5 Healthy, Effective Diets

Thin for Life

"Thin for Life" sounds nice, doesn't it? Registered dietitian Anne M. Fletcher, a health and medical journalist, writes that it's an attainable goal, and she has witnesses to prove it.

What makes her diet different is that it's presented and supported by people who have lost at least 20 pounds on it -- and kept it all off for at least three years. Someone who's been where you've been is telling you the joys of "high flavor, low risk" foods. (Like jelly beans!)

She outlines some simple swaps -- replacing oil with applesauce in baking, eggs with egg whites -- and creates a plan week by week for you to modify your diet according to standards like the Food Guide Pyramid (recently replaced visually with MyPlate, but with the same content). You start with the easy stuff, like just focusing on all the sugar you consume, instead of trying to do everything all at once.

From her interviews with 160 people who successfully lost and kept off excess weight, sometimes after trying dozens of diets, Fletcher gleaned what she calls the 10 keys to success. She writes that, according to research she's done on several studies and in her own experience, keeping weight off isn't as impossible as so many people make it seem.

It may take a little longer to see a weight difference with these five diets than it does when you eat nothing but leek soup for a week, but it's the kind of difference that sticks.

Related Articles


  • Blatner, Dawn Jackson. "The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life." McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.
  • Callahan, Maureen. "The Step Diet." Health.com. April 18, 2008. (Aug. 1, 2011) http://www.health.com/health/article/0,,20410178,00.html
  • Flaherty, Julie. "Dieting by Instinct." Tufts Journal. Dec. 17, 2008. (Aug. 1, 2011) http://tuftsjournal.tufts.edu/2008/12_2/features/02/
  • Fletcher, Anne M. "Thin for Life: 10 Keys to Success from People Who Have Lost Weight and Kept It Off." Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2003.
  • "Fun Facts About Jelly Belly." JellyBelly.com (Aug. 2, 2011) http://www.jellybelly.com/fun_stuff/fun_facts.aspx
  • Lee, Kathleen. "The Step Diet." EverydayHealth. July 6, 2010. (Aug. 1, 2011) http://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/the-step-diet.aspx
  • Lee, Katherine. "Thin for Life." EverydayHealth. July 6, 2010. (Aug, 1, 2011) http://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/thin-for-life.aspx
  • "Mediterranean diet: Choose this heart healthy diet option." Mayo Clinic. June 19, 2010. (Aug. 1, 2011) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mediterranean-diet/CL00011
  • Roberts, Susan B. "The Instinct Diet." Psychology Today blog. Feb. 11, 2009. (Aug. 1, 2011) http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-instinct-diet/200902/the-instinct-diet
  • Roberts, Susan B. "The Science." InstinctDiet.com. (Aug. 1, 2011) http://www.instinctdiet.com/science.html
  • Vossen, Paul. "Olive Oil: History, Production and Characteristics of the World's Classic Oils." Horticultural Science. August 2007. (Aug. 1, 2011) http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/files/filelibrary/5574/42140.pdf
  • WebMD. "Anne Fletcher's Thin for life." July 21, 2009. (July 31, 2011) http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/thin-for-life-what-it-is
  • Welk, Greg. "Physical Activity Assessments for Health-Related Research." Human Kinetics, 2002.
  • Zelman, Kathleen M. "Step Diet: Count Steps, Not Calories." WebMD. 2007. (Aug. 1, 2011) http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-step-diet
  • Zelman, Kathleen M. "The Instinct Diet." WebMD. 2009. (July 31, 2011) http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-instinct-diet


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