So, once upon a time that was last March, I visited my sister and she told me about a book called I Can Make you Thin, which I won't link to because it's easy to find and the URL on Amazon.com is very, very long. She told me about the basic message of the book, which is this:
1) Only eat when you're hungry
2) Eat what you want
3) Eat slowly so you can enjoy it
3) Stop eating when you're full
Well, I thought, I can actually do that. I didn't even read the book--I just did what my sister told me it said. Second-hand information! And it still worked!
The best thing about this advice is that you don't have to be deprived. Want cheesecake instead of salad for lunch? Go for it. Best restaurant linguini ever? Take what you can't eat home and enjoy it for breakfast. Want that brownie at the Quick-E-Mart? Buy it and put it in your bag and have it later on the subway, or your desk drawer or in the fridge or whatever. It's not doing without it, it's just having it later.
I realize I'm lucky here in that I have the time during the day to eat slowly. Most working people don't. The only suggestion I can think of for those situations is just eat a little less each time, until you feel full when your stomach has time to realize it, but not stuffed. I know from my own experience that I can go from 'full' to 'Ow, I shouldn't have eaten that' in two or three bites, so maybe even one or two bites less of the standard meal you have to eat in ten minutes in the hospital cafeteria might make a difference.
The other best thing is that it's sustainable. I'll admit I only know a handful of people who have been on diets, but of those people (including me and my sister), no one ever stayed with it. In my profound and knowledgeable opinion, I think it's because diets suck. Being hungry sucks, and so does wanting a damn cookie and feeling like you have
But just not eating when I'm full is not much trouble at all, at least most of the time. I still have trouble knowing when I'm full if I'm not really concentrating, and I know I eat more than I need in social situations. And I'm not about to refuse cake
It's been awesome. I've lost between 18 and 22 pounds since the middle of March (I didn't weigh myself for a couple of weeks) and I didn't even notice until one day I realized I could see my collarbones, because I was still eating what I wanted to.
And therefore here I am, proselytizing. I hope it might be useful.