Counting calories? Think again.

by Talia Koren

If you want to lose some weight, you're probably dreading the part where you have to eat less.

Eat less calories, lose weight. Eat more calories, gain weight. Makes sense, right?

Wrong. I want you to stop thinking that way right now.

You know what sucks more than cutting calories in order to lose weight? Counting them.

But today, I'm here to prove that you can eat more calories and still lose weight!

The catch? The calories must come from healthy, whole foods.

We reached out to Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, author of "Slim Down Now: Shed Pounds and Inches With Pulses — The New Superfood" to get the low down on how to eat more healthy calories and still progress on the journey to weight loss.

When you switch to healthier foods, your body burns more calories naturally. Sass explains,

There is research to show that we burn about 50 percent more calories when we eat whole, fresh foods compared to eating highly processed foods. And anecdotally, I can say that I've had many clients break a weight loss plateau by increasing their calorie intakes but switching from "diet" or processed foods to clean, whole foods.

So, if you're feeling stuck on your weight loss journey, take a good, hard look at the food you're eating.

What does your current diet consist of? What processed foods can you swap out for healthier ones?

Well, for starters, here's a full list of healthy swaps you can try. It's easier than you'd think.

For example, I used to snack on the free goodies in the office, like goldfish and cookies. But I didn't start noticing a difference in my body until I brought my own snacks like apples, nuts and yogurt.

The notion of weight loss being all about calories in vs. calories out is outdated.

To clarify, when Sass refers to whole foods, she means whole ingredients, such as produce, seafood and meat.

These are foods that don't include any other ingredients, like preservatives. It does not mean food from Whole Foods. Let's just be clear on that.

Sass also debunked the point of counting calories, a method so many try when beginning their weight loss journey.

According to Sass, that's not the most effective approach to keeping off the pounds.

She says,

The notion of weight loss being all about calories in vs. calories out is outdated. We now know that not all calories are created equal, and some foods have a greater impact on calorie burning, as well as anti-inflammation, which is largely related to weight management. Whole foods also tend to have a positive impact on satiety and appetite regulation, whereas processed foods may lead to a lack of fullness or a lingering sense of hunger.

When she says anti-inflammation, she's referring to foods that won't make your body act up and bloat.

At the end of the day, you'll be at your best weight once you figure out the foods your body likes the most. It takes some trial and error, but it's effective.

I tried so many different diets and products until I figured out cooking my own food was the best way to lose weight and keep it off.

Plus, I consume way more calories now than I did when I was just scarfing down free bagels at the office. I eat six times a day, but I rarely touch processed foods. Suffice it to say Sass is right.

The biggest takeaway from her advice is simple: Next time you think the only way to get over a weight loss plateau is cutting calories, fill your plate with good, natural whole foods and see what happens next.

You can follow Cynthia Sass on Twitter and Facebook.