Weight Loss & Nutrition Counseling

how it works

The Consultation

45 min - 1 hour

What We Discuss

  • Current eating habits
  • Challenges you are currently facing regarding your food choices, health and lifestyle
  • Medical history and current medications
  • Your motivating factor for taking action now

What We Determine

Our Counseling

two 30 min. sessions per week

What We Review

What We Determine

  • Meal outline for upcoming week
  • Stragegies for eating during special occasions (parties, work events etc.)

Between Meetings

  • Construct own meals based upon food categories (starch, protein, dairy, fruits, vegetables)
  • Log food intake, hydration, activity and sleep habits
  • Contact nutritionist with questions via direct message

Weight Maintenance

biweekly or monthly sessions

What We Problem-Solve

  • New eating challenges
  • Preparing for upcoming events

What We Reinforce

  • Concepts of healthy food choices and how to incorporate special events while staying in control of your weight and health

Understanding Your Habits

Before you can make any changes to how you think about and eat food, our counselors must understand your current behaviors and tendencies.  Contributors to poor nutrition and excess weight include stress, travel, work schedule, nutrition knowledge, and many others.  During your one-on-one consultation, a nutrition counselor will gather this information with questions such as:

  • What does a typical day look like for you?
  • What do you struggle with when choosing your foods?
  • Why is making a change so crucial now?

Collecting this information is important because it allows our nutrition counselor to determine where you can begin to make improvements, and it gives you the opportunity to reflect on choices that have become routine decisions.  We know that small compromises here and there become bad habits and can result in your weight and overall health being far from where you want it to be.

Based upon your conversation, you and your nutrition counselor will decide whether or not OnPoint is right for you.  If it is (and we hope that it is!), a counselor will begin to work with you to create a meal outline that fits your schedule and nutrition needs.

During future meetings, using your current habits as a starting point, your nutrition counselor will begin making recommendations to make it easier to eat nutritious meals and satisfying snacks throughout the day to jumpstart the weight loss process.

How We Build Your Plan

First, a nutrition counselor determines how much energy your body needs to make it through a normal day.  Using your age, height, gender, and other factors, we calculate how much energy (measured in calories) you will need to steadily lose weight.  However, calorie counts are not rigid rules.  Because everyone’s body chemistry is slightly different, our counselors use this calorie range to determine macronutrient proportions to guide food intake and target ongoing weight loss.  In building your plan, two factors are key:

  • You should not be hungry: effective weight loss occurs when your body can maintain ongoing metabolic activity
  • You should eat a variety of foods: a plan including all major food groups best supports long term weight loss success and eliminates ongiong feelings of deprivation
Academic nutrition research has shown that a high-protein, medium-fat, low-carbohydrate diet supports higher likelihood of successful long-term weight loss.  Following this principle, our nutrition counselors then work with you to structure your meals to include a variety of foods (meats, fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy) that include all of the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fats) that your body needs to feel satisfied.  Our approach divides the food universe into five categories to guide nutrition planning efforts:
  • Starches: whole-grain breads, oatmeal, beans, and many others
  • Protein: poultry, pork, fish, beef, soy products, and many others
  • Fruits: apples, oranges, bananas, and many others
  • Vegetables: peppers, carrots, lettuce, cucumbers and many others
  • Dairy: milk, yogurt, cheese

Our goal is for you to eat 5-7 times a day, which includes a combination of larger meals and smaller snacks.  The purpose is to eat enough food to support a high level of metabolic activity.  As you lose weight, your nutrition counselor will teach you how to reduce your food intake to support a slimmer you.

How We Select Your Goal Weight

Nutrition research suggests that rapid weight loss is both unhealthy and unsustainable.  Our goal is for you to lose approximately 1-2 pounds per week.  The following factors influence how you and your  nutrition counselor work together to determine your weight loss goal:

  • Your demographics: age, height, gender, Body Mass Index (BMI) estimate
  • Your body type (measurements such as waist, chest, bicep, thigh size)
  • Your time horizon

Losing 20-, 50-, or 100- pounds can be a daunting task.  Your nutrition counselor will work with you to divide your long-term goal into manageable chunks to begin the transformation toward a healthier and more nutritious lifestyle.  These smaller, specific, and measureable goals will help you turn your aspirations into actionable behavior, and provide benchmarks to begin measuring your success.

