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Get fit with the Women’s Health perfect body diet

Are you looking to get your body in shape in 2008? Learn how to get the body you always dreamed of with a weight-loss plan that works especially well for women. In "Women's Health Perfect Body Diet: The Ultimate Weight Loss and Workout Plan to Drop Stubborn Pounds and Get Fit for Life," Cassandra Forsythe, M.S., lists the exercises, foods and meal plans that will help you lose the excess weight:

They say there's no such thing as perfection — we beg to differ
Think about it — you can probably imagine your perfect body in a heartbeat. You may even have had your perfect body before you discovered Pabst Blue Ribbon in college or started spending most of your waking hours hunched over a desk. The perfect you is still you, just streamlined and all-around less jiggly.

The key to getting that body back (or achieving it for the first time) is an eating plan that cuts calories, cranks up your energy level, and keeps your stomach blissfully full. The "Women's Health Perfect Body Diet" does exactly that by working with your unique body chemistry to ensure that you're getting the ideal amount of two nutrients proven to make or break weight-loss success: carbohydrates and fiber.

Carbs bite back
Bring bagels to a morning meeting, and you won't just be the office favorite; you'll also learn something useful about carbs. Watch your co-workers: About a half-hour after downing one of the doughy rings, some will start to drag, while others will perk up. That's because some people have difficulty digesting carbs, while others process them without a hitch. One of the differences is varying levels of insulin, a hormone that signals your body to start absorbing glucose.

The full factorThe second piece of that ideal plan is making sure your food fills you up. Let's face it: If anything dooms a diet, it's hunger. When your stomach's always rumbling, you're cranky, less motivated, and more likely to dive face-first into a plate of nachos. Your ally against hunger is cholecystokinin, or CCK, one of the five hormones your digestive system produces to let your brain know it's okay to tell you to stop eating. How much CCK is released depends on how full you are — more after a bellybuster of a meal, less after a small snack. Because you have to eat less to lose weight, your stomach will get stingy with the CCK if you let it. The way not to? Fiber. Fiber bulks up in your stomach, tricking you into releasing CCK, so you feel full even when you haven't consumed a heap of calories. Thanks to one easy-to-use supplement called glucomannan, every meal in the "Perfect Body Diet" contains exceptionally high amounts of satisfying fiber — without the constant worry of fiber-bomb side effects like bloating or gas. You'll also be eating three meals and two or three snacks every day, which will give your body a steady flow of energy and keep you from feeling deprived. And if eating chocolate cake is absolutely crucial to your happiness, you can do that, too, on your weekly cheat day. So hit that quiz and get ready to score your perfect body.

Your secret weapon

When you're trying to trim down, soluble fiber is your BFF — it expands in your digestive tract, making you feel fuller and warding off snack attacks. But a girl can down only so many bowls of All-Bran before she feels so gassy and bloated she's afraid to leave the bathroom. There is one kind of soluble fiber, however, that works without the nasty side effects. Glucomannan, which comes from an Asian plant known as the konjac, or elephant yam, is nature's get-skinny sponge. Able to expand up to 50 times its own water weight, it's one of the world's most effective fibers, so you can cut down on calories without even trying. Researchers at Chicago Rush University College of Nursing reviewed 12 clinical trials to determine the benefits of glucomannan and found that it promotes weight loss and satiety. Glucomannan is also flavorless, so you can add it in powder form to just about anything, from smoothies to frozen entrées to sauces. Mix it in thoroughly (otherwise you might get unappetizing clumps that can stick in your throat) and wait 2 to 3 minutes for it to soak up whatever sauce, broth, dressing, or other liquid is on your plate. It will thicken your food and fill up your stomach, sending satiety signals to your brain. Because of that, you'll want to wash it down with plenty of water, so drink at least 8 ounces of H2O with every meal or snack. In addition to cutting calories, both meal plans include 6 grams of glucomannan a day. It generally comes in capsules, so break them open and mix the powder directly into your food(Our fave: NSI Glucomannan, $10 for 180 2 g capsules, vitacost.com).

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