Started using an app/website called MyFitnessPal today to track my caloric intake. It also can import workout data from Endomondo. Once I set that up, it pulled in my calories burned during exercise. So, I put in what I eat during the day, it pulls in my exercise automatically, and I get an idea of where I stand with respect to calories in vs. calories out or put another way, my net calories for the day.
I am a big believer that people put a little too much effort into setting a crazy strict diet when they try to lose weight. It is too much work! There is plenty of science that revolves around weight loss and there are a million diets (with studies to back them up) stating their way is THE way to lose weight. Then comes the complicated system that you have to follow. None of that works for me. I have lost significant amounts of weight in the past (30 pounds, 2 different times) and I always did it by eating modestly and making sure that I kept track of my calories in vs. out. It is physics really. If your overall calories for the day comes in less than what your body requires, you're going to lose weight, PERIOD! It doesn't matter if I eat soy biscuits or chicken nuggets. Now I will admit, when I start to keep an eye on my diet like this, I inevitably end up being forced to cut out a lot of the junk. I can eat one supersized meal at McDonald's and not get to eat for the rest of the day or I can eat more healthily, get more food, and not feel like I'm starving myself all the time.
In the end, this might not work for everyone, but for me I need my "system" to be as simple as possible. I'm a busy guy. I need my food to be convenient, low calorie, and decent volume. I'll have to post an example week of my food intake periodically to see how it changes over time. For now, I set a goal of 180 pounds. MyFitnessPall allotted me 1410 calories a day in order to lose 2 pounds a week to get there in 8 or 10 weeks. It asks for your weight, gender, age, etc. and calculates a number for you. So all I have to do is come in at or under that number every day and pick foods that are filling, but not high in calories, and I have something I can stick to. I know from past experience that foods high in protein are usually very filling so I'll go with a lot of canned chicken and tuna. Crackers to eat with those for carbs. Baked though. Have to really watch the crackers as they vary wildly in how many calories you get per a volume of crackers. I want something lower calorie so they can soak up water and give me a full feeling in my stomach. The rest is mostly fruits and vegetables. Taste good and low calorie. Can eat a ton of veggies and hardly rack up anything on the old calorie-o-meter. i.e. 4 cups of baby spinach leaves for 20 calories!
I won't be too stringent. I'll allow myself a cheat day here or there. Most people become a slave to their diet and then wonder why it is they can't stick with it. I'll allow myself some cheating from time to time, but I will still log it so I understand the impact of putting it down my gullet.