When I show people photos of me from 3 years ago they can't believe it mostly. I was a fat ass and just kept getting fatter. This was because of a variety of things but for the most part I had been kicking my own ass for 10 years in a row and didn't really notice the change because that's the thing about gaining weight: You don't just wake up one day and now you are a fatty, it takes years and you don't notice it day-by-day.
The same is true in reverse as well and documenting your progress is very important when losing weight... but that is a story for another day.
The problem that a lot of people face when they decide to make a change in their lives to lose some weight is that they attempt to go "all in" at one time. They eat only vegetables, eliminate all carbs from their diet, try to run before they can walk, and in worst case scenarios, pay for a year up front at a gym and personal trainers. I have never seen someone that uses this technique actually succeed. In fact, almost all of them quit entirely within a month.
There are a lot of reasons why this is true but the main one being that they tried to go from "zero to hero" too quickly and this shock to the system is too much for a vast majority of people to handle. Also, after a week or so these people expect to go from flab to fab and when they look in the mirror and don't notice a difference, they think that it is all a waste of time. Therefore they return to their bad habits and try to forget that this decision to change ever even happened.
I have helped dozens of people to change their lifestyle and lose some weight and I lead by example. I am not some author that is trying to sell a fad diet, I am just a guy that tried exactly this and it worked for me and I really cant see any reason why it can't work for other people - I really believe it can work for almost anyone.
I really believe the above statement is extremely true. There are shows out there like The Biggest Loser (which is a great show) where a big group of fatties are taken in and made to completely change their diets and exercise all day and they suffer and they lose a TON of weight. The difference between you and them is that you don't have the entire day free to do nothing else but exercise, you don't have access to world class trainers and dieticians, and you aren't in a competition for a million dollars. It is basically just you against yourself.
Therefore, the ONLY way that I think that people can succeed at losing weight is to make micro-adjustments to their lifestyle and raise the bar just slightly once the previous step has become easy for you.
For me, the first thing I did was drop full-flavored beers from my diet. I knew that if I tried to say "I'm not going to drink beer at all anymore" that I would have definitely failed so instead I simply transitioned to a low carb version.
I'm not gonna lie, compared to their full-flavored counterparts these beers suck. But you would be surprised how much of a difference a lime can make and after a while you don't even miss the old ones. Obviously for someone who enjoys things like IPA's and what not it would be more difficult but I never met someone who pounds 10 IPA's a night. All the people I know who have beer guts are more of a "12 of the cheap stuff please" type individuals.
This one small change in my life in addition to simply walking a mile or so per day (I literally changed nothing else about my diet) resulted in me losing something like 5 lbs in the first 2 weeks.
Now that the switch to beer wasn't that difficult I decided to add one more step... but just a tiny one. I wasn't going to eat any bread at dinner. All the other stuff that I would normally have, I would have just as much of it or even more than I normally would, but just no bread.
Just like the switching to low-carb beer was, this was difficult at first but now I don't even miss it. I also started turning my 1 mile walk into a "jog as much as you can and then return to a walk." I never overdid it. I never turned it into something that I hated doing and it started to become more of an easy challenge.
Think about it: How difficult is it to just not have bread with dinner? It is lovely don't get me wrong, but is it necessary? How difficult is it to walk around the neighborhood a bit? Is that too much to ask?
These tiny steps, over time, become larger and larger and result in an overall life change that not only helps you to lose the weight, but will also keep it off. People who go on crash diets almost always return to their previous weight, hell, most of The Biggest Loser participants are fat again because 2 months of someone forcing you to eat healthy and exercise your ass off for a cash prize as it turns out isn't really lifestyle change.
My method will take longer, but I truly believe that it leads to lasting change and it is also very easy to stick with because you never go to the next level until the current one is easy. I have never met anyone that went "all in" as far as weight loss is concerned and succeeded other than people with bulimia and well, that is no laughing matter and it a topic for another day.
2 years sounds like a long time I know, but it took me 10 years to get that fat and out of shape so it shouldn't be the surprising that it takes a while to turn it back. If I can do it, I honestly believe anyone else can too. I just think the fitness world is suggesting to most people how to do it in a way that 90% of people are NOT going to stick to.