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Ask Dr. Gott 4/18
Start slowly to lose weight
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    DEAR DR. GOTT: I have been reading your column for many years and have a great deal of respect for your advice. I think your diet of no sugar and no flour is perhaps the best way to lose weight, but my problem is to lose weight in the right places. Does it matter where the calories in respect to where the weight goes? I am 81 years old, 5 feet 3 inches tall and weigh 125 to 130 pounds. I don't feel that I need to lose much, but every ounce I eat seems to settle on my belly and hips.
    My size 8/10 clothes still fit, but they look so different with my belly. I read constantly about losing belly fat in three to five weeks. Can I lose weight in a particular area of my body by eating a different diet? I love carbohydrates, always have, and find it difficult to give them up. I would, however, if I thought it would help. While I do overindulge at times, I most often keep that habit to a minimum.
    Please help me with this troubling situation. I will thank you forever if you can give me some sane advice.
    DEAR READER: First, I must commend you on being 81 years old and weighing what you do. Many people your age — men and women — lose interest in their looks and how they present to the public.
    In all likelihood, your prominent abdomen is not caused by the type of food you eat. Your intake of calories from specific foods will not go to any specific areas of your body. Consider your whole body. It's unlikely you will gain much weight in your arms or legs, shoulders or ankles. By the process of elimination, the abdomen is a natural location for weight to accumulate. I surmise you probably do not exercise as much and are not as active as you once were. This alone can lead to weight in areas where you don't want it to be.
    You don't mention any medical conditions that would lead to the change in your physique. A heart condition, arthritis or hypertension might restrict you somewhat, but mild exercise might help all of the ailments I've mentioned. If you have a diagnosis of concern, speak with your primary-care physician for his or her direction on appropriate options.
    Then, if your doctor agrees, you might consider a walk around the block each day, modified sit-ups or yoga. In fact, if you have a health club or nursing association in your neighborhood, the personnel there can direct you as to appropriate exercise. Remember to begin slowly and work up to a comfortable program.
    When all is said and done, you just might feel better and will find those size 8/10 clothes fit better. Good luck.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "A Strategy for Losing Weight."
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