Some years back, when I moved from a "tech" position into a management position at work - which meant sitting at a desk all day - with lots of stress - I found myself becoming the classic "pear-shaped middle management" shape - which exercise did not alter. So I went on the South Beach diet (with my doctor's approval) for 2 years - and changed my food choices permanently. I now eat only whole wheat breads/snacks/pasta - no more white flour! No potatoes - I substitute stuffing. No refined sugar. Only diet cola - no drinks with fructose sweetening. Desserts are now cheese or yogurt - no cakes, ice cream, etc.
I basically found "approved" foods that I like eating all the time, and stick to them.
My biggest change was in snacking - past bouts with diverticulitis prohibited me from eating nuts or popcorn - so I had migrated to nachos, chips, etc. - I love salty things. But on the diet, I learned to count my snacks - literally! So an approved after dinner snack was 5 Triscuits - no more. Much to the amusement of friends, I still count my snacks now. I defy anyone to binge on Triscuits!
My biggest weakness is alcohol!
I enjoy having a Guiness with meals. So I limit myself to one bottle at dinner - and accept that I will live with the layer of belly fat that results from this habit. I'm too old to worry about six pack abs!
And I allow myself my single malt nightcaps.
The result - I maintain a relatively constant body weight that varies only around 2-3 pounds up or down over time. I walk every day, have an indoor stepper to use when I can't get out, and when watching TV (you can get a good aerobic work out while watching Jeopardy). I do light weight work-outs 3 or 4 times a week, and do nightly sit-ups and push-ups.
The tightness of my trouser waist signals me when I've been over-indulging - and need to increase my walking or weight work.
This plan seems to be working well for me, and most importantly, is one I can live with and still enjoy eating. I just tried to take the "battle" out of weight control.