1. Don't starve yourself. There is no point in simply not eating anything at all for a number of reasons. First, it's probably going to make you really cranky. Second, starving yourself is actually anti-productive when it comes to losing weight. If you starve yourself, your body goes into survival mode and actually starts to hang on to fat, because it's not sure when it will get more nutrition. Neither is it good to completely stuff yourself, however. It's best to take several smaller snacks throughout the day. A constant intake of (healthy) foods will keep your metabolism up and running.
2. Eat your vegetables first. When you eat your meals, eat your healthy options first. This way as you fill up, at least you will mostly be full with things that are good for you. In most cases the healthiest option on your plate is going to be vegetables. Fresh vegetables are best. Beans and cooked corn do not really qualify as a vegetable (althrough fresh corn is OK.) Think dark leafy greens, lightly steamed broccoli or carrots, or fresh tomatoes, carrots, or celery.
3. Stay away from empty carbs. This means white bread, white rice, white potatoes, chips, bagels, and all that other stuff that you probably really, really like. Instead, try going for whole grain or sprouted grain bread, sweet potatoes, or brown rice.
4. Cook for yourself. I don't mean frozen pizzas and TV dinners. Learn to cook real food for yourself. If you cut out how much you go out for food, you'll feel better for a number of reasons. First, if you cook for yourself you won't be presented with the huge portions most restaurants and fast food places usually give you. Second, most places use a lot more cooking oil and grease than necessary...if you cook for yourself you can make food that's always fresh and prepare it to your liking.
5. Don't be afraid to walk. I am always surprised at how many people don't want to walk simple distances. Sure it's not a 5 mile jog, but taking a more active route in your day to day choices definitely adds up. Take the stairs instead of the elevator/escalator. Park your car a few blocks away on purpose and walk to your destination.
6. Don't drink sugary drinks. I know one friend who used to drink multiple cans of sodas a day. She then stopped drinking soda completely and said she noticed a difference right away. Did you know there are almost 40 grams of sugar in a can of Coke? And this doesn't apply to just soda. Energy drinks, most packaged fruit juices, and even the frothy, mixed coffee drinks can pack on the sugar and pounds before you realize it. If you can't cut this out completely, trying cutting you intake in half by each day and going from there.
7. Drink lots of water. Sometimes when we feel hungry, we're actually just thirsty and we don't know it. Drinking enough water throughout the day helps you feel fuller.
8. Watch your portions. Did you know most restaurants serve portions that are almost double the size of what is recommended? Whenever I'm dining out and restaurants offer half or smaller portions, I usually just order the smaller portions. Most of the time it's definitely enough.
9. Push the plate away when you feel full. A lot of us grew up with the mantra to "clean our plates," but at what cost? If you're full, stop eating. I know sometimes this is hard, especially if what we're eating is really good (hello chocolate cake!) but you can always save it for later. Just because the food is there does not mean you have to eat it.
10. Keep temptation away. If you can't control yourself around chocolate or cookies or chips, then just don't buy them. I have a really hard time controlling myself from French bread--I'll eat half the loaf in one sitting if I'm not careful. As a result, I just don't buy it. If I really want some, I will treat myself once in a while, but most of the time I just don't take it home with me. If you have a box of cookies in your house, it's just so easy to go into the kitchen and eat "just one more." It's even easier to not buy them at all!
11. Don't drink a lot. The term "beer gut" exists for a reason! A lot of us forget how many calories can be in one alcoholic drink, especially beer and the sweeter mixed drinks. Try to go for a glass or two of wine or a mixed drink with orange juice or diet tonic water.