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The Promise

What if it's not food that's holding you back from losing weight? What if it's something else entirely, like your attitude toward exercise, low self-esteem, a tendency to procrastinate, or something else?

Dr. Kushner's Personality Type Diet aims to figure out your specific challenges, and then shows you how to overcome them.

Obesity expert Robert Kushner, MD, is medical director for the Center for Lifestyle Medicine at Northwestern (University) Medical Faculty Foundation in Chicago. He wrote the book with his wife, registered nurse Nancy Kushner.

First, you answer 66 questions about your habits and feelings toward eating, exercise, and more.

Based on your answers, you might be a Nighttime Nibbler or a No-Time-to-Exercise Protester.

The book then offers sensible advice and tips for upgrading your exercise and eating habits. For each personality type, you'll learn specific, simple-to-follow tips to help you succeed this time.

What You Can Eat and What You Can't

Go for these foods whenever possible:

Produce. Colorful, flavorful fruits and vegetables can improve your diet, and the high fiber content can help to fill you up.

Grains. High-fiber, whole-grain options are healthiest, and they'll leave you feeling satisfied for longer, which should keep you from snacking.

Protein sources. Eat lean and poultry and fish more often than red meat. Dairy products that are low-fat or nonfat are ideal. Try cholesterol-free egg substitutes or egg whites. Eat a variety of beans.

Snacks and desserts. You can still indulge, but buy individual servings; don't keep a stash at home. Buy reduced-fat or reduced-calorie items, like fat-free ice pops or baked potato chips.

Alcohol. You may drink in moderation, but alcohol and mixers contain empty calories that can quickly add up.

Level of Effort: Medium

You have to be willing to look not just at what's on your plate, but at your habits and your thinking.

Limitations: No foods are forbidden. Everything is allowed in moderation.

Cooking and shopping: The book offers recipes and tips for cooking and shopping. The foods on this diet are easy to find.

Packaged foods or meals: None.

In-person meetings: No.

Exercise: Recommended. The plan includes tips for building up your exercise program.

Does It Allow for Dietary Restrictions or Preferences?

Vegetarian and vegan: This isn't a vegetarian diet, but the focus is on vegetable dishes. You would need to adapt it to make it vegetarian or vegan.

Gluten-free: Gluten is not off-limits on this diet. If you are strictly avoiding gluten, you'll need to substitute gluten-free foods and check ingredients on food labels.

What Else You Should Know

Cost: No costs apart from the food you buy.

Support: You do this diet on your own. If you have a rocky relationship with food and would like more support, counseling can be a big help.

What Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, Says:

Does It Work?

Understanding your personality type can help you change habits and behaviors that could lead to weight loss and a lifetime of better health.

Beyond the personality hook, this diet is a sensible approach to eating healthfully and contains a good balance of food, nutrients, and exercise.

Is It Good for Certain Conditions?

Yes, the plan is a good fit for you if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease, but it does not offer enough guidance to be recommended to people with diabetes.

Talk to your doctor before starting the diet.

The Final Word

Gaining insight into your eating and exercise personality is a great first step toward improving your health and whittling your waistline.

This is an affordable, nonrestrictive diet that will work if you want a structured yet flexible plan that can be adapted to fit your personal preferences.

You may need additional calories if you’re very active or if you’re trying to maintain weight loss.

If you prefer eating out to cooking at home, or if you’re looking for a quick fix, this diet may not be right for you. This plan is designed to be sustained for the long haul.

WebMD Diet A-Z

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