Health and nutrition is a very interesting topic.
Since starting my desk-bound office job I've been reading alot about the subject and there are many, many different approaches and theories but basically it all comes down to finding what works for you. All of the advice about eating x amount of calories, don't eat after 8pm, run three miles three times per week, it's about finding the right combination that caters to your body.
In this order, the weight you are at present is down to:
[*]Genetics - some people are just born with a better ability to manage their weight, both consciously and subconsciously.
[*]Diet - What you eat is key. Not just the amount of calories, but the type of calories as well.
[*]Exercise - Obviously important as we are made to hunt, but a waste of time if you're diet is atrocious and you're unlucky enough not to have fast metabolics.
For very few people exercise and diet are reversed, i.e. Mr Wiggins, or Arctic explorers, or Military Personnel.
But an energy balance doesn't quite cut it. How can some people eat 3000+ calories per day and put on no weight, where as others struggle to lose weight on less than the 'recommended' 2000 per day? Does it matter whether you eat 2000 calories of ice cream or 2000 calories worth of vegetables? Ofcourse it does! What's just as important as the calories themselves is the effect they have on the body. Diet coke has no calories - but it's a chemical nightmare.
I'm a big believer in trying to be as natural as possible when it comes to food and the '3 meals per day' philosophy is garbage as far as I'm concerned. Fruit is another one. Yes, eat some fruit for vitamins but fruit is high in natural sugars which, in this country, in previous times would have been few and far between, or seasonal at best. Same with meat, how often would we be feasting on sirloin steaks or chicken breasts? Not every day, that's for sure.
My case study is this: I broke my foot in November and couldn't exercise until the end of January. I went to the gym 4 or 5 times a week and varied the cardio for about an hour, 3 x 20 minutes on various machines. I ate a calorie restricted diet following all the 'green' labels in the supermarkets and eating only diet meals in the evening. For lunch I had a sandwich/baguette, piece of fruit and water or diet coke. I actually drank alot of diet coke. After about 4 weeks I had lost maybe 2 or 3 pounds, and was almost 16 stone.
Disheartened, I took on another approach and found out about 'Military Style Fitness Classes'. They run for one hour and do a variety of core excercises - press ups, situps, squats, burpees, hill climbers, hands and feet, jumping jacks, bunny hops, tri-dips etc. The first 4 sessions, afterwards, I could barely walk for a few days. Every muscle in my body was sore. I did it on a Monday, eventually started doing a 5k-8k run on a Tuesday, and played 5 asides on Wednesday and Thursday.
I also changed my diet to basically eating green vegetables, meats and legumes and beans. No bread, potatoes or pastas. No diet drinks. At the weekends, I ate and drank whatever. I lost almost a stone in 6 weeks. This eventually evolved into something that looks a bit like a low-GI diet with less options. I stuck with with for about 3 months, then went on holiday. I must admit my results did slow down a bit towards the end, but I've spend 5 weeks on holidays over the summer and piled alot of the weight back on.
I was very interested in this idea now of 'High Intensity Excercise' which is the idea of break down the glycogen in the muscles by short bursts of maximum effort 3 times per week. The body has to take sugar from the blood to repair the muscles and prevents it being stored as fat.
Like I said, find something that works and stick with it. Also - don't aim to 'get fit.' Change your lifestyle and the rest will take care of itself.