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There are two important steps to losing weight and being able to keep the weight from returning later. Here they are:

Step 1 - Eat Less

Food, including water, is the energy your body needs to exist. Your body needs only so much in order to operate. In order to lose weight, the energy (food) taken in must be less than the energy burned.

Here are some ideas for applying Step 1.

- Don't eat after 7 p.m. at night. If you stick to this, you cut out late night snacks, which are a killer for adding weight.

- Eat smaller portions. If you cut your portions, you cut down on the amount of energy coming in. Portion control is a very big thing in this day and age of mega meals and super sized food. This alone will be one of the biggest ways to eat less.

- Eat a sensible breakfast. You need to get your body functioning again after not eating since 7 p.m. last night. You are breaking your fast. Remember portion control. Everything in moderation.

- No snacks between meals. This will also make sure you are eating less.

Step 2 - Exercise More

Don't worry, you won't need to run 12 miles a day or anything like that. You just want to use more energy than in the past. In order to do this, you will need to increase your activity. Don't think of it as exercise, think of it as activity. You will be surprised at how easy it is to increase your activity level!

Here are some ideas for applying Step 2.

- While you are watching TV, don't just sit there. Move your arms around, get up and walk around the room, do jumping jacks, stand up and sit down. All you want to do is make sure you are NOT just sitting there watching TV. ANY activity is better than none.

- Take your dog for a walk every day. It will greatly benefit your dog, also. If you do not have a dog, take a walk anyway. It doesn't have to be very far. Just take a walk however far you want. Just do more than you have been and you will feel better and start burning more energy than previously.

- Take the stairs whenever possible. No more elevators.

- If you can, start weight training. Muscle burns energy efficiently. If you build muscle, it replaces fat and makes you a fat burning machine!

Try to think of other creative ways to cut calories and increase energy expendature. I'm sure you can come up with many more ideas. This will be a great start for you. Keep in mind it is always easier to start, and stick with these steps if you have someone to share in your activity.

A final thought - The best time to plant a tree was 5 years ago. The second best time is right now!

This can be applied to losing weight. The best time to start may have been in the past, but the second best time is right now. Don't get discouraged. This is a lifetime commitment and a life changing goal. Be easy on yourself, but be committed and you will see progress!

Note: Visit with your doctor before starting any exercise or diet regime.

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