"I only have five more carbs allotted today and I want to use them wisely," my friend said, consulting her carb-count guide and debating whether she should order quinoa. I wanted to reply life is too short for counting carb grams, but I thought better of it.

While some people prefer the counting approach, I have a simpler approach to eating. I want you to see food as information. With that approach, your meals tell your body to store fat or burn it, support steady energy or crash your blood sugar, build your health or tear it down.

When you look at food as information, it connects the dots for you. You move past the archaic calories-in, calories-out bank account model for fat loss. Look at your body as a rather complex biochemistry lab, not a checking account.

Calories do count, but hormones count far more. You want to eat foods that trigger fat-releasing hormones, build muscle, and become lean quickly, right?

That’s where my four-step, easy-to-implement low-sugar impact plate plan comes in. My plate incorporates optimal foods in the correct ratios to burn fat and stay full for four to six hours. With the plate, thousands of clients have attained fast, lasting fat loss and you can too.

I live by the plate, and once you get the hang of it, I bet you will too. Every meal becomes an opportunity to optimize your fat-burning hormones and feel your best.

Step 1: Add lean protein. Protein is your magic bullet for fast fat loss: It increases satiety, shuts down your hunger hormone ghrelin, and preserves muscle. Unlike carbohydrates, protein doesn’t spike and crash your insulin levels, so you feel fuller and reduce cravings.

Ideally, about one-fourth of your plate will contain protein. Animal protein is your best choice. Aim for organic, free-range, cage-free, grass-fed, and no-hormones-added sources whenever possible.

Vegans and vegetarians can meet their protein quota with foods like quinoa, legumes, and slow-roasted or dehydrated nuts and seeds. Protein often becomes a stumbling blog for vegans and vegetarians, so grab my free guide for optimal choices. 

Step 2: Incorporate healthy fats. Healthy fats like avocado, coconut, and olive oil reduce your appetite and stabilize your blood sugar by slowing the release of sugar into your bloodstream. Plus they provide serious satisfaction to your meals.

Aim for about one-fourth of your plate as fat. Unless you’re eating very lean cuts, high-quality animal protein will provide some of that healthy fat.

Wild salmon and other fish provide excellent amounts of omega 3 fatty acids, tops on my list for healthy fats. Vegans and vegetarians should focus on omega 3-rich plant sources like freshly ground flax or chia seeds and walnuts.

Step 3: Pile on leafy and cruciferous veggies. The more non-starchy veggies you eat, the better, considering all the phytonutrients, fiber, and bulk they’ll provide into your diet. Ideally fill about two-thirds of your plate with low-sugar impact veggies, although I’ve never met someone who ate too much broccoli or spinach. Good rule of thumb: If it’s green, it’s good.

Step 4: Fill the rest of your plate with slow-release, high-fiber carbs. Unlike refined grains that often contain gluten and break down to sugar quickly in your body, whole, unprocessed carbs come packaged with immune-supporting, anti-aging nutrients and blood sugar–balancing fiber. My personal top slow, low carb faves include quinoa, hummus, wild rice, black beans, and lentils. 

My Sugar Impact Diet provides an easy-to-follow list of acceptable foods for each cycle as you gradually transition off high-sugar impact foods and shift from being a sugar burner to fat burner. My plan will help you crush your cravings for good with withdrawal and other problems going cold-turkey can create, for fast, lasting fat loss.

Do you count, measure, or otherwise quantity your food intake? Share your strategy below or on my Facebook fan page.