Hi frazzeled and welcome.
Getting and reading Dr. Atkin's book is a serious must. I think I read it 10 times as soon as I got it. The main reason for this is not only to be sure you are eating the right foods (I learned I was making a few mistakes early on) but because you have to re-align your thinking...due to all the nutrition propaganda (well, *I* think it's propoganda, a good bit of it)...where fat is bad. You seriously have to reverse most of the stuff you've been told and believed for your life.
The main principles are:
*you generally eat a normal amount of protein, it's not mainly protein. It may SEEM like a lot of protein, since you no longer can eat all the junky carbs...but the reality is that it's a normal amount.
*The bulk of the diet is veggies....BUT filling because you add butter and/or cheese.
*You MUST get your fat in. Inadequate fat will slow down the weight loss.
*Basically....it's lots of veggies, normal protein, plenty of fat....and NO junky carbs.......and most carbs will come from veggies.
If you read the book and start eating while following the list...you'll get the hang of it and become an expert on it.
IMO...it's a great diet/WOE.......it's healthy, it works, you're not hungry and you feel good on it. I have to think that those who mess up or ditch it do so because they either didn't read the book so did a few things wrong and didn't lose so gave up or else absolutely refused to give up sugar, etc. Otherwise, I can't fathom why anyone would not love this diet.
Oh....and to answer your question regarding calorie counting......No, you do not count calories...per se.....but you DO want to make sure you keep calories within fairly reasonable parameters. In other words, let's face it....you'd have trouble losing if you ate 6,000 cal/day of pure Atkin's approved foods. So yeah, you can't just eat endless and ridiculous amounts of calories and still lose. BUT...you do not count calories as a practical matter. Gone are the days where you worry when you see the calorie count of a baked chicken leg. It's protein and fat....so it's good...and eat it...even eat two....and don't even worry about the calories.