SECRETS FROM THE EATING LAB: The Science of Weight Loss, the Myth of Willpower, and Why You Should Never Diet Again, by Traci Mann, Ph.D., HarperWave, 254 pp., $26.99.

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Traci Mann, a psychology professor at the University of Minnesota and founder of its Health and Eating Lab, has been doing research on, well, health and eating, for more than 20 years -- and writes that "Diets don't work." That is, she adds, if what you mean by "work" is that they help you lose weight -- and keep it off.

We have an image of what we should weigh, but that number might be "outside of our biologically set weight range," which is the weight your body returns to when you're not either overeating or dieting. "Instead," she writes, "I suggest we aim to live at the low end of our set weight range, which is our leanest livable weight."

Mann suggests 12 strategies to help you get to that weight, from creating obstacles to temptation and eating with healthy eaters to changing how you feel about tempting foods and creating an automatic plan for anticipated problems.

THE SCOOP In a chapter called "Obesity Is Not a Death Sentence," Mann writes, "If you exercise, eat nutritiously, avoid weight cycling, and get good quality medical care, you don't need to worry about obesity shortening your life."

THE BOTTOM LINE You'll learn about some very interesting experiments. And Mann backs up her points with an impressive 46 pages of notes.