At the time of this article we are four weeks into my goal of losing 25 pounds by Sept. 30. To date, I have lost eight pounds, for an average of two pounds per week. At this pace, I will fall short of my goal by about three pounds, so I know I need to get a little more serious. Trust me – I will hit that goal by Sept. 30.

That being said, I am happy with my start and have enjoyed using myself as a guinea pig.

There have been no surprises to date. So far, everything I tell my clients about weight loss also applies to me. No shortcuts for this coach!

Here’s what I have learned on my weight-loss journey:

Write it down: Food journaling is a must, unless you want to step on the scale and be unsure where the numbers will be. I use a great app called My FitnessPal. If technology is not your friend, you can find many websites that have free food journals built into them, or you can simply write your daily calories in a booklet. For me, the biggest benefit of food journaling is that it has forced me to get more specific about the amount of food I am eating at certain meals.

Pay attention to portions: People have become accustomed to eating way too much food at a sitting. Portion sizes are grossly overdone and we have become lazy when it comes to eating on the go. We are not aware of what we are putting in our mouths.

Think long term: When it comes to kids, we are feeding them at our convenience and not thinking about their health or the long-term habits we are teaching them. I have an image of an 11-year-old overweight boy and his dad at a fast food joint while I was on vacation. For the record, I was only there to use their Wi-Fi but I am guilty of occasionally eating at this place. The young boy ordered two burgers, large fries and a large pop. His dad actually ordered less than him. We all need to take more responsibility for our kids eating habits.

Get moving: Why would you go on a diet without exercising? If you want to keep the weight off, want to have any sort of muscle tone (I could list 100 other reasons) or like to indulge, you have to exercise. Did I mention it feels great, too? I love eating good food – exercise provides a buffer.

Pay the price: If you have a bad day, over-indulge or just flat-out miss the target with your eating and/or exercise, you have to make it up the next day. It’s really that simple. Isaac Newton said “every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” This holds true for anyone looking to lose weight or get healthy.

There are all kinds of tricks out there to help people lose lots of weight over a short period of time, but nothing beats the same old formula of exercise, healthy choices and portion control.

Sorry, in the past four weeks I have not found any magic pills. For those of you that have set goals with me over the past month I would love to hear where you are at and how you are doing.