Long story short: Do not diet. They don't work. They do not work because they are not sustainable. Believe me, I have been on every diet ever invented, from crazy ass crash diets to more modest "just cut out this food group" type diets. None of them work because none of them are meant to be used long-term. Once you get to your goal weight and start eating normally again, all the weight piles back on. Dieting products will always be out there because they want people to keep yo-yoing and buying their products. The only way to really lose weight and keep it off is to make better eating an entire lifestyle change. Doesn't mean you need to be up in the gym 6 days per week or eating like a rabbit. You can eat pretty much anything you eat now, just do it in moderation. To say you can't have carbs, or sugar, or fat, or whatever it is, is ludicrous. You need all of that in your diet. So like, when you go out, instead of getting a burger and fries, get grilled chicken and a baked potato. Diet pills and crash diets are fine for short term (like to drop a few vanity pounds prior to an event or something) but do you really want to rely on that the rest of your life? Hell to the no.
On a mental level, I think it's absolutely normal for your anxiety and depression to skyrocket when your health becomes poor due to weight issues, and struggling with the idea of not being able to have a food you love because it's high in calories or sugar or whatever. You can skip the massive anxiety by simply not doing it. If you're a soda junkie, switch to diet and limit yourself to a couple a day to begin with, for example. Fitness is definitely a process, and there will always be set backs. Slow and steady and not beating yourself up over your love for food = less anxiety and depression overall. Sure, in order to lose weight you do need to restrict calories a little bit, but nothing drastic. 2,000 calories is what your body needs to maintain it's current state. If you'd like to shed a few pounds, decrease your intake to 1800 or something. Don't cut it too much, even though it's tempting because you will drop weight faster, your body will metabolically adapt and therefore cause a plateau as you get used to consuming a few amount of calories.
All of that being said, if you'd like to discuss fitness/dieting/etc, please feel free to send me a message. I would be more than happy to help you come up with something sustainable that will work for your lifestyle. (If you couldn't tell, I'm waaaay into fitness lol.)
Thanks for your response.
How long of a "diet/lifestyle change" does it take for your body to say "ok, this is my new weight" It's just eating nuts and lettuce doesnt seem like a viable solution in the long run.
My original plan was a crash diet and then a slow increase back to 2000. However I admit that occasionally I will binge at night as a guilty pleasure.
Hypothetically, will a 2-4 week crash diet, every 3 months work to maintain weight?
Eating nuts and lettuce? Ewww no way! With the exception of fried foods (which I never cared for much anyway) I still eat everything I used to eat. I just changed the way it was prepared. Instead of fried chicken, I'll eat baked chicken. I still eat ice cream and pizza and everything I've always eaten and I'm still losing weight. As I said, the key is moderation. It will take sometime, everyone's body is different. The real key, I've found, to losing weight and keeping it off is not to avoid certain foods, crash diets, etc. The key is keeping your body off balance. If you drastically cut your caloric intake by half and eat, say, 1000 calories a day, your body will adapt and be able to function as efficiently on a lower amount of calories. It's called metabolic adaptation, and it can happen very quickly. How quickly really depends on your body and metabolism. If you notice after a few days of not eating, you get less hungry by the end of 3-4 days. That's because your body is adapting and learning to function as normal on lesser energy. The same goes for exercise. For example, if you started jogging, but did no other physical activity, it's super difficult at first, and gradually gets easier for a number of reasons. 1. You're getting more fit and strong, but also 2. Your body is learning to perform the task more efficiently (ie: adapting.) This is why after, say, a month of very restricted calorie intake, or a month of the same exercise without variety, you will undoubtedly hit the dreaded plateau, where what you're doing isn't working anymore.
I don't know your exact situation, but something that could possibly be sustainable for you is to do what I call a "3 Day Cycle." It does involve counting calories, which can be a pain, but it is a great way to help you lose the weight you want. For example, on day 1, you'll track everything you eat up to 1,800 or 2,000 calories (whatever you choose to start with.) On day 2, cut your calorie intake by 200 calories. On day 3, cut your calorie intake by another 200 calories. That completes the cycle. On day 4, you go back to 1,800 or 2,000, and continue on. You can eat virtually anything you want. The 3 day cycle works because for each day your body is having to adapt to a lower amount of calories, then suddenly has an overabundance of calories, and works harder to get rid of them. On the day where you eat the fewest calories, your body has not fully adapted to the decreased amount of energy yet, and is still functioning as if you were eating the max amount of calories. Keeping your body off balance in this way keeps your metabolism up so you lose more weight more efficiently without killing yourself or making yourself miserable by cutting out foods you love. Every time I'd done this 3 Day Cycle consistently along with exercise (even just walking!) I always lose weight relatively quickly.
To answer your question about crash dieting for a few weeks then gradually going back to eating 2,000 calories... That will not work to sustain your body weight. Your body adapts fairly quickly, so after 3 weeks of crash dieting, increasing your food intake is going to make your body store all the extra calories (and carbs, which your body processes as sugar) as fat. Essentially what this will do is keep your weight going up then coming down. Rapid weight gain and loss are both very unhealthy.
You mentioned that you binge eat as a guilty pleasure occasionally. Do you think you may stop, or at least decrease the occurrence of the binge eating if you're not restricting yourself so tightly? I find that I binge a lot when I'm trying to cut something out completely, because I love food (specifically, junk food) so when I don't allow myself to have it, I go nuts and eat a TON of it. I don't binge eat much anymore because I let myself have a slice of pizza, or an ice cream cone, or a piece of cake. The key is moderation. You can have everything you love, but not an entire pizza or an entire cake.
Remember, it took you a long time to get in this unhealthy state where you're maybe a little overweight, high cholesterol and blood pressure, etc. There is not a quick fix (aside from surgery) to reverse this. Anything that claims to be a quick fix is not going to work. Anything worth doing is worth waiting for. You may not see the changes immediately, but the day you step on the scale and the number drops by a couple pounds...or your blood pressure value decreases a few points.. will feel SO good.
Side note: I don't know what your diet is like, but a way to drop some pounds pretty quickly is to avoid fast food (with the exception of Subway 7 under 6 menu) and stop consuming "empty calories" like soda. Cutting out 160 calories for a can of Coke means that you get to eat 160 calories of food!