The key to weight loss is balancing your calories. I find it easier if you can visualize a balance scale. The center represents your body. The dish on the left represents the calories you consume. The dish on the right represents all the calories you burn in a day. When you take in the same number of calories that you use up, the scale stays balanced and your weight stays the same. If you eat less calories or do more exercise to burn calories it causes the scale to tip and you lose weight. If you eat more calories than your body can use, then the scale tips the other way and you gain weight. One pound of body weight is equal to 3500 calories. That means in order to lose weight you have to create what is called a calorie deficit either by eating fewer calories, burning more calories with exercise, or both. To lose 1-2 pounds per week, you would need to decrease your calorie intake by 500-1000 calories per day. Gaining a pound is as easy as eating 250 more calories a day for 2 weeks or skipping a daily 250 calorie burn workout. (Makes you think twice about taking that extra cookie or dessert!)
This is what I have learned. Hopefully it makes some sense. Basically, being aware of your calorie intake and how much you use or burn can help you decide to modify your diet. This is what has worked for me. I started by making small changes. The main thing I did was decreased my portion sizes. This is huge! I also kept a food diary and tracked my calories in the beginning. There are a number of ways you can do this. I used an app on my phone, but pen and paper work just fine too.