I don't really plan on posting here regularly because I'm in maintenance mode, but as someone who used to weigh 289lbs at my highest weight and now maintains right around 160 (which is actually a healthy weight for my height/frame/shape) I figured I could at least cheer you guys on and also offer up the insights from my own experience. I promise my intent isn't preachy, but just figured I'd share what worked for me!
Anyway, mainly I just think that it's important for each person to find a strategy that works for them! Sounds like quite a few of you are finding that cutting meat and animal products does good things for you. That's fantastic! For me, it's less about meat and more about being high protein/low carb. I don't eat much in the way of carbs (minus my ongoing ice cream addiction struggles. lol) and I eat quite a bit of meat, but that's just because it happens to work for my body. Carbs, for some reason, just seem to go straight to the scale for me, even if I'm eating the right number of calories.
In full disclosure, I got weight loss surgery, so that helped me a ton with losing weight because it forced me to control portions, but making the move from just counting calories to actually focus on my protein vs. carb intake is what actually allowed me to get to my end goal (weight loss surgery for most people will only get rid of around 65% of their extra weight, the rest you gotta do on your own).
I'll also be honest and say that I don't work out. Period. I love going hiking or doing other fun activities that involve exercise, but I just don't have the free time, or the will to commit to an ongoing gym routine. I hate it, so it takes very little to derail me. And on top of that all the studies show that your weight is 80-90% what you put in your mouth and only 10-20% exercise, and that seems to at least be true for me. So if you're just looking to get stronger or tone, sure, workout. But changing your diet is usually what you really have to do to lose weight (again, I'm sure results may vary from person to person!! And the gym can also have that "I'm losing inches but not pounds" impact so if you're less concerned about the scale and more about some clothes getting tight, it still can be a great thing). But what all of that meant for me personally is that I had to find a food routine that worked for me and didn't require hitting the gym in order to maintain. I didn't want to risk getting to a point where if I was happy with my weight I was going to risk gaining a bunch back if I ever fell off the wagon with going to the gym.
BUT, for all of you who are able to just incorporate more exercise into your daily routines, like the work commute, etc. that's freaking amazing!! Seems like a pretty solid way to burn some calories but is actually also functional vs just cutting time out of a schedule to go lift weights or run on a treadmill!! I wish I had the ability to do that (I don't like the idea of biking in the city and the weather here 3/4 of the year is either really cold or hot and super humid, bleh).
Anyway, my only real point is that it's great that each of you is trying different things to see what works for your own body, because what works for one, doesn't work for all. I hope you all find success and hit your goals!
I'd say my only 1 real recommendation is that when you do hit goal, PLEASE don't stop weighing yourself, or measuring, or using whatever tool it is that you use to measure being at goal. I have another message board that I read regularly that is weight loss related and soooo many people come there and post about how "I gained back 20/30/40 pounds after hitting my goal. How do I get back on track?!" And the only thing that I can think is that they must have stopped weighing themselves for a long time if they were suddenly surprised to see that they had gained that much. I think it's not healthy to obsess about the scale and kick yourself every time your weight changes a few ounces, but weighing yourself regularly will at least let you know what is going on with your body and you'll never be shocked by the number because you will have seen it slowly start to creep up and can catch things after only a few pounds. (Note, this is basically how I maintain, I have a 5 pound range and if I creep to the top of that range I get my rear in gear and take a hard look at what I've been eating lately and cut the crap that I've likely let creep back into my diet).
Ok, long rant over. Like I said, I don't intend to really do a ton of posting here, but I've been following the thread and just think it's awesome that you all are taking charge and working to meet your goals! You can all do it!!