I've lost 20 lbs. since the beginning of the year. In 3 months I went from 148 lbs. to 125 lbs.

While I didn't necessarily lose a huge amount of weight, I definitely learned a lot. I lost weight successfully, easily and all in a healthy way. So I wanted to share what I did and give some tips to anyone who might need some help getting started.

     First off, I did not go on a weird or crazy diet. Don't do that. Diets do not work or at least they won't keep you small long term. Don't just cut calories or specifically fat or carbs. I would suggest talking to your doctor to make sure what is a right diet decision for you. You need carbs for energy as well as fat. Without proper energy you won't be able to push yourself during your day and especially during workouts. For you to be successful you have to be willing to change your mind set, learn about nutrition and health and change your lifestyle.

1. Keep track of what you are eating

Measure out correct portions, only cook what you should eat. If you make extra you are more likely to eat more than you should. Also keep track of your macronutrient (fat, carbs and protein) intake daily. You can use the app My Fitness Pal. It tracks your calorie intake and portions. It uses your weight, height and gender to calculate how much you should be eating to maintain or lose weight.

2. Eat Healthy

     A lot of people make them mistake of just counting their calories and eating less. You also have to adjust what you are eating. Eating 1200 calories in potato chips and a cheeseburger won't cut it. You will lose weight but it's less likely to stick and you will eventually binge, plateau or gain it all back and more. You have to create healthy habits so when you reach your goal you can continue to live healthy and maintain your new body.

3. Drink water

No soda, juice, sugar drinks and fatty sugary coffee. Stick with water and tea. regular coffee is fine. Just watch your sugar intake and I recommend ditching creamer or milk for almond milk. Drink at least 64 oz. of water a day!

4. Exercise

While weight loss is hugely based on diet, you have to workout to make sure you are burning enough calories and building nice muscle so you don't just look "skinny" and flabby. Having muscle underneath will hel gve that "toned" look. Girls tend to worry about lifting heavy, don't! You won't look like a man, promise. The more muscle you have vs. fat the slimmer you will look and the more fat you will burn in general when not doing anything.

5. Chose a plan to follow

Especially for someone just starting, it is a lot easier to have a set plan to follow. You can do a beach body program such as P90X which I really liked! I did this while losing weight. You can go to blogilates.com for free workout calendars and videos. Bodybuilding.com also has great programs to chose from based on your fitness goals.

6. Get rid of unhealthy foods in your house

Your family and or housemates need to be on board. You can't have junk food and tempting items in the kitchen. Toss it!

Feel free to leave questions and comments below :) Follow my blog and my google+.

Check out my youtube videos here. Thanks so much, Ashley