Are you always on a diet? More to the point, does your constant food restriction lead to long-term weight loss? There’s a good chance it doesn’t. According to dietitian Frances M. Berg, diets are actually counterproductive. People who watch every morsel they eat and count every calorie become obsessed with food, which can lead to binge eating or other eating disorders. Berg says rapid weight loss disrupts normal body functions, causes the loss of important nutrients, and more often than not ends up being followed by weight regain.

Weight loss doesn’t have to be this hard. If you simply choose your foods wisely and eat only until you’re full, your body should settle into a healthy weight that you can maintain for the long-term. But with the mind-numbing array of foods and food products available to us, how do we know what to pick?

It’s important to eat from all the major food groups. While several popular diets over the past few years have advocated shunning carbohydrates, your brain and nervous system rely on carbs for energy. If you don’t eat them, you’ll likely feel fatigued and irritable. The key is choosing the right carbs. Processed carbs and those full of white flour and sugar won’t do you any good, so steer clear of the cake and donut aisle. Instead, go for complex carbohydrates such as fiber-rich fruits and whole grains. Oatmeal is a great choice, as are legumes and whole-wheat pasta. Opt for whole-grain bread over white bread, brown rice over white rice, and bran cereal over sugary flakes.

Fats are another confusing area. If you want to lose fat, you should simply stop eating fat, right? Wrong. Certain fats, known as monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats, actually lower your cholesterol and protect your heart. So-called “good fats” include avocado, olive oil, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish like salmon and mackerel. Eat at least a couple of servings a day for optimal health. What to avoid? Saturated fats such as butter, cream, gravy, full-fat dairy, and high-fat meats such as steak and hot dogs.

If you vary your diet, up your intake of fruits and vegetables, focus on lean meats and other proteins, eat only until you’re satisfied, and make regular exercise a part of your life, the scale will reflect a number you can live with—no counting or obsessing required.