My diet suffers from three things:
One, I have a sweet tooth and will snack if bored. (Thankfully I hate boredom for other reasons too and will avoid it however I can — but before I learned to do this, my snacking had me carrying an extra 20lbs around.) I also have a small appetite generally, so I like to eat small meals often…meaning it's much easier for them to be junk-food.
Two, my food-choices tend to be carb-heavy, mostly because I'm not great with shopping and cooking etc.; and keeping lots of small healthy meals around isn't as easy as cooking one big one a day. I'm busy with other things most of the time and find food-preparation a dull affair, so I tend to eat stuff that's easy to get and keeps a long time.
And three, my calorie requirements can swing wildly from one day to the next. I love to exercise and all my favorite "fun" activities burn a ton of calories, but I also get caught up working and parenting and whatnot and will go days without much beyond a few kettlebell swings and stretches. I'm finding that the best way to make sure I don't run out of energy (and "athlete's crash", when you get seriously depleted, *sucks* and takes way too long to recover from — plus it screws up my sleep-schedule something fierce) is to eat what I have an appetite for…but in the world of Boston restaurants etc., this can sometimes mean putting away a lot of pasta or something on a day I probably really didn't need it.
But thankfully an old friend (same one that suggested polyphasic sleep! There are some people you should just listen to, apparently) had a great-sounding suggestion: Before any meal or snack, try to eat a good amount (approx. 1/3 of the amount of what you're about to eat, as I understand it) of raw, crunchy green vegetables. Hey…that's sensible, relatively easy and if it doesn't work at all except to get me to eat more vegetables, it's still a win!
I like the thinking: You get your digestion started on high-fiber, low-sugar food (check out glycemic index theory for some of the reasons why this is a good plan); you take the edge off your hockey-honed appetite before attacking the pasta; and you make sure to get your greens (which I'm not great at). Plus it's not cooking- or shopping-intensive: Even I can manage to keep celery in the fridge.
I'm not looking for much in the way of outward improvement — at about 127 lbs and my musculature, I can't really lose weight safely — but it would be nice to short-circuit my body's tendency to pack anything I give it into my fat-layer (I've always joked that I was built for famine conditions: I can eat very little but store it like mad), and make it possible to maintain a healthy diet in spite of sometimes burning a thousand more calories on Monday than Tuesday.