I’m still in the process, but I’ve lost about 35 lb. so far. What I’ve done:
– Cut out all soda/sugary drinks and cut down on alcohol and caffeine. Soda was actually easier than I thought, alcohol the easiest because I wasn’t a big drinker to start with. Giving up my Starbucks habit was HARD, but I finally broke that as one of my 2012 New Year’s resolutions.
– Drink 60 – 80 oz. of water a day. Sometimes I drink more depending on how hard I work out, but I try to get at least 60 oz. in (approximately 3 refills of my water bottle – I fill it up in the morning and drink water throughout breakfast and my commute, refill when I get to work and try to finish that by lunch, then refill after. Normally I get closer to 80-100 oz. a day if I stick to this. If I have tea or coffee, sometimes I don’t get more than 20 oz. until after lunch.
– Calorie counting! I know it’s not for everyone, but whether you do points via Weight Watchers or use a strict calorie counting tool like MyFitnessPal or even just keep a written diary, it is SO important to know how much you’re eating and how often! I had no clue how much sugar I was getting nor how many calories I was eating for snacks. I now eat 5-6 times a day (3 meals, 2-3 snacks that I keep under 200 calories each) and shoot for a balance of nutrients. I also cut out almost all fast food and try to make my meals and have at least 3-5 different fruits/vegetables a day.
– Exercise, exercise, exercise. I think a balance of cardio and strength training is key. I do cardio 3 days a week, strength training 3 days and rest 1 day. For strength, I alternate upper body, lower body and core so I’m not working too many muscles at once (and also so I can give each muscle group enough weekly attention). I vary my cardio: walking, elliptical, Zumba, pilates, yoga and try to push myself and set new goals.
Of course, I haven’t been perfect. I still have about 140 lb. I’d like to lose, and I’ve recently hit a major plateau and even gained a couple pounds back – but as long as you accept bad days (or even weeks) will happen and get back up on the proverbial horse, you’ll be able to meet your goals.
Honestly, it IS simple when you get down to it. As abbie017 said, eat less and exercise more. It’s the getting there that can be difficult because we have so many bad habits and tendencies ingrained in us. It took me MONTHS to break some of my bad eating habits, and even after more than a year I’m still struggling with others. It’s a lot of willpower, a lot of want, but if you commit to it and take small steps every single day you will get there.