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Weightloss in Durham, North Carolina

Musante, who was once fat, embodies Durham's ideal citizen: someone who eats only the nutritious food needed by the body, who has learned to curb his appetites. So, has the "City of Tobacco" become the "City of Health"?Not exactly. Durham's new motto, "City of Medicine," is a subtle acknowledgment that its steady stream of pilgrims will probably always be, well, fat like me.

HOW NOT TO TIP THE SCALES

  1. Studies simply do not support doomsday pronouncements that losing weight gets harder after you've tried and failed. Onward, soldier.
  2. Multiply your desired weight by 10: that's your daily caloric goal, assuming no exercise. Divide it into three balanced meals (no more than 20 percent protein).
  3. According to Duke's Diet and Fitness Center, the number one predictor of weight loss success is willingness to self-monitor. Recording what you eat – before, during, or afterward – counteracts the tendency to think you didn't eat as much as you did.
  4. A pound of fat burns 2 calories a day, a pound of muscle, 50. Weight training will raise your metabolism even while you're sitting around drinking cappuccino.
  5. Don't be too ascetic. Make your binge food part of your food plan. But eat it out, and order a small serving.

THE FACTS

Rice Diet Program 3543 Rose of Sharon Rd.; 919/383-7276; www.ricediet.com; weeklong sessions start at $1,500, lodging not included.

Duke Center for Living 3475 Erwin Rd.; 800/235-3853; from $1,998 for the first day, $75 for additional days. Offers one- or two-day Executive Health Assessments, and three- or four-day Executive Escapes with workshops on stress management, fitness, and nutrition. Most guests stay across the road at the sprawling Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club (3001 Cameron Blvd.; 800/443-3853 or 919/490-0999; doubles from $249).

Duke Diet and Fitness Center 804 W. Trinity Ave.; 800/235-3853 or 919/688-3079; one week from $3,295. The Duke Tower Residential Suites (807 W. Trinity Ave.; 919/687-4444; rooms from $60) is the most convenient place to stay, but don't expect room service, daily cleaning, or even a phone book. It does accept pets.

Structure House 3017 Pickett Rd.; 800/553-0052 or 919/493-4205; minimum one-week stay, from $2,750. Participants can stay on site in residential apartments.

Lan Tan's Chinese Cooking School 4215 University Dr.; 919/493-1341; call for schedules and prices.

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