Losing weight and getting in shape can sometimes seem like an overwhelming task. Believe it or not your success does not just depend on excersice and eating habits alone. There are a few other contributing factors to weight loss and overall health. Sometimes if even one of these areas are out of balance you won't see the results that you are working so hard to get, and the results that you do see are slow coming. So here are 10 tips to speed up the process and get you on the road to fitness success! 1. Cardio, Cardio, Cardio I know that it may seem that I am stating the obvious BUT cardio work not only helps to burn calories it can also stave off food cravings and it releases endorphins that can help reduce stress. I am not suggesting that you do anything too drastic. There is no need to begin marathon-like training sessions. But rather by simply adding 10 extra minutes on the treadmill or eliptical or taking a quick 10 to 15 minute walk after dinner 3 to 4 times per week, you will burn a few extra calories that can lead to 1 to 2 pounds of weight loss while reducing your stress and keeping your food cravings at bay. 2. Water Stay Hydrated! Make sure to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water each day. With adequate water intake your body will metabolize fat more effectively. Also drinking a glass of water 10 to 15 minutes before a meal will help you feel full so that you don't overeat. Also just the act of drinking an ice-cold glass of water burns approximately 60 calories. 3. Rest-Relaxation Making sure that you are getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep at night is important to your overall health and mental well-being. Sleep deprivation can cause your body to release cortisol which can hinder weight-loss. It can also result in increased levels of stress which can cause your body to hold on to excess weight regardless of your eating and excercising habits. 4. Strength Training Many people that are trying to lose weight shy away from weights because they think that it will bulk them up, not slim them down. In fact the opposite is true, using less weight with increased repitition actually burns fat and creates lean muscle. This can allow you to reshape your body. 5. Eating Habits To say that your eating habits simply contribute to your weight loss is a bit of an understatement. Having said that I want to make it clear that I am not suggesting any radical changes to your diet. Small changes such as portion control, heathier choices such as light mayo or fat-free dressing, small meals 5 times a day instead of large meals 3 times a day, and not eating for 2 to 3 hours before you go to bed can have drastic results on your metabolism and weight-loss. Don't "give up" any of your favorite foods. Just be responsible in your consumption of them. Instead of a bowl of ice-cream every day, try once a week. If potato chips are your weakness then instead of buying a family size bag try the individual bags and limit those to twice a week. Your eating habits should become your lifestyle because diets and depriving yourself is not the key to long or short term success. 6. Workout Variations Variety is the spice of life and it is also the key ingredient to your weight loss recipe. Repeating the same workout day in and day out can lead not only to boredom but it can significantly slow down your weight-loss results. If you do the treadmill and weights one day then try doing some yoga or maybe kickboxing the next day. If you keep your body guessing to what muscles it will be using each day then you will get much greater results than if you do the same old thing every day. 7. Accountability Setting small weekly goals for for yourself is a great way to make yourself accountable daily which will ultimately assist you in reaching your weight-loss goal. So whether it is doing 100 sit-ups a day, adding extra cardio into you daily routine, or increasing the reps on your favorite weight machine, reaching these small goals can give you a boost of self-confidence and keep you moving towards your ultimate goal. 8. Motivation Whether it is a bathing suit, a pair of jeans or an important event like a high school reunion or a wedding, keeping your eye on the prize is an important key to your mental stamina. And, believe me, getting in shape is as much a mental game as it is a physical one, if not moreso. So keep your mind in the right state, visualize yourself in those jeans or that swimsuit. It may seem corny but it works. 9. Guilt-Free Zone Never let a slip-up knock you off of your weight-loss wagon. Tomorrow is a new day with a clean slate. You are not a robot that can program yourself to stick to a stringent exercise and eating regimen. You are a living breathing person that has good days and challenging days. Your success depends on your ability to bounce back after you have had a set-back, not on whether or not you have a slip-up. 10.Buddy Up or Take a Class Having a gym buddy or joining in a Group Exercise class can be the difference between working out twice a week or 5 times a week. Going to the gym solo can lose its appeal real quick. But getting a personal trainer, going to the gym with a friend or taking a class can give you the extra push you need. Your eating habits and exercise routine are entirely in your control. These tips form a guideline to better health and increased weight-loss. Your success starts and ends with you! Believe in yourself, in your success, and your ability to take charge of your mind and body and you will be on the road to fitness success!