My start 'stats'...
Weight: don't know...won't tell
Goal weight: One size smaller jeans
I'm starting tomorrow, November 3rd. DH taught me a diet trick called, "Diet Awareness Week". You do this the week before you start your diet, and you examine what and when you are consuming. I changed from last Fall. Lost weight in the summer, 2011, starting gaining back with stupid caramels in the Fall!! THIS year, caramel rationing, smaller dinner portions, skipping lunch when I'm working in the back yard (horses, chickens, lawn/garden work in the 5 acres) and don't want it.
I had my annual "Salsa Party" last Saturday--party and big bonfire--and I haven't eaten more than 10 caramels INCLUDING during the party--THAT's success. I've been sitting at the same weight/size since I dropped a size earlier this year, and I've plateaud
On with our success.
Yes, I always do much better when I record everything that I eat. I like to use My Calorie Counter (online) because you can enter custom entries if you can't find the exact food item you ate in there huge database. It lets you really track exactly what you are eating beyond just calories, including protein, carbs, fiber, sugar, salt, and more.
For me, really keeping my SALT intake low makes a big difference. And it's amazing how once you cut salt out of your diet, how salty things taste when they are loaded with salt!
I am not a personal trainer or nutritionist by any means, but did I read you post correctly Corporal? You are skipping lunch on some days???? You do not want to do that. That is the reason you have plateaued. If you skip a meal, it kills your metabolism and your body tries even harder to hang onto those pounds.
Ask any trainer or nutritionist: The best strategy is to eat small meals every 2 to 3 hours. Once you go longer than that without food, is when it slows your metabolism. Yes it takes a ton of planning to have something to eat ready to go (even during work during the day) but it really, really keeps your metabolism revved up by eating small meals throughout the day.
So please stop skipping lunch! Hungry tummies are no good and just leads to binging on things because you're so hungry and your blood sugar is low.
But success on the caramels!! Some of my biggest downfalls are anything sweet (cookies, cake, brownies, etc) and CHEESE and regular cereal. Yum. While cheese isn't necessarily bad, it does need to be eaten in moderation because it does have fat in it.