Unfortunately, excess weight is something a lot of us struggle with today. Not only do we want to fit into those jeans from college or look good for our class reunion, we want to be healthier. So many of our ailments and even diseases can by helped by losing weight.

If you’ve tried diet pills, patches, or expensive exercise equipment and have had little to no results, don’t worry. You can still lose weight, and your best bet for doing so is by following these 5 simple steps:

 

1. Get Moving to Burn Calories

Don’t jump to conclusions here. You don’t have to train for a marathon or lift 50 lb. weights to count what you do as exercise. Just move your body in some way on most days. Figure out what you enjoy, and this step will become 10 times easier. Try new things like biking, hiking, or a martial art. Get a workout pal, or enlist your spouse or children. Take a class at your local fitness club. Again, it doesn’t matter what you do, just move. Aim to burn 200 calories 5 times a week. This equals 1000 calories per week that you’ve burned off with exercise, and in the next step you’ll see why that’s important for your 10 lb. goal.

2. Figure Out How Much You Eat in a Day. Then Eat Less.

No judgement. For one week, write down everything that you put in your mouth each day. At the end of the week, go over everything, and calculate your average daily calorie intake. Now, go online. Look up and calculate your own personal AMR (active metabolic rate). This is a number that represents how many calories your body burns in a normal day just by you being alive. If you have an active job, such as being a mailman, this number will be higher.

If the number you calculated originally is higher than your AMR, you’ve got problems. That means you’re consuming more calories than you’re burning, and you’re slowly gaining weight. You need to create a calorie deficit by eating less (no less than 1200 calories per day) and exercising. If you create a 500 per day deficit, that’s a deficit of 3500 calories per week. A pound of fat just so happens to equal 3500 calories. So for a 1lb per week weight loss, aim to burn those 200 exercise calories 5 times a week, and then cut out the rest by eating less.

3. Water, Water, Water

You’ve read the articles that tout water for weight loss, but do you know why? First of all, it keeps things “regular.” You need water for digestion, so if you notice you’re not having regular bowel movements every day, lack of water may be why. Some may think it counterintuitive, but if you often feel bloated, that’s excess water weight, and you need more water to flush it out.

Water splashing into glass

The great thing about starting to lose weight after not making health eating and exercise a habit for a long time, is that you’ll lose a lot of weight your first week. That’s the water weight. So if you’re aiming for a 10 lb. weight loss, depending on your size, you can expect to lose your first 3-6 lbs. of that 10 in your first week of following these steps.

Try to drink at least 60-70 ounces of water each day, and that does not include coffee, milk, soda, or alcohol. In fact, if you’re drinking alcohol, drink the same amount of water, doubled to counter alcohol’s dehydrating effects.

4. Find a Hobby

We’ve established that you’re going to need to eat less. This is not as easy as it sounds, is it? If some of your favorite activities outside of work involve food, you need to replace them with a new hobby. Find an interest that piques your attention and try it. Don’t be discouraged if it’s not what you’re looking for, just move on, and find another. Ask your friends what they like to do, or conduct a simple online search, and you’ll find tons of hobby ideas.

5. When Are You Hungry?

Do you eat when you’re happy? Do you eat when you’re sad? What about when you’re stressed? This is something you need to address. You should only be eating when you’re hungry. Buy a small journal that you keep with your daily calorie counter. As you go throughout your day, keep a running log of your feelings and emotions. When your mind wants to reach for that candy bar, record it. Rethink your decisions, and be aware that sometimes, simply acknowledging that you want to eat for a non-hunger reason can put you back on the right path.