This New Year is going to be different. Four months from now, you'll be shedding pounds and enjoying spring while everyone else will be regretting another season wearing larger sizes. Whether you're new to weight loss and fitness, or you've already made smart diet and exercise choices, there's enough information in the following books to motivate and invigorate you over the next few months.

Tips for new moms
Every woman who has had a child knows how difficult it is to get back into smaller sizes. Moms-to-be have special diet and exercise concerns, but Outsmarting the Female Fat Cell After Pregnancy: Every Woman's Guide to Shaping Up, Slimming Down and Staying Sane After the Baby by Debra Waterhouse can help after the new baby arrives. Waterhouse explains why postpartum pounds are hard to get rid of: a woman's waist has expanded about 50 inches, her skin has stretched by 400%, her hips have widened half a foot and her fat cells have grown to 125% their original size. Despite these seemingly insurmountable odds, new mothers can regain their slim, fit shape by following the sensible advice offered by this respected nutrition expert. Waterhouse dispels long-held myths and shows readers how to achieve a healthier, fitter body than the one they had before pregnancy.

Taking control
In The Take-Control Diet: A Life Plan for Thinking People, Ian K. Smith, M.D., medical correspondent for NBC's Today show, explains how your body uses energy so that you can stabilize your ideal weight. Smith's idea is that once you understand your body's nutrition and exercise needs, you can take control of your life. The author explains why crash diets and medications are not good long-term solutions to weight loss, how to eat sensibly during holidays, vacations and business travel, and how to create menus using substitution options for long-term weight loss. Fortunately, Smith's plan does not require slavish adherence to specific food preparation or programs, nor does it offer a magic bullet for rapid weight loss. Smith simply presents the truth about losing weight and offers a workable program that will fit into anyone's lifestyle.

Yee's yoga
Speaking of lifestyle, yoga has become just that for millions, young and old alike. There is good reason why devoted practitioners continue their programs year after year: quite simply, it works. Yoga:The Poetry of the Body by Rodney Yee, with Nina Zolotow is an excellent book for the beginner and the experienced. With more than 400 photos and easy-to-read instructions, the book offers eight step-by-step, full yoga practices. In addition, readers will find breath exercises and explanations of the philosophy behind yoga. Practicing yoga for more than 20 years and teaching around the world, Rodney Yee has made a name for himself one that has become synonymous with the word "yoga."

Six weeks to fitness
Recognize the names Ivana Trump and Heidi Klum? These gals stay in shape with fitness trainer David Kirsch, and now you can too. Kirsch's new book Sound Mind, Sound Body: David Kirsch's Ultimate 6-Week Fitness Transformation for Men and Women reinforces the author's belief that by changing your mindset, you can change your body. His workout program contains 50 exercises and a comprehensive eating program. Kirsch also includes his strategy for using the mind-body connection to increase workout efficiency and shows you how to set up your own home gym. As an added bonus, the book features photos and instructions for Heidi Klum's Bikini Boot Camp fitness program, which Kirsch designed to get Klum into shape for a Sports Illustrated shoot. As the owner of one of the finest fitness clubs in New York City, Kirsch incorporates into his book every element of wellness: diet, emotional well-being, stress reduction and spirituality. "You don't have to spend hours pumping iron," says Kirsch, "But you do need to do the right exercises for your goals; you need to do them correctly . . . and you need to engage your mind." Excellent advice for us all.

Pat Regel lectures on weight loss and fitness for business professionals.

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