1/5 Todd Huffman
Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating
By Mark Bittman $25, Simon & Schuster
The claim--that you can save the planet while you save your waistline--sounds a tad overwhelming, but Bittman breaks it down into manageable steps, like swapping a few weekly red-meat meals for veggies and ditching nutrient-empty carbs for whole grains. And he supplies exceptionally tasty recipes as inspiration. For conscientious dieters, knowing that you're a part of something bigger can inspire you to get smaller.
Tip Eat all the plants you can manage. You're doing yourself a favor every time you eat a vegetable instead of something else.
2/5 Todd Huffman
The Complete Beck Diet for Life
By Judith S. Beck, Ph.D. $25, Oxmoor House
Beck's calorie-conscious but nothing-off-limits plan may be just what weak-willed dieters need to stay motivated and finally shed unwanted pounds for good. Using proven cognitive-therapy techniques, she teaches you to tame your inner saboteur by writing encouraging personal statements that you reread every day. On the flipside, hard-nosed cynics will find the sensitive self-help exercises hard to swallow.
Tip If you eat at your desk, stay organized. A messy workspace can cause you to eat too quickly and forget to notice every bite.
3/5 Todd Huffman
Move a Little, Lose a Lot
By James A. Levine, M.D., Ph.D., and Selene Yeager, $24, Crown
No need to go crazy at the gym, the authors say. Just adopt the NEAT lifestyle. That's nonexercise activity thermogenesis--essentially, ditching your desk for mini-workout breaks throughout the day, with food as fuel. While these ideas are well-founded, they're also time-worn: Move more, and stop eating when you're not hungry. If only it were that simple.
Tip The difference between obesity and leanness is finer than you think. It's not hardcore exercise. It's small changes you make every day.
4/5 Todd Huffman
The Instinct Diet
By Susan B. Roberts, Ph.D. $25, Workman Publishing
In the battle of the bulge, evolution is the enemy, says Roberts, a professor of nutrition and psychiatry at Tufts University. But she can teach you to combat the five factors that keep your middle mushy--those would be hunger, availability, calorie density, familiarity, and variety. Roberts includes smart, practical tips, like "make your available food good food," and recipes that are full of flavor but not calories.
Tip Replacing mild flavors like mozzarella with strong ones like Parmesan lets you indulge while eating less.
5/5 Todd Huffman
What's Your Diet Type?
By Heather K. Jones, R.D., with Mary Miscisin, M.S., and Ed Redard, M.D., $19, Hatherleigh Press
It sounds as hokey as dieting by astrological sign, but there's real science here that makes the personalized approach appealing. After taking a quiz to determine your weight-loss personality--planner, player, feeler, or thinker--you'll get guidance on the healthy eating habits that will work for you and learn to avoid the roadblocks weighing you down. Our gripe: We don't think the test pegged our diet-selves accurately.
Tip Research shows that a diet that doesn't match your personality is bound to fail. With the right approach for you, success is a sure thing.