Several years ago I was doing the body for life, and had already lost 20 pounds. One of my friends and I were talking about our respective diets, and it somehow came up that I took my kids to McDonald's. My friend said, "So, when you go McDonald's, what do you eat?"
I said, "When I go to McDonald's, I eat Big Macs and fries."
"Really?" he said. "How can you eat that junk and still lose weight?
I said, "Because most of what we learn about losing weight is a myth, and that's why most people probably fail at most diets."
Anyway, this evolved into a nice discussion.
As I sit here writing this, I can honestly tell you that I have just reached my goal of losing 15 pounds. That said, I am now on my third Popsicle (the unhealthy kind) and I just got done eating macaroni and cheese and a handful of Doritos. And tonight I'm going on a date with my wife tonight, and I plan on eating a bacon Swiss burger with onion rings, fried and a side order of deep fried mushrooms.
And I still plan on losing 2 pounds this week.
Look at it this way. My wife and I discussed what kind of a diet we want to do when we get down to our ideal body weights, and we both decided we want to eat normal. But what is a normal diet. To learn, we decided we'd watch skinny people to see what they eat.
What we learned is that skinny people eat normal foods. They drink coca cola, they eat hamburgers and french fries, and they eat desserts. The catch is that they limit what they put in their bodies. For instance, one of my friends nurtured her Coke for hours. But when she was done that was it. She did not use having one bad food as an excuse to continue eating bad all day.
So you have people go on diets that force them to give up the foods they crave, and they fail. So why go on such a frivolous diet? A better approach is to find a diet that allows you to enjoy what you like, albeit in moderation.
That said, I think diets like Weight Watchers are fine, where you are given a certain amount of points per day, and if you save enough points you can have a piece of chocolate each day, or a drink. Actually, my wife likes to have a glass of wine at the end of her day, and Weight Watchers counts this as too many points, so she made up her own diet that allows her to have a drink of wine every day without her feeling guilty.
My wife once lost over 40 pounds once by eating a piece of chocolate every day.
A diet I like to do is the body for life. I like this because you are good 6 days a week and you get one day where you can eat anything you want. Sometimes I have taken this to extremes as I described above, and have eaten anything and everything with no limitations, while still losing weight.
You see, the idea is there's a variety of ways you can diet and still enjoy the foods and drinks you love. I usually plan my free days around events in my life. For instance, I took the 4th of July off, and took the day we went to Michigan's Adventure off, and so forth.
The trick is that you don't want to overdue it. While you can go to McDonald's and have a Big Mac and fries once a week, ideally on your already planned free day, if you go to McDonald's later in the week, say with your co-workers or friends, I'd recommend you have their chicken sandwich without the mayo.
Ideally, most experts recommend your free day calories, or all the extra calories you ingest throughout the course of the week if you so choose to have one free food a day, does not exceed 1.8% of your BMR, per John Hussman. Granted, your selected diet may have other restrictions.