To lose weight you need to BURN more calories then you EAT. You do not necessarily need to exercise regularly to accomplish this, since your body burns calories all day. Your weight loss will be much more rapid, and you can eat more, if you do find time to slip in some regular cardiovascular exercise.
So to start out you want to try to drop your caloric intake by 400-500 calories. This will most likely get your burning more then you eat.. unless you are rapidly gaining weight right now, which means you are taking in a LOT more then you burn. If this is the case you need to get more drastic, but for now 400-500 fewer calories per day should do.
How do you do that? It is actually quite simple, but I would need to know your currently diet to make it very precise. I will tell you some pretty easy and common ways to cut 500 calories a day out.
DO NOT EAT OR DRINK ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:
SODA - just 3 12oz regular sodas per day has about 450 calories You can drink diet though, especially if you need caffeine. I HATE diet, but believe me I got used to it. I still don't like it but the only reason I really need to drink soda is for caffeine.
MAYO - People think eating sandwiches is healthy, not if you have mayo on them. I know a lot of people can't handle this, but use a good mustard instead. You will be surprised, you can really live without mayo. You may need to give up things like Tuna Salad, Chicken Salad, Potatoe Salad completely if you cannot handle these without the mayo. BUT, low fat mayo in moderation is exceptable.
CHIPS - One exception, feel free to eat anything BAKED. I love baked lays. They make baked ruffles.. and there are baked tortilla chips. Never eat cheetos.. doritoes.. fritos.. potatoe chips, etc. These are extremely high in calories and saturated fat.
FRENCH FRIES - anything FRIED. Sorry guys, you just gotta live without.
ICE CREAM - You can eat non-fat frozen yogurt or LOW fat ice cream, but for reasons I will discuss below its not a good idea either.
Donuts, Bagels, Candy, Pastries (no cookies!) - These things go straight to fat in your body.
JUICE and most FRUIT. - Juice is death!!! FRUIT is ****. its all Fructose, which is a type of sugar, and WILL cause you to store fat. Now don't take this as never eat any fruits, fruits such as blueberries, strawberries, blackberries with high fibre content and low GI is ok. Fruit is great if you are living a "healthy" lifestyle, but for losing FAT it will hinder your progress. Mod Edit: Fruit is fine! It contains high fiber content which controls the release of fructose. Don't skimp on fruit
SALAD DRESSINGS & OIL - Go for NON-FAT dressing.. they still taste good.. especially honey mustard and ranch. One serving of dressing has 100+ calories!
CHEESE - unless you can find non-fat.. skip it. You can live without it.
Ok so what to make sure you ARE eating:
PROTEIN: protein should be a BIG part of your diet, this is why. Protein fills you up, but has half the calories as fat. Protein also does not cause your body to store fat, but carbs do. I will explain later.
WATER: This is VERY important for a few reasons. Drink it all day long, constantly, force yourself too even when you are not thirsty. There are techniques to do this, fill a glass and drink it all at once. Then fill the glass again to take with you or whatever. Why water. Well first off you need a ton of water for your body to burn fat. It will increase you metabolism and help you burn burn burn. But here is the reason why I think its great.. pounding a glass of water can trick your body into thinking it is not hungry.. it is great for when you get late night cravings... slam some water and go to bed.. in the morning you wake up starving.. before breakfast drink a ton of water and you wont eat as much. Use it to fill you up.
VEGGIES: Vegetables fill you up, but have little or no calories. You can use them as snacks and fillers. I prefer carrots. They are crunchy like chips, have a little taste.. and really have no calories.
So what good stuff can you eat though?
SNACKS: try nuts or peanut butter. Nuts are super high in fat, but the oils you get from it are good and essential to the body. Try a trail mix, even one with some chocolate in it. Its far better then candy.
STEAK, CHICKEN, & TURKEY: who doesn't love a great steak.. and how many different ways can you eat chicken? Tons! For steaks go for New York, or Sirloin... Top and bottom round is good too but tough. NEVER EVER eat Rib Eye or Filet Mignon they are LOADED with fat .. London Broil and Tri Tip is not bad either.
FAST FOOD: yes you can eat fast food, you just have to be smart about it. Try to get meals that have chicken. Cut out the french fries and mayo and you will be left with a semi-decent fast food meal. Fast food is NOT ideal by any means but for someone who is busy it is inevitable at times.
PROTEIN BARS: there are TONS on the market now. Many taste really good, some taste like a candy bar. I like Detour bars.. and they have 32g of protein each! Cliff bars are not bad either if you find a flavor you like.
Yogurt! Get non-fat, there are tons of flavors out there to play with.
You really have to get yourself in a mode of thinking "Is what I am eating now going to be good for me or bad for me?" Everything you put into your body should have a purpose, don't just eat because it tastes good.
Also, some fat is ok.. don't sweat it. The reason why you have to concentrate on looking to reduce it is because people normally eat more fat then they should, so really key in on that and look for ways to eliminate it. To compensate beef up your protein intake.
So why no juice? no bagels? no carbs?
This is why everyone says carbs are bad: It really isn't that CARBS are bad.. it is that sugar is bad.. and carbs have tons of sugars in them. Complex carbs are good. whole grain bread, etc, but don't go overboard.
So why is sugar bad? To process sugar your body releases insulin, and insulin promotes fat storage! You ultimately want to keep your insulin levels low low low. And very consistent and even.. when you get an insulin "spike" your body puts fat on, in men it puts it around the waste. So this is why you need to avoid sugar like the plague!
So I hope this does not sound bad or depressing, it really isn't. You do not need to starve, you do not need to give up everything that is good in life
The REALLY good news is that you do not need to live like this forever. If you follow everything above you will be adhering to a fairly strict diet. Use it to drop weight.. say for 2, 3, 4 maybe even 6 months. Once you get to where you want you can increase you calories slightly.. start adding in a dessert here and there.. treating yourself more. I stayed on the diet above for 3 months or so, now I eat much more liberally.
The number one piece of advice to take from this is: Be conscious of what you are eating at all times and its effect on your body!
Anyone will self control can diet themselves. People tend to use weight watchers and things like that because they need a support group, they are not strong willed enough to suck it up and do it for themselves. I am sure if you set a goal you will have no problem meeting it.
I know you are busy with work, but throw in a basketball game at a gym every few days.. or a short job... a ride on a stationary bike.. something to burn a few hundred extra calories here and there. The more you exercise, the more you can eat!
DO NOT weigh yourself regularly. Scales are a bad indicator of FAT loss. Measuring yourself every 2-4 weeks gives you a way better indication if you are lossing inches or not. Start today, find out where you are at. Then track your progress. Your own progress will be self motivating.