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Are you about ready to give up on weight loss? You're not alone. Whether it's calorie counting that you detest or the constant cravings that nag you, we've finally found the solution: Stop forcing yourself to follow impossible programs that just won't work for you. Instead, look for one that suits your individual style.
"Diets aren't one size fits all," says Joanne Larsen, R.D., a dietitian in Chicago. "When you find a plan that matches your particular food preferences [likes and dislikes] and lifestyle [cooking at home or eating out] it'll be easier to stick with it and lose pounds." We've done the homework and found the five best new diets out there. And we're convinced that one will work for you.
Eat All Day Long: The Abs Diet for Women
Dining six times a day (have a medium-size breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus a small snack two hours after each) means you'll never go hungry on The Abs Diet for Women, by David Zinczenko (Rodale). The catch is each time you eat you need to choose one or two of 12 "power foods," many of which are low in fat and help build calorie-torching muscle. These foods spell out ABS DIET POWER: Almonds (and other nuts), Beans (and legumes), Spinach (and other greens), Dairy, Instant oatmeal, Eggs, Turkey (and other lean cuts), Peanut butter, Olive oil, Whole grains, Extra protein (the whey powder added to shakes) and Raspberries (and other berries). The program also incorporates strength training for 20 minutes, three to four times a week, with an emphasis on tightening your abdominals. The thinking is that getting rid of belly fat can help you not only slim your waistline but also prevent disease. A recent University of Alabama at Birmingham study reveals that "visceral fat" around the middle is the single best predictor of heart-disease risk.
What's on the menu: Every meal must include a minimum of two "power foods"; snacks should have at least one. For instance, you might eat a spinach omelet for breakfast, a blueberry yogurt smoothie for lunch and a turkey burger on a whole-grain bun for dinner. In between, munch on almonds, cannellini beans dressed with olive oil, or low-fat string cheese.
Potential pitfall: You're given a lot of freedom. Although you get a shopping list and more than 50 recipes, the diet focuses on what you can eat, not on what you can't. If you have trouble resisting temptation, pick a more rigid regimen.
Dig in: This program is best for those hoping to eat better and tone their tummies. The diet can also be modified for people with specific needs, such as those who are lactose intolerant or vegetarian.