Somehow we got on this topic on the Road Cycling board and thought a more extensive disussion might be appropriate on this board.
Ever since high school I struggled with my weight. After I graduated from law school I was about 185lbs. Over the next 8 years I gained 3-5lbs a year until about 2.5 years ago I got weighed for new life insurance and I was 212lbs (I am a bit over 5'9"). I did exercise a few times a week and thought I at healthy (rarely ate red meat, at low fat foods, etc.). Somehow I came across the book "Eat to Live" by Joel Fuhrman M.D. who is an internal medicine specialist who does a lot of weight loss treatment. I read the book in one sitting - it is actually quite facinating. There is a lot of nutrional education in the book. Over the next six weeks I lost 22lbs. In the first six months I lost 45lbs (to 167lbs). For the past 2+ years I have stayed between 164 - 167lbs with literally no effort. What the book prescribes is not a diet, but a new way of life.
Here's the premise of the book: eat foods that are nutrient rich, meaning that they have a high content of nutrients per calorie. High nutrient foods (pretty much in order): green leafy veggies, other veggies, fruits, beans, whole grains. You can eat these in unlimited quantities. I did not/do not "diet." I do eat unlimited quantities of food. It is fantastic. Of course, i don't eat meat anymore or any dairy or snack foods or processed foods. But I feel healthier than I did when I was 20 (I am 35) and went from not fitting into my 36" pants to having my 32" jeans hang off me. My cholesterol went from 210 to 126.
My brother read Eat to Live and lost 65lbs in 5 months. My wife went from a size 12 to a size 6 in 4 months. Others that have read the book and actually eaten as Dr. Fuhrman suggests have lost similar amounts of weight. There are other long term health benefits other than weight loss that are fantastic as well (chance of many cancers, heart disease and type II diabetes are greatly reduced - my Dr. told me that if I eat as I do now for the rest of my life my chance of heart disease is about 1 in 1000 and my chance of diabetes is about zero).
Anywho, for anyone who exercises, tries to watch what they eat but can't get to the weight they want I would suggest buying Dr. Fuhrman's book and trying it for six weeks and see what happens.