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Simple tactics for dropping the pounds
By Ed Blonz | On Nutrition
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Published: 3/18/2009 12:01 AM

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Q. Early in the year, we read about how to lose weight. Apparently, it is a major "industry." Here is my answer! Eat slowly, chew well, relax and enjoy your food! That's it. I'm surprised no one has mentioned this very simple method, except maybe it isn't so strange when you think it costs nothing! No money to be made?! Amazing! Hope this helps more people.

B.A.R., e-mail

A. Your logic is on track, but the path to weight loss tends to be a long, bumpy road.

It took a while for the excess pounds to build their home, and most people don't have the patience for the prolonged battle in the opposite direction. As a result, many opt for products promising a quick fix, but often, all these offer is an effective sales pitch. Others reluctantly sign on to programs hoping they will win the day.

Over the years, I have amassed a set of strategies. You'll find your "eat slowly" is on the list.

Plan meals. Eat three meals a day and envision definite portions before you start the meal. If you're still hungry after the main course, fill up on salad, low-calorie vegetables, fruits and whole-grain breads.

Add more liquids to your diet, such as soups, low-calorie beverages and water; these can provide fullness and help cut down on the number of calories you eat.

Eat slowly, and pace your meals to a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes. The brain doesn't provide instant feedback that the body has taken in enough food. If you eat rapidly until you're stuffed, it usually means you've had too much.

Keep your activity level up. Try to introduce new activities, such as riding a bike or finding a park, neighborhood or shopping mall in your area where there are good walking trails. Ride or walk at least three times a week. Listen to music or books on tape, or watch television while you exercise; it makes the time (and stored calories) slip away. Make walking and taking the stairs a part of your daily routine. Park away from the entrance rather than hunting for the closest parking space.

Track your efforts. Decide on a way to score your progress and set up a series of rewards for intermediate goals. Shift to a monthly weight check. Body weight is the sum of fat, muscle, bone and water, and it does not always reflect changes in body fat. Understand that there will be periods during which your scale weight will not change despite following your plan.

Alter or replace clothes that no longer fit as you begin to lose weight. You'll know immediately if lost pounds begin to reappear.

Let local and online friends know of your quest so there will be an added social pressure to succeed. Find those on a similar track so you can provide mutual support. Self-directed people are more likely to succeed, so why not you? With patience, conviction and good planning, you can achieve positive results. And whatever the result, the above strategies will definitely mean a healthier you.

• Ed Blonz, Ph.D., is a nutrition scientist and the author. Send questions to: "On Nutrition," Ed Blonz, c/o Newspaper Enterprise Association, 200 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016 or ed@blonz.com. Due to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.