If you want to be healthy and in great shape then you need to eat healthy foods and exercise. It's as simple as that. You don't need a crazy fad diet, meal replacement shakes, or diet pills. There are a lot of "quick fixes" out there that might help you drop weight, but not in a healthy way....and not in a way that you can sustain.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to eat healthy. You can spend hours in the gym, but if you are still eating junk then you won't see the results that you want.
The good news is that healthy food doesn't have to be boring! I have to admit that I love food. To me it's more than just fuel for my body. I love to cook. I love playing around with new recipes. And I LOVE to eat. I try to eat clean (healthy/home cooked) about 90% of the time, and I don't beat myself about cheating every now and again.
Eating clean is a lifestyle more than a diet. In a nutshell you want to eat fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and complex carbs. You need to plan on eating give or six times a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks). You can find a cheat sheet on teambeachbody.com that lists food by category. You'll want to stick to the top three tiers for the first two weeks. After those two weeks you can have one cheat meal per week.
So where to begin?
1. Baby Steps! If you are currently eating junk and not working out you need to ease into a healthier lifestyle. I suggest starting with making changes to your diet. Eat clean for two weeks before you start adding workouts into the mix. When you start to workout you are going to be HUNGRY, so it's important that you have a good handle on what to eat.
2. Make a plan and stick with it! When I first started eating clean I made myself a menu for lunches and dinners for a week at a time. I also made sure that I had a variety of healthy snacks on hand. The first two weeks of eating clean are the hardest to get through, but it's just two weeks. You can do it! After that two weeks you may be surprised to find that you aren't craving things that aren't good for you. You might even find yourself craving healthy food.
3. Step away from the scale!!!! I totally believe in keeping track of your progress when you are working to lose weight. However, I don't think the scale is the best way to track progress. When you start to workout you will lose fat and gain muscle. The numbers on the scale might stay the same or even go up even though you are actually getting leaner. You can use a measuring tape to measure around the largest part of your chest, biceps, thighs, and your waist. Taking before and after pictures is also a great way to really see the progress you've made.
4. Set long term AND short term goals. Setting short term goals in a great way to keep you motivated (which will help you get to those long term goals as well). A short term goal could be eating clean for two entire weeks without a cheat meal, working out a certain number of days each week, or working up to being able to do more reps of a certain exercise. A long term goal could be something like fitting into a certain clothing size or running a 5K.
5. Don't beat yourself up! If you end up eating something that you shouldn't, missing a workout, or not making progress as quickly as you'd like to IT'S OKAY! This isn't a diet with a time limit. This is your life. This is you eating healthy and getting strong. If you get off track try to figure out why it happened so that you can prevent it from happening again.
***I am not a doctor, nutrition specialist, or personal trainer. Basically, I am not an expert. If an expert is advising you on your diet and/or exercise please follow their advice!