Case Study #1 The Toscano Family
Quite a few years ago I worked with a husband and wife named Patty and Nick Toscano. They live in St. Louis, Missouri and own an amazing family run business called Mama Toscano’s. They specialize in homemade ravioli and sauces and therefore they are in the kitchen all day!
The Toscano’s contacted me and then proceeded to get on the weight loss program here in Pensacola at the hospital where I worked. I put them in a class by phone each week and over a short period of time they both lost a lot of weight! Over time, as is the case with most dieters, their weight slowly crept back on.
They contacted me recently (after years) when they saw me on Facebook and told me they needed to lose some weight again. Now that I am on my own in private consulting, I explained to them that I wanted to help them and for this to finally be the long -term lifestyle change they needed to keep the weight off. I explained that I could now work individually with them on a weekly basis as opposed to the group class setting and I have found it gives clients a much-needed one on one experience.
Accountability is the key for most dieters and therefore I have the ability to keep in constant contact each week to help guide them through their weight loss! Patty and Nick helped me learn their current routines and together we started off by assessing what needed to be changed. I looked at some of the obstacles that we were facing with high-fat, high-calorie foods in their current environments. It is never going to change (nor should it) that they are around food every day, but when they are wanting to lose weight I had to find a way to KEEP THEM FULL during the day. The first step in the Toscano’s weight loss is very important and most definitely is a learned behavior. I have always taught that Sight and Smell are the two senses that trigger overeating.
I looked at the Toscano”s environment, I came up with a plan to make sure they had a daily set-up that included breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon snack, dinner, and mid-evening snack. This plan includes lean proteins (such as low-fat dairy, chicken, fish, and lean red meats) Plus fruits and vegetable servings (1 cup each or 1 medium each for fruits throughout the day. The purpose of this is to make sure that Patty and Nick both stay full and aren’t as tempted by their work environment.
The second thing I did was incorporate protein supplements throughout the day. These easy, prepackaged entrees and shakes enable them to Keep their protein calories high and will help with appetite control. tI taught them the concept that “If you take something away, you have to put something in its place”. For instance, if I am cutting out high-calorie foods and snacks, I have to give them lower-calorie options to put in their daily diet instead.
High protein supplements accomplish just that.
I explained to Patty and Nick they could get very creative by adding fruits and vegetables in with their shakes and entrees.
Some ideas could start with adding fresh or frozen berries to a vanilla morning protein shake in the blender for a very creamy fruit smoothies (and still get the protein) or as Nick came up with, taking some cherries (a favorite) and making the protein powder to water and making a pudding to put over the top as a great mid-evening snack. Nick, in particular, was used to snacking throughout the day (which is understandable considering he is literally the one making the homemade ravioli and sauces. Again, the concept of Sight and Smell can be a huge temptation. He has been very brilliant and creative by doing a Double protein shake at the times he is t. he hungriest.
Everyone is unique in that they get hungry at different times of the day. Nick’s plan for the double shakes has been successful for him to recognize these times of the day that he is the hungriest and using the products to curb his hunger. Patty, on the other hand, doesn't find herself snacking.
At the same times but she also likes the convenience of the prepackaged entrees (shelf-stable) and she has gotten creative with adding in her vegetable servings to those entrees. This creates more “bulk” for her and she already likes the combinations she has come up with. For instance, if she chooses a lasagna low-calorie entree, she will add a salad on the side (which takes care of one of her three daily vegetables)
Trying New Things!
The other important thing I taught them from the start is to try new things. Most dieters, including Patty and Nick, are creatures of habit. With that being said, it takes ideas for alternatives to change those habits. A great example of that they had a barbecue recently at their house. They told me that they would have typically cooked chicken thighs on the grill with some high-calorie side dishes and of course high-fat desserts!
I thought about some different options and again, my goal is to keep Patty and Nick full but more importantly satisfied. I came up with a simple but delicious whole salmon with low sugar Teriyaki glaze that they could be done on the grill. I also encouraged them to have a great big salad with lots of vegetables in it and some nice grilled veggies on the side. Fruit tray for the cookout was also one of my ideas. The purpose of this was two-fold. First, I wanted Patty and Nick to
Not be tempted by other high-fat foods, but second I wanted them to try new things!
I guided them through the whole day and had them do extra protein shakes before the cookout. That prevented hunger and they were excited to bring out the new menu for the guests. They still had the chicken thighs but also did the salmon and grilled veggies with salad and fruit, in addition, I got a text from Patty later that night and she was excited (and happily surprised) to report that their salmon was amazing and the guests ate more of that than the traditional chicken!
Learning to try new things has been a huge help from the start for the Toscano’s and one of the other important areas that we are working on is physical activity. Patty expressed to me that she wanted to be able to go for walks further as well as do yoga several times per week. Great plan! As her weight is coming down and she is feeling stronger she is already able to do much more than when they started even a very short time ago. Not only is a plan important but the weekly accountability is key for both of them, Nick enjoys using his home gym as well as which can be counted in his physical activity!
The very first two weeks that I got them on a diet and exercise plan, they left for a planned vacation to Florida! I spent a lot of time coming up with plans for how to keep them not only from gaining weight (which would have been the norm in the past) but I wanted to give them very specific plans ahead of time to lose weight. I told them both that there are people that are able to maintain their goal weight no matter what by planning in advance vs. throwing caution to the wind especially while on vacation.
I found out what resort they were going to and I looked it up online. I found out what restaurants they had in the resort and looked up the choices that would be healthy right there in the hotel and then I called the front desk to ask what restaurants were within the area that had healthier choices. Then I looked up the menus for the places and I found the best food choices for them so that they had a lot of options. I also encouraged them to take their small bender in their suitcase along with protein shakes and some shelf-stable entrees that they could easily travel with. I knew they had a rental car once they got there and so I gave them the idea to stop at a grocery store once they got they so they could buy some lean proteins, fresh fruits, and vegetables since they had a mini fridge in the room.
This came in really handy during the trip because they bought some beautiful watermelon, and had it instead of ice cream (there were a lot of shops near the resort).
Patty and Nick also had a plan for physical activity. The resort was right on the beach so walking on the beach was a free daily activity they loved every day; also, they had a gym there.
I checked in with them every day by text and they sent me updates as well as pictures of all their meals each day.
They BOTH came back having lost weight- which was a first on vacation They had a trip they enjoyed with beautiful, delicious foods. It was All about having a plan ahead of time and the accountability during the trip.
The Toscano’s have graciously agreed to let me post all of their success as they continue on this weight loss journey so more to come!!