The Neutral Diet
I call this the neutral diet because it is not high or low in anything. There will be some extremists who say that it's too much/little protein, or too many/too few carbs or too much/too little fat or too what ever. To all of them I say b*llsh*t. Now there are a couple of assumptions built in to the neutral diet. The first being that you are willing and able to do hard exercise 3 or 4 days a week. The second is that you are willing and able to plan and track your eating. Lastly, that you are at a body fat level that would be considered "healthy" by the ACSM. This means 15-24% for males, 22-31% for females. If you are fatter than this you can still use the basic template, just don't do the refeeds. If you are leaner then this it may not be enough calories and cause you to stall or lose lean mass.
The set up is simple. Your weight in lbs. equals the number of grams of carbs. Divide your weight in lbs. by 3 to get the number of fat grams, and multiply your weight in lbs. by 0.7 to get your grams of protein. Recalculate your diet with every 10 lbs of lost weight. To move from fat loss to maintenance ,add 200 calories to your day, in weekly increments. in a balanced manner. This set up provides sufficient carbs to fuel your work outs and avoid muscle glycogen depletion, adequate protein for muscle building and repair, and adequate fat to maintain hormonal tonus and provide satiety. While that sounds all sciencey, it means this, your won't "bonk" during your work outs, you shouldn't lose lean muscle, your hormone levels shouldn't get all crazy, and your food can still taste good.
As part of this, include one free meal a week, and one carb refeed every other week. Now, about free meals. These are not an excuse to go face down in a buffet until they call the cops to escort you out. Generally speaking I recommend this meal be eaten out with out worrying about your diet. Have a dessert and fried food if you like. Just don't gorge your self. The refeed is a bit more structured. In these, double the amount of carbs you eat for one day, while keeping the fat and protein level close to normal. Many people use refeeds to indulge in candy, pop-tarts, and pancakes with syrup. All of which are fine, as long as fat and protein levels are maintained.
The associated work out plan I recommend for this is three circuit training sessions a week using alternating routines, or two full body strength training sessions with some type of interval training done on two other days. If you don't know which way to go, try one for a month, then try the other the next month. See which one you prefer, or even continue to alternate on a monthly basis. Fred Fornicola has two excellent examples of circuit training on his blog.
Interval Training is explained here.
Keep this up for three months and you can drop enough fat to need smaller pants.