Some members struggle with exercising the recommended amount, while others struggle with maintaining a healthy diet. David Barnes, 59, fit into the second set. “Diet has always been my worst offender,” he said.
According to Denise Hernandez, a dietitian at The Houstonian Club in Houston, Texas — at which Barnes is a member — he is not alone. “It is a struggle that many Americans face today,” she said. “We are working longer hours, sleeping less and are involved in a lot more activities, stretching [us] very thinly,” she said. “Ensuring that well-balanced and nutritious meals are available is a common issue. This is why people find it difficult to stay on track.”
With this in mind, when Barnes sought to seriously lose weight, he looked for a comprehensive program that would not only meet his exercise needs, but his nutritional ones as well.
The Houstonian’s Revolution Shape Up (RSU) program proved to be a good fit, as it included workouts with a personal trainer and guidance from a dietitian. “RSU is a magnificent program that encompasses both fitness and nutrition,” said Hernandez, who advises members such as Barnes in the RSU program. “Clients have support from both trainers and dietitians and they are held accountable.”
Barnes started the RSU program in January 2014, and lost 30 pounds as a result. However, he didn’t want to stop there. His goal was to lose a total of 60 pounds by his 60th birthday in January 2015.
To do so, he chose to supplement the RSU program by purchasing private sessions with Hernandez. “I got out of the habit of tracking my food,” explained Barnes. “I felt like I needed a new approach on the menu planning and the diet, so I made an appointment to go see her.”
Hernandez has helped Barnes in a variety of ways, such as providing meal plans and feedback on his food logs. “I also will provide nutrition counseling for any obstacles that he comes across — for example, any weight-loss plateaus he experiences,” explained Hernandez.
Barnes has been grateful for Hernandez’s help. “I’ve got four kids, and my wife travels a good bit, so [Denise] is making it to where I can prepare everything on Sundays so that it’s quick and convenient,” he said. “She’s very knowledgeable, personable and gives you very practical tips on diet.”
Hernandez explained that Barnes is an ideal client. “He is eager to change his lifestyle in order to live a longer, healthier life,” she said. “He has heard his wake-up call loud and clear, and is doing something about it. Clients like David are the reason why I sought a career as a dietitian. He wants help and is willing to put in the work he needs to.”
Without the RSU program and Hernandez’s guidance, Barnes doubted he would have achieved the success he’s experienced so far. “The Houstonian provides you with a wealth of resources to enable you to take a holistic approach towards healthy living,” he said.
Considering this, Hernandez stressed the importance of clubs having nutritional guidance available to members. “Having a dietitian on staff is essential to helping clients see results,” she said. “Weight loss and sound nutrition are not learned overnight and involve several steps to achieve. Therefore having a dietitian available is extremely helpful.”
By Rachel Zabonick