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With Thanksgiving past and the holiday feasting season underway, there’s one category guaranteed to attract repentant readers come the inevitable parade of New Year’s resolutions: diet and fitness.

In anticipation, publishers are ready to dish out plenty of choices for those looking to embrace a new diet or workout regimen in the months ahead. Increasingly, however, publishers are finding that consumers expect them to balance the scale of quickie diets and gimmick-based exercises with plans aimed at long-term weight loss and healthier living year-round.

Shannon Welch, executive editor at Rodale Books and editorial director of Runner’s World and Bicycling magazines, says that more people are realizing that weight loss alone is not enough: “We’re seeing a trend toward books that take into account the desire for short-term success, and also the reality that sustainable results and overall health are about more than the number on the scale.”

Rodale’s trio of December releases exemplify its approach to meeting the need for right-now rewards and long-term benefits. Chalene Johnson, star of the bestselling Turbo Fire and Turbo Jam DVDs and infomercials, urges a series of life-changing moves in PUSH: 30 Days to Turbocharged Habits, a Bangin’ Body, and the Life You Deserve! Popular diet and health columnist Charles Platkin’s The Diet Detective’s All-American Diet: Lose Weight with the Foods You Already Love to Eat from Your Favorite Supermarket and Restaurant Choices and bestselling author and celebrity nutritionist Christine Avanti’s Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food: Lose the Fake Food and Kickstart Your Weight Loss try to help people examine their current dietary habits and figure out how to shed pounds by picking healthier options.

Slimming Lifestyle

Many publishers say that the shift toward a wellness focus may in fact signal a change in what people expect in these days of greater awareness of “sustainability” across the board—whether talking about food and environmental issues or how to maintain one’s fitness despite the march of age and the easy availability of calorie-count–busting treats.

For example, Little, Brown’s The Blood Sugar Solution: The UltraHealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Feeling Great Now! (Feb.) will help people lose pounds as part of a progression toward overall wellness. This latest tome from Dr. Mark Hyman, bestselling author of The UltraSimple Diet and UltraMetabolism, outlines a six-week healthy living program that teaches principles for a lifetime. Topics covered include diet, living green, medication, supplements, and exercise, all by way of exploring how to lose weight while also staving off diabetes and other chronic illnesses.

Renee Sedliar, executive editor at Da Capo’s Lifelong Books, says readers are savvy in navigating the available choices. “It’s no secret there are a ton of books in the category, but people are always looking for something new—something that’s not just promises that ultimately fail in the long run but programs that are attainable and sustainable.”

Among the publisher’s new titles is Take It Off, Keep It Off: How I Lost Weight and You Can Too—Safely, Effectively, Permanently by personal trainer and former model Paul “PJ” James (Mar.). The title is inspired by James’s gaining, then losing nearly 100 pounds deliberately so he could better understand his clients’ struggles. Coming in April is Dee McCaffrey’s The Science of Skinny, aimed at helping serial dieters understand how the latest science can help them slim down.

Similarly pitched are two December titles: Gallery’s Unjunk Your Junk Food: Healthy Alternatives to Conventional Snacks by Andrea Donsky, Randy Boyer, and Lisa Tsakos, and Rodale’s updated edition of Eat This, Not That! 2012: The No-Diet Weight Loss Solution by David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding.

“Good food and good health go hand in hand,” observes Crown editor Sydny Miner. Last April, Crown published the bestselling The Dukan Diet by Dr. Pierre Dukan, which spent 23 weeks on PW’s charts. Coming in April 2012 is a follow-up companion, The Dukan Diet Cookbook, which provides Dukanists with more than 300 French-influenced recipes suitable for both the “Attack” and “Cruise” phases of the wildly popular diet. Crown also has several other cookbooks tied to diet plans on the way, including the Sexy Forever Recipe Bible by Suzanne Somers (Crown Archetype, Dec.), Everyday Food: LIGHT—The Quickest and Easiest Recipes, All Under 500 Calories from Martha Stewart Living magazine (Clarkson Potter, Dec.), and the American Heart Association Quick and Easy Cookbook, 2nd Edition (Clarkson Potter, Apr.).

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