Marketplace: Natural Options offers effective weight loss
August 10, 2010
Hollie Epp has helped many people in Park City and beyond lose weight sometimes without even meeting them.
Epp is a health coach with Take Shape For Life, a weight-loss program that uses the Medifast Meals program. As a coach, she walks clients through an established, effective method of losing up to 20 pounds a month. She answers questions, gives suggestions and helps people transition back into normal life once they reach their target weight.
Epp has spent most of her life working in the health care field. Her background is in biology and chemistry. She has a master’s degree in natural health with an emphasis on nutrition. She began working with Take Shape For Life about two years ago because she supported its mission to solve health problems by improving nutrition.
"I really enjoy the work it’s not work, it’s relationships," she said.
Epp is one of thousands of Take Shape For Life coaches worldwide. When people sign up with her, mostly through referral, she’s one part of a virtual support group that includes physicians, nurses and exercise experts.
As a health coach, she meets with clients, face-to-face, over telephone, or via email. Because some of her clients live in other states, she hasn’t met all of them in person yet. She doesn’t have to since she carries no product and doesn’t perform any examinations. Epp’s job is to walk people through the program that arrives in the mail.
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"It’s proven: if you have a coach at something, your chance of success goes up leaps and bounds above doing it on your own," she said.
Medifast provides four meals per day most of which can be made by adding water. A fifth meal each day is prepared by the client and should consist of a lean protein and a vegetable, she said.
"The meals are convenient and transportable. All meals are balanced," she said.
Because the client eats every two to three hours, she says they never feel hungry.
Since its beginning, Medifast has been recommended by over 20,000 physicians. The company’s goal isn’t to help people lose weight; it is to get them healthy. For that reason, medical professionals often suggest Medifast, she said.
Epp and her husband have both been on the program, so she knows what her clients are going through. She can give recipe ideas, advise ways to modify food and suggest means of monitoring progress aside from stepping on a scale which can be a misleading indicator.
Her role in helping clients transition off the program is vital because the goal is to maintain weight loss for life, she said.
Barbara Miano said losing weight with five meals a day was easy. As a result of the program, she has been able to quit taking medication for cholesterol, high blood pressure and more. Her doctor said it was like seeing a completely different patient.
"In four months losing 45 pounds made a big difference in my life," she said. "I can hike and bike and do things I didn’t have the energy to do before. The diet works well."
Miano said the Medifast meals are tasty and having Epp as a coach was invaluable and "truly helpful."
"It’s so nice to go to a store and look at sizes you didn’t think you’d ever be in again," she said.