The weight-loss plan

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I've cobbled together my own plan for shedding 10 pounds.

1. No diet for me. I will eat only foods I really enjoy, and I will enjoy them. Instead of ruling out certain foods, I will control my portion sizes and forgo second servings. Other new habits: No eating after dinner. No eating out of bags or boxes. I'll be talking with Brian Wansink, author of "Mindless Eating" (Bantam Books, 2006), about how I can be on what he calls the best kind of diet: "the one you don't know you're on."

2. I intend to continue good eating habits I've already established. I drink lots of water (and plain, black tea and coffee). I don't use added sugar (except a bit to sweeten oatmeal) or salt, and I never use artificial sweeteners. I eat lots of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, yogurt and nuts. I seldom eat much meat, and rarely at a meal other than dinner. And I don't indulge much in sweets.

3. I refuse to count calories (or points, or whatever). I've tried that, and it seems just to reinforce my obsession with food. All that counting and tallying works for others, I know, but it makes me spend even more time thinking about food than usual.

4. I will keep a food journal. I'm not sure how this will play out, but some experts insist that recording everything you eat, and the circumstances under which you eat it, keeps you honest and identifies areas for improvement. I'm afraid this, too, might lead to obsession. Either that, or I'll just forget to write stuff down.

5. I'm going to take it really slow. Let my body adjust gradually to each incremental weight loss. A few years ago I lost 10 pounds fast and regained it almost as quickly. This time I want to make the weight loss stick. So I'll be content to lose a pound every couple of weeks.

6. I'm planning a series of small rewards for my progress. When I reach 140 pounds, for instance, I think I'll get a facial. And when I get to 135, I'm ditching all my old yoga clothes and getting brand-new ones!

-- J.L.H.

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