I did it by eliminating extra sugar.
I cut way down on sugar, and it made absolutely zero difference on my weight. It may have other benefits, but not weight.
Then again, everybody is different. What works for your body may not work for another.
There probably is no magic bullet, other than working your sweaty ass off on a farm or building pyramids (or a machine that simulates such), which is what we are evolved to be doing. The only chubby people used to the royal families, which is like 0.00001% of the population, not enough for evolution to "care" about.
Diets are like software engineering fads: promise a Grand New Way of doing things, but in the end there is no substitute for experience, skill, patience, listening to users, and discipline. "Have you tried the new Node-Jay-Ass diet?"
I would note that the guy who dies at 65 with a Bic Mac in hand appears to be happier than the guy who dies at 82 on a treadmill sweating his bloody ass off.
I beg to differ. Unless you go to extreme levels, exercise is for building a healthy body. Diet control is for losing excess weight. While exercise certainly helps in losing weight and in boosting metabolism, it only has a marginal contribution in losing weight.
The other thing: You say you cut down sugar and it didn't make a difference. I don't know exactly what you meant, but personally, I see sugar in different forms. There's pure granulated sugar which is only a small part of our diets. The much bigger thing to eliminate is "hidden sugar" - sugar in processed foods (even canned or tetrapacked foods). There's sugar from fruits too. I remember reading about a school that replaced the coke vending machine and forced kids to drink fruit juice. Obesity actually skyrocketed. Kids were chugging half gallon fruit juice containers for lunch every day!
I am not a "paleo" person but I do believe that during our hunter gatherer days, fruits were a very seasonal treat. A few months in a year, and it was easy picking and full of nutrition and packed with energy (sugar) so all of us developed a really sweet tooth. But those fruits were only available for a couple of months a year and then, our lifestyle was drastically different too. We were energy starved, not energy overloaded.
Finally, I also see carbs as sugar. Both are broken down by the body to produce energy, and excess converted by our body into fat (energy storage for the starvation days).
So, to me, eliminating sugar means eliminating pure sugar, processed foods, fruits, and carbs. I find it difficult to imagine how doing this cannot possibly result in significant weight loss. I am fairly overweight (not obese though), and to me, following this is the best way to start the process of becoming healthy and fit again. I would rather lose 15-20 pounds and then start exercising - than doing all at once.
I feel that making this a package deal is only raising the bar much higher and giving us more chances to fail early on. If I mentally think that I have to exercise AND control my diet - chances are that after a week, due to work pressure or some other excuse, I will skip gymming. Then I give myself an excuse to start slacking off on my diet as well. Instead, I want to put myself in a position where I can succeed early on, and let that reinforce my belief system that I can "do it". I would much rather start with a simple rule of thumb - i.e. eliminate sugar from my diet.
Just my personal thoughts, please don't crucify me if I have been factually wrong on some of my notions.