How’s everybody else doing with the whole New Year’s resolution thing? Since we aren’t even out of January yet, I’m doing okay. I’m making it to the gym frequently which is a huge first step. Of course, EVERYONE is at the gym right now, so I’m fighting for my place on the mat just to get the most out of my workout. The other part of the whole healthy equation is the diet. Oh dear, the diet.

I often feel like this:

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I mean, I know I can’t literally lay in bed and eat cookies each night and expect to lose weight, but I’m just not a fan of the “diet.” My goal is to make better food choices so I will feel better, have more energy and get more out of my workouts. And guess what? Whether you change your eating to feel better or look better, most professionals offer the same basic advice on food choices: lots of greens and little processed foods.

This is where cooking comes into the picture: When you prepare your meals, you have more opportunity to make good choices. It helps you limit the fake stuff and cater to your own preferences. When we go out to eat, that’s when we eat too many chips or rolls or knock back an extra cocktail. Just a couple of nights eating out can start to add unwanted pounds.

Another huge perk from keeping it in your own kitchen? Cooking at home is far, far better on the budget too. So, here’s what I’ve found the be the 3 best cookbooks to help you lose weight:

Lose weight – vegan style

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For most people, opting to eat less meat brings an initial immediate weight loss. It also sounds impossible for those of us who still have lingering doubts about the taste of an all meat-free menu all the time.  Here’s where Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows Cookbook enters, bringing major flavor to every one of the incredible meals she presents. Even my very, very carnivorous husband, is willing to hop on board (at least for awhile) to try these recipes!

Lose weight – paleo style

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At the other end of the meat eating spectrum is the paleo diet. For every person that argues against eating meat, you will also find another cross-fit loving paleo fan. For some interesting posts on the paleo diet, read these. The fact remains that the very basic gist of paleo still falls in line with most other healthy diets- eat more veggies and avoid all processed food — like the plague. However, there are a lot of other foods on the NO-list too, like beans and dairy (for many). I like paleo cookbooks because they keep cooking really simplified and basic, which makes a lot of dishes easy to make. And the Paleo Recipe Book is definitely where to get started.

Lose weight – sugar-free style

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Some of us recall the not so long ago past when food companies were loading foods up with aspartame and other non-sugar sweetners. Now those are considered bad for you, and it turns out almost all of our store-bought pre-packaged foods have lots of sugar hidden in it. A lot of scary studies have linked high sugar intake to a significant altering of brain function, and increase of appetite.

No wonder Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar Cookbook has been hugely successful. A word of warning with this one – getting started will cost more at first, as you need a lot of new ingredients if you aren’s used to cooking this way. However, as you see the difference in your waistline, it tends to take away from any reservations about the financial concerns. Plus, as you build up your pantry, you will notice each trip to the store costs less.

What do you think? Ready to give some healthy eating habits a go and see if these cookbooks help you lose weight? You find them at Amazon and no matter which one you choose, you are already headed toward that goal!