I changed my diet and my lifestyle with the goal of losing weight, and I know I am not the first or the last to do so. I feel like there isn't a one-size-fit-all way of doing it, we have different strengths and different weaknesses to deal with.
My biggest weakness is that I need to feel full at the end of the meal. My super skinny husband will eat three spoons of something and declare he is too full to put another morsel in his mouth. I think that if someone compared our stomachs they would find out that mine is at least 10 times bigger than his!
So here is my problem: let's say I have on my plate a gigantic piece of lasagna. I could eat a small piece of it and maybe still stay within my calorie goal, right? That's what they say you should do, indulge but in moderation. And for a little while I can even try to do that, I can control myself, but then I am hungry, and sad, and suffering, and I keep thinking of that leftover lasagna calling my name from the plate. It's a slippery slope, and one that I have been on before. It is, in a way, like recovering from alcoholism: if you became an alcoholic you evidently have trouble controlling yourself. While others can enjoy a recreational drink here and there, ex-alcoholics have to stick to non-alcoholic beverages because they know that they can't stop at one glass of wine. So, if I can, I don't even want to see that lasagna on my plate, I would rather eat a lot of something else that will make me feel full and well nourished but that is also good for me. How do I do that? Well, with veggies, fish and an extensive research and work.
I do have a few strengths: I love cooking and I am a pretty good cook. I get excited about trying new foods from all over the world and I have very little food dislikes. So here is how I worked with my strengths to beat my weakness: I got new exciting vegan cookbooks, so I could learn how to cook without centering my meal around animal products. I scoured the stores to find ingredients I have never tried before, like veggies I usually avoided or exotic spices I never heard of before, and I challenged myself to try something new every day. Something that while large in quantity would be low in calories and generally healthy. Something that would nourish me instead of stuffing me, but that would still make my stomach feel that "fullness" it craves at the end of the meal.
So, as you embark on your journey, find your strengths and be honest about your weaknesses and work with them. Maybe you are a sweet tooth and you found a way to incorporate something sweet that is also healthy in your diet. Or maybe you have a hectic life that doesn't allow you to plan ahead and found a way to have improvised but healthy meals always handy. Let me know what they are and how you will work with them from now on, I am sure you will find that many others share your weaknesses and you can share your strengths to defeat them too.