Whether you want to fit into a bikini by summertime or fight off post-holiday weight gain, shedding pounds can be a challenge. With so many diet options out there, it’s hard to know which to choose. However, by sticking to the basic concept of burning more calories than you consume, you’re sure to lose some extra pounds. Stick to your diet and exercise schedule, along with some insider tips, for a long-term weight-loss plan.
Reduce your diet by 500 calories each day, for a total of 3,500 calories each week, to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week. Focus on lean protein such as nuts, fish, poultry, beans and eggs. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Skip sugary soda, juice and alcohol -- drink only water, with lemon or lime if you want some flavor.
Eat regular snacks to avoid hunger. Think Greek yogurt, nuts, vegetables and fruit, and skip the chips and sugary snacks. Plan your snacks ahead of time to avoid eating junk food.
Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of moderate aerobic activity nearly every day for a total of 150 to 300 minutes of exercise each week. Walk, jog, bike, hike, swim or dance.
Perform strength-training exercises at least two times per week. Strength training itself will burn extra calories, but because muscles burn more calories than fat, you’ll even burn more calories while at rest.
Write down everything you eat. Keep a food diary to keep track of every calorie that you consume. This will keep you motivated and make you think twice before you pick up that bag of chips.
Work out with a friend to keep up your motivation. Make regular workout appointments with your friends to avoid skipping workouts on days that you feel less motivated.