There's no magic meal plan or holy grail of workouts that will make the extra pounds just melt right off effortlessly. And no judgment here --- I have been guilty of this kind of thinking in the past myself.
I know how frustrating and stressful it is to try so many diets and modalities of exercise, only to not achieve lasting results. We feel like a failure, or like we just haven't found the "perfect" plan. So we try again with the latest diet fad. Sound familiar?
Now, this "try try again" approach isn't totally off the mark. On the contrary, this is the kind of tenaciousness and willingness to try that you need to succeed in the fat loss game. Only you just need to reframe your thinking and tweak your approach, from trying to fit your life into a rigid program and instead fitting a flexible program into your life.
Think of it as a cafeteria, with al a carte items galore. You have a ton of choices --- Paleo, Veganism, IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros), HIIT, yoga, running, lifting, spinning, Zumba, metabolic resistance training (aaaahhhhh!!!).... Rather than get overwhelmed and blindly choose whatever sounds okay, take your time and choose a few easy things you can easily fit into your lifestyle. No need to fill up your tray just yet, as tempting as that is (because everyone wants super fast extreme results yesterday, right?).
The key to any successful fat loss attempt is to do as little as necessary to see results, not as much as possible. That's a recipe for disaster. No one can keep up a breakneck pace for long. Life just doesn't run that smoothly. Stuff happens, and if you already have to use up every last bit of willpower and energy you have each day to simply maintain your results, then another ball to juggle will most assuredly throw you off. And that doesn't leave you in a great place physically or emotionally. Whatever your plan ends up looking like, it needs to be sustainable over the long haul. Because even the best program and diet in the world doesn't work if you can't stick with it.
Consistency with a less than optimal plan will always trump a haphazard approach to the perfect plan.
The best fat loss formula for you is completely unique. It can't be fit into a pretty little box with a name. It takes time and experimentation. An open mind and patience out the wazoo. Any failures in the past have been experiences and clues into what works and what doesn't. Use that to put all the pieces together.
If you found that eating 5-6 times a day was just too much work, then try adopting a 3 times a day schedule. There's no evidence that eating more often is more advantageous than eating less frequently.
If you hate running, but your best friend swears by it, don't do it just because it works for her. Find an activity, be it cycling or dancing or anything that gets your heart rate up, that you enjoy and can stick with long-term. There's something out there for everyone. Anyone who says that they hate to exercise just hasn't found that something yet. :-)
Above all else, be patient and compassionate with yourself. Perfection is impossible and overrated. Learn from the inevitable mistakes and obstacles and celebrate the victories, however small. It all counts.
Have you been able to formulate your fat loss blueprint? What steps did you take and what worked for you?