Losing weight is a challenging task for most of us. There is a no magic pill and successful weight loss can depend on a variety of factors, but in the following paragraphs, i will attempt to give and break down tips and advice that should help you reach your weight loss goals.

Dedication - The first thing you will need to help you reach your goals is dedication. No one can make the decision for you to lose weight. It's a decision that you must come to on your own. Once you do, you should small attainable goals to begin with and once you reach those goals, expand on them. Use the smaller goals as motivation.

Be Realistic - This is very important. Setting realistic goals and reaching them can be very motivational and will keep you on track. This is why, in the previous paragraph, i stress setting small goals to begin with and expanding on those once they are attained. Being realistic will also be very important in your day-to-day struggle with diet and exercise. How many times have you been on a diet and fell off the wagon so to speak? You have to realize that this happens with everyone from time to time. There will be a day or two, once in a while when you may eat something that you shouldn't or eat more than you should, but we have to realize that when that happens, it isn't the end. You must realize that everyone has a bad day or two, once in a while, and when that happens, realize it, enjoy it for that day, and then put it behind you and get back on track to your goals the next day. Remember, one bad day isn't what put the extra weight on you, it was a sequence of them, where you derailed and stayed off track for a long period of time.

Diet and Nutrition - This, in my opinion, is the most important factor of all if you want to be successful in losing weight and getting in shape. The bottom line is that if you want to take off pounds and inches, you will need to evaluate your diet and eat healthier foods. You need to realize that you will not be able to reach your goals if you are living on fried, fatty, processed, and fast foods. Many of us fall into the processed or fast foods trap for many reasons such as time and cost. Perhaps you are usually short on time and find processed or fast foods easier or cheaper. The easiest way that i have found to get off of the fatty food roller coaster is to not bring it home. Have you heard the old saying "Out of sight, out of mind"? If so, you will come to realize that it applies here. I'm not saying that if you don't bring cookies, cakes, and such foods home, that you will never crave them, but if they are not readily available, you will not be constantly tempted to eat those kinds of foods. Make a conscious effort to bring healthier foods such as fruits and vegetables into your home for snacks and there are also a lot of easy, on the go, healthier foods that you can prepare or grab for meals that won't break your budget or take up a lot of time, such as subs and wraps. These can be made easily and in many ways as well. Perhaps one day you fix a tuna sub, the next day a ham or turkey sub or wrap, the next day a boneless, skinless chicken breast with some vegetables, and for deserts or snacks, have some grapes or peaches instead of the cake or cookies and try some cucumbers, peppers, or other vegetables dipped in ranch dressing and not the potato chips. A great option for breakfast or lunch could be protein or meal bars. These are an excellent way to eat fast and cheap as well as healthy. They come in a variety of brand names and flavors and can be very beneficial in helping you stay on track with reaching your goals. There are many options out there as well as what i have listed above, but you will need to do some soul-searching and find out what you like and make the healthy choices.  

 Eating Habits -  This section is different from the paragraph above because here, i will discuss the times at which we eat and crave food, instead of what we are eating. If you are over weight, odds are that as well as eating the wrongs types of foods, you are also eating at the wrong times. Everyone is different and has different routines and schedules and so the proper times of the day to eat can also be different. You will need to evaluate your daily routine or schedule and space your meals out accordingly. For example, I get up at 7am and i eat breakfast at 8am, then lunch at 12pm, and dinner at 6pm. As i said, daily routines and schedules do vary, so you will need to make the decision based on your schedule, but you should spread it out so that you don't have extremely long stretches between meals and you will be less likely to over indulge at meal times. You will also need to evaluate your snack times as well. How many times have you been on a diet and had a really good day sticking to your diet, just to blow it during the day or at night on a snack or indulgence? If there are certain times of the day or night that you know you usually crave food, you need to take those into account and have a low-calorie snack on hand. One of the trouble points for me, in my effort to lose weight, was that I realized that i could not go to sleep at night if my stomach was growling and I was hungry, so I began to allow myself a 100 calorie snack such as grapes, 2 rice cakes, or some cucumber dipped in ranch dressing, right before bed time. In doing this, I found that I satisfied my urge to eat and get that night-time crunch, my hunger, and i didn't blow my whole day by doing so. The bottom line is that you will need to evaluate your meal times and space them according to your day and if you find yourself craving food other than at meal times, and it's a regular thing for you, then you should realize it's a trouble time for you and account for it by allowing yourself a low-calorie snack that will keep you on track. Don't run from it or skip meals because it will eventually catch up with you and get you off track.

Exercise - As I mentioned in the first paragraph of this article, there is no magic pill for weight loss, and so now we must discuss the topic dreaded by some which is exercise. In order to lose weight and become healthier, you will need to exercise so that you can raise your metabolism and burn fat. Some people enjoy exercising and some do not. I can understand both views because I have been in both categories. In my experience, it is much harder to get started with an exercise program than it is to continue it, but once you do get started and get that first day or two behind you and make it part of your routine, you may also come to enjoy it as I have. Everyone has their days when they don't feel like it or don't want to and you should realize that you are not alone in those feelings. My advice is to start small and work your way up. you can begin with something as simple as walking.  If you are new to exercising, begin by walking a half mile or mile at a slow pace, just to get moving and increase your speed and distance slowly over time. When I first got back into exercising, I was really out of shape and so I began by walking a mile. At first, I found it dull and didn't enjoy it at all and I couldn't picture myself walking more, but after a period of time I found myself losing weight and increasing my distance and speed and before long I was, and still am walking an average of 3 miles a day. Sure, there are some days when I still don't feel like it or want to, but I do it anyway, and to be honest, after I'm done, I always feel better. In addition to walking, you may want to do some resistance training with weights or straps. This can be very beneficial in building and toning muscle and as an added benefit, muscle burns more calories than fat, so it becomes easier to lose the weight and inches. Exercise doesn't have to be a miserable task. There are a variety of exercises out there from low impact to extreme, but in order for it to be enjoyable, you need to find what is right for you, create an exercise routine, and get moving.