The Right Diet for You

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There’s no single diet that’s right for everyone. Where do you fit in?

Carbs vs. protein vs. fatVarious popular eating plans—such as the Zone, Dukan, Atkins, Pritikin, and Ornish—are based on wildly different ratios of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Some people lose weight more easily on low-carb/high-protein diets, while others do well by eating more carbs and less fat, partly due to genetic reasons. Experiment to find which balance works best for you. Whatever the fat/carb/protein ratio of your diet, opt for “good” carbs (in vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains), “good” fats (in fish, nuts, seeds, vegetable oils), and healthy protein (in legumes, white-meat chicken, low-fat or nonfat dairy). And remember that the total number of calories you eat matters more for weight control than what proportion of them comes from each macronutrient.

Calorie-counting vs. mindful eating? Just as some people like to count calories or use some point system or portion-controlled foods, others will prefer a more mindful approach, which helps them naturally cut down on calories without having to keep track.

Solo vs. group? Many people do well by having a diet and exercise partner, joining a structured weight-loss program such as Weight Watchers, or consulting a dietitian who can set up an individualized lifestyle plan and monitor progress. Others may be more successful on their own.

Most important is to find an eating plan that you can stick with over the long term, since the relatively easy part is losing weight; more difficult is keeping the lost weight off.

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