For me, healthy eating is all about discipline. If I get bored... I eat. Why not? Right? The problem is that having lots of free time leads to being bored more often, which in turn leads to more eating and more mass - which leads to less activity and... more eating. I don't know if everyone works this way, but this is how it is for me. During my previous health kicks the method I tried to incorporate has been the same and worked quite well: discipline leads to positive results. So, I'm tackling the eating problem in stages. I try to start Stage 1 before I "officially" start the program. So my clock started counting from the beginning of Stage 2 (that would have been January 13th).
Stage 1 - Pare down the crappy food in the cupboard - i.e. candy and desserts. I don't throw the stuff away, but I try to eat it more slowly and savor it, because I'm not replacing it when it's empty. Along with this rule - no bags of chips or even healthy snacks allowed outside the kitchen. This guarantees that I don't over-do the portion size while sitting on the couch watching TV (which I do A LOT).
Stage 2 - No soda. This one usually kills me because I don't like drinking diet sodas, so I have to kick soda entirely. It's empty sugar and increased water retention for the only benefit of being more tasty than water. The biggest problem for me is that I don't just have one soda. At a restaurant I'll usually end up drinking 3-5 in the course of one meal. Almost all places have free refills and it just tastes so damned good... Getting off of soda entirely has always been the key event for my previous attempts at weight loss - and it's just as much the psychology of discipline than anything else. If I can get rid of soda from my diet, than the rest of the changes seem less painful.
Stage 3 - more activity = less time to be bored. So, following the logic around the cycle - less time to be bored means less snacking.
Stage 4 - Eat less. One of my main staples when I'm cooking for myself is pasta. A one pound container of pasta typically was three meals... now it's five. The added benefits - I actually end up saving time by cooking less often and a pretty significant amount of money on food. Plus, If I have leftovers at home, I'm much less likely to go out for meals as well.
Stage 5 - Start mixing in healthier foods (this is where I am now). In effect, I move from eating my pre-health fad diet (only smaller quantities) into eating more fresh vegetables and fruits and leaner meats, while making sure to eat three actual meals in a day... no skipping breakfast because I'm too lazy to get moving in the morning.
Instead of just doing all of this at once, building in to it seems to help maintain the healthy eating style. I had, more or less, started Stage 1 at the beginning of the year. Stage 2 began about a little over three weeks ago and I started in to Stage 5 yesterday. Check out the scene in my kitchen last night - after prepping the veggies for the week. I was doing that while starting to cook my chicken fajitas... Looks pretty damned healthy doesn't it? The nice thing is that the positive results from the first three weeks are making this almost enjoyable. Weird.
Coming up... Health Kick: Part III - Fitness