Like many athletes, mothers, Registered Dietitian Nutritionists, ACSM Personal Trainers, and Certified Health Coaches I’ve facilitated and witnessed many successful transitions to improved physical health and/or well-being, The following stories depict just a snaps shot of some of the transformations I can take credit for publicly. The vast majority of people who I think I’ve assisted are those who had access to one or more of the educational interventions I created or co-created, that were utilized by other educators and coaches, or are private victories.
Example 1: chronic smokers aided by basic financial advice
As one part of the Salvation Army Family Services Office Food Pantry program in Hawaii, repeat clients were required to attend a three-hour workshop called Hana Pono’i or Spend Less. Eat Well. Feel Better. This workshop, with two interactive booklets, covered many of the “you can take control” basic concepts outlined in the Wellness Compass Travel Guide. At the end of the workshop each client set his or her own goals. Many clients had established and met goals to reduce smoking once they realized their money would be better spent on other priorities. This program, developed in 2001, was shared with Salvation Army staff in the Western Region, and is still in use today (15 years later).
Example 2: high school health student(s) assisted via semester course.
As a part of a high school health class i taught in 2007-2009 students were taught the basics of body composition and eating well. One very smart but heavyset student, who appeared more bookish and less fit than others, took the assignment seriously. He maintained his new lifestyle habits, particularly exercising regularly, until he was no longer overweight. The following year, he was a star player in the school’s flag football competitions (and even more popular)!
Example 3: tweaking strength training and providing diet accountability makes a difference.
One of my middle-aged clients just wanted to lose the last five to ten pounds to get to her desired weight, but she was not able to do it on her own. She asked me to fine-tune her diet, teach her Pilates and weight training, and help keep her accountable. We established a weekly ninety-minute session in which I progressively taught her and her husband a simple series of exercises they could do at home with weights and a ball, and I monitored her using the forerunner of the Wellness Checklist. Over the course of a few months, she reached her weight goal, and she impressed her daughter with the ease with which she could handle heavy suitcases.
Example 4: life transformation (from 220 to 170)
Over the last 8 hears I’ve had opportunity to work with a very motivated tech-savvy client who needed to lose 50 pounds for a variety of reasons. He wasn’t eligible or looking at bariatric surgery (or the Nutrition and Health Coaching I do for the The Hawaii Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, but wanted to lose weight and get fit permanently. We’ve been a coaching team that evolved from Nutrition counseling and basic personal training, to swim/bike/run coach, to health coach, and now to all around wellness support. During this time we worked at both of our homes, the great outdoors, and now, primarily by phone and email, as he moved away from my hometown.
Weight Loss Story:
To lose weight, he maintained a reduced caloric intake of around fifteen hundred to eighteen hundred calories and used Bios Life Slim (now referred to as Unicity Balance) fiber supplement twice a day. He increased his fitness, first by incorporating a daily stretch routine, and then by adding circuit training workouts (a combination of stationary bike training and weight lifting) until he was able to ride one hundred miles in an annual century ride. Gradually he went from sinking in the pool to successfully swimming in 2K swim races and complete in 70.3 triathlons. We monitored his heart rate closely, and he became an expert in Garmin watch technology. It wasn’t all easy. He had falls, and he worked closely with both his sports medicine doctor and chiropractor to minimize injuries. He surpassed his goal weight and for a while was too gaunt when training for a century bike ride. Today he’s still training, weight stable and challenging himself to new endeavors.
 J. P. Derrickson, G. K. Asing, A. Okuma, and C. Buchanan, “Lessons Learned from the ‘Spend Less. Eat Well. Feel Better.’ Program Efficacy Trial,” Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 35 (2003): 30–36.