At first I wasn't counting calories -- just trying to eat a little less; that worked okay, but not great -- the scale wandered a bit, down and up. I started logging food and counting calories on January 8th, and the weight loss has been steady since then. I'm aiming to eat around 300 calories less than normal, (although when I add more exercise, I also add more calories).
Don't freak out if I mention that means I'm eating 1000 calories / day -- it's not very much, I know, but I am a woman and only 5 feet tall, and I'm hypothyroid. 1300 calories / day is maintenance for me, and I'm perfectly happy eating that. 1000 calories / day means I feel fine most of the day, and then go to bed slightly hungry (and cranky).
I'm logging both food and exercise on Fitbit; their food database isn't as comprehensive as My Fitness Pal, but it's not bad; I can usually find appropriate approximations for everything. It's convenient to use one site for everything, and having the Aria scale that automatically logs my weight when I step on it each morning is also helpful. All the tracking works well for me -- seeing the numbers on the charts is motivating. Ditto the line trending downward.
I'm weighing my food pretty often, which isn't something I would want to do long-term, but I'm willing to do it for this brief dieting period. Afterwards, I plan to go back to my normal eating habits, because I don't usually gain weight with those -- I've only gained weight due to specific things (undiagnosed thyroid disease initially, heartbreak and comfort eating, and pregnancies). In the past, when I've set aside time to lose weight, I've lost the weight successfully, and kept it off (for many years).
I'm varying my exercise a fair bit, because I get bored easily -- trying to get to 10,000 steps as a minimum, but also doing additional exercise each day. Swimming has been very effective, even though I barely know how to swim. When the weather's nice, I go for walks outside (it helps to have a goal, someplace I'm doing an errand to), when it's bad, I take my laptop down and use a board across my treadmill as a desk, so I can watch shows or Facebook. (I can even write, but I need to drop the speed significantly for that.) I use a ribbon to tie the laptop to the treadmill, just in case. I'm lifting weights a bit, doing yoga a bit, plan to try a pilates class next week, etc.
My goals are to both lose weight and to get more fit. My dream would be to move out of what the doctors consider overweight and into the normal range, for the first time in my adult life. My other dream would be to be in good enough shape that I could join a community sports team. Right now, my cardiovascular is just not good enough -- I don't think I could keep up. Is it possible that by the fall, I could be ready to join a soccer team? That would be so awesome.
I'm noticing that it really helps, having money to spend on this. There's the gym membership, first and foremost. There's being able to afford reasonably cute exercise clothes (I don't buy anything particularly trendy, and I try to find things secondhand where I can, but still, being able to buy clothes just to exercise in is not something everyone can afford), so I'm less self-conscious in classes or at the gym. There's being able to afford expensive food -- lox, for example, is tasty and succulent and feels indulgent and is reasonably low-calorie. Which is great, if you don't wince at the price. Ready-made salads are helping me with my goal of trying to eat salad every day, and those aren't cheap either.
It also helps, having the kind of personality that likes setting a plan, making lists, setting goals, achieving those goals. I have *exactly* the kind of personality that is well-suited to deliberate weight-loss, it turns out.
It is also much easier doing this now that the children are older and need less care. We still don't leave them at home alone, but if I go out to the gym for two hours (walking there, swimming, hanging out in the whirlpool and sauna, walking back), it doesn't feel nearly as much of an imposition on Kevin as it would even a year ago. There's a good chance he can work through that entire time now, unless they have some sort of crisis. (And he can do the same if he wants to go exercise.)
Okay, those are the notes so far. Will check back in at the end of January, if I remember. Hope some of this is helpful to someone!