Louisa And Jerry On Their Diet Trip: Chapter Two

If you missed the first series about my clients Jerry and Louisa, please see my June 23 Ct Eat Well column that includes two videos of Jerry and Louisa on their success toward changing their habits for a healthier lifestyle and a healthier weight.

When I last wrote about Jerry and Louisa actively achieving their weight loss goals I spoke about the small changes they made in their diet following a few nutrition sessions. I since have met with Louisa eight times, although one time was only for a brief moment to obtain her weight. As for Jerry, his schedule’s been hectic, but we managed to meet twice and he’s stayed on track.

Louisa and Jerry earlier this summer

To date, Louisa has lost over 50 percent of her weight loss goal! We set her initial weight loss goal at 10 percent of her body weight, and she has lost over five percent of her body weight in 10 weeks. As I mentioned in the previous article, a weight loss of 10 percent can lead to a 50 percent reduction in health risk such as cardiac disease or diabetes. This doesn’t mean Louisa can’t lose a little more once her goal is achieved, it simply means that ten percent weight loss is easier to maintain over the years while cutting her health risk in half versus a rapid weight loss of 20 percent and then gaining most of it back within a year or two. A true weight loss is maintained for life, and in order to achieve this new habits have to be formed to last a lifetime.

As for Jerry, he’s lost eight of his ten pound goal! Jerry didn’t have a lot of weight to lose, but his eating and exercise habits needed to change for health, energy, and fitness, and he’s accomplishing his goals quite well.

Weight loss can often plateau after several weeks, and this is what happened to Louisa for a couple of weeks. One of her sessions included a reassessment of her present diet and exercise regimen. There were only two things triggering, one was an unnecessary protein/energy bar she was eating on most days, and the other was the need to increase her activity. Protein or energy bars I often explain are meant for a quick fix aimed at athletic people who need to carry something easy while on the go and exercising most often outdoors when regular food is not obtainable. Many of these bars contain high calories with high amounts of sugar and fat that an average individual can’t burn off fast and these bars can often lead to weight gain. Since Louisa was getting enough protein in with her meals and other snacks, I suggested exchanging the bar for a small amount of suggested fruits, raw vegetables, yogurt or a few nuts to lower the calories and increase the nutrients.

The second suggestion for Louisa was to exercise more. She was already attending water aerobics, walking, and mowing two yards a week, but some weight training needed to be incorporated in order to preserve some of her lean muscle mass while losing weight, and to help her burn a few more calories. Weight training a few times per week will not only help to prevent osteoporosis, but it will help her to utilize her carbohydrate intake more efficiently and burn some calories. Light weight training is also something she is able to do at home since she and Jerry already have fitness equipment and free-weights. Therefore, Louisa’s last six sessions focused on individual light weight training sessions that Louisa can incorporate anytime within the comforts of her home.

Part of our training session included educating Louisa on ways to incorporate up to 90 minutes per day of activity. Thirty to 60 minutes of activity per day is for maintaining weight, but in order to increase metabolism and start to expend more calories there really must be around 90 minutes per day of activity even if it means breaking up exercise into several increments throughout the day. It was only by chance that a few days after Louisa and I discussed increasing her activity, she won a free month long membership to a fitness center where she plans to increase her aerobic activity.

Overall, Louisa says that she is very satisfied with her new eating pattern, she feels full sooner than she did prior to her nutrition sessions, and she is eating more often with fewer calories throughout the day. She’s also noticing a difference in her overall appearance from the weight loss.

When I first introduced Jerry we discussed brining his food to work versus buying it in the cafeteria. This has worked out well. He does both by purchasing his salads at work and bringing left over food from the night before that Louisa packs up for him. Jerry found his energy has increased with his new eating habits, but he was still not completely satisfied with his fitness level. The yoga he does at work was becoming increasingly more difficult to fit into his schedule more than a couple of times per week so we discussed exercising first thing in the morning three times per week by setting his alarm one-half hour earlier and then using his home gym equipment. I thought the morning would be better for Jerry rather than working out following a 12 hour work day, but as it turned out Jerry had a harder time getting up early and he actually enjoys working out after work. It’s now his way of winding down after a long day at the office.

Jerry and I continued our discussion on food to have both pre and post work out. He only has a pound or two to lose to reach his goal, his waste circumference is much smaller, and he is now focusing more on reducing his body fat, working his core muscles a little harder, and increasing lean muscle mass.

Together Jerry and Luisa continue their road to a successful weight loss and the benefits are paying off. They won a swing dance competition this past week!


Kathy LaBella is a registered dietitian, certified personal trainer, and owner of Peak Performance, LLC. She is available for individual nutrition and fitness counseling. She can be reached at 860-767-1535, her website is www.peakperformancerd.com, or email kathy@peakperformancerd.com and you can find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Essex-CT/Kathy-LaBella-RD-CD-N-CPT/110761625657876?sk=wall



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