So maybe readers can help me out with this one.
What do I tell people who ask me "How did you do it? How did you lose all the weight?"
You know that the answer is long and complicated, not something that is easily distilled into a sound bite. On the eating level, I have developed something like two dozen different strategies to help me control gluttony. The exercise is easy to explain, but its effect is, I believe, mostly on my confidence and mental state. And then there's the motivational strategies -- there are probably a dozen of those too.
I get the question a lot though. "Look at you! How did you do it?"
Yesterday my inner technical editor realized that there isn't a single answer or a single set of answers, because the inquiry represents two distinct questions:
1) What strategy and supporting tactics did you employ? what did you DO?
2) Why did you succeed this time and not the other times? How did you stick to it?
Some people are looking for an answer to (1), others to (2).
I also have to ask myself, what can I say that will really be helpful to other people? My interlocutor might not need to lose weight, but maybe she will tell my story to someone who does. Most people believe that "eat less, exercise more" is oversimple -- that is, though, what I did. The only layer of complexity I added to it was that I chose to seek out "eating less" and "exercising more" each for their own sake. I became motivated to eat less because I didn't want to be a disgusting glutton anymore. I became motivated to exercise more because I wanted to be a person who exercised.
Instead of delayed gratification (I ate less and exercised more and then I lost weight and that made me happy) I achieved sooner gratification (at that meal I ate less, I succeeded at defeating gluttony; this morning I exercised, I succeeded at swimming so many yards). It is so much easier to be motivated when the gratification is close in time to the decision point.