If you have ever tried to loose weight then you know that it really isn't easy. There are few things that work quick or easy and those that do are often only temporary. This leaves a lot of people finding themselves on the yo-yo track of loosing weight and then gaining it back. However, there are some basic weight loss principles. They aren't going to make you loose weight on their own. They aren't going to make it easy. They aren't even going to give you some revolutionary new concept. But understanding them can make it easier to understand what you need to do to help your body loose the weight that you need to loose.

The word "diet" is really a confusing one. One the one hand it is used to describe a number of odd ways to eat with the desire of loosing weight. On the other hand it is the word to describe all that we eat. For now we will discuss it as a way of loosing weight. There areliterally thousands of diets out there and a huge variety of names to go with them. Some of them are dangerous, some are plain boring (grapefruit diet anyone), and others seem to be too good to be true. The truth of the matter is that most diets either don't work, aren't maintainable in real life, or only work because they offer such poor nutrition. It should be noted that a "diet" isn't the best way to go for long term weight loss. Also many diets have you loose water weight and some even have you loose muscle tissue (something you should want to keep around).

Your Daily Diet.
The real place to begin is with your daily diet. When you aren't following someone else's wonder plan for weight loss what do you eat? It is a good idea to evaluate your daily diet to find out where you need to make nutritional changes. Most of us have pretty poor diets and they could use an overhaul. It is best if you begin by making small changes. Replace some white products that you eat with healthier whole grain options. Aim to include more fruits and vegetables. Try and revamp your diet to be more nutritious. Here are a few tips:

  • Fats- Decrease the amount of fried foods, deep fried foods, and high fat desserts. This can be done by decreasing how often these foods areeaten as well as with portion control.
  • Sugars- Sugars are really the carbs that get us. It isn't our breads or pastas, but rather our love for doughnuts, candy, and other sugary foods. These should be cut back as well.
  • Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains- It is important to have a well balanced diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods are really good for us and are often a neglected portion of our diet. It is likely that you will also find that you enjoy a lot of them.

Portion Control.
We live in a super size it society. We are used to going back for seconds, eating at all you can eat buffets, and making sure our fries and sodas are as big as they can be (and often the burgers that go with them). Portion size is one of our biggest enemies. We can enjoy a huge variety of foods, but we need to do so in moderation. Eating smaller sizes is a great way to cut back on calories. Here are a few tips to eating less and still getting full.

  • Where you eat- It is important for you to stay focused on eating. Your body takes some time before it realizes its full. Often times the signs are rather subtle and if you are distracted they are easy to miss. Because of this it is a good idea not to eat in front of the TV, computer, or other location. You should eat at the table, take your time, and savor your meals.
  • How you eat- It is true that time is tight for most of us. However, it is equally true that our health should take a priority in our lives. It is important to chew your food well, eat slowly, and give your body a chance to realize that it is full. This makes it better for your stomach and the rest of digestion as well as giving you the clues of when you are full.
  • How often you eat- It is best to have several small meals or snacks throughout the day rather then sticking to the three meals a day plan. This is better for digestion, makes it more likely that you are going to feel full and satisfied and less likely that you will over eat at each meal. You should also not skip out on meals (especially breakfast) because you are more likely to grab unhealthy snacks or to over eat at the next meal.

Another important part of your diet is what you are drinking. A lot of us drink a lot of calories that are empty offering little or no nutrition. You need to take a look at what you drink. Cut back on fluids that are high in calories. Limit sodas, juices, and other sweet drinks. You also need to increase the amount of water you drink. There are a lot of different theories on how much water you should drink. Some stick with the old at least 8 glasses of water that are 8 ounces each. Others suggest that you take your weight and divide it in two. That's how many ounces of water a day you should get. No matter which theory you buy into your body needs a lot of water. Water is actually needed in order for your body to burn food and fat from your body. Aim for drinking more water each and every day so your body can function at its best. If you need a little help on figuring out how to drink more water then see the article Tips for Drinking More Water.

Many who desire to loose weight don't want to hear the word exercise. However, it is important for good health and for weight loss, especially weight loss that you maintain. It doesn't mean that you have to get to the gym everyday, but making exercise a priority is important. There are many different exercises that can be done for free or with little expense. Check out Exercising On a Budget for more information. Exercising is the key to burning more fat and getting healthy. You will want to exercise at least thirty minutes a day, three days a week.

Many people feel that they are too busy for exercising. They feel that they are tired when they are home and that exercising just doesn't fit into their lives. At first starting an exercise regimen is hard. You will be tired, feel like you don't have the time, and will probably consider giving up. However, if you work through all of that, you will find that exercising makes you feel good, gives you energy, and can become a habit that is a wonderful part of your life. To make it a habit you should schedule it, get it done, and keep at it for at least six weeks. Many experts say that it takes 30-60 days to form a habit (good or bad). So, keep at it and make exercise a good habit in your life.

The Math.
Weight loss occurs when you consume less calories then your body is using up. You use calories just sitting, but the more you move the more calories your body needs. The one exception to this rule is when you are starving yourself. Your body then works hard not to burn calories and you will find yourself with less energy then you should have. Therefore it is best when you eat a well balanced diet, drink lots of water, and exercise regularly.

Most of us know someone who can eat anything they want and they don't gain a single ounce. Some joke around about gaining weight just thinking about food. Because of this many people believe that their metabolism is broken and that there has to be a way to "fix" it. Many different people sell products, diets, and books telling you how to fix your metabolism and get your body to burn more fat and more calories while not doing anything. This may sound wonderful (perhaps too good to be true?), but it really doesn't work that way. It is true that your metabolism is what burns calories while you are resting, sitting at your desk, or watching TV. However, we each have a metabolic rate at which our bodies function. To burn more we simply need to move more. Additionally if you watch those who tend to be people who can eat anything they want without gaining weight, many of them have trouble holding still!

Eat better and get a move on it. That is the basic weight loss principles you need to remember. You don't need to spend hundreds of dollars on fancy diets or books to tell you how to do it. Simply make better food choices, eat less, and exercise more all while providing your body with plenty of water to drink. It doesn't have to take amiracle and you can do it! If you would like to read more on the subject you can check out my blog The Phat Diaries.