Losing weight can take time, but the steps required to do so are straightforward and simple. The top tips are:

· Control calories
· Manage macronutrients
· Time your food correctly
· Eat healthy food options
· Consume foods from a variety of sources
· Keep eating enjoyable

These six steps may seem simplistic, and that is because they are. The problem with losing weight is not that the steps are hard, but rather than people lack motivation or discipline.

Let us take a close look at each tip.

Control calories

Calories in versus calories out are the thing that determines if a person maintains, loses, or gains weight. If a person eats the number of calories his or her body burns, that individual will maintain weight. If a person eats more, then that individual will gain weight. If a person eats less, then he or she will lose weight.

For example, if your calorie need, which is the number of calories your body burns each day due to normal body processes as well as level of activity, is 2000, then consuming 2000 will result in weight maintenance. If you consume 2100 calories, over time you will gain weight. If you consume 1900 calories, over time you will lose weight.

Barring some special condition, the idea behind weight loss, gain, or maintenance is that simple.

Manage micronutrients

When it comes to body composition, health, and performance, one must consider macronutrients, which are proteins, carbs, and fat. The body needs each of these nutrients, though the exact amount a person needs varies upon individual differences. A good starting point for many people might be 30 percent of calories from protein, 40 percent of calories from carbs, and 30 percent of calories from fat.

Time your food correctly

You should not, and likely cannot, eat all of your calories at one meal. You should not eat all of your calories at one time of day. The reasons for this are many, but suffice it to say the body needs fuel throughout the day to power the various functions it performs. To provide this fuel, a person must eat throughout the day. The exact layout varies based on the individual.

Eat healthy food options

This suggestion can be ambiguous for some. It simply means to eat whole grains, lean protein, fresh fruits, and fresh vegetables as frequently as possible, while minimizing the consumption of processed foods and elements such as alcohol.

Consume foods from a variety of sources

Eating a variety of food sources helps prevent food boredom and aids with micronutrient consumption. This topic deserves its own post, as the subject matter is broad in scope.

Keep eating enjoyable

You have to enjoy eating. Do not get me wrong; sometimes you might have to suffer through a healthy meal when you want pizza, but as much as possible you should try to keep eating enjoyable. Doing so improves your chances of success. This step includes eating a variety of food options, using a variety of seasonings, switching up food combinations, and understanding no food is off limits, among other considerations.

Now, if those tips seem simplistic, and you have tried them without success, maybe we need to look deeper. This may be even truer if you are significantly overweight or even obese.

Every week the news or other media outlets remind us that obesity is an epidemic. If you are not sure the term fits, look up the definition. Literally millions of people “suffer” from being overweight. I use the term suffer lightly, since many people are the cause of their suffering.

In many instances, the cure for obesity is clear—lose weight through food control and activity. Some people have underlying issues that contribute to, though are usually not totally responsible for, a person’s obesity.

A person does not become obese overnight. If you are an obese person, you know this. You know it took years to reach the weight you are now. It will take years for you to lose the weight and gain true health and fitness. However, the end result is success.

Start today, stick with the program, and you will be successful. It will take hard work. Here are few steps to get you started.

Admit there is a problem

In almost every case, the first step to dealing with a problem is admitting there is one. If you do not take responsibility for your obesity and health problems, if you constantly make excuses, or if you tell yourself you are happy with your physical condition, then making changes will be difficulty if not impossible.

Look at yourself in the mirror. Take a deep breath. Admit you have a problem. Cry if you have to, get angry if you have to. Then make a decision to do something about it.

Talk to a doctor

While I would like to tell you to jump head first into a new nutrition and exercise program, I suggest you visit a doctor first. Many obese people have underlying health conditions, whether they know it or not. It is a good idea to have a doctor check you out, determine if any issues are present, and have the doctor provide recommendations or restrictions. This will help you, a trainer, or a nutritionist select the best course of action.

Talk to a fitness professional

Even if you do not have the money for a trainer, nutritionist, or other fitness professional, talk to one. Ideally, find professional such who offers a holistic approach, including exercise, nutrition, counseling, and constant support. An individual session is not expensive and many professionals will provide you with a free consult. The goal here is to talk to the fitness professional about your goals, what the doctor said, and any other issues you face, while also providing you an opportunity to ask questions and get real answers.

Develop a plan

Whether on your own or with the ongoing support of a doctor and/or fitness professional, create a plan for exercise and nutrition, with the goal of losing weight and improving health. Be sure to put thought into it and create a plan that focuses on now and the future. Create a detailed plan at least three months in advance, with an outline for 12 months. The specifics will vary and should be based on your situation. No cookie-cutter plans.

Implement the plan

Put in the work. Adjust as needed over time. Do not make excuses. Do not give up.

Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, run coaching, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, and the International Sports Sciences Association. Nathan has 17 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.