This is a strategy based solely on my own success. Please check with your physician before trying this, or any other diet.
Don't Consider Yourself On A Diet:
This is a strategy for failure. First, being on a diet is an unpleasant chore, at best, and starts you off on a negative note. Secondly, going on a diet, suggests that at some time you will be going off the diet.
Own Your Diet:
Taking responsibility for your dietary life gives you the control, and then your diet simply becomes a part of your lifestyle. The task then becomes to choose wisely.
In all likelyhood, you did not become overweight overnight. Be reasonable in your goals. Your body has a fit weight that is perfect for it, and if you can be patient, you will find it. In the meantime, I suggest that you get rid of the scale. Micro-managing will only discourage you. Your wardrobe will tell you everything you need to know.
The Strategy, Part One: An Overview
You needn't deny yourself anything you normally eat. We as humans, are omnivores. Every food group has it's own benefit; including all of it's sub-types. If your body is getting everything it needs, it will be happy and not bother you.
Whatever foods you settle on, be consistent. Eat the same types of foods, in the same combinations, at the same times of the day. If your body knows what and when to expect what it needs, it will be happy and not bother you.
This is your life. You may treat yourself; once in a while.
The Strategy, Part Two: Nuts and Bolts
Prepare your meals at home as a matter of routine. Use fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables; and real meats and dairy. Avoid using as a matter of course, pre-packaged meals or other highly processed meal substitutes. Real foods contain better benefits, less calories, less salt and sugar; and preparing foods commits you to your diet and makes eating a less spontaneous event.
Fruits and vegatables, meats and other protein, dairy, and breads or other carbohydrates are acceptable. Keep it small; and one item only. As a rule, do not combine.
Chocalates and candies, pies and pastries, cookies, cakes, and alcohol are all treats. Substituting a common meal for a restaurant meal is also considered a treat. Use them sparingly.
Eat comfortably. Meaning enough to be comfortable, but not full or stuffed. You needn't starve yourself, but you can not lose weight by overeating.
Eat a comfortable meal after waking and before your day's activities begin.
Mid-day, have a snack; and have another midway between the first snack and your late meal. Remember, keep them small and be consistent in your types. Mid-day is essentially a fast-time, and the snacks are only to take the edge off so that you do not feel like overeating at late meal.
Your late meal should fall shortly after your day's end but not too close to bed time. The trick is to record two periods of fast in a 24 hour day.
Treats may come at any time, but remember to keep them as a rarity. They are essential for making this a manageble and rewarding plan, but put you backwards in almost every instance.
If your daily routine or work require a modicum of physical activity, you may not necessarily be concerned with this, but adding extra will speed things up. A sedentary job or otherwise inactive life will, however, require some ammending.
It doesn't have to be much, but it does have to be something. Little things you do in your daily life can make the difference. Consider parking further away at the grocery store and returing the cart. Take the stairs. Get a dog and start walking. Take up a hobby that requires activity or anything else that gets you out from in front of your TV.
Regardless if you take up excersise or another activity, start slow and be sure that it is something you enjoy and can maintain. It does little good to start and stop.
Make up your mind that you are in it for the long run, and keep a positive attitude. Own your diet, own your life.
It may seem boring and troublesome in the beginning, but your body thrives on routine. Let yourself get used to it and reward yourself with the odd variance. Live well. Feel well. Look well.
Work hard, stick to the rules, and make the exceptions rare. You are only cheating yourself when you don't. Trust me.
Dropping fifty pounds and seven waist sizes at the age of fifty, it took me three years to let my body find it's fit weight. I have, however, had it off for two and have not felt or looked this good since I was twenty-five. I am back in charge of my life. Give yourself the time.