When I first met Lia, she explained to me that as a doctor of psychoneurology and integrative health, her work involved helping people become stronger in body, mind and spirit. Somewhere along the way, however, she found that she herself needed some help with her physical health: her doctor had told her to lose some weight to manage her hypertension, she would easily get tired during the day and frequently felt pain in her hips and feet.
Coaches need their own coaches after all. And so that was our starting point, and the plan was for Lia to get results in terms of weight loss and for us to address her energy levels at an easy pace, in a manner that she could sustain during and more importantly, even after the Primal Health Coaching Program.
Breaking down the Diet
On day 1 Lia told me that she ate "better than most people" and that what she really needed was to start exercising to lose weight. She was on a pesco-vegetarian diet at the time, and disliked meat because it would make her physically sick. But as we spoke she shared with me what food she liked best: pasta was comfort food, rice was "celebration food", she loved bread and sweets (like the cookies she had moments before we met up for coffee). As for dinner, if she wasn't eating out then dinner was usually popcorn while watching Netflix. And so we had a bit of work to do in terms of reducing her carb consumption, and putting emphasis on the vegetables part rather than the meatless part of being pesco-vegetarian.
As part of the Primal Health Coaching Program, clients usually send photos of everything they eat and drink throughout the day so I can provide feedback on food choices, macros, nutrition content and serving sizes. I also give suggestions on other things they might want to try based on their preferences, the kinds of food they are or aren't eating, and so forth. Lia found this to be particularly helpful, as she felt there was someone holding her accountable for her choices, and she would think twice about eating something "unhealthy" knowing that she would have to share photos of her food with me.
"My clothes fit!"
Midway through the program, during one of our check-in calls, Lia was elated about fitting into an old gown that used to be too tight, and was happy that people were beginning to notice and compliment her on her weight loss. I asked about the pain in her hips and feet that she had mentioned the first time we met, and she realized that she wasn't experiencing those symptoms any longer.
Lia also began to notice that she was becoming more sensitive to sugar, and so it was becoming easier for her to avoid it. She had also learned to be more mindful about her eating. "I used to eat like a man!" she laughed. Eventually she learned not to eat to the point of satiation and by week 7 had started to do Intermittent Fasting (IF). Lia found IF to be effortless, and she felt great after every fast.
By the time we were done with the 12-week program, Lia had lost 12 pounds at a nice, easy pace. "What I liked about it was that I didn't feel deprived at all," Lia shared. "I could still have my favorite paella with friends or try out new desserts occasionally." She had also begun to eat meat once again in order to access the best sources of complete proteins, but this time she was more conscious of the quality of the meat she was eating. She also discovered that swimming is something she enjoys and it is becoming a regular activity for her.
The Journey Continues
Lia knows that this is only the beginning of a lifelong journey in health and a lifetime of making the right choices for herself. "Right now I'm making these decisions consciously, but at some point I want them to come naturally," she said. She wants to work on losing a few more pounds and get toned, and continue to manage her hypertension.