The Negative to Positive Effect: Part Two

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24 Jun 2013

green and red healthy foodIn last week’s column, we discussed the importance of the dieter’s need to make basic behavioral changes in order to achieve long-term success. Today, let’s learn a few tips to help in that endeavor.

Portion Control: Portions over the last few decades have tripled in size. It is very easy to allow excess calories to accumulate. Identify what the proper portion sizes are and stick to them. Use smaller plates and bowls; it helps! Go to the website of the AICR at and use their serving size finder to see both the traditional serving size or learn how to eyeball your portions.

Don’t allow eating to be PART of an activity. We tend to eat while driving, watching television, reading or doing household tasks. Eating time is a time for enjoying your food, but also, to be aware of your meal. When engaged in other activities, you aren’t aware of the amount of food you are eating. Therefore, eating must be its own activity.

Stay away from negative stimuli. If keeping nosh and junk food in your house is a stimulus to eating it, remove it! If reading ads about food, or watching them on TV encourages you to raid the pantry, eliminate that stimulus. Limit your eating to the kitchen and dining room. Replace negative food cues (a dish of candy) with a positive cue (a bowl of fruit). And if you have a cookie jar or junk food cabinet, eliminate it.

• Eating Out: Eating out is an inevitable part of our social lives. And while it definitely presents challenges for the dieter, there are ways to keep it under control. Order half portions or share your meal. Order an appetizer or soup instead of a full meal. Only order items that are broiled or baked (not fried). Ask that the sauces and dressings be put on the side so you can control how much you use, if at all. Finally, just as you should do at home, put your fork down in between bites and remain aware of how much you are eating.

• Write it down! If there is one thing upon which all of us in the weight loss field agree, it is that in order to be a successful weight controller, writing down your daily food intake is an absolute MUST. Review your charts every few days and show them to a qualified professional. It will create a tremendous awareness of your food intake and eating habits.

As a personal trainer who specializes in weight loss, I can tell you from extensive first-hand experience that that the most successful “losers” are the ones who can incorporate the behavioral changes we mentioned last week into their lives. Not everyone will be a successful weight controller, but even partial success is vital to your health and not everyone will become an avid exerciser, but incorporating some exercise and activity into your life can and absolutely will only change your health for the better. Certainly, if you can make the effort and incorporate permanent lifestyle changes, your chances for maximum success are increased many times over. And “success” in this case means a better quality of life, longer life, better health and better well-being each day of your life.

Making a concerted effort to transform our ingrained negative behaviors into positive ones, and to inculcate proper behaviors in the realm of diet and exercise, are both excellent ways to “add hours to your day, days to your year and years to your life.”



Alan Freishtat is an A.C.E. CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER and a BEHAVIORAL CHANGE and WELLNESS COACH with over 19 years of professional experience. Alan is the creator and director of the “10 Weeks to Health” program for weight loss. He is available for private coaching sessions, consultations, assessments and personalized workout programs both in his office and by telephone and skype. Alan also lectures and gives seminars and workshops. He can be reached at 02-651-8502 or 050-555-7175, or by email at Check out the his web site – US Line: 516-568-5027.

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.