I can tell you what worked for me. It's pretty specific, but I just met my former boss last week for drinks, and he remarked on how ripped I'd gotten since he last saw me. He asked what I was doing because it was working, and I told him this:
So, since about April, I've been on Weight Watchers. It was a huge success for me and I dropped over 30 pounds in 3 months. Over the summer, my mom came to visit, and it was the first time she'd seen me since Christmas. Now she hadn't seen me under 200 pounds since high school. And usually I was hovering closer to 215. And then she shows up and all of a sudden I'm 175.
When she saw me she was in shock. Like genuine, concerned shock to the point that on the second day of the visit she showed up with a bunch of body mass index charts, and some bizarre test that you need to take wrist measurements for that she printed out at her hotel. She was freaking out. And it was really disheartening, because I'd worked so hard to lose the weight.
Anyway, a couple days after she leaves I call her up and ask what was going on with her, and why she reacted so strangely. And she told me, "You just look so frail. I'm concerned you aren't a healthy weight. My god! Your arms and shoulders are so skinny. They used to be so big, and now they just looked bony."
Just get a "Do you even lift, bro?" from your mom and see if you don't pack on pounds of muscle after that.