I am studying to be a nurse and a nutritionist, so being healthy is very important to me.  I don't believe in fad diets, weight loss pills, or the "diet" mentality.  I believe for weight loss to be permanent, one has to make PERMANENT changes.  Healthy weight loss isn't fast, 1-2 lbs per week approximately (some weeks less than others!).  I started out at 269, and I am currently 211.  My goal is 135 (about half of my original weight).  Here's what I'm doing:

#1 top success tool- eating clean.  There's a group on here all about eating clean (not particularly active, but lots of good links and resources there).  I wrote a journal awhile back about clean eating basics, which I will link here.  I subscribe to Clean Eating Magaine and Oxygen Magazine, both of which are from the same publisher, and both are all about eating clean and exercising.  Ignore all the ads for supplements in Oxygen!!

#2- Weight loss journal.  I keep motivational images from magazines and other sources, a list of reasons why I want to lose weight, a log of my exercise, a written journal that I write in whenever, and anything else I feel like adding.  I keep it handy, and I read through it when I need motivation.  We ALL have those slumps, and getting through them is one of the hardest parts of losing weight.  We all hit plateaus, we all fall off the wagon, but you can't let that totally derail your weight loss.  Breaking through takes a lot of work, but it's totally worth it.  Consider whether you want to undo all that work you've done. 

#3- Running.  I started my weight loss journey in Feb 2010, and I lost 17 lbs relatively quickly.  Then the loss stopped.  For months.  In September, I started running.  Since then, I've lost 41 lbs.  Exercising regularly helps keep me on track with my food- when I eat crappy food, then exercise, it's REALLY hard to exercise.  When I have the right fuel, it makes a huge difference.  I have energy, I feel good, and I can make it through well.  I also have more energy when I start my day with a run.  I run about 3 days a week, and I bike 2.  I also strength train 3-4 days a week.  I'm not perfect about this.  I miss days.  It happens.  But when I'm good about it, the pounds come off.  Again, it also directly affects my food intake- when I've been running, I don't want to gorge on a huge plate of mashed potatoes, ya know?

#4 Food diary- I don't do this regularly, but I'd recommend doing it periodically at the very least.  I do it every so often to give myself a reality check.  I use SparkPeople.com, which is free.  It's a great weight loss tool in general, but it also has a great place to log in your food, and it calculates the calories for anything.  You can also enter foods very easily, if they're not already in the system, and you can add your own nutrition info.

It's SO easy to get overwhelmed with weight loss.  Try not to bite off too big a chunk at one time.  Any success is still a success!!  I haven't set a timeline, because I don't like getting frustrated when I miss a target.  For some people, having a set date helps, but I wouldn't set it for the big goals just yet.  Set a goal for 25 lbs in 3 months or something like that, something more attainable and easier to see. 

Some other nutrition basics that are really important, that will really help you-

Drink plenty of water.  The RDA for women is 11 cups a day, including water from foods.  We as a society take in WAY too many calories from beverages.

Get plenty of fruits and veggies.  Aim for 3-4 servings of each every day.  You can also go to mypyramid.gov and plug in your goal weight and see what you should be eating to get there.

Up your fiber.  Getting more fruits and veggies will help with this, but another important element is switching to whole grains.  Trading white breads, rice, flours, etc for whole wheat or other whole grains.

Substitute lean proteins and dairies in lieu of full fat.  You don't have to eliminate pork or beef, but there are leaner cuts and ways to prepare meats that aren't so fattening.

Eliminate (to the best of your ability) any processed foods.  The drop in sodium alone will make you drop water weight.  This goes in line with eating clean.  Most processed foods are not considered clean.  Same goes for fried foods.

When I DO splurge on fatty foods/sugary foods/high calorie foods, I make it count!  If I'm going to do it, I'm not going to waste the calories on something that's just okay in flavor.  I also don't eat 5 lbs of it.  Just enough to enjoy the flavor, but not feel like crap afterward (I generally still do anyway, because my body is no longer used to it).  Remember that 3500 calories=1 lbs of fat.  100 extra calories a day x 365 days in a year=36500 calories=12 lbs in one year, just from eating an excess of 100 calories- which also means cutting or burning an extra 100 calories a day will make you LOSE that 12 lbs a year.

Also, i don't obsess about the scale.  I don't weigh any more than any other day, and even then, I don't usually do it that often.  I recommend 1-2 times a week, about the same time each day that you weigh.  I measure more by how my clothes fit.  I've gone from a 20/22 to a 14/16.

I know this is a lot, but take it one step at a time, and do what works for YOU.  There are also groups on here (I highly recommend one called Healthy Weight Loss) that can offer lots of support and ideas. 

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