I thought you guys might enjoy an actual honest-to-goodness real client’s case study so that you can join me in celebrating successes and also understand that nutrition consulting goes way deeper than just telling people what to eat. It’s an entire lifestyle overhaul: the holistic model means stress relief, exercise, positive relationships, good habits… all on top of the solid foundation of an organic whole foods diet.
Let’s call her “Willow.”
Female, 32, lives here in San Francisco
chief complaints: fatigue, weight gain
goals: weight loss, disease prevention, more energy
diet at our first meeting: Willow considers her diet healthy. Breakfast was oatmeal & a yogurt; lunch is turkey sandwich and carrot sticks, snack is wheat crackers & an apple; dinner is pasta with a salad. Willow tries to eat whole grains and minimal meat. She indulges in desserts on the weekend, but has wicked sugar cravings that she constantly fights (I was very impressed with her willpower).
Here is what we did:
I suspected that, due to Willow’s weight gain & bloating, she might be eating foods she’s sensitive to. The most common are gluten, dairy, soy, and eggs. We pulled her off gluten, dairy, and soy for a time and moved her diet to organic protein like chicken, fish, buffalo, (she wasn’t big on beef and lamb), lots of veggies, and gluten free grains like brown rice & quinoa. Willow was attempting to eat minimal meat but realized a mostly vegetarian diet was contributing to her fatigue. After just a couple of days, her bloating disappeared and she had more energy!
Because she complained of PMS along with fatigue, we tested her stress hormone levels and found that she had high cortisol levels that contributed to her weight gain. This signifies that she is in a constant state of stress–and it’s beginning to crash her system. The hormonal system can best be described as a symphony of different stress & sex hormones working together, and once stress hormones go haywire because you’ve been working too much, drinking too much coffee, or eating crappy foods, your female hormones can go off balance (read: PMS, irregular cycles, worsening of cramps). I designed a program for her to balance her stress hormones, and that includes supplements, lifestyle adjustments & stress relief (in her case, yoga).
Willow also did a digestive assessment and discovered she had a bacterial overgrowth that was contributing to her weight gain, fatigue, and hormonal issues. The scary thing to her was the she didn’t even have any symptoms! Digestive infections or bad bacteria overgrowth can cause inflammation, which the body perceives as further stress, and that causes hormone imbalance too in response. So I designed an herbal parasite cleanse for her, and she noticed an even more significant shift in weight loss and energy gained.
Willow is about 6 months into her program and no longer crashes after lunch (she had been known to take a nap at her high-stress job), no longer experiences bloating, and has lost 8 pounds! More importantly, she has learned the proper foods for her physiology, why she needs more leafy greens and good fats, and why a vegetarian high-grain diet wasn’t ideal for her. We will continue to work together until she reaches her goals, but her successes keep her motivated and keep me happy.
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