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Personal portion control

January 06, 2003

Ruth Frechman

President of On the Weigh, a nutrition-therapy and weight-control center in Burbank; California Dietetic Assn. spokeswoman; registered dietitian; age 49, lives in North Hollywood.

"People don't realize that one Noah's bagel is not one serving from the bread group, it's four," says Ruth Frechman, who believes that if more people knew what correct portions were, there would be less obesity. "One serving of pasta is half a cup cooked, but most people eat three or more cups in a sitting."

Other weight-loss tips she tries to impart to her clients include eating slowly. "If you chew 16 times before swallowing, and drink lots of water with meals, you'll eat less." And she recommends nuts for that midafternoon urge to snack. A small handful is an excellent source of energy and protein, contains the good kind of fat and satisfies hunger for a long time.

Personal habits

Diet: For breakfast she has oatmeal (made from 1/2 cup uncooked and 3/4 cup water) with five prunes, a tablespoon of flaxseed and a handful of nuts (peanuts, pecans or walnuts for protein) tossed in. She also has 4 ounces of calcium-fortified orange juice. Beyond that, "I do what I tell my clients to do," she says. That is, every day she tries to eat two to four fruits, two to four servings of vegetables, two to three servings of calcium-rich foods, and protein with every meal. She tries to make sure all the carbohydrates she eats are complex, and she curbs sweets and fats.

Exercise: Walks four miles a day, seven days a week, rain or shine. Plus she does push-ups and sit-ups three times a week.

Weakness: Potato chips. "If a bowl of chips is in front of me, I can't leave it alone." Oh, and there's her Diet Coke habit. She has a shot of Diet Coke before breakfast and two more cans during the day.

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