01/18/2008 04:01 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Diets Work

Diets work! Any diet you go on that causes you to take in less calories than you burn will result in weight loss. Therefore, that diet will work for that reason. The only reason any diet works is because of the calorie content and not because of the carb/fat/protein content. This is where the confusion comes in and the diet book gods make billions of dollars.

There are diet books out there that tell you to eat the most bizarre things in the most bizarre combinations and then when you lose weight they want you to believe it's because you followed their plan. Remember the popular one where you only ate fruit until noon, waited two hours and then ate other things. Those authors made millions. My past favorite was The Beverly Hills Diet. Anyone out there old enough to remember that one? Day one you get to eat all the pineapple you want. Guess what happens when you eat copious amounts of pineapple? You get mouth sores from the acid. Your mouth gets so sore that you never want to look at another pineapple again. This almost guarantees a low calorie day. This diet worked because you took in less calories than you burned. All diets that work do so for that reason alone.

What we know hasn't changed in a very long time. What we know is that the healthiest diet is one consisting mainly of fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains. What we also know is that if you take in more calories (in whatever form) than you burn, you will gain weight. If you take in less calories than you burn, you will lose weight and if you take in the same amount of calories as you burn, you will maintain your current weight. This much we know.

The best possible diet for you is one you make up for yourself. If you are willing to learn about the calories in the foods you eat, keep track, try and live within a calorie range that will create the weight you want to be, you can be successful for life. For example, if I want to weigh 130 lbs. I need to average my daily calories around 1,300, without exercise. If I can do this by making up my own diet, then I can do it forever. Diets you go on, you go off. Educating yourself about what is healthy and how to be the weight you want to be will serve you for life. If you currently weigh l80 lbs. and you start living for a 130 lbs. person, you will eventually get there. Once you do, you just continue what you did to get there, and you will stay there. Live for a 130 lbs. person and that is what you will be. It's math.

So remember:

1) Write down everything you eat and count the calories.

2) Figure out how many calories you would get each day to weigh your ideal weight and attempt to live there. (For women it's the weight times 10, for men times 12). This is your resting metabolic rate. If you add in physical activity, you can take in that many more calories. Calories in, calories out.

3) Weigh yourself everyday, once in the morning. Write down the weight and average it out for the week. Track your progress by looking at your average weekly weight.

Those are the mechanics of weight loss. In the weeks to come I will be giving you tips and covering some of the pitfalls and problems we all encounter as we attempt to change our weight. For some people it is really just a matter of not having the correct information. For others, food and weight go much deeper. More on that later.

For now, good luck and let me know how you're doing.