How can I lose weight naturally?

If diets have uniformly failed you, look for the common denominator. Perhaps they've been too drastic and unreal.

Q: Please help me lose weight the natural way. All the diets I have tried have failed me.

If diets have uniformly failed you, look for the common denominator. Perhaps, they've been too drastic and unreal, or you didn't take them seriously.

Here's my own story. Through the years I have discovered that if I want to lose a few pounds, there are a few rules I need to follow:

1. Midnight snacking is a no-no. If you're truly hungry, eat a low-calorie food like apples, kiwi, singkamas (sweet turnips). But never anything sweet like cakes and pastries, chocolates, ice cream. These are best eaten during the day and only after meals. In short, do not make any dessert your main meal or snack.

2. Go vegetarian if you need to lose weight in 30 days. It works. And if you want to speed it up, go on a raw food diet. That's right. Nothing cooked.

3. Exercise daily, at least 30-45 minutes of any cardiovascular exercise regimen.

4. Take chromium picolenate, a supplemental form of chromium, a mineral which helps increase lean tissue and reduce fat. But this is only effective if you exercise.

A daily dose of 50-200 micrograms should be enough. Natural sources are black pepper, cheese, whole-grain cereals and brewer's yeast. So, this is good news for cheese lovers. With one precaution - try not to finish the whole cheese platter!

5. Take zinc, 15-30 mg daily. This is recommended for people on low-calorie diets. This also addresses hair loss, brittle nails and bleeding gums. Best taken with copper. Remember: 1 mg of copper for every 10 mg of zinc. Natural sources are seafood, nuts.

6. Magnesium supplements improve the efficiency of the heart. Take 400 mg daily, but best to consult your doctor first. Natural sources are seafood, green vegetables, low-fat dairy products.

7. The most common ailment of dieters is borderline anemia due to iron deficiency. Symptoms include heart palpitations, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath. To get iron from natural sources, go for tofu, soybeans, bitter gourd (ampalaya), moringa olifera (malunggay).

8. Load up on calcium, at least 1,500 mg daily (especially if you have menopaused). Natural sources are dairy, green leafy vegetables, nuts.