I can’t count calories, but I can count on my body doing the math for me and storing the extra pounds in places like my thighs and stomach as punishment for me not being able to do simple caloric mathematics. Sure, I could count calories if I tried really really hard, but the honest truth is, I forget. I tried keeping a notepad. I even downloaded a calorie counting app on my phone because, let’s face it, most of our weight gain is a simple mathematical equation of putting more fuel in our bodies that we will burn each day. But when you eat out a lot and don’t measure each portion and compare it to a calorie chart to document, you need to find other ways to keep your caloric consumption under control so the pounds don’t sneak up on you.

Aside from eating as much raw, naturally occurring food from the earth as possible, we can make some simple changes in our everyday choices that make a positive impact when we jump on the scale.

Shrink your portions and shrink your waistline. The mass quantities of food we are served and seem forced to consume are detrimental to our health. American’s are always looking for a bargain and a great deal, but when you can upgrade your café mocha to a large for just 10 cents more you’re also upgrading your calorie consumption if you drink it. Make food choices based on your health, not your wallet. Sure, you may be getting a good deal, but do you really need to spend more money to eat more calories? A deal on the dollar is not a deal if it makes you work harder at the gym. And forcing yourself to finish every last morsel on your plate is so last century. Less really is more.

When dining out, ask to substitute a greasy side of fries with fruit or salad. Most restaurants will provide healthier choices at no extra charge. Sure fruit contains its own natural sugar, but it sure beats fat and grease. Leafy greens are always the healthiest choice, so challenge yourself to make that choice more often. Not only will you shed pounds and look better, you’ll feel better too. Healthy food selections give you more energy and support healthy bodily functions, including digestion, vision, heart health and more. Yes, even your ophthalmologist will recommend you eat more leafy greens. So forego the fries and find the fruit and veggies. And when you eat salad, switch from high-calorie salad dressings to balsamic vinegar or even (gasp) salsa.

I’m not about to touch the debate of cow’s milk vs. soy vs. almond vs. goat, etc., but if you drink cow’s milk and need to reduce your caloric intake, switch to the fat free version or even lower calorie almond milk.

When you start to feel the urge to snack, chug a tall glass of water and grab a stick of suger-free gum. I try to drink a glass of water before every meal and I find I feel fuller faster. Chewing a stick of gum tends to trick the brain for a little while, maybe even long enough to make it to your next meal.

Remembering to be mindful of your choices is half the battle. Don’t wait to get a muffin top before you start trading in the morning muffins for some fresh fruit and yogurt. We all have a choice, it’s just a matter of being motivated enough to make the right ones. Challenge your craving with questions and limit yourself to smaller portions so you can have a smaller waistline and greater health and confidence.