As someone who likes food and likes to eat well, I disagree with “food=fuel”.
As someone who lost 50 lbs. and have kept it all off for 2-1/2 years now and counting, I will say that you do not have to sacrifice good food in the name of getting and keeping trim.
What you need to do first and foremost is learn how to maintain your calorie balance. This means learning about calories counts, and figuring out what your body needs to stay the way it is. Eat less, but not a ton less than that if you’re losing weight, and eat just about that much when you get to where you want to be.
A corollary to being able to do this is to learn what hunger is, and only eat when you’re hungry. Not because it’s time to eat, and not because you’re bored or because something sounds or smells good. Only eat when you’re hungry, and then, eat something you like that keeps to the calorie profile you are trying to maintain. You’ll know you’re doing it right if roughly every 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 hours you find yourself wanting to eat. At that point, eat just enough that you don’t need to eat any more.
The way I trained myself to do this was to take a normal (American) portion sized meal that I would eat for lunch, such as a hero sandwich from a deli plus a bag of chips, but only eat half of it at one sitting and then to busy myself with something absorbing. I found I’d totally forget about eating the rest of it in about 15 minutes, but about 3 hours later I’d be pretty hungry. Bingo!
A corollary to this corollary is that you need to find likable substitutes for high calories foods you routinely consume. For example, 1% light cheese instead of regular, full-fat cheese, and egg whites instead of whole eggs, and whole grain bread and pasta instead of white. Diet soda instead of sugared soda goes without saying (learning to like to drink mostly water, or seltzer if you like fizzy drinks like I do, is even better). Mustard instead of mayonnaise. A drizzle of olive oil instead of a pat of butter. Baked potato chips instead of deep fried ones. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find how much an impact simple, barely noticeable food choices like this can make on your net calorie count.
It’s also much easier to eat a normal amount of food, and get away with the occasional rich or processed food, if you exercise more. Walk/run at least 30 minutes at a time 3 times a week, make that 5 times while you’re actively trying to lose weight, and do some kind of weight training to maintain muscle mass (I find that just doing pushups, pullups and ab crunches “to failure” 3 times a week is enough – plus you’ll be surprised how quickly you can do a lot more pushups than you ever have in your life!)
Finally, while I let myself eat “cheat foods” all the time while losing weight (potato chips, french fries, ice cream, etc.), I made sure my weekly calorie balance always netted to what I needed it to be, and more importantly, never “pigged out”. You should never violate Rules #1 and #2: keeping track of your net calories, and not eating when you’re not hungry. Add in an increase in exercise and the rest will likely take care of itself.