Buying a bathroom scales! I had never been able to stick a diet for longer than a week before, because I was never sure if it was working or not. After weighing myself everyday for over a month (and losing almost 5 kgs in the process) I've learnt how I lose weight: I lose nothing for a week and then I lose a kilo altogether! Now, when the scales don't move, I don't go around eating chocolate... I just wait (of course, the calories-in-calories-out thing would be the diet behind it).
Agree, an accurate bathroom scale is a good thing!
My "thing" that worked or is working for me is not getting hung up about the number on the scale, and not getting hung up on the familiar words, "you should be losing 1-2 pounds a week." Because, most of the time for me that has not been the case. Also for me, I don't really set a weight loss deadline, such as "My goal is to be X weight by X date." I do have a magic number that I want to get to, and I have my mind set that I will get to it. The date I get there is not important, what is important is I get there. Also getting enough sleep at night has been key. 7-8 hours a night. That is when the magic started to happen.
"Diet" things that have worked for me. I don't eat diet food. I eat the real deal (i.e. full calorie foods.) and am mindful of portions. I weigh and measure things. I cut WAY down my sodium intake. I eat slowly and mindfully. I don't buy processed foods. I cook from scratch so I am certain of the calorie, fat, protein and salt content. I make my own salad dressings, "condensed soups" for recipes, etc.
I don't eat until I am full. I've found this over the two years of my progress. There is really no need to eat until you are full, ever.
These are all great answers!
Being mostly in the maitenance/maybe a couple more pounds phase, I do find myself slipping back into old habits from time to time. I am especially susceptable to artisan breads and ODing on cheese and crackers. When that happens I have found that a day or 2 of fasting helps me regain my perspective on eating to live, rather than living to eat. It may not be for everyone - but it works for me
I found CICO by itself to be utterly useless, if also technically & trivially true. I didn't overeat because I wanted to; I overate because the things I ate made me inappropriately hungry through their endocrine effects. After many failed attempts to "just eat less" I realized that trying to make a life change contrary to instinct is a recipe for failure. You have to change the instinct, not just hope to ignore it. Willpower is a limited resource.
Happily, as soon as I quit eating the bulk grains and sugars that our Western diet so blithely embraces, and began eating just about everything we are routinely told to avoid (red meat, saturated fat, eggs, butter), the appetite aligned itself with my energy needs (as it does in nearly all other animals, except domesticated ones fed on grains) and the weight just melted off. A laundry list of health problems and ominous lab results vanished with it. Nearing two years in, I'm down to 215 from 340, and I'm not done yet.
I got here eating things I love (steaks, seafood, rich salads, nuts) and at ~2800 cal/day I never had to starve myself either. For exercise, I just walk, & sprint every now & then. Sure, I miss bread and pasta, but giving them up is way easier than subjecting myself to tasteless shake mixes and "low fat"/"nonfat" imitation food, gasping my lungs out on treadmills and stationary bikes, and feeling perpetually ravenous for my next wheat/glucose fix. THAT is what's truly "unsustainable" (a word that is continually misapplied to LC/Paleo plans, mainly by people who haven't tried them)
For me? No sugar, low carb and meal planning. I come up with a day's worth of meal and snack menues and stick as close to it as possible, without getting too nuts. I allow for cheats and actually find I feel better when I eat less. I like variety so I mix it up to keep from getting bored.
And of course, movement. I am limited due to health issues but I try at least to walk as much as possible, do floor exercises and the ever important stretching. I am slowly working my way up to better health.
That's another thing: long term thinking. A woman I know who is in great shape gestured to her fit, muscular body and said, "This doesn't happen overnight, you know." So that and persistence. You fall off the wagon? So what? We all have. Just get back on. We'll wait for ya.
I agree with acky and cjohnson. Calories in vs. calories spent and consistency. It takes work-preplanning-and commitment. You have to be ready. AND you have to allow yourself to fall off the wagon once in awhile. You simply get back on. I know I can do it but sometimes it take a bit of motivation for me. Fitday journals are awesome to track the calories and exercise.
Definitely low carb for me. Before I finally decided to try it, I had always just limited my calories. But I was ALWAYS hungry and I ALWAYS gained the weight back extremely fast.
Whether I'm dieting or not, I always work out at least 5 days a week. That will always help. Low carb doesn't get the weight off as fast, but it's very easy to stay with the diet and I get to eat until I'm full!