Book Nook: 'The Everygirl's Guide to Diet and Fitness' review

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THE EVERYGIRL'S GUIDE TO DIET AND FITNESS: How I Lost 40 Lbs. and Kept It Off -- and How You Can, Too!, by Maria Menounos. Ballantine/Zinc Ink, 325 pp., $22.

Your first reaction to the cover of actor-TV personality-"Dancing With the Stars" semifinalist Maria Menounos' book might be laughter. Those gorgeous abs . . . on an "Everygirl?" Really?

But there's also a "before" picture of this former fast-food junkie, at size 14 and 160 pounds.

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"Stop dieting," she writes. "Instead, eat real food." (Although she cut her calories to "under 1,500 a day," which for most people would be a diet.)

THE SCOOP Her 11 diet and fitness rules range from "Eat food that comes from the ground" to "Always be moving." Other suggestions include "Set a deadline," "Buy a journal," "Cut back slowly" and "Bring your lunch to work." She also cut carb servings to one a day.

THE BOTTOM LINE Her 75/25 plan? "Aim to eat real or whole foods 75 percent of the time." There are recipes, many from her Greek background, an exercise guide and celeb interviews.

There's nothing in this upbeat, commonsense guide that could hurt you. But will you look like Menounos if you follow her lead? Well, optimism is a good thing.

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