You've heard it. I've heard it. Just about everyone who is looking to lose some weight and trim that stomach fat has heard it. "You just have to eat clean." While the amount of calories you usually cut by eating clean does the trick, eating clean or depriving yourself isn't the magical solution to losing weight. This is where we learn the magical words caloric deficit.
I know this will piss a lot of people off, but THE REASON YOU LOSE WEIGHT IS BECAUSE OF A CALORIE DEFICIT. Not a magical keto diet. Not carb cycling or avoiding carbs. Not eating eight times a week. Whether you adjust your diet for your body to burn more calories than it's consuming, or you exercise to burn those daily calories off, calories are the how you shed pounds.
Do your research. Any registered dietitian will tell you the same thing. My personal experience will attest to it as well. It is up to you to set a diet with a calorie limit that you know will cause you to lose weight but not starve yourself. The way to do this is to track your calories and experiment with certain intakes to see what works best for you, your schedule, your appetite, and your workouts.
You shouldn't have to cut out bread or pasta to lose weight. You shouldn't have to avoid any single food to lose weight. Flexible dieting is your best friend. Knowing that one bad meal won't derail your progress is the most important thing; that's like getting a flat tire then stabbing a hole in your other three tires. The opposite is also true-- one grilled chicken salad won't make you skinny, either.
Myth 1 debunked, carbs are not the enemy. Carbs are just as essential as any other macronutrient. If you lift heavy consistently, you need a carb-heavy diet to supply your muscles with adequate glucose for energy and recovery. Additionally, consuming enough protein is important to build lean muscle mass, which in term burns more fat in your body for energy, increasing the limit of calories you can consume and also decreasing your body fat percentage.
Myth 2 debunked, eating fat doesn't make you fat. Limiting your fat intake is important because it is the most calorie-dense macronutrient (9 calories per gram compared to 4/gram with protein and carbs). Don't let this fact deter you from fat consumption, but instead consume the bulk of your fats before a workout for optimal energy!
Ultimately, your diet should start with your calories if the goal is to lose pounds. Don't over-complicate things, and don't go all in. Create a diet that is flexible and maintainable, not a crash diet that deprives you of anything and everything. Enjoy your food, stay motivated.
Last but not least... be patient because real results take time, consistency, and your full effort.