In the Attitude Media system, you have two options:
(1) You can eat a balanced diet of healthy foods without worrying too much about calories. No one ever became fat on a diet of carrots, salmon, blueberries, and sweet potatoes, but balance and moderation are key for overall health.
(2) You can eat whatever you want, if you only eat "real" food and you moderate your portions. This does not allow for true junk food such as Ho-Hos or Cheetos, but it does allow for chocolate, steaks, and beer in moderate doses. It also allows for reasonable amounts of fats, protein, and carbohydrates.
There is no valid system that allows for consuming huge sugary coffee drinks topped with whipped cream from Starbucks at 8 in the morning. But in general it really doesn't matter all that much when you eat; although it is true that multiple small courses throughout the day are better than eating just a couple huge meals.
If you're hungry, you should eat. The real key to obesity is that the vast majority of eating does not result from "hunger", at least in the physiological sense. People eat because:
• Food tastes good. Whether through natural means or the addition of all sorts of chemical additives, everyone from fast food chains to chefs running organic restaurants has become quite good at making food delicious. We take this for granted now, but it is really a recent phenomena made possible by the vast increases in worldwide wealth in the last few decades, as well as the hard work of vast armies of cooks experimenting in kitchens, large and small. Often the taste is achieved in crude ways, by adding huge quantities of sugar, salt, or fat, but many creative chefs have also made food delicious in more healthy ways, focusing on fresh ingredients and new ways of seasoning.
• Tasty food is cheap. Again, we take this for granted. While fast food chains are under constant assault for profiting from unhealthy foods, the fact is that only in recent decades has a stunningly wide variety of tasty food become widely available at prices that were affordable even to those of very limited means. Mexican, Chinese, Japanese; Lebanese; every country seems to be represented on every urban street. Most fast food is not very healthy; however, it is quick, affordable, tasty, and widely available: in historical terms, this is quite a stunning development.
• Eating is a social activity. We have business lunches or dinners; even business breakfasts. Holiday meals center around a feast on Thanksgiving, or Christmas dinner; this is true of all cultures; food, family, business, and socializing are inextricably linked. A young couple might have a "dinner date"; kids share a pizza while watching a game. Unless one lives the life of a hermit, you will be expected to eat, and often eat something not very healthy, as part of your normal interactions. Attitude Media is not about excuses; it's about learning in every situation how to enjoy life and be a full social participant while maintaining your long term focus on healthy living. It's quite possible to eat in a moderate, healthy way even when temptation abounds.
• People are bored. So much food is consumed because it is an activity to occupy oneself, especially if you know you really should be doing something else. People eat to delay doing something else, or they eat while they watch TV, or they eat because it distracts them from having to deal with other issues in their life, or because they're lonely. People with interesting, engaged lives have a much easier time with weight control, in large part because they are too busy to sit around eating without purpose.