Over the next few weeks I’m going to be starting a series of blog posts highlighting the most important and effective steps to lose weight and keep it off. But first, I’m going to share with you a little bit about where my motivation comes from because with so much information about weight loss, nutrition and “lifestyle change” (whatever that means, am I right?)… why should you listen to me? Today I’m going to share a more personal side before we kick off the blog series.
Over the last 3 years I have worked with hundreds of individuals to help them lose weight by changing their lifestyle and habits. In addition to obtaining 2 degrees in nutrition including a Masters from NYU I have spent countless hours living in the research, reading study after study and absorbing as much of the science that I could behind what works to lose weight. The combination of knowledge and application to real clients has provided me with the skill sets to work with individuals of all type to help them change their eating and exercises habits resulting in lasting weight loss. I had one focus in the last 3 years of my career and that was to understand what it takes to lose weight- for good. This motivation comes from a place deep inside of me. I made a very difficult decision to abandon my first focus in nutrition- which was clinical- and make a turn towards what I felt was my calling; wellness and weight loss. The more exposure and experience I had working inside of hospitals in the ICU, med-surg, cardio units and long term care and rehab centers the more it became obvious to me where my calling was, and it wasn’t clinical. I sat in numerous family meetings where loved ones had to make difficult medical choices for their father, husband, mother, wife, sibling that ultimately changed the course of all their lives. These diseases and medical issues that I was helping ‘treat’ caused enormous physical and emotional pain and suffering for both the individual and their loved ones. What killed me the most was that these diseases and issues were ultimately... preventable. So much pain, suffering and frustration caused but something that could have been prevented if the individual had eaten healthier and moved a little more earlier on in their life.
I remember 2 specific patients and their stories that I will never forget:
One was a 32 year old man living in a coma due to complications of diabetes. Over eating and under exercising led to an early aged diagnosis of diabetes where his body couldn’t regulate his blood sugar levels. One day his blood sugar dropped suddenly (a common occurrence in diabetics), he fainted, hit his head on a table and was in a coma for years- just like that. Years of his young life now lost. I remember watching his mom come in day after day sitting by his side waiting on a miracle that her son would wake up and live out the rest of his life.
The second was a 51 year old man with a wife and 2 teenage girls living in NYC. I saw him in the cardiac unit after surviving his 2nd heart attack. I was sitting with him listening to him talk about the fear and sadness this has caused him and his family – and the fearful thought of not being there for his two girls if this were to happen again and not survive. I watched as his eyes welled up with tears. As we were sitting there discussing the changes he could make to his diet and lifestyle to make sure he stays alive, his wife comes in with a burger and fries from his favorite place. It was her way of comforting him in the only way she knew how. He went on to eat it and his daughters both came in shortly after. I remember seeing this take place, he thanked me for everything and I slowly left the room in disbelief and speechless.
These are just 2 examples of what I saw almost daily in the clinical world. It was a constant battle I was fighting that I felt I rarely ever won. I remember thinking to myself “there has to be a better way.” In December of 2013 I decided to completely switch gears and leave behind everything I just spent 2 years (and tons of student loans) learning and practicing. It was then that I dove head first into individual counseling for weight loss and behavior change, learning absolutely everything I could about what works and what doesn’t. Now today, 3 years later I’ve launched my own nutrition counseling practice and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t remember why I do what I do. It’s to prevent another coma or heart attack related to a lifestyle disease, to prevent seeing loved ones hurting and fearful for their sons or husband’s life. Each client I have is another person that won’t be affected by these ‘lifestyle diseases’ that are killing millions of Americans. 75% of this country is overweight or obese and are all at risk for developing disease and medical illness- most of which can be prevented. Diabetes, heart disease, heart attacks, renal failure, inflammatory diseases and even some cancers. I know for most of us this seems like a distant problem that doesn’t affect us but in fact it’s our choices that we make today that are going to dictate our future. Diabetes, heart diseases and cancers are not issue that spring up overnight- you may be diagnosed suddenly but these issues manifest over years.
I have studied and seen what works – and this is what I structured my practice around. It is a lengthy, involved, proactive, and consistent approach- but it works. This journey that I take on with my clients is as much emotional and social as it is physical. This is not quick fix weight loss that is fueled by motivation to hit a certain # by a certain date. This change I bring my clients through is a lifestyle change addressing all factors leading to the unwanted weight in the first place. My goal is to empower my clients to confidently make the healthy choices happily and confidently.
Over the next few weeks I am going to share with you some of the most powerful factors when it comes to weight loss and lifestyle change, sharing with you some of my own client’s stories along the way. My hope is that you learn something from this series that you can apply to your own life.
If you are interested in working with me or just doing one session (via video or phone) don’t hesitate to reach out. There’s no pressure in the first call- let’s just get to know each other a bit and see where it goes.