I know, never say never, but this past couple of months has reinforced my attitude that dieting is totally ineffective. As you all know, I started walking with my husband a few weeks ago. I was not trying to lose weight. I wanted to get back in the habit of walking, as I used to when we lived in Salinas. This is the first time in years I exercised without also doing Weight Watchers*. I usually started the food plan, then added the exercise. Well, this time I just started walking and didn't worry about food. I've noticed my appetite is less, and I make sure I don't overstuff myself. I'm not eating any different food from before. The doctor weighed me back when I was getting my shoulder checked out. I weighed myself on my son's excellent scale. I've lost 12 pounds. So, no more eating at a semi-starvation level. I'm just going to keep walking. Keep eating what my body wants. And whatever happens, happens. My husband hasn't lost pounds, but his muscles are tighter, so I suspect he's been replacing fat with muscle.
So--go walking, swimming, biking, skating, dancing. Do exercise you enjoy. Our bodies were designed to MOVE. Move yours and your weight loss will become easier, especially if you don't starve yourself, too. An anecdote about someone I knew a few years ago. She was studying nutrition, exercise, etc. in college. She worked out and followed Weight Watchers. She couldn't lose weight. She went to a nutritionist who said, "Eat more. You're not getting enough calories to fuel the amount of stuff you're doing." She did what he said and started to lose weight. It's not as simple as eat less, exercise more. You have to have the right balance or your body will hang onto the fat as if you're never going to feed it again. I read a rule of thumb the other day that said you need 10% of your weight in calories just to fuel your body at rest, doing nothing. If you're eating less than that, you're starving yourself. I didn't have access to the study he quoted, so I can't verify the data, but if it's even close, I can see why people fail at weight loss. Your body is not going to give up fat if it's being starved.
* I wanted to add that this isn't intended to say anything bad about Weight Watchers. They have, IMO, one of the best plans out there. My point was just that this is my experience. YMMV.