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FITNESS | How I Did It

50 Pounds Later, He's Singing a New Tune

July 27, 1998|MICHAEL N. SMITH

From the tinny little speaker in my poolside transistor, Paul Simon offered up a catchy rendition of his 1980s novelty hit "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover."

Then my neighbor's young son pointed to my paunchy, beer-batter-fed, swim-trunks-stretching physique and sang: "There must be 50 ways to leave your blubber."

Turns out the kid was right. And here they are:

1. Don't read diet books.

2. Don't eat them, either.

3. Understand that Haagen-Dazs translated means "Hip Dimples."

4. Become a slave to StairMaster.

5. Never double dip your chips.

6. Take phen-fen and you're a phool-fool.

7. Know that losing your first 10 pounds will be hell, the next 10 will be heaven.

8. Ask your significant other for random acts of encouragement.

9. Walk 20 minutes a day. Briskly.

10. Meditate 20 minutes afterward. Deeply.

11. Gaze toward the heavens and know that the Milky Way is something more inspiring than a candy bar.

12. Grab a rope--jump to it.

13. No more Beefaroni for breakfast.

14. Keep wearing pants that are too tight. That constant belt-line chafe will be a weight-loss incentive.

15. Memorize this magic formula: less you = more sex.

16. Eat regular foods at regular times.

17. Stay regular (if you know what I mean).

18. Avoid eating a whole box of Red Vines while staring at the kitchen clock.

19. There's always an excuse not to exercise. But in the words of Nike, just do it.

20. Instant diet motivation: Walk around the house shirtless (men only).

21. Instant diet motivation: Walk around the house in a bikini (women only).

22. Instant diet motivation: Walk around the house dressed as Dennis Rodman (men or women OK).

23. Elevate the baked potato to the position of Grand High Exalted Mystic Spud.

24. Join a health club and don't be self-conscious. Everyone's just looking at themselves in the mirrors anyway.

25. Avoid Nestle's. Quick.

26. Don't listen to celebrity weight-loss gurus like Oprah. She inflates and deflates more often than a Macy's parade float.

27. Do not fast.

28. Do not feast.

29. Never skip breakfast.

30. Shop for a new piece of clothing every time you lose 5 pounds.

31. Only eat fast food for lunch twice a week. Go for salads and legumes the other days.

32. Stand naked in front of a full-length mirror.

33. Regain consciousness, pick yourself up off the floor and order an Abdominizer.

34. Realize the more sugar you eat, the more you want to eat.

35. Plug your ears when your mother says: "You look too thin."

36. Keep them plugged when she criticizes your newfound affinity for cottage cheese.

37. Watch as she plugs her ears when you tell her she's the reason you got fat in the first place.

38. It takes two hands to handle a Whopper. Conserve energy by using one hand to eat a salad.

39. Remember: The more dressing you eat, the less fun you'll have dressing.

40. Know that weight loss will not be immediate. Stick to your diet anyway.

41. Eat fruit instead of Froot Loops.

42. Keep around old clothes that no longer fit as a fat-time reminder.

43. Cut down on butter, Molly McButter, popcorn butter, peanut butter, Mrs. Butterworth's, Nutter Butters and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter.

44. Don't let thin people cajole you into eating more. They just don't get it.

45. Discover the real white-water scandal (that skim milk gets such a bum wrap).

46. When you lose a pound or two, brag about it.

47. Since fruit juice is sugar water, skip the sugar and just drink water.

48. Eat three meals a day--eliminate all fat from one of them.

49. Keeping weight off is a war--the good news is that you're the general.

50. Just eat less, exercise more and you can forget the other 49 ways.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Vital Statistics

Name: Michael N. Smith

Age: 40

Occupation: Owner of TV and radio commercial production company

Height: 6 feet

Old Weight: 215

New Weight: 165

Time It Took to Get There: Seven years

Want to Share Your Success Story?

Losing weight is as individual as gaining weight. Do you have a story on how you got in shape and stayed there? If so, we'd like to hear from you with a 500-word essay listing what worked in terms of diet, exercise, encouragement and support as well as your emotional and physical changes.

We'd also like you to send us full-body color photos of you, before and after.

Send essay and photos to "How I Did It," Health, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053, and include daytime and evening phone numbers. No phone calls, please. Submissions cannot be returned.

In addition to publication, winners will receive a Los Angeles Times gym bag and a gift certificate for a free pair of athletic shoes of your choice, redeemable at any Big 5 Sporting Goods store.

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