In one sentence 'how I did it' can be summed up like this: I KEPT MY BODY(METABOLISM) GUESSING.
Now to break down that one sentence.
I did reduce my caloric intake and cycled my calories.
I reduced my calories using this calculator at Free Dieting. At the bottom of the calculator one can click '7 Day Calorie Zig Zag' and that will keep one's weekly calories the same but altering the cals daily to keep one's metabolism revved up. A body gets used to the amount of calories a person feeds it when dieting. So, a steady does of 1400 cals, after about a month or so, slows a metabolism down. A body doesn't want to lose weight. It feels like it is starving. So, it will go into starvation mode. In real life people eat different amounts of calories daily. Calorie reduction done the same way helps keep a body out of starvation mode and feeds one's metabolism to keep it burning efficiently.
I did track all my food & exercise using Spark People. I can't say enough about how awesome, helpful, and instrumental Spark was for me losing the weight I wanted to. I really don't think I could have done it without everything I learned and all the support I got from Spark. It's free and better than any dieting site a person could pay for. I know, I joined Weight Watchers for a month and their online site can't touch Spark People. I do, however, love Weight Watchers' cookbooks and motivational books.
I did eat (and still do) Low fat, Low Protein, High Complex Carbs, High Fiber foods about 80% of the time and 20% was the so- called 'bad' stuff. I am not a vegetarian. I did not cut ANYTHING out of my diet. I just found that, for me, that combo worked best. I ate mostly veggies, fruits, whole wheat breads, I used cheeses as condiments in lieu of slathering them on everything. I switched to light butter. I learned to make favorite dishes low in calories by simple substitutions. If I screwed up during the week and went a little nuts eating something I shouldn't I just jumped back in the saddle and kept on going. I did NOT let a screw up give me license to just gorge on everything in sight because I'd blown it. That kind of thinking is LETHAL to weight loss. If you go overboard on some food, just make the next day a lighter day and maybe walk an extra mile. It will all work out in the end...kwim?
I did not drink 8 glasses of water a day (see article here). I drank when I was thirsty. I did switch from regular Coke to caffeine free diet coke. (I like being thin, so if I go nuts from the artificial sweetener, at least I will be thin and nuts....but wait....I *AM* already nuts....so never mind.) I drank my coffee with cream in it too.
I did not eat breakfast. Okay, this is strange. I know everyone says to eat breakfast, but when I do, I am hungry all day. When I don't my appetite is more stable. What is even weirder is that breakfast food is my favorite food. I secretly would love to be a short order cook. I love eggs, bacon, waffles, pancakes, ham, scones, muffins, bowls of fresh fruit etc...So, I would make lighter versions of breakfast foods for dinner, on occasion, and just have my breakfast at night. I did switch from my beloved real maple syrup to the sugar free kind. Or I will use all fruit jam on pancakes. (My kids LOVE breakfast for dinner.)
I did realize there are foods that I can't resist and will overeat. Oreos and homemade chocolate chip cookies are good examples. Therefore, I didn't buy them or make them. They were INO...it's not an option. I have other foods that are INO (though not so much now that I am at goal. Now it's more AIM... anything in moderation.) I also learned the best calorie bargains. So, if I wanted fries and a burger, I knew the best size at the best place for the lowest calories.
I did (and still do) walk, but I varied it, so my body couldn't get used to what I was doing. This worked really well too. I didn't read about it anywhere, though. Every book and website says to do exercise consistently. Well, I was consistent with the fact that I made sure I exercised, but intensity and length of time varied according to my schedule. Also, I never did weight training. I lift and carry stuff all day...including a 40lb/5 mos old Siberian Husky. I didn't have the time or money. All my money is being spent on food or the kids. So, I walked. I wanted to run, but I can't. Why? I wet my pants. I have total bladder control EXCEPT for jumping, sneezing, and RUNNING. So, I settled on walking. Some days I walked 5 or 6 miles really fast. Other days I walk 1.5 miles fast or maybe leisurely. The fact is that I walked (aerobic exercise) almost everyday. Then there were times I couldn't walk for a few days and when I finally got back out there I busted my butt on a long walk. That was always the way I broke through a plateu...(that and upping my cals a bit).
I did have a weigh in day which was also my pig-out (free) day. I picked Friday's to weigh in. I always weighed in on Friday morning, totally naked, after peeing. Sorry to be gross but I wanted the most empty true weight I could get. That way I got a double bonus. The first being seeing the scale go down (and I was happy even to see a 4 oz shift) and the second to know I could go out to dinner with Robert and/or friends and not worry about food. Fridays gave me something to look forward to that made the sacrifices of the previous 6 days worth it. The extra calories stoked my metabolism, and mentally I stopped myself from sabotage because I knew once a week I would get my fun food day. Also, I knew I had until the next Friday to adjust my calories and/or exercise to keep the weight loss going. Also, even if the scale didn't move one week, I still had my free day. Pretty much everytime I was stuck at a weight I would lose a pound or two the following week.
I did (and still do) choose to live much healthier. I made losing weight about a permanent healthy lifestyle change, in diet and exercise, instead of just a way to get skinny and then go back to my old bad habits.
At goal I started weighing myself daily. It helps me to keep inside my "weight box" and helps me to see the effect of how pigging out at a big party, or just having a salad and soup day, has on my weight. It also helps me to know when I need to eat lighter or if I am low enough in my weight box to feel free to eat what I want on a given day.
At goal I started tracking my calories less. I barely track my calories now, online or on paper. I was OCD about it while losing the weight. What was good about that was that I learned the caloric value of pretty much everything I eat. So, now I keep a loose tally in my head. I have been able to increase my calories, due to the calorie cycling, so that I can maintain my 33lb loss while eating close to 2200 cals a day. That is darn good! (Let's face it, it means more yummy goodies!) I have been maintaining between 135 and 138 for a month now. A few days ago, after pigging out big time at a parish party, I weighed 138.6 lbs. Today, after some extra walking and watching my eating I am back to 135.6
At goal I realized I will ALWAYS have to be aware of my weight and activity levels. A big mistake
that so many make, who lose weight and then regain it, is to get to one's goal and then abandon all the good habits one formed during the time one was losing the weight.
Last, but not least, PRAYER. I was tempted many times to just give in and give up. God helped me continue to fight the fight for my health. Yeah God!!!
I think that's about it.