Losing weight is a very common goal for so many people. As we age, the ability to drop pounds seems to get more and more difficult, if not impossible for some. That is one reason there are so many fad diet plans, diet books, supplements and medications, diet websites and clubs, meal delivery services, and endless marketing offers around weight loss. And most of it is useless in the long-term.
I say that because most of these options fail to focus on the unique individual and the many possible sources for the issue. So many personal factors can be involved, not simply the diet plan you are following (or not following in most cases). Weight gain and difficulty with weight loss is often tied to hormone imbalance, metabolic issues, gut flora imbalance, and lifestyle factors, among other things. These are all highly individualized, and no one plan will work for everyone. We all have different needs, different likes and dislikes, and our bodies work in differing ways.
Most fad diets fail over time because they are too stringent and therefore too difficult to adhere to over time. They often lead to deficiencies in certain nutrients, which can actually be harmful. And numerous studies have shown that weight usually returns once diet plans are stopped, and often even more weight is put on than the dieter originally had.
My recommendation is to take a deep dive into the many factors that could be playing a role in this problem. Seek information about your body, your habits, and your lifestyle, and then develop a plan to successfully lose weight on your terms and according to your needs. There is no one-size-fits-all plan, so don't fall victim to the fad hype.
I focus on integration of a healthy, sustainable diet with research-based lifestyle recommendations, along with the use of certain nutraceuticals and supplements that have been shown to be effective. I also look at a variety of hormone levels to make sure that your hormones are optimized. I think it is important to use a food and exercise diary to monitor thee aspects of your lifestyle, and consider elimination diets when necessary.
Regardless of your weight loss goals and personal needs, the thing you must stop doing if you want to lose weight is counting calories. If you want to be successful over the long haul, you have to look beyond calorie count. Many people become obsessed with this method and focus too much on specific numbers. It can take away from the actual enjoyment of your food, it can make you ignore how you feel, and it can distract you from choosing healthy foods over unhealthy ones. Instead, learn to focus on choosing the right foods and on eating in a healthy manner with healthy portion sizes. This is about quality, not quantity. Stop chasing those numbers!
There are many other things that people do when trying to lose weight that can actually be counter productive as well. We'll get into those another time.