Allow me to begin by reminding my readers that "diet" is a four letter word. Not as in, "My diet is normally healthy," but as in "I am on a diet."
When you seek to lose weight, it is important to think of the long term. You might be losing weight for a special event, but the idea is to maintain your new shape, not bounce back to the old one the very next week. If you go on some sort of special "diet" in which you deprive your body of nutrients to lose pounds fast, you may indeed succeed at losing those pounds, but as soon as you return to eating adequately, you will likely put them back on.
The same, of course, applies to exercise. If you exercise fanatically to lose some weight, adding increased calorie burn to your reduced caloric intake, you are likely to lose weight. ...and likely to put it back on when you return to a more sustainable lifestyle.
Ideally, to lose weight and keep it off, we need to eat enough to sustain a slightly reduced body size. We need to exercise more, both to increase the metabolism and build muscle, not just to burn calories. Burning calories makes you hungry and less likely to continue your fat loss program. We have all been there, surrendering to starvation before we reach our goal and, feeling defeated, giving up the whole project in disgust.
So how do we do this? Create a diet plan for life--learn to eat for your body's needs: eat adequately to sustain your body and watch those nutrients--we tend to be hungry when we are not getting enough nutrition even if we ARE getting adequate calories! Which is why we seem to be able to consume enormous quantities of non-nutritive treats, but rather less of life-sustaining foods. It is harder to overeat steak than chips. It is also the case that a starving body craves fat, sugar, and salt--the nutrients that are scarce in nature. If your body feels starved, you will find yourself drawn to exactly the things you ought to avoid to lose weight! It turns out this is not a failure of will, but a built-in mechanism to avoid starvation in times of famine. Thus, consuming a nourishing diet is the first key to long-term fat loss.
Is late-night eating your nemesis? It is probable that you are starved for nutrients and your body is driving you to distraction when your sales-resistance is lowest. And late at night, what do we seek? Fast foods that are full of sugar, salt, and fat, of course. Eat right all day and you can win the fight against late-night eating.
Here is another fact: Modern humans exist in the first time in history when people can be malnourished and obese simultaneously. This is because we consume manufactured treats that reverse the trend of the natural scarcity of sugar, salt, and fat. These items, while inexpensive, are not nourishing, and lead to overconsuming and obesity. Even so-called "diet" products with artificial fats and sweeteners fail to help us trim down because they are non-nutritive and thus continue the tendency of the body to crave the real thing. The food industry knows what your body craves and generously manufactures a wide variety of such items to capitalize on your natural scarcity eating tendencies. Think before you consume.
In your new diet plan, arrange to eat FOR your day, not after. As with a machine, the human body works most efficiently when it is fed FOR what is has to do, not as you are winding down for the night. Research demonstrates that consuming the same number of calories per day late in the day versus early leads to weight gain. This means your mother was right--you need a good breakfast to start your day. It also means that eating a large, late dinner makes it tougher to lose weight and easier to gain. Additionally, breakfast cereals are better for livestock than humans. Humans do not do well on very high-carbohydrate starters. We need to train our bodies to use protein for sustained energy rather than carbs for high, short bursts of energy. Remember that high-carb consumption, after that nice burst of energy, leads to high insulin output and fat storage as well as the tendency to stress the pancreas and develop diabetes as we age.
When you begin to plan your exercise program, think about exercising both to raise your metabolism and to build muscle, a higher-calorie burning tissue than fat. This means do both aerobic and resistance exercises. See a trainer is you need help planning this program. Remember that exercise must be consistent to work--choose a program that you can sustain for the long haul, not one that you will become bored of after a week. And particularly not one that you hate! It is not a failure of will when you stop doing something you hate. You will stop exercising at some point unless you find a way to have fun at it.
Now you have some ideas of how to create a sustainable weight-control lifestyle. If you need a boost to get you started or to get you past a plateau or just to help you stay on track, clinical hypnosis might be the key. Clinical hypnosis has been shown to help individuals break bad eating habits, learn to control portion size, and maintain the motivation to change. Many of us who know what we should be doing to lose weight need some support and guidance to stay on track. Clinical hypnosis offers a self-empowering way to help you break through those barriers and lose that extra fat once and for all. When you come in for hypnosis, you are learning to tap into inner resources to find your own motivation and make long-lasting changes.