There’s never a shortage of diet advice books promising to unlock the secrets of weight loss. We waded through the latest releases to bring you the most useful tidbits from each — as well as some advice that raised our eyebrows.
The New Evolution Diet:What Our Paleolithic Ancestors Can Teach Us About Weight Loss, Fitness and Aging by Arthur De Vany, Ph.D.
The latest diet trend is intriguing, arguing that traditional plans often go against our evolutionary instincts, which demanded we eat whenever we had the chance and conserve physical movement for when we really need it. But De Vany’s prescription doesn’t differ much from a typical low-carb program.
Try this tip: Make a point to eat something raw every day — a salad, crudités or fresh fruit.
Love Food & Live Well: Lose Weight, Get Fit & Taste Life At Its Very Best by Chantel Hobbs
The author of Never Say Diet, Chantel Hobbs continues to encourage readers to reframe the way they think about food. While her philosophy is rooted in religion and often recommends prayer and faith as support resource, she also provides concrete nutrition and fitness advice as well.
Try this tip: Use the 80/20 rule to incorporate splurges into your eating plan: Make 80 percent of the food you eat fresh fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains. That leaves 20 percent for richer foods, like sweets, salty snacks and the occasional burger. “Loving food is not a sin … it is a God-given source of pleasure,” she writes. “If you love food in the right way today you can love food again tomorrow and also the day after that.”
The Flex Diet: Design Your Own Weight-Loss Plan by James Beckerman, M.D.
More than one of this season’s diet books cites a 2007 Cornell study that found we make about 220 food-related choices a day. This book builds an entire plan around that idea, suggesting that weight loss is made up of many small day-to-day changes and encouraging readers to apply the ones that appeal to them.
Try this tip: “Know Your Serving Size and Eat One Less.” We fall into habits of eating the same portion sizes of our favorite foods, no matter our hunger level. Downsize it, and you’ll make a dent in your total calorie count.
Lose It!: The Personalized Weight-Loss Revolution by Charles Teague and Anahad O’Connor
Based on the popular calorie-counting smartphone app, the core principles of this book will be familiar to anyone who’s ever tracked their food and exercise or used an accountability program like Weight Watchers. But success stories from the app’s fans do offer some fun ideas on how technology can help you get healthy.
Try this tip: Enable your Lose It! account to send notifications about milestones you choose (i.e. a certain length workout or weight loss goal reached) to your Facebook or Twitter page to instantly celebrate your successes with friends and family.
The Lean Belly Prescription by Travis Stork, M.D.
An ER physician, Stork is understandably frustrated by the number of patients he sees whose injuries or illnesses are compounded by bad health habits. The star of TV’s The Doctors offers advice that is solid and realistic, with no fads or false promises, but his bedside manner could sometimes be kinder.
Try this tip: Earn your TV time. For each hour you want to watch, commit to 10 minutes of activity, eventually working your way up to 30 minutes of exercise per hour of TV.
The Self-Compassion Diet: A Step-by-Step Program to Lose Weight With Loving-Kindness by Jean Fain, LICSW, MSW
Many of us think if we could just be more disciplined, we’d meet our weight-loss goals. Fain suggests that mindset only sets us up to fail long-term, and the key is actually going easier on ourselves to avoid the cycle of trying, failing and giving up.
Try this tip: The next time you “slip up,” imagine two conversations: one with someone who is critical of you in your real life, and one with a supportive friend or role model. Allow them to debate your transgression, and consider whose words make you more likely to stick to your healthy habits.