By WAYLON CUNNINGHAM
It’s a disappointment dieters are all-too familiar with: pounds are lost, but no sooner does the diet end than the pounds come bouncing back with a vengeance.
Diet expert and long-time health coach Felecia Edwards, C.M.M. calls it “the yo-yo effect,” and it’s why her weight loss clinic in Cedar Park recommends Ideal Protein as a non-surgical alternative for those seeking weight loss.
“This is more than a fat-loss diet,” Edwards says. “This is about changing a person’s health.”
Now, residents in the Liberty Hill, Burnet and Bertram area have access to the program. Last month, Edwards opened the clinic’s first outpost for the program right off State Highway 29 in the Liberty Hill Plaza.
She encourages Liberty Hill to come out on August 12, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. for a free seminar held at the Liberty Hill Learning & Event Center, located at 14875 W. Highway 29.
Free samples of the program’s products will be available, in addition to a door prize for a basket containing a $50 gift card and $150 worth of utensils and measuring cups.
Edwards says the key to avoiding the “yo-yo effect”—so, the dividing line between an effective diet and a disappointing one— is education and increasing metabolism. Immediate weight loss should only be the first step.
A person needs to be taught how to choose healthy eating, but more importantly, the body itself needs to re-learn how to process food.
Under the Ideal Protein program, a health coach guides the participant into allowing their body to dip into a state called “ketosis.” This is when the body takes more energy from burning fat reserves than from carbohydrates.
After a period, the participant is slowly phased out of ketosis. More home-cooked meals (under certain, veggie and protein guidelines) are integrated alongside the program’s provided meal packages.
Finally, the participant attends an intensive workshop to ground in the lessons they’ve learned about healthy eating habits, and how to keep the results they’ve earned.
“I used to be a sweet tooth and a carboholic,” says Laurie Bellard, a Leander woman who has lost 77 pounds. She began the program Feb. 1. “The first week is rough, but once you’ve gotten your body into ketosis, you’ll find that you lose a lot of old cravings.”
She says that “seeing the pounds drop off every week, seeing the progress, is highly motivating.”
Bellard also singled out the health coach, a certified nutritionist with which participants have weekly one-on-one sessions, as a welcome and unique feature of the program.
She says they can tweak the nutrition supplements a participant is taking, ensure that muscle mass is being retained, and keep an eye on a person’s adherence to the diet.
“They’re honest,” Bellard says.
The Liberty Hill office’s health coach is Amanda Morales, a recent nutrition graduate from Texas State University. Morales says she was drawn to the program for its unique appreciation of ketosis, and because some in her family have suffered from health problems due to avoidable weight issues.
“When done right, eating should be a healthy activity,” she says. “Food should prolong life.”
Instead of going by a one-size-fits-all approach, Morales draws a health profile from a participant’s age, height, body mass index (BMI), gender and more for a personalized understanding of their body’s nutritional needs.
The weekly sessions with the health coach are not limited either. Participants can continue to receive oversight for as long as they want after completing the program.
“This is a commitment that doesn’t stop,” Morales says.
She, like the other professionals at the clinic, has gone through parts of the program herself. In one month, she lost nine pounds. Beyond that, she says she still enjoys eating the program’s meal products, particularly the sweeter ones.
Participants choose their meals from a selection of 70 food products covering breakfast, lunch, dinner and even desert. During the first phase, which is the most restrictive, participants still eat one home-cooked meal a day. Edwards says this works well for people who want a family meal.
All the products meet a high nutritional standard, such as no preservatives or GMOs.
“You could even have a brownie for breakfast,” Edwards says, adding that for those with a sweet tooth, this is the “perfect diet.”