Updated: October 15, 2009

you-on-a-diet-guideThis 14-day plan is meant to reprogram your body to be able to start living healthier automatically, so you won't need to try to diet.

Basic principles:
Read the ingredients. Eat enough throughout the day to stay satisfied. Don't confuse the signals of thirst for hunger. Keep a log of how hungry you are. Make eating automatic. Use small dinner plates. Know it's OK to make mistakes.

How it works:
Do the seven-day plan twice, following eating, exercising, and behavior guidelines. After 14 days, you'll have adopted the strategies for changing your eating habits and behaviors for good.

What you eat:
Whole-grain carbs, fiber, nuts (mono-and polyunsaturated fats), protein such as lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, soy products

How much can you lose?
Two inches from your waist in the first two weeks.

Is it healthy?
Yes, both physically and mentally. The calorie levels will allow dieters to lose weight and feel full, while relieving much of the stress and pressure of dieting.

Expert opinion:
American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Elisa Zied,MS, RD, believes the book “encourages a healthful, albeit idealistic way of eating that can promote both weight loss and improved overall health.” However, she also notes that, “While the book is brimming with useful information, it de-emphasizes calorie counting. Paying attention to approximately how many calories one consumes can be a useful strategy for those trying to lose weight and keep it off, especially at the beginning of any attempt to modify food intake.

It can also be useful for those who experience a plateau or regain weight after weight loss. While the menu plans and recipes in this book seem sound and doable, they include few low-fat dairy foods and other non-dairy sources of calcium, which can make it tough for many to meet their calcium and vitamin D needs without supplementation.”

Try this diet if you:
• Like to cook
• Enjoy planning and structure
• Like to exercise
• Like to snack

1-day sample menus:
Breakfast: Egg-white omelet (3 egg whites and 1 whole egg), plus cut-up mixed vegetables, juice

Snack: Low-fat probiotic yogurt covered with 1/2 cup canned unsweetened peaches or mandarin oranges and some raisins

Lunch: Veggie burger on a toasted whole-wheat English muffin with 1 tablespoon of fructose-free, olive-oil-based marinara sauce, sliced tomato, romaine lettuce or spinach leaves, plus slices of red onion

Snack: 1 cup of cut-up sauteed vegetables, warmed in microwave and stuffed into small whole-wheat pita

Dinner: Asian salmon with brown rice pilaf

Snack (don't eat after 8:30 p.m.): Whole-wheat pita toasts and tomato-avocado salsa mole

Dessert (only eat every other day): 1 ounce of dark chocolate with orange slices

Water and coffee or tea as desired