Gaining and losing weight for me started in puberty. I made so many resolutions, followed so many diets. A holistic doctor in my 20s provided good support; the stress of living in my late 20s in LA (commuting long ways, especially) killed both exercise and added pounds. But I just kept trying and trying to find a way back to health. Then I had two children, and my weight varied but I ended restrictive dieting because I decided a mom on 800/1200 calories a day could not properly thrive as a caregiver. I carried an extra 20-30-40 pounds for years and after I turned 50-something decided on body acceptance and invested in a new wardrobe at Eileen Fisher.
Then menopause arrived — or approached slowly. The whole hormonal change from 40s/50s is a terribly rollercoaster for me. But I finally got on thyroid; added yoga and Pilates and ballet; sought treatment from a Tibetan Healer; and increased exercise from one to three hours or more a day. And I stopped drinking alcohol, minimized the sweets; added tea and espresso — with caffeine. And while I did not “diet” I did eat smaller portions and less snacks between meals.
So now I am 135 pounds at 5’7″. My seizes in clothes run on the small side and my body is the shape that is honest for me. I have mobility. I can wear the clothes I want and engage in activity without thinking I have to lose weight. I am a British Isles mutt so too thin on me doesn’t work — I am not a petite woman. My points? Restrictive diets based on calorie count? Never worked for me. Acceptance of body at any level? Good strategy. Exercise? Do what you love and do as much of it as you can without hurting yourself. This is the body that will hopefully carry you into old age.