Ignore Jbhasban, he's the king of broscience. Your metabolic rate will change depending on a shit-ton of factors: Weight, activity level, types of food being eaten, when it's being eaten and how much is being eaten. The key is finding a method of eating, and a diet tailored around foods that work for you, and arguably, one that you enjoy eating too (unless you're a professional body builder and / or a fighter doing aggressive "cutting" phases.)
The science behind starvation mode is sketchy at best and signals a decrease that is fairly insignificant (around 50 calories for someone who, through calculations, should need around 1700 calories). Yeah, it exists. But it isn't something someone needs to worry about. What is most likely true is people who eat too little perceive themselves working out much harder than they are or they overeat and in fact are not eating as low as they think they are. Do certain foods burn more calories than others? Yeah, thermogenic effect of food is well documented. Is it a huge amount? Only if you eat an obscenely unbalanced diet (thermogenic effect of food fats = 0%, carbs = 0-15%, proteins = 15-20%). People reach plateaus because they run out of gas and are not exercising as hard as they think they are. It is also possible their bodies get use to the routines they are doing and become more efficient thereby lowing the amount of calories they are burning. Altering diet may allow you to recharge and effect your lepton levels such that you do not binge eat. But there is ABSOLUTELY NO evidence that you can combat starvation mode through nutrition or diet scheduling. In fact, it is well documented that timing of food intake has NO effect on weight gain or loss except to the extent that skipping meals may increase hunger but that is highly dependent on the person. I agree with your advice: the key is finding a method of eating, diet, and exercise that works for you. But to suggest that people should worry about starvation mode is ridiculous because a) the evidence that it exists is sketchy and b) there is no scientific evidence that you can combat it if it does exist.
Your body doesn't know what time it is when you eat. That's a myth, which (from my understanding) grew out of a suggested eating habit from nutritionists. Basically, it can help (mentally) if you plan ahead and schedule your meals instead of trying to do it on the fly but that's about it. Spacing out your meals can also help alleviate hunger (same calories, spaced out over the day), but if you have a late dinner at 10pm, you haven't stuffed your diet!
Remember, Evolution takes millions of years, and therefore it was only yesterday that Humans would eat when they killed say a mammoth and the live off nuts/berries until they killed another one. Pretty sure they had a lot less obesity problems than modern society! Nutrition and weight loss is a pretty lucrative business and you need to separate the fact from the fiction/marketing.
As for Starvation mode, mothing makes me /facepalm more than when I hear it get thrown around discussions like this. "Eat to lose weight" is one of the biggest myths in dieting. You want to talk about studies? Read up on the Minnesota Starvation Experiment. If you ever starve yourself like those guys did, then your 'reduced metabolic rate' is the least of your concerns. And those guys didn't actually go into 'starvation' mode until they were almost half dead (iirc).
Bottom line is, if you starve yourself your body just eats itself for energy. In terms of fat loss, then that's a good thing. But if you don't get enough vitamins/minerals then other functions become impared and if you don't eat enough protein, your body will start to eat your muscle (maybe even your organs). But we're talking extreme starvation here (POW Starvation), not a "1000 calorie daily defecit" or the likes.
I'm not actually suggesting people go on a 'starvation' diet. I'm merely pointing out the fact that starving yourself has a very little effect on your BMR. It's by no means a healthy way to lose weight.
I've been trying for a while to lose weight, I feel that the reason I have been failing is because I try too hard to push myself, and that I am never prepared enough (I don't have the right foods, the correct plan in general).
I can probably come up with a plan, regardless if there would be an absolute 'best way' to lose weight, I think it would be most effective for a normal person to just make a solid plan and stick to it until you hit your target weight, and keep using it thereafter.
I have a few questions regarding a few topics:
Are any pills effective? Not miracle weight loss pills, but vitamins and other kinds.
How many calories should I try to deficit every day from the calories I need to maintain my weight, how much of this should come from exercise?
Currently, I plan to drop over 120 pounds, I am 330 pounds and want to be 210 when I finish, how long is an acceptable goal?
I was thinking original oatmeal for breakfast most of the time, some kind of sandwich for lunch, and some kind of meal involving chicken breast for dinner. Is eating the same exact meals every day inherently bad?
Water flavoring packets - bad?
I may be using this thread as a blog type if that is allowed on MMO-C. Not so sound like an asshole but if you are just guessing at any of the questions, and giving your personal input on what you think I should do, please don't. I'm looking for people who are knowledgeable on the subject and can give definite answers.
As someone whose lost over 80lbs in about 7 months, I'd recommend you focus on getting strong - you'll get leaner, as you gain muscle and lose fat, and for a while you should lose weight too, being 330lbs(I can't give you a good weight target goal, without knowing your height, but 180-240lbs if you're between 5' 6" and 6'2" is a good place to be for most males). Go to StartingStrength.com and read all you can. Eat 4 decent sized meals with meat, eggs, fruit, and vegetables making up most of your diet. Eat real food, flavor is good, learn to cook, it's a valuable skill. Supplements can offer marginal levels of improvement; A multivitamin and fish oil can help cover nutritional bases. Creatine can be moderately useful(it's a compound found in meat, commonly sold as a supplement in powder form, google it). However, the benefits will probably be undetectable to a novice who is rapidly improving multiple times a week. The food and gym bill are much more important than any supplement.
For me, I found at 152lbs 5" 6" I was far too small and weak. I wished I'd eaten more and progressed on my squats, instead of starving myself and doing a crapton of cardio(which did little for me except give me knee tendonitis, which is now healing). I would have reached my current goal much sooner. I want to be strong and athletic - not skinny. "Skinny" is as much of an insult as "fat" is, in my opinion.