Hi there Hocus! Okay, I'm glad that you experimented and found out fairly quickly that adding in lots of fat was not the way to go. This is really all about trial and error - till we find out what works - and most definitely find out what doesn't work.
Speaking of trial and error, well the calorie thing falls right into that category as well. If I were you I would start at about 1600 calories or perhaps up to 1800 calories. You need to track them really closely so that you know just what you're consuming in case this doesn't produce positive results. You track them really well for a couple of weeks, then you start tweaking if need be. As you get smaller and lighter you will have to keep taking those calories down by a hundred or so. That's what I've done. Exercise is also crucial. You must add that into your daily life. And keep increasing as you go on.
The best foods to stick with IMO are ones that will provided you with high nutritional value and keep the cravings at bay. So that means elminating the junk and ADDING in good wholesome foods. Low fat proteins, lots of fresh vegetables, fruit and whole grains. Once you elminate the junk, within a short period of time your cravings for it diminish - greatly. Eventually it's the healthy stuff you will crave.
I start off my day with a high fiber cereal and skim milk. Lunch is usually a veggies soy product like Morning Star Farms Chick pattie and a large bowl of cauliflower. Tuna fish and a salad is another good option. As are egg white omlettes and a large vegetable stir fry. Dinner for me is usually fish and a large amount of roasted green beans. Or a chicken breast/vegetable stir fry. Just basically some high protein item and lots of vegetables.
Snacks are low fat proteins as well. Like fat free yogurt. Low fat cottage cheese and berries. Cut up veggies and hummus.
The goal is to make every thing you eat a good and healthy choice.
I've never read either of the books. I know they are supposed to be very eye opening and informative. I hear very good things about the first one as well.
I'm soooo happy that you've decided to make this change. I think you will be thrilled with the results and really enjoy this lifestyle. Good luck to you.