THE EASY SECRET TO LOSING WEIGHT:
The secret method of losing weight is incredibly simple. One doesn't have to ever count calories or worry about how much exercise one gets or even what one eats. One has to do one thing and one thing only - just stay hungry! Our bodies all have this wonderful natural innate mechanism that does all the calorie counting for us. When we are hungry our body is simply telling us we need to eat something to make up a calorie deficit. If we don't eat or only eat enough to just slightly satisfy our hunger so we quickly become hungry again we know we will lose weight. It's just that simple. Being hungry tells us we have a calorie deficit and when we have a calorie deficit we are losing weight! This method is guaranteed to work! And in fact there is no other way to lose weight because losing weight always means you are going to feel hungry. Count as many calories as you like, eat only low calorie foods, exercise as much as you like. If you aren't getting hungry you aren't doing it right and you simply won't lose weight. So why go through all that trouble when all you have to do is make it simple and stay hungry?
Assuming one eats about the same every day and burns calories about the same every day one will naturally reach a stable weight because the number of calories one burns increases as one gains weight and decreases as one loses weight. There is always a natural balance point. If your weight is too high the idea is simply to adjust that balance point by eating less or burning more calories so that you adjust your balance point downwards. Taking advantage of the body's natural feeling of hunger is the way to get this process moving. As long as you remain hungry you will lose weight. When you reach your desired weight then simply start eating enough to not feel hungry until the next meal is due. Your weight will naturally stabilize at the desired new level.
When one feels hunger for what it is it really doesn't feel that bad and can be easily tolerated. It's not at all like a severe pain which must be immediately attended too. In fact throughout history including still today people all over the world go slightly hungry much of the time and manage to survive quite well. A little hunger is well tolerated once you get used to and you may even enjoy the feeling as it constantly reminds you you are succeeding at losing weight.
Of course one should eat the right kind of food as I explain below and get enough of the right kind of exercise to optimize one's health, but these are irrelevant to just losing weight.
Remember, hunger is your friend!
Though hunger is the key there are a number of useful tricks to dieting as well. One I use all the time is simply to eat food that tastes bland or blah, and avoid delicious things. You automatically eat a lot less, and it's more likely to have much less fat and sugar. That's easy for me since I prepare all my food myself and am not that great a cook! :-)
EAT FOR HEALTH NOT FOR TASTE:
This is the key to an optimal diet. But almost everyone eats what tastes good rather than what is good for them. In the natural world taste was mainly an adaptation to discriminate between what was edible and what was not. Today the sense of taste has been perverted into the meme of 'gourmet dining'. It is no wonder that almost everyone that can now eats things that are bad for them. The ideal diets for humans is what they evolved to prosper on. That is recognized today by advocates of the so called 'Paleolithic Diet' which, though it bears little resemblance to actual Paleolithic diets which were often far from optimal (see my Blog on the subject) is when properly interpreted no doubt the best diet there is. It's a sort of ideal version of the actual Paleolithic diet.
THE NATURAL HUMAN DIET:
The diet that humans are evolved to best prosper and be healthy on is a good variety of raw vegetables supplemented with minimal wild meat, fruit and a little grain. Just as we see in the natural diets of the great apes today.
MINIMIZE PACKAGING AND ADDITIVES:
Read the label!
I used to cook most of my vegetables but now generally just put a good selection raw on a plate and eat what I like. One saves almost all the work of preparation, and it is almost impossible to over eat this way. The important thing is to wash everything thoroughly as the primary downside to eating raw store bought vegetables is they can be contaminated with harmful bacteria. I use Fit brand Fruit and Vegetable Wash which works well for most things and rinse everything thoroughly in hot water for several seconds. I try to buy organic as much as I can especially those things which have greater surface to volume ratios, or that aren't peeled before being eaten, but unfortunately the organic food at the local supermarkets is sometimes not as fresh and the freshness probably matters more. Fit supposedly removes a lot of any chemical residues.
I was a vegetarian for 15 years but as I get older I find I feel better adding a little meat to my diet. It certainly doesn't take much. I try to eat only wild caught fish and seafood (the farm raised are given artificial foods, antibiotics and perhaps growth enhancing chemicals and who knows what else - I avoid that like the plague). Also I tend to avoid any seafood from foreign sources, especially China and SE Asia due to the contaminant scandals. Those criteria leave very little choice left. For seafood I mainly eat either canned Canadian wild sardines in water with no added salt, or Goya or Vittaroz sardines in tomato sauce which I wash off because of all the added salt and sugar. They are a lot more sardine for the money though.
As for land meats I eat bison meat occasionally which is raised without additives and a lot leaner than the human engineered beef on the market. There are also a couple of brands of chicken raised without growth hormones and antibiotics and low fat beef as well. In any case meat should only be a fraction of the meal rather than the main course as it has become in most western meals.
I have to admit I was very skeptical of the dangers of gluten in the diet and still think it is greatly overblown. Nevertheless I have to admit that my digestion has noticeably improved since I stopped eating so much wheat. I still eat a little, but now mostly brown rice, cooked or puffed, or I'll cook up some corn meal in the morning with added flax flour and a little fruit.
I eat only organic yogurt, Stoneyfields organic plain no fat yogurt, no milk (I use water on my cereal) and almost no cheese, which though I love the taste is one of the worst things you can eat due to all the fat and usually high salt as well.
WASH YOUR FOODS! I use a product called Fit which is specifically designed to wash fruits and vegetables and supposedly removes at least some pesticide residues. It gets them squeaky clean and seems to remove contaminants quite well. The more surface to volume the more important washing is, e.g. grapes have a lot more surface to volume than watermelons. Of course things one peels are good from this perspective also.
AVOID RAW FISH AND MEATS: These can harbor human compatible parasites. I used to eat sushi when I was young but I lived in Japan for 3 years and a Dr. friend there showed me his preserved specimens of various deadly parasites (many still infesting organs removed at autopsy) one can catch from eating sushi (raw fish). Obviously not all raw fish have them but the consequences can be very serious, even deadly. In my view (and his) it is not worth the risk to eat raw fish period.
CHOCOLATE: As to chocolate, it has health benefits (mood enhancement, antioxidants) but it is important to eat low sugar non-milk chocolate, as near to the original bean as possible. In health food stores here in NJ I can get just crumbled organic chocolate beans, or at least dark chocolate with minimum removal of antioxidants. Too much may cause caffeine problems though such as heart palps.