1.) Remember quality over quantity:
What I mean by this is the quality of your food should be given more focus than the calories you're consuming. While it's true that eating about 1,500 calories a day will lead to about a pound of weight loss a week, this diet is unrealistic and it's really enough to drive anyone crazy. Depriving yourself of calories may work for a few days or weeks, but you'll eventually cave and gain all that weight back within ONE TO TWO DAYS of returning to your previous eating habits. So instead of fussing about calories, focus on eating clean, protein packed, natural foods like chicken, eggs, raw fruits and veggies, and seafood.
2.) Clean your kitchen:
Get all of the junk out! Replace chips with unbuttered popcorn, replace candy with extra dark unsweetened chocolate, replace white bread with whole grain bread. If there's no unhealthy food around to eat, you can't eat it! I'm a college student trying to lose the extra 6 pounds I packed on this semester, and the first thing I did was give all my junk food away to people on my floor. You'll notice a lifestyle difference right away. Sometimes when I'm laying in bed watching TV I think to myself, "wow, if I hadn't thrown out all of that junk food, I'd totally be eating it right now!". It's definitely saved me at least 300-400 calories a day.
3.) Stop making excuses:
I'm blessed enough to have unlimited access to a recreational center with cardio machines and weights, so I take full advantage of those everyday. But, going to a gym can be expensive, time consuming, and intimidating. Thankfully, there are tons of totally free cardio apps and YouTube videos out there that walk you through a workout step by step! Usually, they're less than ten minutes long. Everyone can find an extra ten minutes to squeeze in a quick workout!
4.) Cardio + strength is the key:
Cardio is great for burning calories, but strength is what will shape and tone your body. Combining the two is your best bet. Again, if you don't have access to a gym, no problem! You can find inexpensive dumbbells almost anywhere, and Pinterest and YouTube have amazing step by step workouts for beginner strength training.
5.) Water and black coffee are you new best friends:
Pop (or soda) is the enemy and it will hold you back from losing the weight you want to lose. Cutting out all sugary drinks really is the first step to a healthier lifestyle. I've been a water and coffee only drinker for years, and it's really had it's benefits. If you really enjoy the taste and carbonation that pop has, try LaCroix! It's basically pop without all the sugar, but it's made from all natural ingredients. Basically just carbonated water and really yummy natural flavoring!
6.) Stay away from diet pop:
Trust the nursing student, diet pop (or any diet drink for that matter) plays tricks on your body. What makes diet drinks have zero calories is the fact that they have something in them called aspartame, which is basically a zero calorie sugar substitute. Sounds awesome! You can drink all the aspartame you want and not consume any calories, right? Wrong. Aspartame, apart from being completely disgusting (so disgusting that even lab rats won't go near it) totally fools your insulin inside your body. When we eat something sweet, our body releases insulin which is a hormone that makes you feel hungry. If you drink a regular (not diet) pop, you're getting actual sugar, so when your body releases insulin and makes you feel hungry, the sugar in the pop you just drank counters that hunger because it contains actual sugar and actual calories! But, when you drink diet pop and your body releases insulin, you feel really hungry afterwards because you don't have the calories and sugar in your pop to counter that insulin. Drinking diet with your meals causes you to eat more even if you don't realize.