I have not had a pleasant history with losing weight. Until I understood the basics of keeping the weight off, my body ballooned in and out like an unruly air-bag. I came to Britain weighing a mere seven and a half stones (107 lbs) and then gradually put on weight after I had my two children. Seven years later, I was 9 stones (126 lbs) and panicking. I had no wish to lose my trim, shapely figure and developed anxieties around it.
I took to going on diets galore. You name them, I tried them, losing up to 12 lbs in one month (which was too much to lose so quickly!). I looked slim again but promptly put 19 lbs back on a few weeks after that! I slowly crept up to 11 and a half stones (161 lbs), despite all the dieting, just before I left my marriage. Since living on my own I have jettisoned all diet books (I don't go anywhere near them) and I lost 24 lbs the first year being single through a combination of stress, better diet and exercise. Now I am a trim 145 lbs and am aiming to lose another stone (14 lbs) as a life time target. But I am not in any rush to do it as I know it will drop off in its own time with my natural routine.
I have learnt five basic things about keeping healthy since I stopped following diet books:
1. A feeling of contentment to losing weight is as essential as anything else. It means one doesn't worry about the food but focus on more important things while nourishing the body.
2. Sticking to mainly fruits and vegetables, and cutting down dramatically on oily or sweet foods, loses you weight constantly.
3. Exercise is extremely important to keep those calories off and keep the heart in top condition, especially a brisk walk of a mile or more each day. I dance regularly to music that I love. It's both natural and enjoyable.
4. Eating regularly, in small amounts, daily, is far more effective than starving one's self and eating a couple of big meals each day. When there are gaps in eating patterns, the body simply conserves its fat to protect itself.
5. Drinking 5-7 glasses of water per day not only tones your system, and is extremely healthy for its maintenance, but it also helps to keep hunger pangs at bay and allows far less food to be consumed.
Those are the basic tenets that now guide my health. I do not take off too much weight unless I make a special effort, but I haven't put on any either in the 10 years I've been living on my own, except with the odd diabetic medication. I am sure that is what has helped me to deal with my diabetic complications more confidently too.
My answer to the diet question is that they do work - briefly - but most people simply put more weight back on when they complete the diet because dieting is an artificial process which deprives the body of essential requirements. It means that the body will take steps during that diet to protect itself which usually results in even more weight being added later on in a depressing never-ending circle.