It's called Eat Less, Exercise More. It's a pretty radical plan, but maybe you've heard of it.
It worked before, so I'm fairly certain that it will work again, if I can just locate my willpower (now where did I put that?).
Strangely enough, the harder part for me is not the exercising. More than "none at all" isn't that much exercise, and although I don't enjoy it in any way shape or form*, not at all, I can make myself do it.
*Exception: walking on a beautiful day, especially on the beach
Keeping my hands off the food? Now that's hard. And it really does seem that they need to be done together, for me anyway (YMMV).
I did this a couple of years ago, starting when I was taking part in a study (does calcium-enriched orange juice, in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise, promote weight loss?), and then for a few more months on my own, and I did lose weight (although, as with most such premises, I credit the healthy diet and exercise, not the calcium-enriched orange juice). In fact, I lost around 25 pounds, which very much pleased me. Who would have thought that the crazy, wacky, out-there plan of eating less and exercising more would actually work? It's so radical! Has it ever been done before? Has anyone studied this?
I have, however, put some of those pounds back on, which I know because the clothes are getting tight around the middle again. (When I gain weight, it congregates at my mid-section.) So, I'm trying to be a good doobie, and getting back in control of myself.
Eat Less is hard. So far, I am not doing the "write down everything I eat" part, though I may if time goes by without much in the way of results. I found that to be a very helpful technique before, but I do think I'm pretty good now about being aware of what I eat, and how much. Willpower and portion control, sigh. I hate feeling hungry. Perhaps if I come up with a theme song to hum when I'm hungry, that would help? Get my mind off it? Preferably something better than, "I'm going to work that flab right off of my tum" (to the tune of "I'm going to wash that man right out of my hair", natch). I am trying to have healthy food choices in the house, and snacks to have at work, but what I really need is to convince myself not to eat the second I feel a hunger pang. Or when I'm bored. Or when something good is there. Or ... you get the picture.
So far, exercise is going better. I set a twofold goal, involving walking on breaks at work and actually (radical idea) using the exercise bike I have at home.
We always used to walk, a group of people in my department, but I got out of the habit last fall (and started gaining weight, hmmm), so I decided to start up again. Thirty minutes a day has to be better than zero, right? If it's too icky out (like yesterday morning, when I could have handled the cold OR the rain OR the inch of slush on the ground, but not all three), then there's a place upstairs that can be used as a makeshift track, so no weather excuses. No, it's not fun, but there we are.
As for the bike, it's a very basic model that someone at my last job was getting rid of, and this very nice guy delivered it to my apartment and carried it up two flights of stairs for me. It weighs a ton, why I don't know, and since I can't stand to use it without the TV on, it has to be in the living room, which is shall we say not a photogenic decorative option. I was looking at it a few weeks ago and thinking how I don't want to give it house-room if I'm not going to use it, and if it comes to using it or getting rid of it, I really ought to use it (see above re clothes getting tighter, and previous whines about money being tight too, thus not buying a whole new wardrobe). (I'm starting to dislike the word "tight" now.)
The goal I set was modest, since I don't want to set myself up to fail. I figured that once I get into the rhythm of it, I can up the numbers, but for now, I will try to do five minutes at a time*, at least three weekdays and once over the weekend. This doesn't mean that if I ride on Saturday, I won't ever ride on Sunday, just that if I can't face it, I won't. This week, for instance, I did Monday night, so when I was really tired last night, I didn't make myself. But I will tonight. I just know better than to set the goal of doing it every day. If I do, great, but if not, tomorrow is another day.
*And it's the longest five minutes imaginable. The first minute is fine, the second is okay, the third is not nice, the fourth and fifth never end, and then I stagger to the couch on jelly-legs and collapse. It takes at least ten minutes to want to walk ever again. I'm in such great shape!
So far, I'm keeping to the goals well. I missed a couple of walks last week, but I've been ten-for-ten more than once. The biking requires a little forethought, particularly on a weekend when I might think of it several times but "will just finish XYZ first", but I'm getting it into my mind that I need to do it, and it's working all right so far.
I wish that I got that mythical endorphin rush when I exercise. I've heard others say that they feel different, worse, if they don't work out, or better after they do, and I've never felt that. Exercising makes me feel tired, and that's about it. If it was just for the sake of my general health, I might never be able to make myself do it. That's so vague, you know? But when it comes to fitting into my clothes, well, that's something I can see.