your heart and brain and prevent heart attack, stroke, dementia and more.