So this started as a reply to a comment to my other blog, but the comment got so long so I just figured I'd post it as a new blog. I've been at this since Jan 1st and have lost about 30 lbs in 2 months. Here is what has been working for me so far. Before getting too in depth... typical disclaimer... what works for me may not necesarily work for you. You have to find what works for and motivates you. Results may vary. Also, you should get the advice of a healthcare professional before starting any diet or exercise program :)

The main things that work for me to lose weight is: having goals, tracking everything, and staying positive.

My Goals:

It was my New Year's Resolution to run a 5K this year and eventually a half marathon in under 2.5 hrs. I've always been more a strength than endurance type person, so this is challenging everything I've ever know about myself; I always used the excuse I wasn't built to be a runner. With my body type, having bad joints, and being prone to repetitive stress type injuries, I seriously don't know if I can make the half marathon goal, but I'm going to try! With the bad joints losing weight is a must if I'm going to meet this goal! Also there were a couple times last year where I had my BP checked and it was in the "borderline" area. Previously it was always fine. I'm not much for taking meds and have a family history or heart disease, so I figured I should probably do something if I want to live a long, healthy, med-free life for me and my kids. (I just had my BP taken last week & it was 97/75, so apparently this has worked wonders for that too!)

Tracking Everything:

As far as tracking, I've been recording everything I eat on the My Fitness Pal App and sticking to about 1400-1500 calories a day. (I've had about 6 "cheat" days in the last 2 months.)  I don't really ever get the I'm going to pop out a food-baby "full" feeling so I can easily consume 1000's of extra calories if I don't pay close attention-Yeah, I said 1000's- I did that when I ate an entire pizza in one night & the entire box of Valentine's chocolates, and again when I bought a box of thin mints and shortbread cookies thinking I would be strong enough only to eat one serving a day... Yeah, right! Both boxes were gone that night :-( . On the flip side, I usually don't get the super-starving feeling either. Sure there are times when I get hungry, but a lot of time it's boredome or goes away if I drink some water or just go about my business. So if I pay attention, I can do pretty good. I need the tracking to tell my brain when I'm hungry and how much I should be eating everyday. Instead of just eating out of boredom or stress.  The tracking helps me realize what I'm putting in my body. The tracking also gives me the choice to eat junk food or choose healthier options. If I only have 300-400 calories left by dinnertime its up to me to decide if I want that candybar or desert that tastes amazing, but isn't going to do anything for my hunger, or have a plate full of greens, or  vegies, some fruit, and a serving of lean protein. You would probably be surprised by my choices, but I probably choose the junk food more often than I should. It really all comes down to calories consumed vs. calories burned. To increase the calories burned, and to prep for the running, I have been riding the exercise bike 30 min a day- sometimes longer if I skipped a day or if there is a good show on the DVR or I just downloaded some good music :) and going rollerblading with my son at the skating rink on Sundays for 2-3 hrs.

Staying Positive:

This kinda goes back to the blog I wrote about being my own worst enemy.  I am not perfect and do and will fall off the wagon. I am human and have bad days. Bad days can make the scale go up due to the junk food and water retention. I have to keep in mind that if the scale went up 3 or 4 lbs, it is likely water retention and NOT that I gained 3 lbs of fat. (Each pound of fat is 3500 calories, so 1 or 2 bad meals isn't the end of the world.) Even though the number maybe depressing, and I may already feel like crap for being weak and giving in, I have to remember that extra weight on the scale is mostly just water retention from the food and salt. A few days of clean eating and I will be back on the downward trend. It can also be hard to stay positive because the scale doesn't always reflect my hard work. In fact the scale sometimes hates my hard work. The harder I work out the more the inflamation and water retention in my muscles. I tend to think I am more prone to this than most, because I am always seeing people post that they needed to lose a little more to meet their goal so they worked out and was under. That totally doesn't work for me! If I weigh, work out and then reweigh, I gain. I may not see results of working out for a few days or until the inflamation goes down. I am also a female of childbearing age. That being said, I can retain 5 lbs of water for no reason other than hormones. It has nothing to do with fat loss or gain. It can be hard to stay positive, but I have found being positive and keeping all this in mind is what helps my mental battle to keep on track, and to get me back on track.