You have to find what works for you. I've been on this journey more times than I can count. And I just started again 3 weeks ago. I started March 28 at 217 lbs and have lost 10 pounds as of weigh in this morning. I've tried every fad diet out there and one thing I've realized (like you) is that it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle. I haven't really started an exercise routine yet, I was saving that for my first plateau. I've read in other forums about numerous small meals throughout the day, and I don't know if it's the same thing, but I "graze" all day long, for a total of 900-1200 calories. (and I'm never hungry)
As for incentive, I put a down payment on sky diving lessons for August 15. If I don't make the weight (175) I lose my money. And that won't happen. I left no room to not make it.