“I could not lose the baby weight!” 

 

Gwangi Patton

Registered Medical Assistant
Employee Wellness Center

… until she met with Bobbi

When Gwangi Patton needs a motivational boost on her journey to better health, all it takes is a short walk across the hall to Care Coordinator Bobbi Nickel’s office.

 

Gwangi, a registered medical assistant, works the front desk at MNPS’s Employee Wellness Center (EWC), which gives her ample opportunity to see firsthand the improvements Bobbi’s patients are making in their own lives. Bobbi, a registered nurse and certified holistic health coach, is passionate about helping her patients feel their best by teaching, encouraging and supporting healthy lifestyle changes.

 

From her front-desk vantage point, Gwangi started to notice the results Bobbi’s patients were achieving. Because she had tried without success to lose the weight she gained when she was pregnant with her now two-year-old, she was impressed with what she saw.  

 

“I could not lose the baby weight,” she says. “I would check in one of Bobbi’s patients and think, ‘Holy cow! How has this patient lost so much weight?’ I had to see what she was doing in there.”

 

So she walked into Bobbi’s office and asked for help.

 

Bobbi is a holistic practitioner, which means she treats the whole person — body, mind and spirit — and not just symptoms and diseases. Holistic medicine is based in the belief that good health can only be achieved when all three components are in balance.

 

As a first step, she told Gwangi that to reduce food cravings, it was important to make sure she wasn’t nutritionally deficient. So she advised her to take a good quality multivitamin.

 

Next came a lesson in reading food labels and how to tell if a food is high in carbohydrates and sugar. Gwangi has cut way back on both and follows this advice: “Bobbi taught me that if I’m going to have sweets, I need to eat them instead of drinking them. She says, if God wanted us to drink sugar, he would have made water sweet.”

 

Gwangi has changed not just what she eats, but when she eats.

 

“Bobbi said the human body needs to go 12 consecutive hours with no food,” she says. “So if I eat at 6:00 p.m., I won’t eat again until 6:00 the next morning. She said that while I sleep, I burn calories as my body goes through the digestion process.

 

“She also told me I need to work out with little or no food on my stomach,” she continues. “I learned that if I eat first, my body’s going to burn what’s in my belly. But if I don’t have anything in there, it’s going to burn fat instead.”

 

Exercise is now an important constant in Gwangi’s busy schedule. She logs laps on the EWC walking track, and works out at home using exercise bands.  

 

When she needs a little extra motivation, she thinks back to some valuable advice she received from an unlikely source — a life insurance agent. When Gwangi was first hired to work at the EWC, the agent called to see if she wanted to continue her life insurance coverage from her previous workplace. It turned out to be an unexpectedly significant conversation when the agent told her that if she wanted to live longer, she had to get her weight under control.

 

“So I’m going to keep eating healthy and working out,” she says. “I want to be able to run around with my two-year-old.”

 

Gwangi’s now down 32 pounds and counting. Her goal is to lose 15 more, and she’s committed to making her lifestyle changes permanent.

 

“I’m losing the weight in a healthy way,” she continues. “I didn’t have weight-loss surgery, I didn’t take diet pills … I work out, and the fact that I lost it that way makes me feel better physically and mentally. And now I can share my story with others.”

 

 

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Vanderbilt Health at
MNPS Employee & Family Health Care Centers​
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