Since there have been books written on each of these subject, I am only giving you the quick down and dirty of it so that you can get going. Over at SuperNatural Energy Balls, Sadee Whip has a great ebook free to download as well as some great educational videos on the science of your body- swing over there for a visit and tell her Angie says hi ;)
Before we even talk about calories or exercise, it is important to look at the QUALITY of food that we are taking in. The goal is to get the freshest, most gorgeous food, closest to it's pure form that we can possibly get. That means very little processed foods, the least damaged, not brought half way from around the world and has been sitting on a boat for months. Of course, grapes from Chile is a much better choice that the box of macaroni and cheese! Your body will keep every stinking calorie you give it if you have only been feeding it the equivalent of salted cardboard and wall paper paste.
Stop for a minute and get REAL about why you started putting on the weight to begin with. Take a look at the amount of calories that you take in and the portions that you are really eating. This number should NEVER fall below 1200 calories- ever.
No eating past an average of 7pm. This is depending on when you go to sleep and when you get up. You need time to eliminate everything from your stomach and system. And if you ate that steak dinner with potato and desert finishing about 9pm, though you have fallen into a food coma, you are not getting quality sleep because your body is working hard to digest that immense amount of food! No quality rest there my friend. A doctor friend of mine from Southern California calls the habit of eating past 6pm The Sumo Diet. He suggests to eat small plates, appetizer sized meals, for dinner.
Next, take a look at your activity level. This one is a little tricky. After years of being sedentary, this may be a habit that we need to change and old habits die hard. Stick with me and at the end I will share a habit secret! If you sit behind a desk all day, know that this is not what our bodies were intended for. make sure that you are doing something to really make your body work. Sure, weights in a gym could work but try some old favs too: Volleyball, kickball, hiking with an incline, kayaking. Variety, Baby! It's the spice of life, right?
Health issues. While I have several friends that are doctors in various fields, I am no doctor. You know your body. If you have issues, be responsible for them- NOW. If you are diabetic, pre-diabetic, have it in your family, put down the damn sugar already. If you have back issues, you likely have other issues in your body that are correlated to whichever vertebrae that corresponds with it. Get your self checked out. Hint: if you start cleaning up your food intake, your health issues start to go away. ALL of my health issues were further magnified by my increased weight.
Emotional issues. Negative self talk, STOP IT. Right here. Right now. Get that you are an amazing human being and you have so much to add to this world. Work on whatever you need to to get complete around it. For more than a year, I didn't lose a single pound because I hadn't addressed anything emotionally. Because my relationship was lacking, I would find decadence in food and had become an emotional eater in order to feel fulfilled and that would just start a downward spiral because now I felt bad because I was gaining even more weight. I was very suppressed in my self expression and didn't even realize just how much. Don't go to sleep with your best music still in you. Sing it, Baby!
Habit buster: to tackle a mountain, we take one step at a time. Leo over at Zen Habits shared with me this little trick... Start a new habit by doing it for only five minutes a day. Even if you can easily do more- only do five minutes. To start a new habit, it needs to be something that you can do with no problem. As soon as it becomes a problem, we are likely to stop.
Remember that no matter how you have been eating for years, your body is constantly regenerating. Your organs are regenerating even as we speak. In seven years, your ENTIRE body will have regenerated itself. You can do this. It is never too late and you are never stuck with anything. And if you need anything, I am right here with you. You are not alone in this.
Love and light,