The Right Nutrition Choice

MEJacqueline Cokain, 37, joined Wisconsin Athletic Club (WAC) in September of 2011, determined to do whatever she could to get her health back on track after having a child. Cokain started by working out on her own, but was unimpressed by the results.

During Cokain’s membership orientation, she had been handed a flyer for WAC’s Body Budget class, a nutrition class taught by WAC’s onsite registered dietitian, Kim Flannery. At first, Cokain pocketed the flyer, and didn’t think of the class again.

Six months later, still unimpressed by the results from her lone workouts, Cokain decided to look back into the Body Budget program. “By April, I was very serious that I was going to do whatever I had to do to lose weight and get healthy,” she said. “I looked into Weight Watchers®, but then I had remembered from my orientation that the gym had a program.”

Curious, she picked up another flyer and discovered that Body Budget was similar to Weight Watchers, although Body Budget was a cheaper alternative ($30/month for members, $60/month for non-members). “I also thought there may be some benefit to going through a program like this at my gym, rather than an outside source, in that I might be able to get to know more people, and the gym in general,” she explained. “I thought there was no harm in trying it. I could always switch to Weight Watchers.”

Due to the club’s additional amenities and the program’s price, Cokain committed to Body Budget. The class, which emphasized personal choice and lifestyle change, provided Cokain with tools for manageable and sustainable weight loss. She attended the class weekly for support, a weigh-in and to discuss an interactive, educational topic concerning nutrition.

At first, Cokain said she wasn’t sure  what to expect from the class, but was pleasantly surprised. “Everyone was very friendly and welcoming, and the atmosphere was completely unintimidating,” she said.

In addition to meeting weekly with Flannery, Cokain is given additional support via a phone app called “Lose It.” She journals her food intake and exercise in the app — information that Flannery can access. “I have Kim set up in the app to receive daily e-mail reports,” explained Cokain. “She can see what I eat, how many calories I ate, the exercise I accomplished and what I weighed in at the day before. She is always responding to the reports giving advice or encouragement. It’s been really good for me.”

According to Cokain, the most valuable thing she learned from Flannery’s class was to not be too hard on herself when she made unwise food choices. “You can’t maintain perfect,” said Cokain. “When you stumble you have to learn to continue on, not immediately throw in the towel. If I have a bad week and start beating myself up over it, I now try to switch that off and think about how different diet and exercise is for me today [versus] what it was like a year ago. Then I start to think “wow, my lifestyle has significantly changed, and for the better.’”

Since internalizing that valuable lesson, Cokain has lost 75 pounds, and is better at keeping up with her son. “My life is so different now that I have lost weight,” she said. “I have more energy to deal with my very energetic son, no more daily aches and pains, clothes are fun again, and I want to go to the gym now. A day not working out is not as good as a day with a workout. And best of all, I don’t feel a slave to my hunger and food anymore.”

Using the tools taught to her by Flannery, she has transitioned the class’ teachings into her everyday life. “I make my health a priority every day,” said Cokain. “I try constantly to do more — drink more water, eat more veggies, try a new fitness class. Most days are not perfect, but I’m happy with just doing better than before.”

Ultimately, Cokain believes she made the correct decision in choosing Body Budget at WAC over Weight Watchers. “I think I made a great choice and have been in Kim’s program for almost a year now,” said Cokain. “Kim has a friendly, warm and caring approach that makes you want to come to class. I feel more confident that I will be able to maintain good health because of the tools she has taught me.”

How can you ensure your members choose a nutrition program or class at your club over an outside source, such as Weight Watchers? Think of how you can provide for a similar alternative that keeps members within your club, versus going outside of it for weight management solutions.


By Rachel Zabonick

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