I have seen a lot of resources that tell people the benefits of weight loss, but not what you need to do to actually lose the weight. Everyone can lose weight — getting educated about it is what’s most important. Most people don’t know how to lose weight or what they are doing wrong. This causes frustration and going back to the old ways of living and, in some cases, gaining more weight from depression. The biggest part of losing weight is to BE PATIENT! You may not see any results for the first couple of weeks. You see the contestants on The Biggest Loser lose 10 to 30 pounds in the first week. That is not going to happen and it is not safe; it is hard on your body, and not good for people trying to lose weight at home. Don’t get me wrong, I am very proud of every person on that show, but they have everything they need to do what they are doing. They have world class trainers and a world class medical staff. The bad part about the people on the show is that most of them gain the weight back. That is because they lost the weight too fast and were on such a strict diet that when the season was over and the money was given to the winners, their biggest incentive (money) was gone. They didn’t have to eat that strict diet and exercise every day. They could finally have that hamburger they had been craving for the past six months. Making changes gradually will result in a better life and also reduce the risk of a rebound of weight gain.

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Let’s discuss what most people do and see if these fit your lifestyle and what changes you can make. Do you go back for seconds when you eat? Do you eat at a lot of fast food restaurants or eat out a lot? Do you overeat? Do you eat junk food? Do you drink soda? Do you park as close to the supermarket or store as possible? Do you use a motorized cart at the supermarket? Are you a couch potato? If any of these apply to you, then you can make some pretty significant changes right off the bat that will make a cumulative difference.

Going back for seconds. This is what you need to do to get your eating habits under control. If you do go back for seconds or even thirds, STOP DOING IT! Plain and simple. There is no need to have two meals at one sitting. Since you have cut out the trips that does not mean to fill your plate with as much food as you can carry until it is spilling over the side of your plate. Keep it at what you would usually eat on one plate. That alone will cut your calorie intake in half. Once you feel your body has adjusted to that amount of food intake, it is still probably too much food for your body. So what you need to do next is cut your portions down slowly until you reach a standard meal. The daily allowance is two cups of fruit, two and a half cups of vegetables, seven to eight ounces of grains, five and a half ounces of meats, and two to three cups of milk. You can still have your favorite meals that are full of fat and grease, but eat them on special occasions and keep the portions reasonable. I would not suggest to completely avoid your favorite foods — this will just lead to a rebounding. Keeping yourself happy is very important. So you can eat what you like, but you have to be responsible for portion sizes. Know this: greasy, fatty foods are very high in calories and raise your cholesterol. Also, try to keep your breads and potatoes at a minimum. Your body breaks these down much faster than the other foods. Your body will use the calories from breads and potatoes first and then move to the next source of calories it has available. So if you eat less bread at meals your body will burn more calories from fat before it starts to burn the calories from your meal.

Eating at fast food restaurants and eating out. Eating at fast food restaurants and at restaurants is easy and there is no cleaning involved. That is why a lot of America is lazy and obese — we have the tools for that lifestyle. Eating at these places is going to happen. You may crave a cheeseburger or want to have a sit down meal, but just don’t eat them as often. Make a log of how often you eat fast food. If you eat fast food every day, cut it in half to every other day, then once a week, and then once every other week. This may be hard for people at breakfast and lunchtime, so the best thing to do is plan ahead. Make your breakfast and lunch the night before so you can take it to work and don’t have to rush in the morning to make your meals. When you make your meals, know what you have to work with. You may have a microwave at work, so you can heat up a meal or you may work in construction so you have to make a sandwich. Again, when making your meals, make your portions reasonable and always bring a snack — like vegetables, fruits, or nuts rather than a candy bar. Snacks are very important to make it through the day when trying to lose weight. Before you start to feel hungry you should eat your snack. What snacks do is help keep your metabolism going through the day. If you starve yourself or you are feeling really hungry before lunch or dinner, your metabolism is going to slow down and your body is not going to burn as many calories. When you eat at a restaurant, do not order appetizers. If you do happen to get an appetizer, ask for a half order. They may not list it on the menu, but most places offer it. When you order your main course, do not upsize your meal from a 10 ounce steak to a 14 ounce steak. Also, order vegetables instead of fries or baked potatoes. When I go out I love the ribeye. So when I order it I ask for a lean cut, which has less fat. Remember that restaurants are there to please you and will do their best to suit your needs as a customer.

Eating junk food and drinking soda. When you are dieting, your body is going to crave sugars. Your body is going through changes and it is adjusting to them. While I was dieting I had a big craving for Snickers and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. So what I did was I got the mini-sized treats. If I was craving it, I would limit myself to two pieces of candy. That was the hardest part for me, but I made it through. I always allowed myself to eat the things I loved, but I kept the portions to a minimum. Also, a nice tall ice cold Dr. Pepper was a huge craving for me. Soda is very bad for you, and it has a lot of sugar. I would allow myself to have a soda on a very, very rare occasion. What you need to do is cut the soda out of your diet completely. Some people drink soda all day long and not one glass of water. Every can of soda you drink is adding calories to your body. Water is much better for you and cheaper. I cannot stress enough how important it is to cut soda out of your diet. If you do drink soda, calculate how many you drink a day and multiply that by the calories on the back. You may be surprised at how many calories you consume every day by drinking soda. A quick example would be ten Dr. Peppers times 210 calories equals 2100 calories a day. When you stop drinking soda, you’ve just stopped adding those calories to your diet. Diet soda is not an alternative, as it’s just as bad for you as a regular soda — in fact, some studies find an increase in obesity among diet soda drinkers over their regular soda drinking peers. So the best thing to do is just not drink any of it.

Exercise. Exercise is very important to losing weight. Here are some simple ways to burn extra calories. When you go shopping, don’t park as close to the store as possible. Park in the back of the parking lot and walk the extra distance. Most of the time when I park in the back I am in the store before the people who are driving around and looking for a spot in the front. Also, another advantage is that when you are leaving the store you can get out a lot easier due to the lack of traffic in the back of the parking lot. If you have a dog, take him or her for a walk. Another easy way to burn calories is to go outside and play with your kids if you have them. They are full of energy and will help you burn off that unwanted fat. Go to the park and play catch, fly a kite, play tennis, or just walk around the park. Also, set goals for the day. For instance, go on a 45 minute nonstop walk, do 100 situps, 100 pushups, or 100 squats. Set one of these as a goal for the day and work on it throughout the day. While you are watching television, you can do five pushups or situps here and there. After a while you will be in better shape and be able to go on a 30 minute jog and walk and do pushups in the same day. If you have stairs, walk them for 20 min. These are simple things that you can do at home without the need for a gym membership. Also, if your cable company offers On Demand, there may be Exercise TV available. It has all kinds of different workouts that you can do for free. Find what you enjoy and just do it.

If you follow my advice. you can lose weight and keep it off. Remember to take it slowly and make the changes gradually. The more you exercise and the better you eat, the better you will feel and the thinner you will be. Be patient. It is not going to happen overnight. You didn’t get fat overnight. It will take time to get thin. Be patient, be positive, and be happy.

My name is Jason and I graduated from Adams State College in 2001. While I attended ASC I competed in wrestling and track and field. When I graduated I received my degree in BA Advertising. After college I worked as project manager for a developer. I also trained mixed martial arts for three years. I taught the basics in grappling, jiu jitsu, conditioning, and weight loss techniques.