My fam always packed carrot pouches for lunch and ate salad without dressing. We were total and complete health nuts — yet, always hungry and never impressed with our still-flabby underbellies. Sure, half-starving yourself Monday through Wednesday is great, until Thursday hits and the Pringles on ‘F3’ are begging your name. 

Whether you resolve to binge eat your ‘healthy foods’ or hit up every Wendy’s on the way home, either way you end up sitting on your carpet later that night, promising Ben & Jerry you’ll start your diet tomorrow. Earth to America: there’s a better way. I’ve been there, done that, quit that, and found some answers.

 1. All carbs aren’t bad carbs. 

cereal, coffee, legume, vegetable
Shelby Cohron

The reason low-carb diets NEVER work and leave you pissed off and hungry is because the answer isn’t to cut ALL carbs. There are good and bad carbs. Here’s the gist: the slower a carb is digested, the greater its nutrition value. The more your body works to break it down, the more it gets out of it. 

However, the faster a carb is digested, the higher your blood sugar spikes, and the quicker insulin will work to store everything just consumed as fat. But how would you know the good carbs from the bad? Don't fret. There's a cheat sheet, and it's called the Glycemic Index. The lower the number on the index, the better the carb is — so aim low.

If you use this chart, you will see:

• Whole fruit is almost always better than its juice.

• Ice cream is twice as bad as fro-yo.

• Potatoes, although a vegetable, have the highest number of the entire index. 

2. Kill your calorie-counting app. 

cereal, legume, vegetable, coffee, beans, soy
Shelby Cohron

You can have a 1000-calorie diet and eat foot-long hot dogs and fruit loops all day long. It’s not about the number at the top of the nutrition label. It’s all about the food value. In one serving size of an avocado, there’s 322 calories, whereas a bag of potato chips has 105. Does that mean you should ditch the fruit and go for some greasy skins? Someone counting calories might say hell yeah, but they’ll be starving in minutes and miss out on a high-fat meal. Wait a second, I thought fat was supposed to be bad. Well, think again.

3. Fat is GOOD.

cereal, coffee, legume
Shelby Cohron

You heard me right. Now, I’m not talking Reese’s Cups and Oreo McFlurries, but I am talking cheddar cheese, whole milk and nuts. It’s science. If you consume foods with high levels of glucagon, which is found in fattier foods, then your body gives your stored fat permission to be free. 

More good news: if you are regularly exercising, your fat-burning is on overtime. When you workout, you're making muscle. Every muscle needs a nerve and every nerve needs a coating of fat. If you’re eating fat, you’re burning fat. If you're burning fat, then it’s virtually impossible for your body to lock it up in permanent love handles.

Alright, so what’s the catch? The thing is, with no diet, there is no catch. It’s a lifestyle and it tastes good. Trust me, I’ve done it myself. In my first two weeks, I was eatin’ good and lookin' great.