Where to start??? I really can't remember a time in my life when I wasn't dieting or in between diets. I know I started in high school if not sooner. I have done Atkins, Protein Power, the 14 day crash diet, the Cleveland Clinic Diet, counted calories, etc. These thoughts are random and in no particular order.
I think you have to take it one day at a time. If you start thinking "oh my gosh, I can never do this forever" you're going to talk yourself right out of ever sticking to it. You actually sometimes have to take it one meal at a time. Every time you make the choice to eat something healthy or avoid something that is not, you are making progress. Dieting is not the ALL OR NOTHING thing that we all try to make it.
Everyone generally knows what their weaknesses are. Pick a diet that focuses on that. For me, most of the time it is sugar. I could eat chocolate all day long. I also like bread and chips. And like Sonya, one taste could just throw me off. So Atkins was a good choice for me. I have also done Protein Power (which is very similar to Atkins). I needed someone to tell me- "you can have this, but not this".
I do think you have to have the mindset to want to lose weight. Most people want to lose it, but do it without any effort on their part. They want a quick fix, or a pill, or that one exercise that will just do it for them. I have started a diet several times when I wasn't really ready and it just doesn't work. I don't know how to make yourself ready. I don't know why this time moderation is working for me and other times it wouldn't.
I think that if you stick with the strict part of a diet for at least 3 weeks before you allow yourself to "cheat" or have a "free day" or whatever you want to call it, you will have better success at getting back on the wagon the next meal or next day.
As I said on Jamie's blog, preparation is a big key in success. Know what you can snack on. If you have a problem with portion control, count things out and measure them. Know what a serving size is. Have snacks ready to eat. Have legal things to "cheat" on. Plan out what you are going to eat and have things on hand.
If you give up sugar, you will probably go through withdrawal. You will have headaches. It will be over in about 3 days. You will feel better once it is out of your system. Things that are sugar free or made with artificial sweeteners will not taste good the first couple days to weeks. After you get all of the sugar out of your system, try them again and they will taste better. If you still don't like them, try a different brand. I really don't like Diet Pepsi. I don't mind Diet Cherry Coke or Diet Dr. Pepper.
I truly think sugar and caffeine are drugs. I recently went to a drug seminar for work and there are so many correlations between what people addicted to drugs do/think and what people addicted to sugar do/think. If I find my stuff at work, I'll try to post some of those things. I also believe that there is a lot of sugar added to foods that don't need it, just to get people to eat more or become addicted to it.
No matter what diet you do, I think calories and carbs will affect your outcome. If you eat too many of either, you will gain.
I don't worry too much about vegetables and fruits (as long as they are natural and don't have anything added to them). I did not get fat on carrots and apples. The only thing I try to watch is my potatoes.
It only takes 2 seconds to tell someone "no thank you" when they offer you something. Or to pass the bowl by when it goes around the table. In most cases, no one will even notice and if they do, you tell them that you are choosing not to eat that food right now. I've also found that people will leave you alone more if you tell them you are doing something "for Lent", "for a challenge at work" or whatever.
For me, I'd make excuses to eat anything. Like this may be the only time I get to try Sally's Pecan Pie, or work is paying for the pizza, so I should have some, after all I earned it, or today is Bob's birthday and everyone else is eating ice cream cake. Don't let other people give you guilt trips either. "Come on, you mean to tell me that you are not going to have a piece of your sons birthday cake?", or "Oh what's one little brownie going to do to you?". They choose what to put in their bodies and you choose what to put in yours. We are all 95% responsible for our weights (that's my personal very scientific guess on the percentage). You can only blame so much on genetics and having kids.
Set your goals small. I will stay on this diet for 2 days. I will drink 3 glasses of water today. I will stop eating 3 of my 4 daily Twix bars. Don't try to do everything at once. Expect the progress to be slow. You didn't gain the weight in a day and you aren't going to lose it in a day. There is no miracle drug, and if there were we would all be skinny.
I started out at the beginning of this year with 100 pounds to lose. My thing at the bottom of the page says 92, but I could easily shoot for 100 to be in my "ideal body weight range". I just have always liked the number 147 and that's what was on my first drivers license. I don't consider myself only having a little to lose. I'm sure my chart at the Dr. would say "morbidly obese".
I just don't get the whole keeping your weight a big secret thing. I feel that people know I'm overweight, all they have to do is look at me. The numbers on the scale are not who I am. I think it's good to have someone to be accountable to. Every week at work I weigh in front of someone else.
I weigh myself daily. It keeps me on track. If I'm up a little, I will really watch what I eat that day. If I am down, I want to keep it down and will watch what I eat that day. I know if a certain meal/day wasn't good to me.
I have exercised very little. Maybe a total of 8-10x this year. It definitely speeds up the loss when you do and you can also allow yourself a few more calories. When I get closer to my goal I will definitely need to exercise if I want to be the least bit toned and not all flabby.
You can live on Atkins forever. It's meat and fruit and vegetables. It's not rocket science. When you cut out the sugar, you don't need as much food to feel full. It's meant to be a lifestyle, not a diet you go on and then quit when you've reached your goal. I think people need to get out of the "forever" thinking though like I said before.
Sonya- One of my very favorite sites for support and recipes is here. I used to spend a lot of time reading questions on the bulletin boards and trying recipes. Very good motivation and support. There are also challenges that you can sign up to be a part of. There are also tons of before and after pictures which I loved to look at. Real people who have and are doing it. There is a century club for people who have lost 100 or more pounds. Anyways, check it out.
OK, my diet update for this week is reflected at the bottom of the page. I lost 3 lbs. this week and a total of 9.2 in the past 5 weeks. I would have lost more if I hadn't had to lose the 8 that I regained from eating girl scout cookies. Oh well! I started out at 239 and am now at 201.4 according to the scales at work. I think I won the challenge again, but things were a little crazy at work today as we are having a mock survey.
An evil woman from Hospice brought me a gift for Social Work month. It was called "Double Indulgence" and has milk chocolate, pecan pieces, salted cashews, toffee, caramel, white and dark chocolate. (Sorry fellow dieters!) It looks like a cow patty and is about 6 inches in diameter. I did eat about 1/4 of it (considered that supper along with some Diet Coke to balance it out) and shared the rest with co-workers and Tim. We'll see tomorrow if I did any damage.
Thanks to everyone who actually read through this very long post. I'm sure I forgot to add something.