So, when I was working out hard a couple of years ago, I never lost a pound. I was lifting heavy (could squat 135 pounds, which was amazing for a fat 30-something woman) and was hungry all the time. So even though I was burning calories like crazy, I was also eating a LOT.
Here's a vulnerable thing: I have binge eating disorder. So my previous pattern while working out was eating well for a day or two, and then bingeing (up to 5000 calories in one day) for a day or two, or a week. It was impossible to make progress with losing weight. Over the last year, I've been much more aware of what I'm eating because I worked with a health and nutrition coach at the school during fall semester. So the binges got fewer and farther between, until I really wasn't cyclical bingeing anymore.
That's why, when I decided to start making changes this year, I started with my diet.
I started adding veggies and fruits to get 3-5 servings a day. This has been made easier with Thrive freeze dried foods, because they don't go bad before I get to them. (If you need a consultant, let me know, I have an amazing one.)
Then after I had added more fruits and veggies, I started weaning off of Pepsi. I'm completely and totally addicted to it, and I know soda isn't really all that great for my body. So I started weaning off of it. I have about 8-12 ounces every 3 days now, which is much better than 32-64 ounces a DAY.
After I had a better handle on the Pepsi, I started tracking my caloric intake. I use an app from loseit.com , where you can plug in your goals and it gives you a daily calorie target, and I started actually measuring foods. Half a cup of cold cereal is a lot less than most people think. I haven't worried so much about WHAT I'm eating as much as exactly how much I'm eating. If I want a cupcake, I'm going to eat a cupcake, as long as I'm staying within my calories and eat plenty of fruits, veggies, and protein.
The first few days were the hardest, and they weren't even that bad. After I successfully stayed at or just under my calorie target for a week, I started exercising again. At that point, I double checked my basic metabolic rate with the calorie counter from iifym.com to make sure I was getting enough but not too many calories.
The last few days have been rough on an emotional level for me. I've wanted to binge, but I haven't. And I'm so proud of myself for that. I skipped yesterday's workout but did it today, and will count yesterday as my rest day.
I am not working out so much that I am STARVING all the time, and I'm still able to stay within my calorie range. It's what I'm calling that magic spot, because I'm getting stronger, my muscles are getting more defined, the fat is melting off of me, and I feel satisfied and full. It really is like Magic.