Like everyone, I had barriers to eating better and exercising more. I have been a vegetarian for a long time, but I was eating lots of cheese and milk and ice cream, so my main approach was to cut out full-fat dairy, cut out snacking, reduce portion size, and start walking. I decided that walking could be sustainable, and that I probably wouldn't be able to keep up with something strenuous or unpleasant. I work full-time, and the only time I had to walk was very early in the morning, while my partner and two kids were still asleep. After a few days of walking and dieting, I felt like I was starving and went on-line looking for motivation to stick with it. I found a great site called PEERtrainer, which has a lot of great articles about changing one's approach to eating (not just about dieting). I got exposed to and began following the Eat to Live approach put forth by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Eat to Live is heavy into high nutrient foods, especially green leafies, and low in animal products and refined carbs like breads. There is no calorie counting; you can eat all the fruits and vegetables and legumes that you want. I also joined some small on-line groups and teams through PEERtrainer, began logging my meals and exercise, and generally found accountability and support. I lost 30 pounds in 6 months, getting down to my goal weight of 125.
Through one of my groups I learned about a website call "Couch to 5K" and decided to give running a try, since I felt like the long walks early in the morning were taking too long, and maybe I could get the same or more benefit if I went faster. Lo and behold, I found I actually LIKED it! I'm still doing it, running 3.75 miles 5 days a week, sometimes longer or more often, so I guess it's pretty sustainable. I also joined a VERY inexpensive gym -- $10 a month -- so that when the weather is too cold or yucky, I can do a circuit workout or treadmill there. And my other other back-up for days that I can't run and can't get myself to the gym are workouts at home. We have the Wii, so I do Wii Fit Plus or EA Sports Active workouts OR I do workouts that are in the On Demand section of our cable subscription. Some days I do really hard ones, like Jillian Michaels. Other days I do much gentler ones, like the walking series by Leslie Sansone. I try not to let myself off the exercise hook very often. It's so much easier for me to stick to the routine than to go day-by-day.
I got the celiac diagnosis a year ago and have gained back 12 pounds. Part of it is likely a function of a healed gut. The other part is that I'm eating more refined carbs. I think it's the psychology of deprivation. Since I can't eat most of the refined carbs in the world, when one crosses my path that I CAN eat, I have a hard time saying no. The good news is that Eat to Live is VERY compatible with a GF diet. I also slacked off on the frequency and intensity of my workouts. I just need to get refocused on why I want to be thinner and return to doing what works. In some ways it's a hard time of year, since there are so many temptations. But in some ways it's easier for me because I know the temptations are everywhere and I can have my healthy eating plan ready to implement when temptation crosses my path.
I hope you'll check out the links above for extra ideas and motivation. I couldn't have lost the original 30 without them, and groups like this one and the ones I mentioned will be key to my re-losing the 12. Oh, and none of them cost me any money. They all do seem to have something to sell, but I used nothing but free content at the websites and got books from the library. (I did buy the EA Sports active for wii, but my kids use it too!)