I count calories. It's infallible and I can eat whatever I want, just not so much of it. I find I tend to eat a variety of foods just to get all the flavors in! Also, if you restrict carbs, you are not going to have energy for a long day of sailing.
I put together a program that was suited to me and ran it by Meka at Sailfit to see if I was going in the right direction. She was very helpful. Between Jan 15 and April 30 I dropped 25 lbs. Have kept it off since. I cut down on booze, cut out all softdrinks, ran from chips and candy type crap. No McD's or fried stuff. Low carbs and time in the gym running, bike, rowing machine and free weights to build stamina. It worked like a charm. I"m 40 and thought it would be harder to drop the weight.
Breakfast- 1 cup of yogurt and a cup of coffee
Lunch- 1 turkey sandwich on wheat with lettuce and a small portion of chips or PB &J w/chips.
Drink- water only all day and night
Dinner- a meat, fish, chicken, steak w/greens salad, beans, or peas.
Friday PM treated to a loaded baked potato w/my steak and red wine w/perhaps a glass of scotch. That's the only drinking for the week.
If I have to snack it's popcorn no butter or a spoon full of peanut butter.
That's the diet that works for me. I think you need to do what works for you.
I prefer the path of least effort when it comes to either putting on or removing weight.
Do you need big breakfasts and then nothing till dinner?
Can you eat a truck load of carbs and still be hungry in five minutes?
Or will a plate of eggs and bacon set you up for six hours?
Once you know how fast your metabolism is running, and what your food is actually doing, you can set about with a plan that will work.
If you were to stop exercising - going to gym, running, sailing etc, would you become heavier/fatter or would your bodyweight stay more or less the same over a period of say, 6 months. How fast would any new weight be put on?
If your body weight would be the same, you needn't change diet, just increase exercise.
If your body wieght creeps steady up, you need to look at less of the same foods, plus a bit more exercise.
Pretty simple approach really.
You should note that caffeine really stuffs up your natural metabolism too. In this case it will assist in you losing weight, but it may come at the cost of not being able to put together an accurate picture of which type of food is best suited to your metabolism i.e. protein, carb, fat. So long term maintenance of any given weight may be more difficult.
It's a big subject. I wouldn't recommend a huge change in diet just because lettuce looks healthy. (although I am clealy not a dietician, or doctor and everything I say should be treated as debateable. )
If you shock your body too much it may eventually swing back to it's original state over the long term, or you'll open yourself up to related complaints, diseases and psychological problems. Body shocks are not nice. Be nice to your body. It's the only one you have.
This also is my experience. I only have to add: A lot of work at my several jobs, that not me allowed to eat lunch, reduced my weight a lot and quick. Lasersailing protected me to add new kilos again.
All I know is, that at our sport, sailing the Laser, the several times Laser world champ at the GM's during the 80ties/90ties, Friedhelm Lixenfeld (GER), is a "Guru" for diet for Laserites. Unfortunately I have no contact to him - perhaps one of the GGM's of TLF know him and know what he did advised.
I have found for myself that cutting carbs is not an option at all. I'm hypoglycemic (constant/consistent fits of low blood sugar) and carbs are the all important factor to keeping blood sugar levels normal and energy levels high.
I have a diet where I eat 6 small meals per day.... I stay away from a lot of booze, stay away from soft drinks completely, and no fast food whatsoever.
Each meal is small, most American's would probably consider them snack size. However, I never go hungry and have managed to lose 35lbs in the past 3 months.
The best thing to do though is not take all the different suggestions too seriously. Find a diet that you can stand and stick with and watch the pounds/kilos drop off.
High protein low carb diet will work well .... Protein takes the body over 40 different processes to break down.. so it will keep you "full" (not hungry) for a much longer period than a carbo meal. It also keeps your blood sugar at a more constant level than that of carbos I am currently on a 30kg losing streak to get my self out of the 505 i currently sail into a laser