To lose 1 pound, we have to lose 3500 calories..... That can seem overwhelming, because it IS a lot of calories. But when you think about it in a weekly perspective, it's a lot less intimidating, and a lot more reachable.
To burn 3500 calories in one week through exercise, it will require at least 5 hours of exercise. It is important to get in more than just a quick 30 minutes when trying to lose weight. If time is an issue for you, interval training (high intensity) will burn calories at a much faster rate and keeps your metabolism going for up to 36 hours post workout.
When you incorporate at least 5 hours of exercise per week, with lowering you caloric intake by 500 calories per day, you can expect to lose 2-3 pounds per week (probably more at the beginning and slowing gradually to the 2-3 pounds).
When put like that, I know it is tempting to think that all calories are equal, but beware of this line of thinking. There is a great chance that you will lose weight successfully by following these two rules alone, but you will have a higher body fat percentage if you are consuming higher fat/sugar foods. Body fat doesn't look any better on a smaller body than it does on a bigger one, and for sure doesn't get you to your best level of health. It also leaves you addicted to all of the foods that got you so far off track to begin with. You have to say no to those choices for good, only enjoying your favorite things in moderation, never giving back in to the addiction of unhealthy foods.
It sounds real easy when I write it, but believe me when I tell you that I enjoy food more than I should (sweets especially), and have my own struggles and a very good understanding of the challenges and temptations you face daily.
One thing I highly recommend doing is keeping your biggest weaknesses out of the house no matter what. If you have a weakness for cake and keep cake in the house, you're going to eat cake. If soda is your vice and you keep it in the house because the kids love it, you're going to drink soda..... Maybe you tell yourself that you have to keep pop tarts on hand for your youngest son, but truth be told, the pop tarts are being eaten by you...... Don't buy it. Don't keep it in the house. You WILL eventually eat it. Don't set yourself up to fail.
One more tip that will help you succeed, is to make sure you eat and never let yourself go hungry. When you try to starve yourself skinny, eventually you are going to binge. The best thing you can do for your metabolism is to eat several small meals per day, keeping them around 300-400 calories per meal. You will never feel "stuffed", you will never feel starved, and you will control your cravings. Cravings can be triggered by hunger. So, always try to stay satisfied. Plan ahead to make it easier. And don't make it complicated. Eat yogurt, fruit, nuts, protein bars, cheese, cold cuts (the lean ones), raw veggies (omit the ranch, sorry!), etc... Do these for snacks and meals throughout the day, and try to enjoy a small healthy meal for dinner.
Best of luck to you on your weight loss goals!! If you have questions, you can always email me. If you're diligent and consistent, you will be successful! And don't forget to log your foods!!