Think quality over quantity when dieting

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Battling Obesity (SBG Photo)

If you've struggled with your weight, a new study may change the way you diet.

Dietitians say not to get too bogged down counting calories or cutting fat, instead think "quality over quantity."

The weight loss journey for Cody Murphy, a photographer who works at a Sinclair TV station, started about three years ago when he got the flu.

"I go to the doctor, step on the scale, and it reads an outrageous number: 333 pounds. I was like, I just remember thinking, 'Well, that will kill me,'" Murphy said.

He decided he had to do something. So, he kept it simple by cutting out processed foods.

"I stuck with if. Fruits, vegetables, all that stuff, and I weighed myself at the end of every week with this common-sense diet plan and the pounds started coming off," Murphy said.

He lost about 200 pounds.

A newly released study from the Journal of the American Medical Association says losing weight is about just that -- quality over quantity.

"I think this study really blows all of those out of the water and makes us take a step back and realize that we need to stop, you know, picking sides," said Stephanie Vandergriff, a registered dietitian.

Researchers had some people follow a low-carb diet, and others a low-fat plan. But the one similarity?

No calorie counting.

Overall, when low-fat and low-carb were put head to head, there was no clear winner. Researchers found that both sides generally lost the same amount of weight.

"Without even trying these groups ate less calories overall. They ate until they were satisfied, so they were happy," Vandergriff said.

This dietitians' advice: try to substitute processed food for healthy options.

"Even if you just picked one meal to start with, just breakfast, because it is such an important one for everyone to really kind of kick start their day with energy," Vandergriff said.

And sticking with it? Murphy said there is nothing better

"I went to replace my wardrobe with all the Black Friday deals and went in the dressing room and I almost started crying because I fit in a size small just because I thought I would never see the day and that almost made me tear up, and I don't really tell people that, but if you make it there is no better feeling than reaching that end goal," Murphy said.

Researchers worked with more than 600 men and women. People in both groups lost weight -- on average about 11 pounds over a year for the low-fat dieters and 13 pounds for the low-carb group.