Apologies for the long post but I promise this is the best piece of advise you will receive to reach your health goals.
I'm a long time member but don't visit too often any more. I like to check back once in a while though and see how everyone is progressing.
I've maintained my goal weight now for 3 years after going from 160kg to 88kg in around 11 months as per my progress threat here: viewtopic.php?f=29&t=16316&hilit=tojoo
Anyway I figured I would share what has worked for me and what I've learnt after my last few years of hard training. My personal method was to look at the example of some of the fittest people on earth that have the most experience in FAT loss. These people being natural body builders. It just made sense to me that people eating thousands of calories each day and maintaining body fat percentage had the right idea.
The focus of fat loss is all about metabolism. NEVER starve yourself. instead of eating less you want to work out how to make your body burn more. The argument I hear all the time especially from females is that they don't want to lift weights because they don't want to be bulky. This is however a completely invalid point. Muscle mass takes years to achieve. for a female in particular even if you have a perfect diet/training schedule/ sleeping routine and supplement plan will gain perhaps 1-2 kg of muscle in a year. Which will slow down to around 10kg in 10 years after your first year or 2.
The point is that muscle gain doesn't just simply happen over night. so don't worry about being bulky. the benefit however of weight training is without a doubt brilliant. any muscle mass you do gain will increase your metabolism. plus the intensity of pushing yourself as hard as possible gives your body an after burn affect where the calories you intake simply go towards rebuilding the micro tears in your muscles caused from the training. There is absolutely no reason why people seeking fat loss should not take up weight lifting.
for me personally my weight plateaued many times in my attempt to reach my goal but the beauty of weight training is that there are so many methods to change your routine and shock your body back into action. What I found and many of you will find is that as you become lighter and you become stronger you will be eating more and more calories and meals per day and will turn your body into a perfectly tuned calorie burning machine.
As things stand for me personally I was around 83 kg at my lightest when I was 23 after reaching my goal of 90 kg. the extra weight loss simply coming from further training until I was satisfied with my body fat percentage. These days my training consists of 5-6 days per week of 45-60 minutes of intense weight training always changing my routine around every 3-6 months. my body weight has gone from 83 kg in late 2009 to 93 kg now from muscle gain. my diet now consists of 8 meals per day with around 4000 calories total.
I know woman at this point may be thinking again that they don't want this muscle gain so I will say this. Muscle is incredibly hard to hold onto. but incredibly useful for fat loss. My advice is to focus on this muscle gain as much as you can until you reach your goal. then stop weight lifting. even if you gained 5kg of muscle (highly unlikely for females) you will easily lose this within a month.
So in closing I will outline the PERFECT plan to reach your goal. follow this diet
each meal should be made up of the following: (% by calories)
40 % protein
20% fats (with under 20-30% of this being saturated fat)
eat a meal at least every 3 hours throughout the day. spend 2-3 weeks to work out your bodies maintenance calorie amount. then lower it by 500 over the course of a day between all your meals. This will guarantee you fat loss. Add to this a weight lifting regime and you are heading directly for success.
In the end though its all about your attitude. Do whatever it takes to motivate yourself to give it everything you have in your training and diet. willpower will come the more you progress. Never hold anything and be sure to work like hell because you never want to fail simply because you didn't try hard enough!
Also on a side note if any of of the men on this forum would like any weight lifting advice in case they are looking to actually build and maintain muscle then feel free to ask me for any tips and I will help out the best I can.
Best of luck all. reaching your fitness goals is the greatest thing you will ever do for yourself.