Contrary to popular belief, you CAN eat whatever you want and lose weight, terrifyingly fast.
For much of my life, I was a picky eater. A food was either tasty, or it was icky, and about ninety-nine percent of foods were icky. I grew out of it, eventually, and now, whenever I have to choose something for dinner, it is not easy; whatever I order in a restaurant is going to have its own merits---in short, most everything is good in its own way, and there are no bad foods, even if there are bad chefs.
That last philosophy led me to another epiphany about food that most Americans never discover: our concept of a healthy diet is based on the ideology of a famous quack from Michigan. John Harvey Kellogg (the one who invented corn flakes) advocated bland food and making mealtimes an onerous chore. In other words, he prescribed a diet likely to demotivate health seekers, and his ghost has doubtless made picky eaters out of generations of American children and prematurely ended even more diets.
Dr. Kellogg's true legacy is the separation of health and pleasure in the American dietary consciousness, and in recent decades, American ingenuity has struggled to bridge the gap by creating healthier substitutes such as fake fats, fake sweeteners, fake this, and fake that, with all the desired flavours of the demonised originals but none of the health consequences. Meanwhile, Americans continue to become fatter on average as people reject "healthy" foods as boring at best and disgusting at worst.
As my attitudes toward food were changing from the tasty/icky dichotomy, I discovered the details of the French Paradox, which, frankly, took the paradox out of it. As I was starting to eat a larger variety of foods, I noticed that I was gaining significant weight, and with the traditional French-style diet, based on genuine ingredients without "healthy" substitutes, and consumed slowly and luxuriously rather than gobbled and gulped in the American fashion, I could control my weight. Every bite was consumed sitting down, at specific times each day, and in a few months, when I had been trying to lose ten pounds, I noticed one day that my clothes were fitting much looser. A trip to the scale showed I had lost thirty pounds doing this. I struggled hard gaining the twenty pounds back, and I am not keen to repeat that experience.
So today, when my waist is getting a little wide, I do not panic; I simply take the opportunity to enjoy the truly special gastronomic experiences, for I know that in a few weeks, I shall have to consume higher calorie foods again to maintain my balance.
As long as the food is real and prepared with skill, I can maintain this balance forever.