How are you defining "success"? I understand that weight loss is not truly considered a "success" until it has been maintained for 5+ years. I've been maintaining a ~140-pound loss for a year, so I have four to go before I can really call myself a success.
That said, here's how I did it:
* Portion control—less of (almost) everything. I kept a written food journal for nearly all of the time that I was losing. I didn't count calories, though I'd estimate that I was usually around 1500. When I got a food scale for baking purposes, I started actually weighing my food. (I did start to count calories as I shifted into maintenance, as I actually ended up losing more than I initially intended.)
* Fruits and vegetables at every meal.
* Lots of fiber—whole grains and legumes in addition to the fruits and veg. It's a rare day when I don't get at least 40 g fiber.
* Lean meats and cheeses instead of fattier ones.
* While I was losing, no HFCS or trans fats. This proved to be a handy shortcut to eliminating most processed "junk" food. I've loosened a little on the HFCS, but I'm still super-strict about my trans fat intake.
* Asking myself "Is this worth the calories?" when faced with high-calorie foods. I've become much more finicky about my indulgences. I'm genuinely not tempted by most candy, junk foods, or fast food. That's not to say I don't eat sweets, but I'd much rather have a little dark chocolate than a Snickers bar ... a bowl of popcorn instead of potato chips ... a homemade chocolate chip cookie or brownie instead of Chips Ahoy or Little Debbie.
* And yes, more cooking at home! I've become much more creative in the kitchen, though I'm still looking to stretch my repertoire. Easier to control ingredients and portions. Cheaper, too! A year ago, we bought a house just outside the city limits, and it's become less convenient to eat out, too.
09/23/2010 - 6:53pm
It is all about portion control and controlling what goes into everything you cook. Eating out has too many hidden traps for those who want to eat healthy and/or loose weight. Also, eating frequently - 5 or 6 times per day will keep your metabolism up and burn calories.
09/23/2010 - 6:44pm
I found it too difficult to stick with because I felt deprived, but the weight melted off without even trying with a month on the "Paleo diet". Also known as cave man (or woman) diet. It has humorously been described as eating anything you could catch with nothing but a bowl and a sharpened stick. This is meat, must be lean, nuts except peanuts, fruit, vegetables except potatoes and... that's it. No grains, no beans. The idea is that we lived for 2 million years on this diet and are genetically predisposed to thrive on it. Beans and grains were not eaten until 8000 years ago when we figured out how to grow and roast them. Obviously nothing invented in modern times.
09/23/2010 - 6:28pm
Finally realizing what was keeping me from doing the things I love- my husband. And deciding that I was finally going to take charge of my life and live it the way I want to- and not wait for him to do things, or more importantly put-down everything I want to do. I recently traveled to Las Vegas for my nephew's wedding by myself and hiked around Red Rock Canyon, Valley of Fire, and the West Rim of the Grand Canyon- something he would never have agreed to do! I have decided that after my middle child graduates in June that I will make changes around here! It's now MY TIME to do the things I want to do! Not just always giving in to him! He loses.
09/23/2010 - 6:22pm
I started a daily hiking regimen and because I felt so much better, it led me to develop much healthier cooking and eating habits. It's all about balance.
09/23/2010 - 6:00pm
I've tried all kinds of diets but as an emotional eater it just didn't work. The best result I'd had in the past was a seventy pound loss on Nutrisystem, while it was still in the storefront stage and there were actual personal counselors and weigh-ins. Later attempts were not successful. I've recently had the gastric sleeve procedure and have lost sixty pounds since the start of the program Kaiser put me on which included classes for improving food choices and dealing with my emotional and self-image issues. I was skeptical of the surgical approach which is why I waited over six years to proceed but I am now a believer.
09/23/2010 - 5:59pm
eating chicken, fish, less fried foods, fresh vegetables, frozen vegetables, 1 or 2 pieces of fresh fruit daily. Also turkey meat. No soda. Walk 10,000 steps 3 or 4 days a week. Walk at least 4,000 steps the other days a week.
09/23/2010 - 5:54pm
Knowing myself was key. Since I am not the kind of person who wakes up and knows what he wants for lunch, I kept a lot of low-cal options available at work so I always had something to satisfy a particular craving. I went to the market frequently and roamed the aisles looking at various foods to see whether I would be interested in trying them and whether they were low in calories, fat, etc. On my day off, I would often cook two meals: one for dinner that night, another in the slow cooker to be eaten later in the week. I thought of my diet as a budget: I had roughly 800-900 calories to 'spend' during the day before going home to a sensible dinner (for which I generally did not count calories).