Image courtesy of Men's Health

A few years ago, one of my friends at Men's Health stepped on the scale and was horrified by the result. He'd somehow managed to pack 20 pounds of flab onto his previously skinny frame. When he looked into the mirror, he saw a fat guy staring back. He decided to make a change, quick.

That day, he gave up his beloved soda. He was only drinking two or three bottles a day, but over the course of six months, he dropped those 20 pounds. It was a small change to his lifestyle--no big deal, really. And yet, it had a massive impact on his health and his body.

My point: Making small decisions each day can result in big-time fat loss. (Is your workout burning flab--or just burning up your time? Don't fall for these 5 Fat-Loss Myths.)

Below are dozens of simple ways to lose weight. Start with one--today!--and watch the weight begin to melt away. Trust me, this is going to be easier than you think.

1. Have a clear goal.

It should be one that anyone in the world can measure and understand.

2. Drink tea.

Research suggests that those who drink tea--black, green, or white, as long as it's from real tea versus herbal tea--have lower BMIs and less body fat than those who don't consume tea.

3. Eat cayenne pepper.

A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that when compared to placebo, capsaicin--the active ingredient in cayenne--increased fat burning.

4. Decrease/eliminate processed carbs.

They do nothing for you outside of creating a favorable environment for gaining fat.

5. Eat more veggies.

They fill you up, without providing many calories. Just avoid the high-calorie dressings.

6. Eat more fruit.

No one ever gained weight from eating more fruit. And that includes the so-called "high sugar" fruits like bananas and melons.

7. Lift weights.

Heavy weights. Build more muscle, burn more calories.

8. Cut down rest time between sets.

This will keep your heart rate elevated causing an increase in calories burned. The good news: You can sky-rocket your heart rate and torch belly-fat fast with

Bodyweight Cardio Burners --the new Men's Health DVD that gives you three incredible 20-minute workouts.

9. Do intervals.

Study after study after study continues to show intervals are more effective and time efficient than longer activity performed at a lower intensity.

10. Eat more protein.

Replacing refined carbohydrates with lean protein will not only help satiate you, but will also increase your metabolism--through something called the thermic effect of food.

11. Eat protein more frequently.

It's important to also time your intake so you're eating protein regularly throughout the day--not just in one lump sum, like most do at dinner. Every meal and snack should include some protein.

12. Supplement with fish oil.

A study published in Lipids fed mice diets enhanced EPA and DHA - a.k.a. fish oil. The researchers learned that the mice fed diets higher in omega-3 fats had significantly less accumulation of body fat. Other studies have shown similar results.

13. Do full body exercises.

Think: squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, and pushups. You'll get more bang for your buck out of each workout. (Think you have the pushup down? Think again. Here are 5 Body-Weight Exercises You're Doing Wrong.)

14. Cycle your carb intake based on your activity level.

Sure, carbs are important. But on the days you don't work out, you simply don't need as many compared to the days you exercise hard. Rule of thumb: The more active you are, the more carbs you can eat, and vice versa.

15. Start your meals with a salad.

Salad will provide some bulk to help fill you up - so that you eat less calories overall.

16. Don't forget the fiber.

Think of fiber like a sponge; it absorbs water and makes you feel full.

17. Drink water.

Professor Dr. Brenda Davy and her Team from Virginia Tech University found that giving people 2 cups of water before each meal resulted in greater weight loss after 12 weeks. The reason? It helps fill you up.

18. Add beans to your salads.

It's a nice way to add some additional fiber, protein, and healthy carbs.

19. Replace one meal a day with a large salad and lean protein.

This is a simple way to instantly improve your diet. (Melt fat faster and easier than ever by following 10 New Rules of Lean Eating.)

20. Keep a food journal.

There's no better way to track what you're putting in your mouth.