From a teenager through the present I have never been at a weight that I thought was appropriate. It started off with vanity pounds but as my activity kept decreasing through various events in life, I did not alter my eating and my weight kept increasing. My earliest terrible diet was doctor prescribed and it was a single sheet of paper that had me eating the same food each day for months.
I fought my weight even when I had far less to lose, but I lost. If I understood scale fluctuations my outcome might have been different, but I kept responding to upticks with higher degrees of self-deprivation and activity until it all fell apart. In other words, I was caught in a restriction - binge cycle.
I have lost weight over the years but never enough and it always came back with friends. This taught me:Losing weight on the scale is not the sign of a successful plan.
It is the ease of weight loss that matters because a good plan does not perpetually challenge adherence. Sure, you will have bad days but if you are white knuckling through every day it is time to rethink the plan.
Most of my failing weight loss plans included food restriction and a focus on "healthy eating". This would often lead to a state I call 'rebel eating' which was often the end or at least the beginning of the end of that effort. This taught me:Deprivation and misery are the enemies of weight loss.
Unless you thrive on misery and consider deprivation a moral good these are states which eventually result in rebellion. So, the answer is to compromise. I attribute eating treats like potato chips, pizza, fast or processed food as part of my process of losing weight and getting healthier. I certainly failed to get healthier when I tried to eat only "healthy" food. Which taught me:Food normally viewed as healthy should also be moderated.
As mentioned in my first year thread extreme changes lead to extremely early failures. I often say that more nutrients than I need equals more nutrients in my pee. I consider eating all "healthy" food to be unnecessary and a negative. My base calories are a majority of nutrient dense food with some set aside either daily or weekly for treats.
After many of my weight loss failures I would be mad that I lacked the willpower needed to stay. I was always motivated in the beginning but the motivated faded because weight loss takes a long time and we have loads of motivators but some of them interfere with the goal in front of us. I believe I am always motivated to get healthier but that particular motivation is not always the strongest voice in the choir. This taught me:Motivation and willpower are only useful for short term compliance.
Going back to the beginning you need a plan that makes adherence easy and save the extra "sauce" for the bad days.
So, I had to come up with a plan that made adherence easier. What if my goal stopped being centered around weight loss and started being centered around learning how to manage myself in weight management? I had a lot of weight to lose but to lose it and eventually keep it off I needed to:Lose the habits and mindset of the person who gained the weight.
For this I had to treat the process like a college course. Since it was a course it made the days I ate way too much food part of the learning experience instead of a reason to be mad or feel guilty. I stopped being invested in the fact that it happened and became invested in why it happened. It also helped that one of my earliest rules was:I do not have to lose weight every day, just most days.
Perfection is not required and expecting perfection makes a plan inflexible. An inflexible plan doesn't work because:Life doesn't stop because I am losing weight.
Business, social, and family events will still take place. Holidays are always right around the corner. I had to be able to take my foot off the gas and feel comfortable doing it. This keeps me from feeling deprived and it keeps my life closer to normal. Normal is a powerful thing. When things are not normal you crave it. This is why it is often suggested here to make small changes over time. I call this:Nudging normal.
I am always motivated to live a happy normal day. If I change what feels normal in small increments, I never leave normal too far behind. It catches up and the new changes are more easily adopted as habits. Managing my weight is not any different for me now than taking a shower, emptying the trash, walking the dog, or any other daily activity. It is my new normal.
If you have survived this exhaustive post so far, I will reward you by making it a little longer.
There are a lot of theories, plans, diets, websites, blogs, etc. about weight loss. Many of them are total garbage. The ones that do work for some will not necessarily work for you. Overwhelmingly most weight loss efforts fail. They fail for many of the same reasons they always failed for me. I would go too restrictive, have unrealistic expectations, and/or think there was a new better answer. You can lose weight with most of the mainstream diets out there but you may not lose all the weight because they are not easy enough for you. You may be the type of person that does extremely well with meal replacement shakes, keto, weight watchers, Nutrisystem, Mediterranean, or simple calorie counting but you should not think that you MUST do one of them because the odds are not in your favor of it being right if you choose it arbitrarily based on an advertisement, website, or it worked for someone you know. My advice:Experiment, experiment, experiment.
Do not start with an elaborate plan. Start with a mindset of adjusting the plan as you go. Identify your minimum requirements and add only as needed. Do not allow the frustration you may feel towards your weight give you tunnel vision. To lose weight you only need to eat less and, as possible, move more. How you do it is up to you to figure out through trial and error. Give yourself permission to make errors.
My life has drastically changed for the better. I was imprisoned in my own fat with health complications that in a few more years would have certainly snowballed into threats to my life. My health has improved throughout the process but my recent visit to my PC doctor had him overjoyed. My cardiologist is about to release me. I am off most of my major medication with another one at half dose which I expect to be off soon as well.
My latest milestone was to move from being obese to being overweight but I have had NSVs (non scale victories) as early as 6 weeks into the process. Now things that were a struggle or even impossible before are a pleasure.
I wasted years trying to go fast. When I decided to go sustainable time flew by and took a lot of weight with it. This was faster because I stopped wasting my time. I stopped trying to force weight loss and just allowed it to happen.
Because this has so thoroughly improved my life I am passionate about helping others achieve the same. For anyone reading this that has 75 or more pounds to lose and desire to lose their weight in a sensible and sustainable fashion I have an MFP group called Larger Losers. We welcome people at any stage of their loss including people finished and maintaining who would like to encourage people who are trying to do the same. There is a great group of people there. Here is the link:https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/group/133315-larger-losers
Don't worry this is finally coming to an end. If you are new to this process and you want to a strong educational foundation to start I suggest you visit the "Most Helpful Posts" sections of these forums. You don't need to read them all but you should read the ones that seem to apply to you. The two to check out first are:https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10300331/most-helpful-posts-getting-started-must-reads#latesthttps://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10300319/most-helpful-posts-general-health-fitness-and-diet-must-reads#latest
Here is my first year thread:https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10731694/after-a-year-over-150lbs-lost-learned-a-few-things/p1