Atkins, 21 Day Fix, Low-Carb, Fruitarian, Water Fasts for weeks and many more crazy diets have you pegged a sheep trying to follow some asshole with a name on a piece of paper calling themselves "Experts" and make you suffer more than helping you. I believe that if you want the best out of losing weight, gaining weight, dropping fat than you need to manage or make the effort to do so without feeling so strict about yourself. Changing everything completely cold turkey is a complete waste of time, unless you've had nothing but junk food your whole life and knowing what the hell a fruit or a vegetable is than yeah time to make some big changes but start small. Life is not a race, it's a journey that you wrestle with and you won't always have a winning streak, losing at times can be good because it's a life lesson that could help you get back up.
What are the first three letters in the word Diet? D-I-E. Those three letters alone should have you be suspicious of anything remotely related to nutrition. I will admit my eating habits aren't the greatest and most likely never will be. I don't eat McDonalds everyday or Taco Bell, Jack In The Box or Burger Queen. I eat relatively healthy having good fats, eggs, meats, fruits and veggies, plenty of water and electrolytes and yes I do eat carbs but not so much the bad kind. I need some high level doses of food to fuel me because how hard I train. I love cookies, bacon wrapped hot dogs, coke, an occasional grilled cheese sammich and yes I do eat fried chicken from time to time. The thing is I don't feel any guilt about doing them because I know how my body works and that because of the way I train, I'll never look like an obsese person. Be noble and smart about what you eat and drink but there's nothing wrong with indulging a few bad things once in a while, you need that balance. I'm not a good or bad eater, I do my best to stay in the middle. You shouldn't have to suffer or feel like dying when it comes to food, it's choices and managing it that works in your favor for your own body.
Eating healthy isn't easy and it's not always willing to be healthy but money isn't always in your favor so it comes down to making compromises with yourself and/or the family you are raising. It can be stressful at times because of certain circumstances but it doesn't have to be negatively stressful. Being stress free means you are doing what's best but you don't feel guilty when something doesn't always work. Be honest and realistic with yourself about what you eat but don't ever feel like you have to strict yourself. Some people can't eat a ton of food but some need more than others depending on your goals and your intensity levels of exercise. Here's a tid bit of how hungry I get, after a workout say lifting a total of 20+ tons striking a tire with a 30 lbs.+ Sledgehammer i'm in no mood for little salads or those small meals i Tupperware, I grab what I can find in the fridge that is fairly healthy and devour it like a madman or go out somewhere like to subway, Quiznos or Panda Express and get as much as either two sandwiches or 4-5 entrees of food at Panda put into around two-three big boxes worth. When you're hungry you need fuel and at times you may not always get the healthiest thing because your body needs food badly. Make good choices but also listen to your body and not try to tell it what you think it needs or whatever the "plan" is on that diet sheet you think you can handle.
When it comes to Experts, I don't look for the shmucks in the fitness magazines or dumb forums and hell I don't trust nutritionists on TV like on Dr. Oz or some crap like that. I look to men and women who have been through the ringer, know that being strict doesn't get you anywhere and that food is fuel, not little bitty pieces of baby lettuce salads and 100 calorie Tupperware Meals. I look to real people who are very strong, athletic and do things out of the ordinary. It's those people I admire, not all of them have six pack abs or the body of a greek god; some of the healthiest people I know aren't the best athletic looking yet their health is even higher than those who look athletic in the first place. Most Experts have an agenda and they don't see through how some individuals don't have the capacity to fit their lifestyle with their diet ideals. Make honest choices but don't make yourself feel like shit in the process. It's tough, it can be frustrating yet eating real food is the best way to go but if you can't always make them happen, use your budget wisely and be open minded.