I have tried almost every weight loss plan out there, including several I made up myself. Throughout this journey, I've learned so much about my body and what makes me feel great. Here's my plan:
For the most part, I stick to whole, real food. I avoid gluten because of my Hashimoto's disease, and skip sugar, refined grains, and processed foods the majority of the time. Honestly, weight loss can be achieved through many different plans.
The bottom line secret? I measure, weigh, and track EVERYthing I put in my mouth...even if it's a half a pizza or a candy bar or 3 beers. I have the My Fitness Pal app on my phone and tablet, so I can track any where and any time. One of the best tools I bought when I started this was a kitchen scale. I think mine was $15 on Amazon. The scale plus measuring cups and spoons (and getting in the habit of logging every little taste) really are the key.
I have also learned that when I am really hungry between meals or at bedtime to measure out a portion of cheese, nuts, or peanut butter. The fat and protein in just 100 calories of one of those gets me over the hunger for a few hours.
For autoimmunity in general, I eat paleo most of the time - a little higher in carbs than where I was before, but it feels more balanced to up my produce servings.
My secret is totally inconsistent exercise. Seriously - the amount and type of exercise I've been getting varies SO much. Some months I barely move beyond walking from my bedroom to my home office. Other months, I walk over an hour 6 days a week.
I've learned I can still lose weight without exercise, but exercise just makes me feel so much better. My energy is increased, I sleep better, and my mood improves when I move my body regularly.
My favorite exercise is just plain old walking. When I first started, I set a goal to just walk 10 minutes. I walked 5 minutes down my street, turned around, and then walked 5 minutes back. Over time, that's increased, and I walk anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 1/2 hours most days of the week. Those first few months I had terrible shin splints if I walked too quickly, so I kept having to slow down and stretch. Then, it took me 22-23 minutes to walk a mile. Now my pace is between 17 and 18 minutes per mile. Some work days I walk on my lunch break and eat my food back at my desk. I head over to a local park to walk or walk around my neighborhood if I'm working from home. On the weekends, I try to get in at least one longer walk - 5K or more. I love exploring nearby nature trails and neighborhood walking paths. When the weather is bad, I can use our community gym (free as part of our HOA) or do an exercise video or just a series of bodyweight exercises at home.