Books offer guidance on being healthier, thinner

It’s a new year and many metro Atlantans have resolutions to be healthy and fit.

Are you among the two-thirds of Americans who tip the scale into the obesity range or are overweight? Or do you just want to be healthy and shed a pound or two?

While there are many fads out there that promise to do everything from freezing the fat off to melting away the pounds, most experts agree that the best plan is one that is tried and true: eat lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains and get on your feet and move.

If you don’t know where to start, the new year offers a plethora of new books to help you get a jump-start on the new you.

Here’s a look at what’s on the bookshelf:

“The 3-1-2-1 Diet: Eat and Cheat Your Way to Weight Loss — Up to 10 Pounds in 21 Days”

Dolvett Quince

Grand Central Life & Style Hardcover, $26

Four of my favorite words — weight loss, eat and cheat. Celebrity trainer Dolvett Quince of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” fame believes weight loss can be successful only if you don’t feel like you’re depriving yourself and if you find a way to stay motivated. He offers readers a 21-day program that changes up food and calories to manipulate your body into burning fat.

It sounds simple. Three days of clean eating, one day of cheating, two days of clean eating and one final reward meal at the end of the week. Flexibility is key. No foods are off-limits. Quince says follow his plan and you will have more muscle and less fat. Who can complain about that?

“The New Lean for Life: Outsmart Your Body to Shrink Fat Cells and Lose Weight for Good”

Cynthia Stamper Graff and Dr. Réginald Allouche

Harlequin, $25.95

Nearly half of all dieters quit within the month. The hardest part of a weight-loss plan is not taking off the pounds but keeping them off. Graff, president and CEO of Lindora clinics, and nutrition expert Allouche have put together a book that updates the program pioneered by Graff’s father, Dr. Marshall Stamper. It focuses on reprogramming your appetite so you don’t get hunger cravings, avoiding self-sabotage, changing bad habits and training your body to improve feelings of satisfaction.

“The Sugar Smart Diet: Stop Cravings and Lose Weight While Still Enjoying the Sweets You Love!”

Anne Alexander with Julia VanTine

Rodale, $26.99

If you’re like many people, sweets are your waistline’s downfall. Alexander is also the author of “Win the Fat War” and editorial director of Prevention. According to the book, the average American consumes 130 pounds of added sugar annually, most of it hidden such as the sugar found in pasta sauce, yogurt and soups. Wait, soups? “The Sugar Smart Diet” includes a 32-day diet plan that focuses on whole foods, exercise and emotional coping strategies. The plan starts with a five-day “sugar step-down” to help readers wean themselves off refined carbs and unsuspecting sugars. The payoffs are weight loss, more energy and lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels. It includes a list of “sugar bombs” and dining out tips.

“Thinner This Year: A Diet and Exercise Program for Living Strong, Fit and Sexy”

Chris Crowley and Jen Sacheck

Workman, $12.95

A follow to the New York Times best-seller “Younger Next Year,” this book hammers home the successful combination of diet and exercise to stay healthy and fit. It shows readers how to lose extra pounds and find your way to a better, healthier you. Crowley, 78, speaks regularly on health and aging issues. There are two weeks’ worth of suggested meals, snacks and recipes. Some key points: Junk food is addictive and rewires your brain to increase cravings, and if you do not exercise after age 30, you will lose 3 to 5 percent of your muscle mass every decade.

“7 Years Younger: The Anti-Aging Breakthrough Diet”

The Editors of Good Housekeeping

An Imprint of Hearst Magazines, $25.95

This book is a follow-up to “7 Years Younger: The Revolutionary 7-Week Anti-Aging Plan.” It gives readers the road map for a healthy weight-loss plan that also helps you look and feel younger. The plan uses foods that have anti-aging benefits and can help improve cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and improve heart health, all while sending the scale down a few pounds. The book offers 90 recipes for all times of the day. The plan was created by the team at Good Housekeeping Research Institute, including Nutrition Director Samantha Cassetty. It also contains a fitness program and advice on overcoming mental hurdles to achieve permanent success.