The problem with many diet and weight loss plans is that they take a one-size-fits-all approach that simply might not work for everyone. That's why the same diet that you friend might swear by may not work nearly as well for you. Actually, looking at it logically, this is hardly surprising - everyone's metabolism and, even more importantly, everyone's habits are different. That's why it makes sense to have a diet and weight loss plan designed specifically for you.
This is an idea that's rapidly catching on. Companies such as L.A. Weight Loss and several others are taking on the challenge of designing personal weight loss plans for each of their clients. After all, everyone's reasons for being overweight are different. For the most part, being overweight is based on bad habits. Some of us have the habit of eating late at night, while others are addicted to sweets or to fried food. You can try and eliminate the behavior, or course - but most often, that's easier said than done.
A better approach might be to work around the behavior that is impeding your weight loss. For example, if you are one of those people who just can't go without dessert, you will do better if your weight loss plan includes a daily dose of sweets. There are many low fat, fruit based desserts that you can have without ruining your diet, or if you really crave a decadent dessert, you can cut calories elsewhere or up your exercise to make up for it. You are less likely to cheat and more likely to be successful with your diet if these habits can be integrated in your diet plan - and most of the time, they can.
Here's another example: we've all heard about how successful the low-carb approach to eating can be for some people. By upping their intake of protein and eliminating all processed carbohydrates such as bread and pasta, many people have had spectacular results. However, if bread and pasta happen to be your favorite foods of all - if you were raised with them and can't picture living without them - you have little chance of being successful on a low carb diet such as the Zone or Atkins. You would do better, most likely, if you can eat small amounts of the foods you love every day.
Finally, there are some people who are overweight because they 'graze' all day long rather than sitting down to regular meals at regular times. This can be one of the most destructive eating habits of all, because it makes it very difficult to measure or keep track of how much food you are actually consuming. If those are your habits, your chances of being successful on any diet plan that restricts you to just three meals a day are quite low. You'll constantly be wanting to snack, and you need a diet plan that allows you to do that. In fact, some dieticians feel that it's better to eat many smaller meals a day rather than a few large ones. If you have an organized approach to your snacking, there's no reason why you can't maintain these habits but change the types or amounts of food you eat for maximum weight loss.
In short, the personalized approach to dieting and weight loss makes sense because everyone is different, and everyone has different obstacles to overcome. When you buy a diet book, though, chances are that you will learn about a one-size-fits-all type of dieting. If you go to one of the many centers that offers personalized diet plans, however, they will be able to design a plan for you that works with your eating style and habits, rather than against it. Combined with personalized counseling and regular weigh-ins, this approach to dieting has been very successful for many people. It's easier to minimize the harmful elements in our habits than it is to do away with the habits themselves.
That having been said, it's also important to have an organized, well laid out plan that you can follow. Many weight problems occur precisely because people don't tend to have an organized approach to eating. When your plan is easy to follow and you have access to great advice in a supportive environment, chances are that you will be able to take off that weight!