I find that healthy recipes really help me to maintain a goal weight, but they do nothing for me losing. The only way I’ve ever lost weight, diet-wise, was to do the following (kind of a paleo-based thing):
1) Eliminate all wheat, limit oatmeal and corn, and eat starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes) prior to 5pm, never later.
2) Raw veggies and canned tuna or boiled chicken for lunch. I mean as many raw bell peppers, onions, lettuces, spinaches :), tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots as I can fit into my body.
3) Completely eliminate refined sugar in any way- no honey, granulated sugar, agave nectar, and certainly no high fructose corn syrup. This means I probably use too much artificial sweetener (Splenda), but it’s short-term so I don’t feel that bad about it.
4) Heavy on the protein, and I don’t worry about fat that much. Tuna, chicken, tilapia are the best, but when I’m feeling especially hungry I’ll make some fresh salmon, pork or even a steak. Almond butter or almonds help too.
5) Snack on boiled eggs. In addition to eating them for breakfast.
6) Drink more water than I could ever enjoy drinking. And then drink some more. (I’m not a water-drinker)
I LOVE to cook and I LOVE to eat, but I find that if I indulge my fancies, even with healthy things, I still wind up eating too much, too late, and I don’t lose. It’s a psychological thing for me. Following these rules, when I’m in maintenance-mode, I can start cooking again and making yummy things that I’ll still be thinking about two days later.
Once my diet is in place, I weight train HEAVY. Even if it means I have to do 3 sets of only 8 reps, I like my weights heavy because that’s when I start to feel a difference in my muscles. It’s good for your bones too 🙂 When I feel stronger, I feel more beautiful, and am then more inclined to keep eating healthy and workout. It’s a cycle.
Training heavy also makes cardio far less dismal. I hate cardio in its many forms, but if I feel strong doing it, at least I feel like i’m getting something accomplished.
And power/hot yoga for peace of mind. Nothing makes me want to be better to my body than enduring an intense yoga class and being able to appreciate the strength my body gives me.