Marie Before and After

Real Food Rescue: A Holistic Weight Loss Coaching Success Story

by Guest Blogger, Caitlin Weeks of

I want to share a success story of one of my clients who started nutrition coaching with me in February 2011.  She is a wonderful example of  a real food weight loss success story. A change of diet and smart exercise can help people regain their health and fitness.

Real Client: Marie Africa, Age 26, 5’5
Lost 43.5 lbs (and counting !) between Feb. 2, 2011-Sept. 14, 2011

Marie was one of my first nutrition clients after graduating from Bauman College in Berkeley, CA.  I have been a trainer for many years and have had years of experience getting myself into shape. But Marie was one of my first clients where I intentionally incorporated holistic nutrition coaching. I was nervous at first that my approach may be too strict for her since she seemed to exist on refined carbs and sugar most of her life. But when she returned after the first week she was ecstatic to not be hungry and she was able to sleep through the night.

Marie was a model client from the start; she was very compliant with my meal plans and our workouts. Marie is a young woman but when she came to me but I knew she was on a road to major health problems if she didn’t clean up her diet and lifestyle. She told me she was hungry all the time and would lose her temper and become very irritable if her meals were delayed. She also experienced symptoms other symptoms of hypoglycemia such as becoming shaky and light headed. She said her day was completely ruled by sugar cravings and she had disrupted sleep. She also had problems with immunity and was always getting sick.

Marie had a goal of looking fit and toned for an upcoming event that she was attending. She wanted to show an old frenemie that she was hot. Marie is a hard worker and an A-type, who is very much a go-getter. She has excelled in her studies and currently is a whiz at her high stress, marketing job. She is very ambitious but, like a lot of women, has a hard time saying no and taking time for herself. This stressful behavior paired with a high-sugar/carb diet over time sets the stage for mineral deficiencies, hormone imbalance and adrenal fatigue.

Her Workouts

Marie began 2-3 days a week of full body weights with intervals. She often attended my boot camps, which are a mix of body weight exercises with short burst of interval cardio. I warned her that too many weekly workouts would cause too much stress on her body. I also cautioned her against a half marathon she was interested in. I was worried that she may get injured and running would cause her to get too hungry and cause overeating. She also did one or two sessions per week of intervals on the treadmill, where she would run for one minute then walk for one minute for a maximum of 20 minutes.

Her Food Plan


Marie Before and After

I told Marie to cut out sugar, grains and pasteurized dairy. She opted to cut out fruit as well since she was afraid she would overeat it. I wanted her to include colorful non-starchy vegetables into every meal. I told Marie to follow a meal plan similar to this: 2 strips pastured uncured bacon, pastured eggs with basil and spinach with ½ organic avocado for breakfast, a big salad with meat and olive oil/vinegar for lunch, then for dinner have a grass fed burger with no bun or a low carb- taco salad with meat, veggies, salsa and guacamole. I encouraged her to cook more at home and use organic vegetables and pastured meats. I warned her against eating in restaurants because they use toxic seed oils like canola, corn and soybean oil. I told her to replace vital nutrients such as magnesium and calcium by making bone broth between meals. I also encouraged her to drink lots of pure water with lemon to cleanse the liver.

Next Step: Stress reduction

Her plan to get healthy included stress reduction techniques like getting massages. I also taught her about meditation.  She already enjoyed lots of short trips and social time with her friends. She changed the types of social activities she undertook by becoming the “designated driver” at parties to limit simple sugars and possible binge eating. Marie also organized more hiking outings with her girlfriends to blow off steam. She was encouraged to get to bed early and try to limit the amount of extra work hours. We worked on simplifying her life and focusing less on the to-do list. We are still working on reducing the stress on her body from sources like home cleaners, cosmetics, electromagnetic frequency and fluoridated water.

Improving Digestion is Important, it Lowers Stress and Enhances Weight Loss

Digestion can be improved through chewing and by eating in a calm manner by turning off the TV and sitting at a table. One focus with Marie has been to normalize the ratio of good and bad bacteria in the gut so that cravings for sugar are reduced. This balance can be achieved through taking probiotics and eating fermented foods like raw sauerkraut. Another way to help digestion is to chew food slowly until it is liquid-approximately 20 times. Food that is not broken down by chewing and adequate stomach acid rots and can cause bloating and swelling. Digestive enzymes may also need to be used to help people get more vitamins and minerals out of their food. Marie uses Magnesium Citrate to ease stress and muscle tension This can also be supplemented to help others who may be suffering from constipation. This vital mineral is involved in over 30,000 bodily processes and is severely lacking in the standard American Diet.

Fast-forward to Sept 2011

Marie is almost at her goal weight and she looks amazing. Many women who have been overweight have to deal with their own body dysmorphia for a few years afterwards. It can be hard to truly believe and realize that there is a thin person in the mirror. She is still getting used to being toned and lean, sometimes our old body image lingers in our mind’s eye. She is active, happy, and full of energy. She is satisfied by the traditional foods in her diet and looks forward to meals full of grass fed meats, organic green veggies and good fats like grass fed butter and coconut oil.

Marie is now only 10 lbs from her goal weight. She is strong, healthy, and confident. She is able to live a normal life not obsessing about her next meal or being hungry all the time. She is able to eat out with friends or go on vacation without fear of gaining weight. She does not spend hours on the treadmill or in the gym and averages about 2-3 hours of exercise per week.

For Marie, it is a New Lifestyle, Not a Diet

Marie tells me she is so excited because she knows this is a plan she can stick with all her life. She also is so happy that she has renewed her health so she can have a family when she is ready. This food plan has also rubbed off on her husband because he cut out sodas and pasta and also lost 15 lbs. He enjoys Marie’s new interest in cooking with hearty foods such as beef and butter. She is looking forward to keeping up her healthy lifestyle and buying more cute workout outfits at Lululemon (her favorite high end exercise apparel boutique)!



Caitlin Weeks Before and After




Caitlin Weeks is a holistic nutritionist and personal trainer in San Francisco. She specializes in helping women lose weight and find peace with real food. You can read more about her personal weight loss journey and the story of keeping off 80 lbs for 10 years on her blog,

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