With a degree in journalism and a career in advertising, Gina Lang said she thought it would be her husband, physician Larry Ertel, who would be attending training at the Mayo Institute to help others with weight loss and general wellness.
Nevertheless, she found a new passion for helping people meet their health potential. The job came naturally, as Gina has had her own challenges with weight.
“I’m a practitioner of weight loss,” Lang said. “I’ve battled with weight my whole life, which led me here.”
For the past six years, Gina has taken a holistic approach to helping people achieve their health goals at Day One Wellness Clinic.
She said in many cases, weight loss cannot be achieved just by sticking to a 1,500-calorie diet because each person’s metabolism works in a different way.
It is a difference Gina knows personally, as she discovered her resting metabolic rate is only 700 calories, meaning if she were to take in 1,500 calories a day she would more than double what her body needs to function in a restful state.
The resting metabolic rate represents about 80 percent of the calories the average person burns each day, with the remaining 20 percent made up of actions like exercise, travel and activities of daily living.
For patients’ first visit to Day One, they are given a test to determine their true metabolic rate. This rate tells them how many calories they need to consume each day for their everyday living functions. To lose weight, patients can take in fewer calories or use a combination of diet control and exercise. Gina said a healthy rate of weight loss during this time is one to two pounds a week.
But the Day One program is about much more than balancing calories.
Gina said she looks at what she calls the dimensions of wellness for her clients. These eight dimensions include financial, spiritual, mental, emotional, occupational, physical, intellectual and social wellness. The idea, she said, is if a client is having problems with one of the dimensions, it will have an adverse effect on their wellness in the other seven.
Gina says she is not a doctor or a nutritionist. Instead, her program focuses on positive thinking.
She provides clients with healthy smoothies to substitute some meals if needed, and has a large web of professionals she can refer people to in order to help them address different wellness dimensions.
“I work with psychologists, physical therapists and more because wellness is not just the scale,” Gina said. “The scale is a way to measure, but there’s so much more in it.”
Gina encourages her clients to find healthy habits that benefit them in multiple wellness dimensions. She tries to find a healthy activity the client already finds rewarding and make better use of that.
One client had a garden that allowed him to meet four different dimensions of wellness at once: physical activity, social wellness when he shared his work with friends, financial savings from the vegetables produced and spiritual wellness because he enjoyed spending time outside.
The result could be an increased metabolic rate, which makes weight loss easier. Building muscle also helps increase metabolic rate, she said.
“That’s when you get into the routine of losing two pounds a week,” Gina said.
But the struggle could be more difficult if clients are having problems in other dimensions.
“I’ve had clients that have been successful on the program that have lost weight and six months into it they reach a plateau,” Gina said. “So we pull out the sheet (of wellness dimensions) and I’ll ask if something is out of whack. Some clients will say, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m lying awake at night worried about finances because of this situation.’”
Often the issue will not have come out in earlier meetings because of the focus on the physical aspect of weight loss.
“I sent this guy to a financial advisor, because I’m not a genius in all of these areas but I layer people,” she said. “After a month, the client started losing again doing the same thing he was.”
Gina said the human body is very primal. When it feels threatened or unfulfilled, the body will take steps subconsciously to protect itself, including gaining weight.
One client, Bill Anderson, struggled with his weight before coming to Day One. As he and Gina discussed his lifestyle, she discovered part of his time was spent caring for his wife, who has Alzheimer’s.
Anderson has been meeting with Gina for three years now, and has lost 60 pounds.
“I’ve learned about taking a holistic look at life,” he said. “I’ve learned that I can do things, but also that if I don’t do everything I wanted to in a day it’s not going to kill me.”
Day One is located at 1520 Boonesboro Road. A metabolic rate test is $50 with additional advisory appointments at $25 each scheduled as needed patients. Gina can be reached at (859) 474-0094 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I work on behavior,” Gina said. “My coaching is more based with positive psychology and helping people make positive change, which takes time.” §