Recently I got on a kick to eat only "all natural" foods and to cut out sugar substitutes from my diet. The first week, I lost five pounds. Every week hear after, however, I have steadily gained a pound a week. This tells me that the "all natural" route isn't necessarily the right one for me.
I also began doing in-depth research on sugar substitutes and sugar and sweeteners itself. I have found so many conflicting reports from people saying "everything's okay in moderation" to other people saying it's a conspiracy theory and it's all going to kill us. Mind reeling, I began to, quite literally, freak out. Then I realized something. FOR ME, it can't necessarily be about what to eat, what not to eat, or weather or not to have Splenda in my coffee tomorrow. It's about the fact that I have 120 pounds to lose - that's a whole person!! I have to figure out what CONSISTENTLY works for me, and KEEP WITH IT. It's about getting the weight off. Period.
So what works for me? Well, as much as I've tried to fight it, fact is, calorie counting is what works. Not weight watcher's points systems - to tell you the truth, I don't much trust anything I'm not counting myself. But pure writing down everything I put in my mouth and the calorie count for each thing. Right now, my calorie count should be around 1900-2100 a day. Over the past few weeks I have far surpassed that just by thinking the title "all natural" is going to make it okay. But it doesn't necessarily. Granted, I should still try to stick with all natural ingredients. But I need to count their calories. And truth be told, I personally FEEL BETTER and lose more weight using Splenda and aspartame (perhaps I'm pre-diabetic and didn't realize it?). So, I guess the point of this long-winded tirade is this: Find what works for YOU and JUST DO IT. Worry about getting the weight off FIRST, and let everything else come later. Don't do too much research either - sometimes too much information can sabotage everything you're trying to do.