Lots of people have had great success with diets that involve counting calories, using a point system, or  adding up grams of fat. But none of that has ever worked for me. I can never seem to remember to track my meals or cross-reference menu options with some smartphone app when eating out.

One diet tool I've found very powerful: Knowledge. The other night I slipped into my kitchen for a sweet date with a hot fudge sundae. Obviously it was delicious, but as I stared into my empty bowl, I wondered if a serving of Rocky Road was truly worth the intense workout it would take to burn off the equivalent amount of calories.

I hit the web to research stats about how many calories we consume and how many we burn and quickly realized that my frozen treat did not taste good enough to cancel out an weekend's workouts. Fitness expert Jay Cardiello is always telling me how important diet is, and now it's clearer than ever that he is right! If I don't get smart about my diet, I'll never get off the treadmill--figuratively and literally.

The more I read throughout the week, the more it influenced the exercise and eating choices I made. We don't all have the flexible finances to join a full-service diet  program or the discipline to count every calorie,  but just understanding how our bodies process food and how much work it takes to burn off our culinary indulgences can have a serious impact.

Burning off that sundae would take a long, hardcore run. And pounding pavement when it's blazing hot outside isn't my idea of a good time. I'd much rather enjoy a fruit smoothie and a bike ride, which is exactly how my niece Payton and I kicked off our week. Chocolate is sweet, but for me, a morning with a great girl, summer fruit, and a beach cruiser is much better.

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