There are good changes going on in Baldasare’s life. He has been enjoying having his own apartment for the first time. And he’s proud of the results of a serious and successful two-year effort to eat better and lose weight.

“People were getting worried about how much I weighed” says Baldasare, who was diagnosed with autism at age 4. So he upped his gym activity from one to three times a week, and his job-coach-turned-fitness-trainer, Rebecca Power, introduced him to My Fitness Pal, a free smartphone app that tracks diet and exercise. She also developed an exercise program for him (documented on a spreadsheet) and accompanied him to the gym when he first began the stepped-up program. “I did a slow fade-back and now he goes on his own,” says Power, who adjusts Baldasare’s exercise routine monthly.

Baldasare is taking a class on cooking nutritious meals, and Power shops and cooks with him on another night. “I feel good about losing this weight,” he says. “I feel confident.” He also has taken up running.

Not a fan of breakfast, Baldasare at lunchtime usually has a cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwich or dinner leftovers. Dinner can be pork chops or chicken, and he’s working to increase his appetite for vegetables. He enjoys corn, and he sneaks vegetables into his meal plans by disguising them in meat sauce or chicken noodle soup. He snacks on fruit and sometimes on chips.


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Baldasare works out three days a week, alternating between upper body routines one day (on an incline press) and lower body (leg curls) the next. He loves to walk and can spend up to 65 minutes on a treadmill getting his steps in. He periodically skips taking the bus home and instead walks from his job in Garden City to his home in Malverne.


“People should work out three times a week at the gym and eat healthy food. Also, they should start using My Fitness Pal.”