I hate counting calories. It's such a burden. I love food way too much to think about the mathematical calculation of what I eat.
There are a few major troubles with counting calories as a means of losing weight:
1) Calories are a bit controversial. Unless you have a nutritional label, it may be very difficult to know for sure how many calories are in a certain food, leaving you out of luck with your only measure of health.
2) The consideration of calories keeps your focus off of the most important thing that needs to be considered: what your body actually needs. Calories themselves do not consider vitamins and nutrients. They also neglect to consider amount of fat, sugar, and processed, fake ingredients that are poisonous to our insides. And what happens when you neglect to consider putting poison into your body? Zapped energy, proper organ function, anti-aging power, and overall beauty. Calories don't care that an avocado could make your skin look moisturized and young. If you are at your daily calorie max, they tell you to eat a sugary popsicle with 40 calories and tons of crap instead of that avocado or almond milk and chia seeds.
3) Losing track of calories is easy. Don't have a guide book with you all the time with the exact calculations of every food you could ever eat in the world and a pen and paper to record it every minute of every day? You're out of luck.
4) To keep calories in check, food manufacturers will typically turn to food fillers or sugar to make something taste good but not add extra calories (diet pop). So, you're swapping real food for poorly altered food. This has short-term effects such as loss of energy and long-term effects such as disease and aging.
When one commits to a plant-based diet and focuses his or her energy on fresh, natural, nourishing foods, the need to count calories (and use multiple anti-aging products and various medications) diminishes. Sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. Then, once he or she is used to eating these kinds of foods and ditches the need to count calories, they will no longer have a set of rules to follow. His or her body will literally adjust to the correct balances of nutrition and acidity and knowing what to eat will be as easy and eating what feels right to the body. How natural and easy and awesome does THAT sound? It really is a harmonic and beautiful and easy thing.
So, what to look for in foods if not looking for calorie amount? Here is a simple list with two main answers:
Processed vs. Unprocessed: canned, bottled, fast foods and packaged foods are all processed in some way. Be careful of these and only buy when necessary. Especially fast food, of course.
Sugar: always something to keep at an absolute minimum. If you're like me, this is a tough one. Use stevia, a natural sweetener literally from a plant, to sweeten foods! This has helped me a lot. :) It comes in liquid and powder for and I think I would recommend buying liquid first, if only buying one.
Fat: good fats, such as omega-3's and omega-6's, are essential to a diet. Yet, when trying to lose weight, keep them in check. For example, eat half an avocado a day instead of a whole one.
Variety: no need to get carried away with this, simple eating is most beneficial to your body. But if you eat the same thing every day you may be missing out on nutrients provided by other foods. Experiment with a different lettuce or fruit, have fun with it!
I hope this brings some relaxation and enjoyment into your relationship with food. Be thankful for what food has the ability to provide, and eat what you know is good for your body. All the rest will fall into place - or just fall of as you lose weight in a natural way! :)