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5 Diets to Get You Ready for the Holiday Season

A little work now will make for one less resolution on New Year's Day.

Are you depressed about the quickly approaching holidays and the inevitable weight gain from the endless supply of cookies and cocktails that come along with them? Consider for a moment how full of WIN it would be if you lost the four pounds you’re doomed to gain in December RIGHT NOW — enabling you to eat your way right through to New Year’s.

Huzzah! That is a holiday plan I can get down with.

Shape magazine gives a run-down of the five hottest diets culled from U.S. News and World Report’s new report on the healthiest diets on the market, and even if you’re not too worried about the holiday excesses, it gives the low-down on the best overall diets for leading a healthy life, as well as best weight-loss diets. Topping the list is the DASH diet, followed by the TLC diet, the Mediterranean diet and Weight Watchers.

If you, like myself, have no clue what DASH or TLC mean, they are diets that were developed to promote healthful living and to ward off health conditions like high blood pressure, high LDL (that’s the “bad” cholesterol) counts, and cardiovascular disease. Both diets achieve that goal by encouraging more vegetables, fruit and fiber and severely cutting back on saturated fats (the kind in red or fatty meats, butter, and whole milk dairy).

The DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, also cuts back on salt — something that is very hard to get away from in America. But overall, the report claims that because it doesn’t outlaw any one food group, it increases your chances of sticking with it. If you follow the program, you will almost certainly lose weight, especially if salty, fatty foods are something you indulge in. For more info, you can read this free guide on the program.

The TLC diet, or Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes Diet, focuses more on heart health and can help people with high cholesterol manage their condition without medication. That said, it will take considerable dedication to label-reading to follow the diet’s rules and doesn’t allow for enjoying high-fat, sugary treats in any amount.

The Mediterranean diet and the Mayo Clinic Diet also landed in the top five, with the commercial weight-loss program Weight Watchers claiming a spot on par with the TLC and Mediterranean diets (all ranked #2 after the DASH diet).

For those of us who may not be disciplined enough on our own to make all the diet changes that are called for in the do-it-yourself diets already listed, Weight Watchers‘ program of support groups, accountability through weigh-ins and an easy to follow point system make compliance fairly simple (Want a baked potato? That’s 1.5 points.).

All of the recommended diets are about making changes in your diet that will not only help you shave off the extra pounds, but will make you healthier in the long run.

So, check out the entire list, pick a diet that matches your lifestyle the best, start parking at the far end of the parking lot and shunning all elevators — and you are practically guaranteed to drop the pounds that will allow you to gain them all back guilt-free in December!

Who knows, you might enjoy the way the change in diet makes you feel so much that you’ll be happy to carry it over to 2012.

Read more of Amy’s writing at Bitchin’ Wives Club.
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