Weight Loss: Change Lifestyle, Not Just Diet Plan (cont.)

Familiarity lovers don't need to change their food choices -- just eat less of them, says Moore. "On the downside, you're going be hungrier because you're reducing volume. But at least you won't have to change the foods you eat."

However, the familiar walking or running routines should get bumped up a notch. Aim for longer or more frequent workouts. The downside: overuse of joints. "Doing step classes or running seven days a week is hard on your knees," she notes. "Diversity is more healthful. Do at least two different physical activities, one aerobic and the other a form of strength training."

4. Social Animal or Lone Wolf?

If social support keeps you motivated, seek out a buddy or group. You may even need a weight loss consultant or family "cheerleader" backing you up, says Moore. "Make sure your spouse and kids are supportive and won't undermine your efforts by buying foods not in the plan or discouraging you from exercising," she adds.


"If you're young, perfectly healthy, and have no family history of significant health problems, then you can try some crazy diet."

Some groups and plans provide social support, meetings, and cheering, Moore notes. "Weight management classes let you learn with a group, so you don't have to think of all the questions yourself. Or maybe you just want to meet with a weight management professional once or twice, to learn what you need to do."

For independent types, the Internet can provide a wealth of nutrition information. "The only danger is, you must make sure you can determine what's bogus and what's science-based," says Moore.

"Nutrition Navigator" on the Tufts University web site provides an evaluation of various diet web sites. Also, the American Dietetic Association, American Heart Association, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (nutrition.gov) are good resources for recommended diet plan information. And WebMD has an independent review of the latest diets.

For independent people, exercise classes may be a total turn-off, says Moore. "They may prefer running in their neighborhood, step machines, or even weight resistance training -- things they can do on their own. These people are good at tracking their progress. That can be a great self motivator."

5. Long- vs. Short-Term Goal Setter?

If you prefer the long-term approach to good health, look to the American Dietetic Association, the American Health Association, and the American Association for Cancer Research web sites. They provide nutritional guidance aimed at preventing chronic diseases by eating a balanced, healthy diet, says Moore.

Short-termers will naturally try all the new diets and the bestselling diet books. "Just be careful that the diet plan is not harmful," she advises. Example: "If you have a family history of kidney problems, or if you have hypertension, eating a high-protein, low-carb diet makes kidneys work harder."