Canary: I agree that a lot of people make things more complicated than they need to be, or worry about subtle details while not seeing the big pictures. Here is my (still developing) philosophy:
First level: Calories out-calories in will determine weight loss. Burn more than you eat and you will lose weight. period. Everything comes back to this. Accurate tracking is critical.
Second: Deal with emotional or psychological issues that contribute to bad eating habits or poor physical activity habits. For some people this is probably the most important thing, for others not so much. But ignore this and progress will be impossible or at best short lived.
Third level: find ways to minimize calories in without suffering too much. Best way to do this is minimizing empty calories that do nothing to satisfy hunger. I found eating plenty of protein and fiber really helped avoid being too hungry...along with eating smaller portions more often throughout the day. Macronutrition (carbs/protein/fat ratios)
Fourth level: Maximize calories out. Exercise to burn calories and staying generally more active throughout the day. Also working to maintain muscle mass really makes a huge difference. If you lose muscle mass while losing weight your body is going to be burning fewer and fewer calories making it very hard to keep losing or even to maintain the lose you have already. I think it is also important to mix up exercises...if you are always doing the same thing, running for example, your body will become very efficient doing it and will burn fewer calories for the same amount of exercise.
Fifth level: fine tuning macronutriants (Carbs, Protein, Fat) and starting to watch micronutrition (vitamins and minerals). simple vs. complex carbs, tracking calcium, potassium, vitamins, etc. Also when to eat (don't eat late, don't eat fruit after noon, etc etc etc.)
Sixth level: General health. What foods help reduce the chance of cardio disease? Cholesterol, etc. etc. For those that are obese, these discussions can be secondary to losing the weight, since losing all the extra weight does more for health than anything else. Once the weight is coming off than worry more about tweaking the other things.
In my opinion a lot of people worry too much about about level five and six without really embracing level 1 or 2. For some it is just easier to deal with the details than to just starting eating less and moving more (i.e. quick fix diets).
Just my 2cents.
Male 45, 5'6"
To date - 32.6 lbs down
Start: 20 Oct 2011: 210.2lb
, body fat =35.3%
Original Goal: 20% body fat - achieved 3/1/12
Last weigh-in: 3-May-2012: 177.6
Last body fat measurement: Oct 15,2012: 14.1%
Goal: Maintain < 20% body fat and < 180lb
Days Maintained : 427
Last edited by clarkslp; 05-18-2012 at 08:43 PM.