At the same time, your nutrition counselors are flexible, and you should be as well.  We believe that eating the right foods and being disciplined will yield positive results.  If you are doing the right things (working with your nutrition counselor to learn nutrition fundamentals, exercising discipline in what you eat), but not losing weight at the expected rate, you and your nutrition counselor will adjust your weight loss plan to work toward more realistic goals.

Picking Your Meals

It is very hard to be successful if you are “forced” to eat food that you do not like.  Furthermore, it will be even harder to lose weight if your meals do not fit your schedule.  Your nutrition counselor works with you to make planning your meals simple, including meals that both you and your family enjoy.  All foods in the Complete Food Guide can be incorporated into any meal.  However, certain rules are non-negotiable:

  • You must eat breakfast: gotta get that metabolism going
  • You must log your food accurately: how are we going to help you improve?

For example, suppose you have an early morning work meeting.  Your nutrition counselor may suggest taking a bowl of fruit to eat in the car, or recommend instant oatmeal that you can eat in a few minutes before leaving your house.  Maybe you are in the classroom all day with students and cannot eat lunch until 2 pm.   Together, you and your nutrition counselor will choose quick, easy snacks to keep you full throughout the morning and in control of your appetite.  Perhaps you are getting together with other moms after your child’s weekly play date.  During your visit, we will check out the restaurant’s web site and help you select a few nutritious options that are likely to be prepared in a healthy manner and align with OnPoint’s high-protein, moderate-fat philosophy.  That way, you will arrive at your luncheon well-prepared and in control.

The point is, we know that you will be the most successful in losing weight if you get to pick your meals and learn how to manage your day.  We will help you get there.

Meeting Regularly = Success

You will begin to treat your meetings with your nutrition counselor as practices.  The football or basketball player does not become a professional overnight.  Neither does she reach the major leagues by teaching herself how to play.  Having a coach is key.  As you work with your nutrition counselors, they will begin to understand your habits and will know the important questions to ask to keep you on track.  We’ll warn you now.  Your nutrition counselor will be tough.  They are your coach before they are your friend, and they know how to offer the positive reinforcement you need in order to maintain your focus in making a lifestyle and nutrition change.

Meeting with a nutrition counselor twice each week encourages you to regularly reflect on your food choices and eating patterns, and allows you to quickly make incremental improvements and nip bad habits in the bud.  Because many small changes are easier to make than one massive readjustment, meeting with a nutrition counselor on a regular basis helps keep you on track and accountable to your weight loss and nutrition goals.

Further, regular visits enable you to discuss upcoming events with your nutrition counselor.  You can prepare for tomorrow’s charity gala, or think through how you will handle the all-you-can-eat buffet at the summer barbecue.  In the same way, coming in to recap these events shortly after they happen allows you receive instant feedback on unforeseen challenges that you tackled during the event.

You Eat Real Food

Preparing and eating your own meals is a key component of your weight loss and nutrition success.  We are aware that there are other weight loss methods on the market that rely on taking pills such as “fat burners” or “metabolism boosters”. Other systems force you to eat pre-packaged meals loaded with preservatives and synthetic ingredients.  Unfortunately, our nutrition counselors also know that these programs are often successful during initial weight loss.  However, how do you expect to maintain your healthy weight?  Do you plan to take the pills for the rest of your life?  Do you plan to eat pre-packaged meals three times per day, day after day (after day…)?  A recent 2015 study in the British Journal of Nutrition (Volume 113) found that eating non-diet pre-packaged meals (aka "TV Dinners") was independently associated with abdominal obesity, and was directly correlated with higher levels of energy intake and poor adherence to national nutrition recommendations.

