Middle age spread. Post-menopausal belly. Diabetes. High cholesterol. Poor body image.
Americans are plagued by these problems now more than ever, and that made me ask this question: Why, when we’re more educated than ever, more health conscious than ever, and flocking to gyms in record number, are the bad numbers so high and the good numbers so low?
I decided to talk through my frustrations with my friend, who just happens to be a nutritionist and dietician. She commiserated, then told me some of what she does, then shared some client success stories. I was intrigued. I had had success with Weight Watchers over a decade before, but it had been that long since I had sought dieting advice from a pro. I regularly hit the gym 5 days a week, walk my dog at least 2 miles a day, and stay abreast of all the latest food findings, so I thought I was in good shape, figuratively if not literally. But watching and feeling my body change as I age is slightly disconcerting. If I could slow the aging process, lose weight, and improve my health numbers, I was willing to find out more.
So I scheduled an appointment with my friend, Patty Stewart of Sugar Land Nutrition. Patty has been in business for 14 years and has countless success stories. She works with a wide range of clients, all trying to lose weight and maximize their body’s strengths. As she said, we are all different and she is about helping each of us “crack our body’s code for weight loss.” One former client was none other than 16-year-old Simone Manual, who sought nutrition advice to improve her athletic performance and later went on to become an Olympic gold medalist swimmer. Patty also works with middle-aged women like myself who wish to stay ahead of the aging game while dealing with hormonal and other body changes. She also enjoys working with teenagers who want to learn to eat properly before heading off into life as adults.
The process began simply: Patty sent me a questionnaire that asked all about my food choices and preferences, my activity level, my concerns, and my goals. It was easy and made me think about my lifestyle, something I don’t do often. In our consultation, she reviewed the information and got a handle on my individual likes and dislikes – what would work for me and what wouldn’t. Then she asked me to hop on her cool, new-age InBody a fancy scale that measures not only your weight, but your lean body mass, water mass, fat, and distribution. No one likes to get weighed, and I’m no exception. But the accompanying graphs helped me to see where I am compared to where I need to be for optimal health. It was the perfect motivator to get me started.
You should know that Patty never made me feel overweight or ashamed. I know that’s a big fear for people considering getting health advice. But whatever you’re doing is not bad enough to scare a nutritionist. They take joy in helping you get better, not in judging you for your past. So Patty simply reviewed my results and promised to send me a meal plan catered to my preferences and activity level. Within 24 hours, she did just that, along with a packet of recipes. All I had to do was follow her meal plan using the recipes she provided and see her again in 4 weeks.
I enjoyed shopping for vegetables versus processed foods. I enjoyed eating different meals and discovering that I truly liked them! I enjoyed not having to pour over cookbooks or buy strange ingredients. In fact, my grocery bill was cut in half! But mostly what I enjoyed was not feeling overly full after a meal and not regretting what I had just eaten.
4 weeks later, I had lost 10 pounds. My lean muscle mass had stayed the same, which meant I lost fat and water weight. No wonder I was no longer bloated and my stomach wasn’t protruding as it had been. Patty was congratulatory and encouraging: “I am so proud of you! Now, let’s talk about keeping this going.” She questioned me about what worked for me and what didn’t. I asked questions and sought guidance. I was nervous over an upcoming vacation, an 18-hour car ride that almost inevitably meant fast food. Instead, she gave me advice for “on the road” meals that I could pack in a cooler.
Guess what? I followed her advice, then stocked our condo with healthy foods, and came back having gained not a pound and feeling fantastic, SO much better than I would have if I had followed my normal travel routine. A couple days later, the pounds starting dropping again. When I returned for my next visit, I had lost another 5 pounds: at this point 8 pounds of fat lost, no lean body weight loss, and 3 inches off my waist. More importantly, I was full of energy and feeling better than I had felt in years.
The journey continues and at the time of this writing, I’ve lost 20 lbs, far more than I expected. Patty has all kinds of tools in her toolbox. She has determined my body shape and the best (and worst) foods for me to consume. She introduced me to grains, seeds, fruits, and vegetables that not only keep weight down but provide anti-aging oxidants and additional health benefits. And each visit, she is supportive and genuinely happy with me about my progress.
But the best part, to me, is knowing that I’m doing the best thing for my body and overall health. A nutritionist is the real thing: someone who spent years getting an education, researching the benefits of specific foods, and studying how those foods interact with various bodies. In Patty’s case, she is also someone who has paid particular attention to foods and supplements that can slow the aging process and all its corresponding effects on our bodies and our health. She was exactly what I needed.
If you think she might be exactly what you need as well, check her out at pattyrd.com. Mention this article and get 10% off your first consultation with Patty. Sugar Land Nutrition is located at 1 Sugar Creek Center Boulevard in Sugar Land.