Honestly, I picked a “weight loss” strategy that was something I could maintain for many years to come. I used 16 hr daily intermittent fasting and eating Huel for meals at work during most of my weight loss. I also exercised in the fasted state which helped burn fat but also limited by exercise capacity (which in turn limits the hunger effects from doing too much exercise). My body weight then sort-of reached its new steady state. I didn’t think of these strategies as temporary, but stuff I could maintain years.
Although not relayed to weight loss, I did decide to cut out all meat and dairy for 2019 to see how that went. I incidentally lost another 15 pounds without much effort. Although I’m learning to eat more volume food now to compensate for the fact that meat is simply more energy dense than many whole plant-based meals. (I overdid it yesterday with my 10 pieces of fruit, though ). But now the diet is heavy into starches with fruits and non-starchy vegetables in minor or moderate portions, with a little bit of nuts and seeds. I found that although I like big salads, they fill me up and then I’m hungry again in a few hours. Focusing on tubers, grains, oats, and pulses as the main part of the meal (with some squashes here and there) is the best answer for me. It allows me to get my energy needs and not go hungry. I am amazed at how much starch I can eat and remain lean. Once I cut out the saturated fats, added sugars, trans fasts, and increased my fiber, along with daily therapeutic fasting, my insulin sensitivity is like a cross country runner half my age. I can eat so much starches and not get fat. It is so easy to remain lean on my current diet plan.
A decade ago my BMI was 38.5. I did rigorous exercise to get down to a BMI around 31. A good accomplishment, but not sustainable. Noone can keep exercising 2 to 3 hours every day, unless they are a pro athlete. Once I started watching youtube videos about intermittent fasting, glycemic index, the effects of added sugars, and the influence of insulin on body fat storage, I developed a much better working model of obesity. (My decision to “go vegan” was something I did later on and this was more for long-term health rather than pure weight loss. Also, there are some pretty compelling ethical reasons, of which I am not going to preach since I spent most of my life as an Omnivore.)
I went from a BMI of 31 to 21 in about a year with the new methods I described above. It was much easier than 3 hours a day of exercise. Now I just exercise moderately.