We believe that successful weight loss and weight maintenance takes place when your “normal routine” mirrors your weight loss program.  In this way, your nutrition counselor teaches you the right foods to eat, and adjusts your food quantities to achieve 1-2 pounds of weight loss each week.  You will learn both how to cook your own meals at home, and how to identify the healthy options on a restaurant menu.  During weight maintenance, you will continue to eat the same foods, but you will learn how much food your body needs to feel full, satisfied, and sustain your healthy weight.

Eating Out Takes Practice

We like going out to eat just as much as you probably do, mostly because we can not recreate the awesome dishes at Philadelphia’s best restaurants within the confines of our own kitchens.  Eating out at restaurants can be tricky because menus are designed to make everything sound delicious (as they should), and our challenge is to help you pick foods on the menu that will hit every note on your taste palette and not do any damage to your waistline.  In addition to talking to your nutrition counselor about your upcoming plans, we have put together a special Guide to Eating Out that will help you once you sit down at the table.  Across a variety of cuisines, your nutrition counselor teaches you what food styles to look for (i.e. baked, grilled), and key terms that you should avoid (creamed, basted).

Beyond formal dinners at your favorite restaurants, our nutrition counselors also know that your schedule may force you to make quick stops for meals throughout the day.  You will learn how to build a healthy burrito at Chipotle, or how to decipher the Wendy’s menu for an option that won’t sabotage your day.  Furthermore, your nutrition counselor will teach you helpful tips regarding unexpected places that offer healthy meals (for example, made-to-order salads at the grocery store), or important questions to ask while ordering at a restaurant.

We hope that you will learn not to be scared of your food, or intimidated by circumstances such as lavish buffets or awesome dessert tables.  Instead, your nutrition counselor will teach you how to calmly evaluate your options and make smart choices to keep you on track with your weight loss target.

Looging Your Food Is Critical

You may hate writing. You may strongly dislike keeping a log. And to be honest, we won’t make you do anything that you do not want to do.  However, how will you be able to identify your areas for improvement if you do not understand your current habits and patterns?  How can we celebrate your successes if we cannot see how you conquered difficult situations?

Our most successful clients log all of their food: the good, the bad, and the potentially ugly.  Most of all, your nutrition counselor desires for you to be honest.  Your food log is not a scorecard, and your nutrition counselor will not treat it as such.  Instead, the food log allows you to determine where you need to dedicate the most attention and energy into making yourself better.

We try to make it as easy as possible to log your food.  We have paper forms that you can quickly fill out after a meal, and an online app that lets you input what you have eaten throughout the day.  Developing an active and mindful sense of what you put into your body will help you continue to make positive and healthy improvements as you continue to lose weight.

Your Ongoing Support System

Our nutrition counselors define success as you feeling trimmer, more energetic, and in control of your choices and eating decisions.  Usually, this coincides with you losing weight. However, reaching your weight loss goal is not the end-game.  Our objective is that you continue to use the knowledge and skills you develop while working with your nutrition counselor to maintain your new weight.

We hope that you continue to work with us after your built-in maintenance period ends, but ultimately, this is your choice.  If you continue with ongoing weight maintenance, you can:

  • Schedule bi-weekly meetings with our nutrition counselors
  • Send us unlimited questions via email, twitter, or the OnPoint App
  • Attend monthly learning events with our nutrition counselors

We know that this will not interest everyone.  However, even if you choose to continue weight maintenance on your own, our hope is that you will continue to use your OnPoint materials to sustain your healthier lifestyle:

  • Weekly Planning Sheets and Food Log: to the extent you need to, use the planning materials to structure trips, long work days and other events in which structure will set you up for success
  • Complete Food Guide: you continue to eat healthy, lean, and filling foods
  • Tips to Eating Out: this handy pocket guide can keep you on track at restaurants
  • Recipes: our approved recipes will make you forget about the foods you used to crave

Academic Literature Review

We developed our weight loss and nutrition philosophy from a variety of published scientific research.  Nutrition Science continues to evolve as scientists learn more about how our bodies work and interact with the environment.  While there will always be a point-of-view that challenges ours, we are confident that our approach, grounded in hard science and rigorous research, will continue to help you take back control of eating and food-related challenges.  Click below to read more about OnPoint's scientific roots: