B&NLayne Fad diets are targeted at people who want to lose weight quickly-and we all know that quick fixes don’t stick. They are rigid, difficult to follow and can be downright unhealthy. Examples include high-protein diets, liquid diets, juice diets, food-combining diets, gluten-free diets, etc. For those dieters looking for a “magic pill” to instantly melt away pounds-it doesn’t exist! The real magic is not in a single pill or a fad diet-it’s in the commitment to a gradual lifestyle makeover. True diet success happens when changes are gradually introduced and become habits that last a lifetime and are trickled down from one generation to the next.

When eating healthier is a gradual process, it is also long-lasting. There is enough research to say that embarking on a healthy lifestyle approach, which includes small “diet adjustments” and exercise (even if it’s walking in the mall) is guaranteed to work. A healthy lifestyle approach reflects personal preferences and becomes a way of life rather than a short-lived plan. Drastic diets lead to yo-yo dieting and the average person gains 11 pounds for every fad diet they go on. The definition of diet is a way of eating-it is a lifestyle. Therefore, a good diet is a lifestyle that promotes health and essentially becomes part of your personality. At a minimum, It should include the basic five food groups because one single group cannot provide everything a human needs for good health.

The basic five food groups are grains, vegetables, fruits, protein and dairy (or dairy substitutions). In order for a diet to fit your particular health, lifestyle and weight loss needs, it’s best to seek the advice of a registered dietitian. Look for the credentials RD or RDN after the health professional’s name. RD stands for registered dietitian and RDN stands for registered dietitian-nutritionist. These credentials are equal in value.

To kickstart your diet and to understand how to include your favorite foods including pasta, wine, chocolate and cheese, pick up a copy of my book Beyond The Mediterranean Diet: European Secrets Of The Super-Healthy. It’s on sale at BarnesandNoble.com and Amazon.com. The book is full of beautiful images and there are 50 simple and delicious recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and desserts. World-renowned French chef Paul Bocuse makes several appearances.