This is always such a loaded question! I agree with a lot of you--there really is no one size fits all. In my case, my best physical results have come from eating around 1500-1600 calories, aiming for 40/40/20 (protein, carb, fat). I lift weights regularly so that's why I try to keep the protein on the high side. Now...can I comfortably keep that up long term? No. And I honestly don't believe it is healthy for me to stay at such a low energy intake and high protein intake beyond 2 or 3 months. Maintenance mode for me should be around 1800-2100 calories, 30/40/30. I have not met anyone yet who has maintained their goal weight long term without regular cardio and strength training.
We have begun a weightloss "challenge" at our gym and have a dietician helping our group. What I like about her philosophy is she stresses individual differences between people. But there are some universal "don'ts" or use sparingly: saturated fat, sugar laden foods, and processed foods. The universal "do's": lots of veggies and fruits and moderate whole grains. Nothing new there.
Fitday is such a wonderful tool to use. Any time I am logging energy intake, I consider it a success (even if I make a mistake with my nutrition). Awareness is the secret. It's hard to not make progress if I am daily entering my food choices.
Good luck in finding what works best for you!
Starting Date: 12/28/09
Current Weight: 5# heavier since I stopped using fitday!