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8 Reasons Your Diet Isn't Working

Americans spend $33 billion each year on diet programs and products, yet we weigh more than ever. Why are we getting bigger when we're trying harder to get skinny? Chances are it's just a small diet mistake that's stopping you from losing those extra pounds. We'll help you pinpoint what's setting you back and get you on track.

By Karen Ansel, RD

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Vegetables with couscous
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Diet downfall: You follow the plan that worked for your friend.

Forget about the latest fad diet. Even if your best friend swears she found the secret to weight loss, it might not work for you. Truth is, different methods work for different people. This can lead to great frustration—especially when you eat exactly the same foods as your husband for a month, and he loses 8 pounds and you gain 4. The good news is most diets you hear about have validity. In fact, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last year compared Mediterranean, low-fat, and low-carb plans, and researchers concluded that they all can lead to weight loss.

Undo the damage: "The trick to losing weight and keeping it off is finding a diet you like—that way you'll be able to stick with it," says Elizabeth Ward, RD, author of The Pocket Idiot's Guide to the New Food Pyramids (Alpha Books). "Many people yearn for burgers but couldn't care less about a big plate of spaghetti. Others really crave those carbs and feel cheated if they don't have a fresh roll with their salad." Carbaholics should go with a Mediterranean diet. The fiber-rich complex carbs help control hunger. Carnivores can lose weight eating a protein-heavy diet like Atkins as long as it's primarily lean meats—think grilled turkey burgers, roasted chicken, and baked fish. A large number of women find success with low-fat plans, like those from Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers.

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