I've hit on a fairly simple eating plan that is working well for me right now. It's leans towards Paleo in that I'm trying very hard not to eat sugar or grains most of the time because I know that works when I want to lose weight, but I do eat dairy - mainly greek yogurt, coffee cream, and a little cheese. Knowing what to eat and getting the exercise in is one thing - but trying to stick with it is another when you get busy with work and family. I've found that if I identify the potential problems I may have along the way, I can be proactive and plan ahead, increasing my chances of success
Things I find hard
Coffee without sugar - this is probably the toughest part for me - I love my coffee with cream and sugar. However Erik started making me a cappuccino every morning, instead of brewed coffee, and that has really helped. I have a 2 shot cappuccino with 1-1/2 oz of cream, no sugar. The espresso and foamed cream make the coffee much more palatable.
Next I had to find a way to deal with no second cup of coffee to sip on at work so I've managed to switch to plain tea. I find it much easier to drink tea without cream and sugar so that's been working for me.
Diet Pop - Normally, I drink 5-6 cans of diet tonic water a week (I know that's weird but I like tonic water) but I really didn't want to be drinking diet pop any more so I have switched to plain soda water, on the rocks, often with a squeeze of lime. Once in awhile, I will have 1/4 orange juice and 3/4 soda water. This seems to quench my craving for something fizzy.
Dessert aka something sweet after dinner - evening is the hardest time for me to not snack or eat sweets. I allow myself 4 little squares of 72% dark chocolate most days. It's 100 calories with 9 grams of carbs and under 5 grams of sugar. This is probably the only sugar I eat each day so I figure that's ok.
My other other comfort food is some amazing paleo banana muffins that I adapted from a recipe that Jake and Lybbe posted on Facebook. They have no flour and no sugar but taste just like regular banana nut bread. One muffin is a whopping 190 calories though so one a day is plenty. Still, it's a real treat to eat one after lunch.
Making poor food choices when I'm tried or hungry - once a week, I wash and cut all the fruit and veggies I will need for the week and I make a pot of soup for my lunches. The more food prep I do ahead of time, the less likely I am to make a bad decision. I also find it helpful to plan dinner meals ahead and make sure I have all the ingredients I will need.
Here's my regular menu for a typical work day.
Breakfast - double espresso with cream. That's it. I don't like eating breakfast. I've tried for years and don't like it. I drink regular plain tea during the morning until my lunch break which is at 11am.
Lunch - a large container of raw veggies (carrots, red peppers, snap peas, cherry tomatoes, celery), 1-1/2 cups of homemade pumpkin soup (tasty but only 100 cals), and a paleo banana muffin (both recipes will be posted on my food blog later this week.)
After school - 3/4 cup plain greek yogurt and 1 cup thawed berries
Dinner - Some kind of meat (beef, chicken, pork), a large salad, 1-2 veggie. I tend to eat whatever the family eats but I avoid heavy sauces, and I skip the potatoes/rice/pasta. I use a simple homemade oil and vinegar dressing.
Evening Snack - 100 calories of dark chocolate most days (4 squares) and if I'm hungry sometimes I'll have an apple, a muffin, 1/4 cup mixed nuts, a slice of cheese, or plain popcorn.
On Friday nights, I have steak, salad, veggies, 2 glasses of wine, and sometimes a few slices of baguette with oil/vinegar. I don't worry too much about the calorie count, as this is my cheat meal for the week.
I keep track of my food on http://www.myfitnesspal.com and I find that really helps.
So - if you are trying to get your eating back on track, figure out what YOUR stumbling blocks might be and plan for them! It can make a big difference.