When you think about weight loss, the most basic principle you will hear is, it is all about calories in vs. calories out. Sound familiar? Yes, there is definitely something to this, physiologically, to lose weight, it is all about the number of calories consumed vs the number of calories expended. Taking in fewer calories than you consume, through watching what you put into your body and the amounts and getting off the couch and moving a little bit more. Notice how I mention the word “AND”. It is not only about decreasing calories or putting in more gym time but it is the combination of the two factors that will deliver the desired results the quickest.

With this being said, it is all about making healthy choices and less about getting so tied up in counting calories. You can easily lose weight on 1100 calories of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream and 300 calories burned on the elliptical. Scientifically with less in and more out, yes you are going to lose weight but is this the kind of weight you want to lose? Is this the type of life you want to live? Are you truly healthy on such a plan? Absolutely not! It is more about the quality of foods you are eating and getting your heart rate up that is going to not only allow you to reach your goals but be truly healthy while doing so! You will have energy, vitality, your health, and most of all not have the mental fatigue of constantly counting calories!

Let’s keep things simple so you can maintain your goals in a healthy manner. If you consider these few basic principles, you will be well on your way towards long term health and longevity, without having to think much about being the world’s best mathematician.

*Calories are not created equal. 100 calories of Oreos is not the same as 100 calories of almonds! Pick foods that have not been processed and are closest to their pure raw form. Yes, a calorie is a calorie– a measure of energy but not all calories have the same effect on your body or mind. Pick your calories wisely and rather than counting calories, just be aware of what a serving size looks like.

*Choose foods that contain fiber. Fiber-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole-grains and legumes, have so many benefits. Not only do they keep you satisfied longer and deliver vitamins and minerals, they also require more energy to break down therefore increasing your metabolism and keeping your body a fat-burning machine. Veggies are free food so eat your fiber and don’t even think about counting those green calories!

Similar to fiber, protein also slows down absorption time, keeping you satisfied longer. Remember a 200 calories mini cheeseburger is not the same as 250 calorie steak. Keep in mind, if you are a “calorie counter” wouldn’t it make sense to pick a 200 calorie burger over a 250 calorie piece of steak? If you are counting calories, you can see that the mini-cheese burger has fewer calories than the steak but this is the point. Not all calories are created equal! You see, calories are not the only factor in your food choices! Consume protein sources from lean, grass-fed and freshwater sea animals and you are well on your way towards long-term success!

If you are a calorie counter, you may stay far away from fats! This is not the answer to your problems. Fats help you lose fat! It is not about avoiding fats, it is about the quality of fats and the proper serving size! Healthy fats keep you full, regulate hormones and blood sugar. it’s important to consume enough healthy, unsaturated fats to keep you healthy but knowing which fats to pick from. Stay away from trans fats or high levels of saturated fats, found mainly in fried foods and animal products. Yes, true a gram of fat has 9 calories so 1 gram of trans fat and a gram of monounsaturated fat has 9 calories, they do not respond the same in your system. Are you starting to see the trend here! If you are a calorie counter, you may go for a 100 calorie chocolate cookie over 100 calories of olive oil but the two, while equal in calories, are NOT considered equal in nutritional value.

Follow these few simple pointers and I assure you a much more successful journey and peace of mind. Focus less on calories and more on quality of choices! You will be a much happier and healthier you, from the inside out!

For help making QUALITY choices and stripping body fat, check out the Gina Aliotti Fitness Programs, and let’s free you from the frustration of counting forever!