I gave some advice on the thread that inspired this one, and so wanted to chime in with my success story.
Starting 5 years ago, I have lost about 50 pounds, from 205 to 155, and maintained for almost 2 years. I lost about 30 in the first 6 months by exercising moderately almost every day and eating more vegetables and less ice cream. I stayed there for quite a while, gaining and losing the same 5-10 pounds for a while (up at Xmas, down in summer, etc.)
I lost another 10 about 2.5 years ago when I cut out most of the processed food in my diet. I still eat some cookies and desserts, but they are home-made with butter and other "real" ingredients. I eat a lot of fruit, veggies and meats (including beef and pork, as well as chicken and fish) with some carbs, but a lot less than I used to, and they are mostly whole grain now. I use full fat cheese and real mayo and I eat several whole eggs a week. It is all about portion size of these supposedly *evil* foods, as well as combining them with veggies and other fibre-filled foods. I find a little bit of fat and protein a lot more satisfying than the same number of carbohydrate calories, so my eating really came under control. Just coincidentally, I also really cut back on caffeine and almost never drink alcohol now, but I doubt that had a lot to do with my weight loss. I do sleep a lot better now, which research is now starting to correlate with control of blood sugar levels, so maybe it did help.
The last 10 came off last year when I decided to increase the intensity level of my exercise. I started jogging two summers ago, and have kind of kept it up on the treadmill over the winter and outside again this summer. I also use the elliptical machine and I do strength training as well. I work out about 2-3 times a week, and I have a fairly active job (I am a chef).
Those are the reporter's details about how I lost weight, but the story behind the story is that I started living more consciously. I think before I do anything, including eating. I think, "How will this make me feel? Am I really hungry, or maybe just thirsty or bored? If I don't eat a good breakfast, will I get hungry in a place where there are only chocolate bars and chips to eat?" I started paying attention to my body's reaction, and remembering it. I reveled in how great I felt after a good workout, and how my biceps are rock-hard now. I moaned about how crappy I felt in a "carbo-coma" after eating a big bowl of ice cream in the middle of the afternoon. Once I remembered these things, I would have some cheese and fruit for an afternoon snack and would go to the gym even when I didn't really feel like it. Not because it was the "right" thing to do, but because I wanted to feel good instead of bad.
The thing that worked for me was to make it a habit, not a choice. I went to the gym because that is what I was scheduled to do 5 days a week, not because I felt like it or thought it would be fun. I ate better because that's what was in the house and at the office, because I made sure that's what I brought home from the store. I made (and still make) a meal plan every week, and for the most part stick to it. I schedule ice cream and chocolate, too, so I don't feel deprived. We limit portions and measure our food so we really know what we're eating. After eating whole foods for a while, I can't even look at a piece of KFC now; I imagine the grease coating my mouth as if I'd just taken a big spoonful of Crisco and spread it on my tongue. It's just a habit, you can break it, but it takes time.
In order for it to work, you have to do it all the time. It's not a "diet" or a "plan" that will end when you get to your goal weight. You have to do something you can do for the rest of your life. It is not hard at all for me to maintain my weight, because I've broken those habits that made me fat in the first place - always cleaning my plate, using certain dishes and filling them up to the top, always having dessert, eating the whole chocolate bar, eating because it's there in front of me, eating for any other reason besides hunger. I eat anything I want to, just less of some things and more of others.
If I get ambitious, I'll try to post some "before and after" pics. A picture is worth a thousand words (which is about how many are in this post
), but how good you feel when you lose the weight is worth a million. You *have* to try it! Good luck, everyone!!