Hey Moose -
A friend at work lost 50 pounds, then another brought in the South beach diet book for me after losing a bunch of weight. I think he was trying to tell me somehting but I didn't even open it for months.
Then he left the company and I thought I had better read it before I give it back. I opened and scanned a few pages and tried a few of the things that stuck. I was amazed at how my body reacted. I went most of the day without being hungry by avoiding the carbs and eating a breakfast that burned slowly in the stomach.
For me it was an initial experiment giving me confidence that what they were saying was true. I tried an egg-white omelet made with veggies, small glass of v8 and a celery stick, no bread. I popped a few dry roasted peanuts as a snack with water mid-day. 3pm came and went and I really wasn't hungry but I ate something anyway realizing I didn't need it. Then for dinner I had a salad with grilled chicken and sliced almonds and a light vinagrette dressing. I felt like I could enjoy that kind of food for a while. I found other stuff, started reading labels and a week later I saw the pounds dropping and I haven't turned back since.
I think you should first read the first 60-70 pages of the SB diet book, try a couple of the things they suggest and give it a couple of weeks. It's pretty amazing what happens in two weeks. Then it's steady from there if you stick to it.
I am no expert but rule#1 is - if you eat carbs like sugar and starch the body converts it into fat unless you exercise like mad to burn it up right when you eat it. Rule #2 - to lose fat you need to run the body lean on calories as well, they say to really lose fat you need to create a deficit of calories vs. expenditure.
So the secret is to cut carbs out and pick good foods that are low in calories that make you feel satisfied. Use good snacks in between clever meals to keep things on the even keel.
Keep the calories low but that doesn't mean you can't fill up with good foods. And exercise works the body toward that deficit that burns fat even when you are doing nothing.
I am still learning, like I said it's only been two months but I am 17-18 pounds lighter (190# to 171-172#). I figure by next month if I really stick to it I will hit my 165# goal and then put the muscle back on which I know weighs more than fat so I will change focus to being in shape rather than weight.
Good luck, maybe if we keep talking about it here it will help. I know that talking about it with others has been a key ingredient for me! I am more than happy to keep this dialog going