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Ask Dr. Gott 4/12

Balanced diet path to weight loss

DEAR DR. GOTT: I have been diligently following your no-flour, no-sugar diet for several months and have not lost the weight you promised.
    You mention in your "No Flour, No Sugar Diet" book, on page 12, "Remember to keep my diet simple: No flour, no sugar. That's it."
    I don't find the instructions quite that simple. I eat only two meals each day, sticking religiously to your diet plan. For breakfast I eat five prunes, four dried apricots, one banana and two pieces of no-flour toast buttered with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. I also eat 10 almonds one morning, 10 walnut halves the next morning and 10 pecan halves the third morning. I drink approximately 12 ounces of green tea with artificial sweetener.
    For dinner, I choose three or four items from the following menu: carrots, turnips, asparagus, green beans, sugar peas, corn and unsweetened canned beets. Once a week I have one low-fat hamburger patty following my family doctor's order.
    I am 80 and exercise strenuously two hours each day, sometimes skipping Saturday or Sunday. I feel well and as far as I know, I'm in good health. I am 5 feet 8 inches in height and weigh about 150 pounds, which is too much. I am trying to reduce my weight to 140 pounds, which was my normal weight for many years.
    I would appreciate your advice.
    DEAR READER: A healthy, active oldie whose body weight is within the normal range for age need not consider my diet plan.
    If I were you, I'd forget about that 10 pounds, relax and enjoy your blessing of excellent health. Your metabolism may have simply reset itself.
    My only concern is that your diet is not balanced. You have almost no whole-grain intake, such as brown rice or bulgur, no dairy (a good source of calcium) and almost no protein from lean meats, beans, and peanut butter. For a well-rounded diet, you should consume all these as well as fruits and vegetables.
    I suggest that you try varying your foods. Add more protein (which increases muscle) in the form of beans and peanut butter if you do not prefer to eat meat. Add more whole grains (good for heart and cardiovascular health) in the form of bulgur, barley, brown rice and others. And finally, add dairy (good for calcium needed by bones and muscles) in the form of low-fat cheeses, nonfat milk and yogurt. Ingesting three servings of low-fat or nonfat dairy each day has been shown to aid weight loss.
    Your metabolism may simply have slowed because you are not eating a properly balanced diet.
    You may also find that you have success by eating four or five small meals throughout the day instead of two larger ones. By breaking up your meals, you are giving your body more time to digest and use nutrients. Your meal pattern may be tricking your brain into thinking it is starving, causing it to hold onto fat because it doesn't know when the next meal is coming.
    Try following my suggestions and let me know what happens. However, I still maintain that you are within normal weight limits and there is no need to diet. You're 80. It is time to stop worrying so much and just live life.
    Readers who would like more information on my diet can purchase my book "Dr. Gott's No Flour, No Sugar Diet" from most bookstores (chain and independent) as well as online at www.barnesandnoble.com or www.amazon.com.

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