The summer is coming. Time to reduce layers and uncover the winter’s shame and excess comfort food. No guilt trip here, as we all gain a few during the colder months, and getting back on track is never easy.

If you loaded up with carbs, empty calories, and overindulged during the holidays you can shrink the waist line. The bottom line is that calories do count and if there is not enough burning of them—you gain. Pretty plain and simple, but developing good habits can make stating fit a lifetime achievement. Expert fitness expert Janice Taylor wrote for HuffPost that it is necessary to make a longer commitment. You need to make this part of not only goals, but dreams.

She asks: “What activities are you engaged in that are both significant and enjoyable; that lie at the intersection between pleasure and meaning? Are you pursuing your dreams, your desires?” Once you know what you want to do, visualize it!

The following five tips will help you get started on the journey. Quick fixes don’t work, and neither do fad diets. Make a commitment to stick to the plan to lose weight, and cut calories. Be honest with yourself about what you desire to achieve and be realistic. Work to anticipate the pitfalls like eating out or social events that sabotage diets.

WebMD found: “Fad diets may promise you that counting carbs or eating a mountain of grapefruit will make the pounds drop off. But when it comes to weight loss, it's calories that count. Weight loss comes down to burning more calories than you take in.”

But dieting takes more than willpower you will need support from family and friends to encourage you to keep going. You can search for community groups and buddies that will keep you on track, and give support during times of wanting to give up.

The APA reported that people who participate in a weight-loss program with a buddy did better on their diets. In addition to teaming up with friends, these enrollees were given social support in addition to standard treatment. Two-thirds of those who enrolled with friends had kept their weight off six months after the meetings ended. In contrast, only a quarter of those who attended on their own had achieved that same success. Make changes in your daily routine by cutting back on sugar, caffeine, and soda drinks.

Start becoming proactive when ordering out for lunch or dinner. Instead of a hamburger, go for a grilled chicken or salmon that is lightly seasoned. Skip the salt and high-calorie coffee drink and go for an Americano instead. Watch portions is the best thing to cut back on calories.

If you’re consuming 1,800 calories a day cut it down to 1,500 or 1,200. Check with you doctor first. Eat breakfast, so it will keep you from snacking before lunch. Keep it to 400 calories or less with an English muffin, one egg and feta cheese. Nuts, berries and a banana with almond milk is another filling start. Having breakfast keeps the metabolism going.

Experts say to eat within the first hour of waking up. Researchers found that eating breakfast keeps people on their exercise program!

WebMD reported: “Regular breakfast eaters were more likely to exercise regularly. And women who ate breakfast regularly tended to eat fewer calories overall during the day. Those men and women who ate breakfast cereal had lower overall fat intake, compared to those who ate other breakfast foods.” If you don’t indulge occasionally you will give up, so having a bagel with lox won’t hurt you. Don’t starve yourself as the body knows what you’re doing!

Eventually you will desire more food or sugar to keep going before the crash. Not to mention the headaches, mood swings, and fatigue you will have to deal with. It also impairs glucose tolerance. Women’s Health shared that this plan is doomed for failure.

“By the end of the day, your body's demanding immediate calories rather than the ones you stored from last night. You'll give in and eat a ton, but the next morning you wake up and aren’t hungry. Pretty quickly, this effect can end up pushing your entire eating schedule back.”

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