Probably gonna regret replying here because it’ll take up a lot of time typing but I’ll try to help. I’m gonna be talking in lots of absolutes and generalisations so take it as such but keep in mind there are exceptions (probably). While I could try to answer each individual question/point you’ve brought up it’d probably be more helpful to give you good principles than a “good diet”. By applying these principles you can answer your own questions (hopefully). If not I’ll give any questions you still have a shot.
Firstly when dieting for body composition / sexiness to be successful your priorities should be, in order, consistency, creating a caloric deficit, macro nutrient intake and a few others but those are the important ones. If you don’t have these in check you will not be successful. Here’s a summary graphic from Renaissance Periodization:
I would add in drugs of various sorts such as anabolic steroids but it’s a bit out of my area of know-it-allness. Dieting for health is slightly different and a bit more complex but I digress
Dieting properly for one day then poorly the next /cheat a bit the next day and you will have taken one step towards your goal/s and one backward. If you diet inconsistently in this manner you will not be successful.
Consistency is adhering to your diet for days, months, years or however long it takes to achieve your goals. Even if you fall off the diet a day or two days even a week in the long term if you’re taking more steps i.e. days forwards then steps back you are on the way to success. If you are consistent it then becomes only a matter of time until you get where you want.
I think you’ve got this one so I’ll be brief(er)… just kidding I’m bad at being brief.
You need to create a caloric deficit. There are many ways to do this each with their own costs and benefits. For example counting macronutrients is a tool that allows you to be consistently accurate-ish/make minute adjustments and have some flexibility in what you eat on your diet. However its a bother lel.
In the end it’s more important that the deficit is created then other priorities such as what you are eating i.e.Food Composition hence why it’s lower in priority on the graphic. You can eat as clean as you want but if you have no deficit you get no weight or fat loss.
Thirdly is macronutrients. If I tried to put it in a few words: When dieting for body composition consume enough daily protein to promote favorable changes in body composition. 1g / lb of bodyweight is a number thrown around a lot so I’ma recommend it. More is not necessarily more beneficial beyond this amount and a bit less is probably not worse if at all (according to some studies at least). For simplicities sake go with 1g / lb bw.
Fat and carb make up the rest of your calories and how you divvy it up is personal preference tho I will say you need some fat for your body to function well and carbs are a great fuel source for high intensity activities which will act as the stimulus to hold onto as much muscle as possible during your diet… but getting a bit off topic here.
Anyways these should be your priorities when dieting for body composition hell you could think of them as inviolable principles. Make sure you have each covered and you’ll be golden. Other stuff is optional extra fluff at best or waste of your time bull shit in other cases so mess around with said stuff when you have these priorities checked off.