You can eat nothing but cheese and crackers or salad all day to be skinny.
You have to exercise 2+ hours a day to lose weight and maintain.
You have to eat 1200 calories or less to be thin.
You have to eat nothing but protein to lose fat.
Do you want to know the best way to lose weight? To be honest, you should count your calories. There's a little app and website called myfitnesspal.com, and you should really use it. It's awesome. I actually have a subscription (that I pay for) to a professional site for nutritionists, but I continue to use myfitnesspal because it is so much better.
Go on myfitnesspal, and set your caloric goals according to how active you are and how much you think you need. For this, you'll have to play around a bit and decide after a few days of eating on a certain amount of calories how your body responds. Most people should be eating between 1500-2200 calories for weight loss.
Set your macronutrient goals according to your goals. If you have a pear-shaped body (carry your extra weight around your hips), you should eat a lower carbohydrate diet, with higher protein and fat calories. An example of this macronutrient profile would be 50% protein, 30% fat, and 20% carbohydrate. If you carry your weight around your mid-section, your profile would be 40% protein, 30% fat, and 30% carbohydrate. If you are long and lean and are more of a cardio person, your profile would be more like 30% protein, 20% fat, and 50% carbohydrate.
My days vary between 1600 calories and 2000 calories depending on how hungry I am. I almost always stick to my macronutrient profile of 40% protein, 30% fat, and 30% carbohydrate because I carry my weight in my stomach, and it's also the perfect profile for muscle-building as well. By doing this, I can eat bacon and eggs, nutella, peanut butter, fruit, burgers.... whatever I want as long as it fits into my profile. This is a method of dieting that has been around forever. However, it's not about seeing how many m&ms you can eat in a day as long as they fit your profile. You need to eat as clean as possible, but this way you can also not be restrictive if you really want something. Also, if you eat little to no sugar, you will have little to no cravings for unhealthy foods.
Now, this all sounds a little psycho-strict. It kind of is, but if you do this for however long it takes for you to meet your goal, you don't have to weigh and measure your food as often to maintain your weight/mass. Also, you don't have to do this. You can also just eat very clean and not overindulge. However, it's not common to lose weight as quickly this way because you never know if your are fitting your caloric goals, and weight loss happens when you eat less than your energy expenditure. And speaking of energy expenditure, you MUST exercise. Optimal exercise is around 45 minutes per day, 5 days per week. I'll go more in-depth with this portion of your guide to health in the next post.
Now go forth and conquer your goals.