In my work on myself on losing weight, I've become convinced by, and adopted the diet ideas of Rujuta Diwekar, from her book "Don't lose your mind, lose your weight". (It was her first book and she's written more after that. You can also follow her on FB). I believe the book expresses international-level thought leadership in this area, which is rife with fashions and fads.
I summarize key practices from the book:
Eat something as soon as possible after waking up. It does not have to be a full meal, fruit or nuts will do. Breakfast can follow. DONT start the day with tea or coffee, postpone them to after the breakfast meal.
Eat smaller, frequent meals, not large meals. Eat fat and sugary stuff between meals. DON'T have fat and sugar along with meals like dessert after dinner.
Tune your eating to activity level - eat more when you are active and less when you are not.
Finish your last meal atleast 2 hours prior to sleeping.
And some more:
Eat with attention. You will see when your stomach is full and you can stop eating then
Eating fresh fruit is much better than eating juices
Essentially everything processed is a pain in the ass (or a pain in the stomach). Biscuits, cakes, pizza, potato chips, puffs all of that stuff. Avoid as much as possible. If you're going to have it anyway, homecooked is better than commercial.
Eat protein before and after vigorous exercise - the body needs it to repair the micro-damage that occurs to muscles during expercise
There's a lot more to the book including the explanations for the above practices. Read the book.
My personal experiences:
Cutting down majorly on sugar (other than fruits) has been an eye-opening experience. After cutting down, I realized that sugar was causing lots of ups-and-downs in my mood. I would crave sugar (typically in the afternoon, in anticipation of the evening snack) and then get a sugar high with the snack. After giving up sugar, I found my day to be more peaceful and energetic.
I've compensated for giving up on all the delicious sugar treats by exploring dried fruit instead. I've developed a taste for dates, figs and apricots. They're pretty delicious and give a decent sugar high. I splurge on high quality dried fruit and enjoy them. The intention is to be become a connoisseur of these things, like the wine-lovers, haha!
I do miss sugar, but not so badly that I give in frequently. I have very little sugar at home, so that gives some leeway during social occasions, where there may be social pressure or the temptation is high. Having those occasional treats keep the cravings manageable.During a recent streneous hike, I hogged on cream biscuits and chikki. And after that indulgence, the thought of sugar made
me queasy for a couple of days!
Overall, life has become a lot more SIMPLE.