The first step would be to recognize what your current ‘eating style’ is now.
Do you cook for yourself or eat out?
Eat when hungry, three meals a day, or graze from morning til night?
What do you like to eat? What do you abhor?
The first step is to not to change what you eat, but when you eat it. Most people have some degree of insulin resistance which is a major contributor to ‘creeping obesity’. It happens over decades of eating way too much sugar (the western diet…). Give your cells a break by going long periods without eating anything. Fortunately, you sleep for about eight hours, so leverage that by eating lunch later and skipping dinner, or skipping breakfast, producing the equivalent of a 12–14 hour fast. At the very least, stop snacking altogether. Drink something unsweetened to mitigate the urge to scarf down a bag of Cheetos.
Step two is to make your own food. Yup, reserve eating out for special occasions, but on a daily basis, prepare your own meals. Not everyone feels they have the time to do this, but you don’t have to cook every meal just before you want to eat; consider spending some time on the weekend doing what a young friend of mine (who lost a substantial amount of weight and has kept it off for years…) does. He prepares all of his lunches for the week on Sunday evening. Sometimes he does the dinners too. This takes some organizational skill, but those are good skills to acquire whether you are on a diet or not.
Step three is to make healthy food you like. This may come as a surprise, but fat doesn’t make you fat. In fact, fat makes you skinny. Sugars and starches (digestable carbohydrates) are the principle suspects in creating insulin resistance and what metabolizes into fat. Instead of eating potatoes and bread for every meal (yes, a hamburger bun is bread…), substitute mashed turnips or cauliflower.
To be completely honest, this is probably the most difficult step, because our food preferences are deeply ingrained habits. In a lot of cases, when I say broccoli, you say ‘bleah!’, but often its simply a case of having eaten poorly prepared vegetables or, in the case of people who don’t like fish, rotten rather than fresh fish, overcooked and poorly seasoned this and that. Cooking isn’t just a nice hobby, its a necessary skill for a healthy life-style.
I am, modesty aside, a skilled cook, but it was still challenging to set aside things I really like to eat (risotto) and learn a new repetoire of dishes.
Finally, and perhaps oddly in last place, is exercise. Exercise has a lot of health benefits, but in terms of weight loss and weight maintenance, it is more of an enabler that a prime mover. If you exercise and eat wrong, you’ll get frustrated, because it doesn’t address the core reason you are fat—insulin resistance. On the other hand, if you are doing the rest of the program, exercise can speed up the process considerably, because if your body doesn’t have glucose to burn, it substitutes ketones, which it gets from your (considerable) fat stores. Since you are in ketosis (burning ketones instead of glucose), exercise helps burn MORE ketones and thus accelerates the weight loss, all the while allowing you to enjoy it’s other considerable benefits.
I didn’t invent this and I don’t have a web site or a book to sell, but if you follow the program, you’ll not only lose the weight (not in a month, but you didn’t get fat in a month either…), but you’ll be able to sustain this lifestyle for the rest of your long and healthy life.