There is a little more than a month left to go in 2008 – have you achieved your New Year’s goals? Still hanging onto those extra five, ten, twenty pounds?

Never fear! 2008’s five most popular diets are here! There’s still plenty of time to drop the extra weight and feel great in that little black dress come New Year’s Eve.

Atkins – Don’t Let them Eat Cake!

This diet just won’t go away! Still one of the most popular diets in 2008, the Atkins diet got a makeover this year. The new plan (spelled out in The All New Atkins Advantage by Dr. Stuart L. Trager with Colette Heimowitz) focuses more on exercise and suggestions for maintaining your diet once the pounds are gone.

The Basics: Essentially, Atkins still flips the traditional food pyramid on its head, sticking breads, grains, and starches in that tiny point at the top, and lean meats in the big base.

Pros: If you stick to it, by the book, it works for most people. Why? The research is mixed, but it may just come down to common sense. Think about all the things you can’t eat on the diet: breaded foods, french fries, candy, cake, ice cream, almost all packaged foods – stuff your bikini says you really shouldn’t be eating anyway. Recent studies have shown that most Atkins dieters cut their daily caloric intake by almost 1,000 calories – so even if the carb-fat-protein ratio isn’t magic, you’d still lose one pound every three and half days.

Cons: Cutting our beloved carbohydrates also takes a huge amount of willpower. Apple cider in the fall? Nope. Pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, and corn bread at Thanksgiving? Not going to happen. Cookies and hot chocolate at Christmas? Don’t even think about it.

Jenny Craig – Dieting Like a Queen (Latifah)

Jenny is an old friend for many dieters – she’s been around since 1983! In the past year the diet has gained a new following though, thanks to some high-profile spokeswomen spreading the word.

The Basics: Members start off by meeting with a nutritional planner at a local JC center or chatting with one by phone. You then order your food – three pre-packaged meals per day plus one snack. You also eat fruits, veggies, and low-fat dairy products.

Pros: At least to start, it’s easy. Really, incredibly, can’t screw it up without trying easy. Your food is pre-portioned and pre-cooked. All you have to do is eat it, and most customers report losing 1-2 pounds per week.

Jenny Craig diet also teaches you portion control. As you’re noshing away on your tiny frozen hamburger, you’re effectively retraining your eyes and stomach to recognize healthy portion sizes.

Cons: Jenny gets expensive. Want to try Jenny for three months? Membership fees will run around $20 per month. Food averages $14 per day. Three months of weight loss will cost you around $1,302, which does not include the fresh veggies, fruits, and dairy products that supplement the diet.

Weight Watchers: Hello, My Name is Jane, and I’d Like to Lose 20 Pounds

Like the previous two diets, Weight Watchers isn’t exactly new – your mother may have tried it in the 1960’s. But 2008 saw a new ad campaign created a new surge in interest in this oldie-but-goodie.

The Basics: Using a formula that takes into account your current weight, your activity level, and your estimated body mass index, your coach assigns you a certain number of points. Using point guides found online or in WW books, you eat foods that add up to your point goal each day – nothing more, nothing less.

Pros: You really can eat anything on this diet, right from the start. As long as you keep track of everything you eat and don’t go over your points values, most dieters lose two pounds per week.

For many people, the weekly support and educational meetings are also a huge advantage – having coaches and fellow dieter who you feel accountable to helps many Weight Watchers’ enthusiasts stay on track.

Cons: Weight Watchers, like Jenny Craig, has membership fees. Plan on spending around $40 per month, plus a $35 start-up fee. Keep in mind that this does not include food or the Weight Watchers books.

Weight Watchers is also not for the laid-back. To make the plan work, you need to learn how to measure your portions and track every single item that goes into your mouth. Every. Single. One.

Skinny Bitch: They Really, Really Don’t Like Meat

We can thank little Posh Spice (also known as Victoria Beckham) for this one. She was photographed in 2007 carrying a copy of Skinny Bitch, a book written by two models, Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. In 2008 they released their second book, Skinny Bitch in the Kitch, and their newest, Skinny Bitch Bun in the Oven (for all you pregnant dieters?).

The Basics: They make you hate food. Not all food, but a lot of it. Rory and Kim are die-hard vegans, and the majority of the book is spent explaining why eating animal products is the most disgusting, vile, nauseating thing in the world.

Pros: If you’ve ever wanted to go vegan, this book is a great way to get the motivation. The authors are very knowledgeable, even if they aren’t nutritionists themselves, and their advice has kept them on the New York Times Bestseller List for sixty-three weeks. Internet chatter indicates that many devotees claim to lose 2-3 pounds per month following the Bitch diet.

Cons: No meat. No dairy. No non-organic food. No eggs. No animal products of any kind.

And if you ever want to drink milk again without feeling squeamish? Don’t read this book!

The Spectrum: All the Pretty Colors of the Rainbow

Dr. Dean Ornish’s The Spectrum may have been one of the more unique diet books to hit the shelves this year. Like most diet books, it promises to make you lose weight, but this one also claims right on the cover that you will “Feel better! Live longer! Lose weight! Gain health!” That’s a tall order for a diet book.

Basics: The Spectrum diet is all about making the right simple choices each day. The good doctor takes a holistic approach to your diet and your life – and has advice on almost every aspect. Want to lose weight? Work on how you respond to stress. Change your relationships. Change your attitudes.

Pros: This guy is actually a doctor – he’s a professor of medicine at the University of California. He advocates trying lots of different approaches and changes, testing for what works, and shaping your life around your own findings.

Cons: This diet is not for the faint of heart. Ornish may offer a “spectrum” of options, but when it comes right down to it, he asks a lot for a novice dieter to take in – reviewers point out that his holistic approach to living the good life is difficult to sustain.

Now that you have compared Atkins, Jenny Craig, Weight Watcher, Skinny Bitch and The Spectrum. Which one do you think you would go for?

About The Author :
Jatin Dhillon is a freelance writer, web publisher and a fitness enthusiast. Don’t forget to read his reviews on fat loss 4 idiots diet and it’s advanced version the beyond calories diet – one of the most popular diets to hit the internet.