I predict 2012 will be the year of the calorie. No more low-carb this or cabbage-soup that. We will hear more and more about the good ol', simple calorie.

A calorie is just a scientific measure of heat - the amount needed to raise 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius under 1 standard atmosphere, equal to about 4.2 joules. Nutritionally speaking, it's what all that food is worth to our bodies when it comes to energy. And 3,500 of them make a pound of fat.

Frankly, I'm thrilled. Several in the health and wellness industry have been chanting "calories" since forever, but we haven't really been listening.

We've preferred the lure promised by off-the-wall eating strategies. We are drawn to them, and, historically, the crazier it is, the more we clamored for them. Calories are boring - a freaky, whacky diet plan has a strange sex appeal.

We've eaten our way through low-fat to no-fat, low-carb (to the point of ketosis), hCG, vegan, paleo, baby food, and grapefruits. And 66 percent of us are still overweight and way too many of us are obese.

Either the grapefruits didn't take hold, or we were sneaking some Milky Ways on the side - hoping an extra grapefruit would offset it.

We've purchased books, watched experts on TV, and picked up those grocery store magazines - all purporting expert explanations as to why we are supposedly rendered helpless in the face of fat.

Genetics, hormones, pesticides, and UFOs have been implicated. No more. We are about to see the focus put squarely where it belongs - the minuscule calorie.

The beauty of my 2012 prediction is it finally removes the mystery of why we sometimes manage to shed a few pounds and sometimes we don't. Goodbye to wondering if you were abducted by aliens and injected with fat. Adios to pondering which diet is better than the other - or if dieting at all is the answer. By focusing on the simple calorie, we'll have direct, scale-moving data.

Food programs will start discussing caloric values and restaurants will be brought to task on what really landed on your plate - all 1,500 calories of it.

We'll all know how much we burn in a day just as readily as we know how tall we are. We will quickly assess the caloric value of that mocha-chip scone before deciding to bite it.

The thought of this calorie-driven world makes me gleefully giddy. Getting fit and healthy sans the time spent unraveling the myths and false information will practically be a breeze.

What's my blood pressure? We might not know for sure, but we can tell you how many calories we had for breakfast! That will be our 2012 reality.

• NSCA certified personal trainer Shannon Sorrels has a bachelor's degree in chemistry and an MBA. Her Ahwatukee-based company, Physix LLC, works with Valley individuals and groups to improve their overall fitness. Reach her at (480) 528-5660 or visit www.azphysix.com.

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