When you think food think protein and some fat. When you are at a normal body fat percentage, i.e. 10% or below, which is to say your six pack is showing, then consume carbs for energy for your workouts and active lifestyle. Do a lot of cardio to cut fat. That body fat is stored energy -- use it all up. To lose one pound of fat, you have to burn 3500 calories -- that's like about 3.5 hours of running constantly or 12 hours walking per pound -- it varies by individual, look for a calorie burn counter online. Simply put, you will have to do a lot of cardio -- with your diet in check. Continue to do cardio as part of an active lifestyle after leaning out to keep your endurance and cardiovascular health up. You may be addicted to carbs and suffer withdrawal symptoms. That is temporary. If you love vegetables, eat them. But if you don't want to (like probably most people), take adequate vitamin and mineral supplements. Vegetables are good for providing the essential vitamins and minerals, but that's it. Protein is essential, fats are essential, but carbs are not nutritionally essential to human life. They are good for energy, but only once you are already lean. Milk has tons of carbs. As do beer and wine. Don't worry about artificial sweetener or non-organic foods, just consume them when you want and exercise and keep an active lifestyle -- you'll feel great and look great. Splenda, low carb protein bars, low carb protein powder are allies. Those low carb protein bars have a lot of fiber, too, e.g. Quest and Oh Yeah One bars. Cream is an ally -- no carbs. Meat, eggs, cheese, butter and cream are satiating, they fill you up -- veggies and carbs don't fill you up as well. Eat for satiety and never torture yourself with fasting or "portion control". Don't make the mistake of eating a salad as your main dish to "be healthy and lose weight" -- you'll only end up "rewarding" yourself with a cupcake. Still, have a cupcake on special occasions. I frequently walk by a restaurant called "Just Salad" and look through the window -- everyone behind the counter is "just obese" and everyone in front of the counter is "just emaciated". If you are overweight and eating a box of Oreos because you're sad or distressed, patiently find a permanent and constructive solution to the problems you face. If you want to eat out, you're probably going to have to consume some carbs. Carbs cost restaurants practically nothing, and they love nothing better than to sell them to you at a high rate of profit -- that's why they're everywhere. Don't go for the "hummus and pita" or quinoa -- those are fads for the mentally challenged. Steak and eggs at a diner. In sum: do cardio to create a calorie deficit until you are lean. Eat for satiety. Consume carbs for energy after you are lean, while maintaining an active lifestyle. And if you fall off the wagon, don't beat yourself up, just get back on. Overall, don't be evil, don't follow fads and think for yourself!
I don't think calorie counting is necessary, but if it helps you reach your goal of getting lean and active, by all means do it. You probably won't need to once you get into habit of a healthy lifestyle. Here are some links I find useful, despite some minor quibbles I have with some of the information. Good luck! The results are worth it and they start right away.http://www.amazon.com/How-Live-Longer-Feel-Better/dp/0870710966http://www.amazon.com/Putting-All-Together-Orthomolecular-Nutrition/dp/0879836334/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1451452566&sr=1-4&keywords=abram+hofferhttp://www.anabolicmen.com/vince-girondas-old-school-steak-and-eggs-diet-for-ultimate-weight-loss/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSeSTq-N4U4http://www.dietdoctor.com/lchfhttp://www.westonaprice.org/abcs-of-nutrition/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJ0WJOQzrgg