More on why dieting and maintenance is a difficult game and a bit on "is a calorie always a calorie?" debate (strictly they are and I think the studies that show otherwise have some flaws)
So the whole thing might have been an illusion? All that happened was the people temporarily lost water on the high-protein diets?
Perhaps the most important illusion is the belief that a calorie is not a calorie but depends on how much carbohydrates a person eats. There is an inflexible law of physics — energy taken in must exactly equal the number of calories leaving the system when fat storage is unchanged. Calories leave the system when food is used to fuel the body. To lower fat content — reduce obesity — one must reduce calories taken in, or increase the output by increasing activity, or both. This is true whether calories come from pumpkins or peanuts or pâté de foie gras.
To believe otherwise is to believe we can find a really good perpetual motion machine to solve our energy problems. It won’t work, and neither will changing the source of calories permit us to disobey the laws of science.
There isn't any magic to this. My success (so far) involves weighing and journaling and a combination of diet and exercise. For me the combination appears to be necessary. Here is what works for me if you are interested in starting somewhere. The Summer is probably an excellent time.
And here are a few more tricks that have proven to be effective for others.
"When it comes to weight loss, evidence from randomized, controlled trials comparing different diets finds that restricting total calories is more important than diet composition such as low-fat versus low-carbohydrate. Therefore, the specific aim of our study was to identify behaviors that supported the global goal of calorie reduction," McTiernan said.
Specifically, McTiernan and colleagues found that:
• Women who kept food journals consistently lost about 6 pounds more than those who did not
• Women who reported skipping meals lost almost 8 fewer pounds than women who did not
• Women who ate out for lunch at least weekly lost on average 5 fewer pounds than those who ate out less frequently (eating out often at all meal times was associated with less weight loss, but the strongest association was observed with lunch)
"For individuals who are trying to lose weight, the No. 1 piece of advice based on these study results would be to keep a food journal to help meet daily calorie goals. It is difficult to make changes to your diet when you are not paying close attention to what you are eating," said McTiernan, director of the Hutchinson Center's Prevention Center and a member of its Public Health Sciences Division. Study participants were given the following tips for keeping a food journal: • Be honest -- record everything you eat • Be accurate -- measure portions, read labels • Be complete -- include details such as how the food was prepared, and the addition of any toppings or condiments • Be consistent -- always carry your food diary with you or use a diet-tracking application on your smart phone
"While the study provided a printed booklet for the women to record their food and beverage consumption, a food journal doesn't have to be anything fancy," McTiernan said. "Any notebook or pad of paper that is easily carried or an online program that can be accessed any time through a smart phone or tablet should work fine."
If you have kids or have never been heavy, the trick is to never get heavy. Eat right and get a lot of physical exercise and you should be just fine. Probably the most cost effective health program society can do is to keep kids in shape and in a normal weight range. Phys Ed - properly done - could be a powerful and very low cost tool.