You can lose excess weight, improve your physical condition and lessen your cardiovascular risk quite easily. Simply exercise a little more, cut down on fats and sweets, stop skipping breakfast and drink more water.

Sound familiar? Probably.Does it work?

Wayne C. Miller, a professor of kinesiology at Indiana University in Bloomington, says it does if you go about it his way. He calls his way the "non-diet diet." He doesn't count calories, doesn't recommend special foods and says slow weight loss is the only way to go. "The commercial weight-loss plans don't work for the long-term," he said.

Under experimental conditions, his program has taken an average of about 20 pounds off obese men and women in six months - and most importantly, 16 of those pounds are fat.

Under his system, you can get a maximum of 100 points a day. "But the idea is to try to average at least 60 points a day; 60 is a passing grade," he said.

Half the potential points are from exercise. You get one point per minute of exercise - no points for less than 20 minutes - up to a maximum of 50 points. To qualify for points, the exercise must get your heart beating at 60 percent of maximum.

Here's an example of how to calculate target heart rate, using a 30-year-old person whose resting heart rate is 70 (plug in your own age and resting heart rate to make your own calculation): Subtract your age (30) from 220. That equals 190. Subtract your resting heart rate (70) from that number. That equals 120. Multiply that number times 0.6. That equals 72. Finally, add that number to your resting heart rate (70). The total is 142.

Exercise for at least 20 minutes with your heart beating at 60 percent of your maximum, which in the example is 142. (However, don't get into any vigorous exercise program without first checking with your doctor.)

"If you are obese, you probably don't have to work out very hard to get your heart beating at 60 percent," Williams said. "You can probably do it by walking."

If you aren't obese, you might have to do something more vigorous.

Exercise for 30 minutes, and you have half daily points.

You can pick up 10 more points by limiting fat consumption - three points each for having no foods cooked in oil or fried in grease, or by not adding butter or oil-based products to food; get another two by using low-fat dairy products. Add another four points by avoiding refined sugar or by having no bakery goods, such as cookies or cake. Add five points by having no snacks or by snacking only on fruits and vegetables, three by eating at least three meals a day, 10 by drinking six or more glasses of water or other no-calorie fluids.

In the journal Medicine, Exercise, Nutrition and Health, Miller says he put 13 men and 13 women on the program, bringing them in for initial instructions, then leaving them on their own for six months. (Three men and five women dropped out for a variety of reasons.)

"They changed to healthier diets and they lost weight, but there was only a small reduction in their energy caloric consumption," Miller said. "Our principle is that there are no real restrictions, there is no deprivation and no starvation."

Miller has written a book on his system, titled "The Non-Diet Diet." Copies are available from Morton Publishing Co., Inglewood, Colo., 800-348-3777. The cost of the soft-cover 150-page book is $19.45, including shipping and handling.