I do believe to some extent you are what you eat - having said that we don't all share the same metabolic rates so unfortunately or fortunately there are those that seem to pile away the food without so much as putting on an ounce!
I do not believe in FAD DIETS - yes you may well lose weight but will it be body fat? Probably not. To ensure you lose body fat and not lean muscle you ideally need a weight loss of roughly 2lbs a week.
High protein diets in my book are DEFINITELY to be avoided. Too much protein in your diet can affect the acidity of your blood which in turn can lead to calcium being leached from your bones, kidney failure can occur and other organs can suffer and in extreme cases it can prove fatal.
In this country we all eat too much sugar, fat and quite possibly protein. Our diet should consist of roughly 45 - 55% Carbohydrates, 20 - 30% Fats and 12 - 16% Protein. These percentages may vary dependent upon your levels of activity i,e, extremely athletic.
You may think that the percentage of carbohydrate looks high but don't forget that vegetables, seeds, cereals, peas and beans are all carbohydrates (complex carbohydrates). Fruits are also classified as a carbohydrate but they are known as simple carbohydrates.
The same can be said with regards fats, but of course there are many varieties of fats. It is the saturated fats that are best avoided such as fatty meat, egg yolk, butter, milk, cheese. Small quantities are acceptable - everything in moderation.
Other fats such as unsaturated: Mono-unsaturated: olive oil, rapeseed, hazelnuts, almonds, avocados and seeds are in fact 'Good fats'. The other 'Good Fat' - Polyunsaturated: Found in certain vegetable oils and oily fishes.
We need fat in our diets but it would be best for us to choose from the last two options.
Personally I base my own food intake on 'GI' ratings - Glycaemic Index, low GI food I find more sustainable and less likely to create sudden hunger pangs.
I always always have breakfast, either boiled egg, wholegrain toast or porridge or some variety of cereal (but be careful as most cereals have quite a bit of added sugar and salt).
Snacks are important: It has been proven that your metabolic rate stays elevated if you eat little and often but always choose the right sort of snack, i.e. banana, low fat yoghurt, handful of nuts and seeds, a little dried fruit or any other fruit of your choice. Even raw vegetables with a low fat dip would be acceptable.
Main meals: Avoid white rice, bread and white pasta. Aim to have a little bit of protein with every meal - this does not have to be meat or eggs it could be from a vegetarian source, quorn, tofu, beans, lentils, nuts etc.
Half of your plate should be full of vegetables or salads.
Other guidelines: Avoid drinking fizzy drinks, too much caffeine. Try herbal teas. WATER - essential for flushing out toxins and it does fill you up. You may experience feelings of hunger when in fact it is hydration you require.
Aim for roughly 2 litres of fluid per day but I feel this varies dependent upon the indivdual's weight and also their energy output. Alcohol - avoid binge drinking, the odd glass is not harmful but should not become a habit.
Finally - If you do treat yourself you most probably deserve it! The odd bit of chocolate or piece of cake is not the end of the world but on the whole healthy eating should become the norm.