I personally don't believe in 'diets'! What the word diet means to me - the foods I choose to eat throughout the day. It does not mean some miracle solution (pill, shake, drink, regimen) that will change your body with the flash of an eye. Losing weight and keeping it off is a process, it will take hard work and dedication. Just like anything we desire it will be worth the wait. When you take a strategic approach to eating healthy, the process will be slow, but you will have a better chance of keeping the pounds off for good!
What to do:
Start small: You want to make this a sustainable lifestyle. It is not a 'diet' that you get to stop at the end of a week, month or year. This is a lifestyle, and you want to be able to maintain it indefinitely. Making one change at a time, try one a week or one a month and adding on from there will allow each change you make to become habit. The less you have to think about each step the easier it is to maintain.
Determine what drives you: Do you want to fit into that's dress you used to wear? Do you want to run a marathon? Do you want to feel lighter and more energized? Find your goal and make it the reason you commit to work so hard.
Find healthy foods you love: It may take some time to reset your pallet, but when you do, (get rid of a sugar and salt heavy diet) your body will start to crave clean natural foods. I promise they are delicious! Keep your fridge full with fresh produce and healthy options to make this life change less challenging. After a few weeks it will begin to feel like second nature.
Do not focus on deprivation: I know from my own experience when you focus on the thing you are not having it becomes the only thing you want. Instead focus on the positive, like the new amazing recipes you can try, and how much more energized you feel. The thoughts you keep in the front of your mind are typically the ones that beat out the others;)
Pick an exercise you enjoy: hitting the gym each day should not be a chore. Try a new group fitness class, try yoga or pilates, go for a run on the river or in the park. There are many different options out there, find the one you enjoy, if it feels like time flew, because you were having fun, then you have found a good match. After a good work out I personally feel lifted and happier thats the goal.
Plan ahead: allow yourself to enjoy life and the food you eat. If your are attending a BBQ and know there will not be as many clean options, try to keep your week ahead extra clean so they when you will have space for a little extra. I also like to eat something good prior to attending parties where there will not be as many healthy options.
Give yourself a break: It is not possible to plan for every scenario all the time. If you slip up, don't freak out and beat yourself up about it. It happened, get over it and move on. When you dwell on it, you tend to continue on a downward spiral, full of junk food. Respect yourself and get back on track.
Always set new goals: Since your are starting small, there will be more things to eliminate, new exercises to add, new milestones to reach. Set new and attainable goals throughout this journey and your will make your ultimate goal fully sustainable! Even then set new goals, maybe sign up for a competition?
Never stop challenging yourself. And always think positively!