Life Coaching Success... Tips to Reduce Stress, Lower Blood Pressure, Improve Nutrition Habits, Generate Optimal Health, Flourish with Positivity
As many of you know, I am a co-creator of a Wellness and Lifestyle Group at the Family Practice Group (FPG). The Wellness and Lifestyle Groups are by far my favorite part of the job. This is because my groups graciously invite me into their lives. I get to see their struggles and triumphs in a more intimate way, that I often don't get to see in my individual appointments. I look forward to every Tuesday evening because I watch these amazing people, who have so many obstacles in their lives, take steps to transform and it is astonishing. Losing weight is not that hard! However, the struggles to keep weight off, create a NEW YOU and a new lifestyle in my opinion is one of the most difficult and challenging things anyone will ever have to face in their lifetime.
My inspiration for motivation story today features an incredible man who has transformed his life and surpasses me and most of my clients when it come to the optimal healthy lifestyle. Rick joined our groups in 2011 at 237 pounds and 42 inch waist. Through his journey he has lost 82 pounds and 10 inches in his waist and more importantly he is in tip-top shape and healthy has improved immensely.
From day one you could not miss Ricks's determination and attention to detail, he used his fitbit to track his activity and loseit.com to track his intake. He set himself up for success because he got direct feedback and data to work with and made adjustments around his habits. He realized one-size does not fit all when it comes to weight loss, so he had to find the lifestyle that worked for him. The real victory for Rick in my opinion, was he was willing to change the culture of who he was, so much so he has now taken on a vegan life style. He doesn't just talk the talk, he does more "walking the walk" than most of us. He should be very proud of all his success in transforming his lifestyle and I am so happy to share Rick's story with you.
Why did you want to lose weight & when did you start your journey?
My family was concerned that I had gained weight, and my wife mentioned she was concerned that by the time I retired, I wouldn't be healthy enough to have the active lifestyle we each look forward to.
What changes have you noticed/appreciated the most other than the weight loss?
My energy levels are higher, and my stress levels are lower. I’m in a high-stress finance job, and I find I am much less likely to be “reactive” in stressful situations… In some ways it is like they say on the airlines, “put your own oxygen mask on before helping the person next to you.”
Additionally, the blood test results that were so concerning in July 2011 have been completely reversed:
July 8, 2011
Feb 13, 2012
HDL “Good Cholesterol”
LDL “Bad Cholesterol”
Risk Factor (Total/HDL)
When/why did weight become an issue for you?
Weight has been an issue for most of my life. When I exercised vigorously, I could keep it under control, but anytime my life started getting busier, my exercise would slack off, and I would gain weight. The issue became acute in early forties when I realized (with Dr. Altman’s help) that my cholesterol, blood pressure, triglycerides and weight combined to put me at significantly elevated risk of heart attack, stroke, and/or Type II diabetes. That was when I decided to enroll in the Wellness Group (July, 2011).
What does a day of eating look like for you most of the time now?
I eat primarily whole grain, plant-based foods. Breakfast is usually Kashi Go-Lean original cereal (great fiber and protein). Lunch is a large salad with a variety of vegetables and legumes to really beef it up, plus Jalapeño peppers for zest, and occasionally walnuts for fat and calories. Dinner is another salad, or sometimes another vegetarian, non-dairy alternative. I find eating healthy in restaurants is actually pretty cheap and easy this way as well, I simply order a salad and ask for cheese to be replaced with nuts or other vegetables, and/or order a veggie burger if salads don’t seem appealing at the moment.
What do you do for exercise?
Jamie has inspired me to exercise at least 3-4 times per week, using a combination of cardio (either calisthenics or the Elliptical machine), as well as exercises to strengthen my core, and weight lifting which emphasizes the stabilizing muscles by using unstable surfaces, one armed movements, body weight, etc., rather than doing basic lifts with heavy weights.
What was the key to your success?
The biggest difference for me between this time and previous efforts is the sense of control I have by learning about and practicing nutrition… it gives me a real sense of control, even when I am unable (or uninspired) to work out. It feels so good to know “all is not lost” if I miss a workout.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone, what would it be?
Believe in yourself, and find what works for you. If you are someone who likes videos, I found ‘Forks-over-Knives’ and ’23 and ½ hours’ both very inspirational and educational. If you like to read, both ‘Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease’ and ‘The China Study’ are great inspirations to me.
What keeps you motivated?
As a bottom-line finance guy, I enjoy seeing the results of all this work, and having detailed metrics of my progress. Consequently, I use an application called loseit.com on my phone to track my food intake, exercise, weight and key measurements. That way, it is easy for me to see whether I am ‘on-track’ or ‘off-track’ at any given time, and to recover appropriately when the inevitable lapses occur. Note, because I follow a fairly regular diet, it takes me only seconds per meal to track, and works very well for me.
Who supports you and how?
My wife and kids have been very supportive, and my wife is actually adjusting her nutrition in similar ways. Interestingly, many other people seemed disturbed by the changes in my body, and keep saying “you’re not going to lose any more weight, are you?” It has taken me a while to simply accept the fact that I am the best judge of what feels right for my body, and to let their judgments go.
What are your next goals for health/weight?
Primarily to maintain this healthy lifestyle, and perhaps to begin doing some heavier lifting to regain some of the muscle mass I had in college.
My challenge this week is make lifelong commitment to YOU! When you do, share your success with others, you never know who you are going to inspire! (R.B. Boston, MA 2012)
My work with Jamie has been to improve my confidence, speak up and... more directly... during situations that trigger uncomfortable feelings around conflict and confrontation. By engaging in personal effectiveness coaching I have learned how to explain myself better at work. I have more confidence now and I realize confidence comes from many things...experience, knowledge and attitude. I have decided to become more conscious about my choices and speaking. I have learned to break down my needs into smaller parts which then helps to ease my stress. (R.T. MD, Boston, MA 5/2012)
It has been my great pleasure to collaborate with Jamie Johnson at the MGH Back
Bay Healthcare Center. I was extremely unhappy when I found out that Jamie was
leaving. She has worked with a number of my patients and done an incredible job.
Sustained lifestyle change is very hard, particularly in the patients I sent to
Jamie. I did not refer the easy patients who just needed me to encourage them a
bit to improve their weight, exercise and habits. I sent her the tougher cases
who were not making progress with usual interventions and who needed more
aggressive management. Jamie did a superb job with these patients and enabled
many of them to make great improvements in their lives. Jamie did an excellent
job of facilitating change in these patients. She did an outstanding job staying
in touch with them and keeping them on track towards their goals. Jamie is very
good at collaborating with physicians and we often discussed our shared
patients. She was also a pleasure to work with and I will miss having her around
the office. My patients had equally great things to say about working with her.
Jamie is very professional in her conduct and is an outstanding health/personaleffectiveness coach.
My patients would report back to me the goals they were setting and achieving in
her work with them. The patient feedback I got was first rate. Whether you are
reading this letter as a potential employer of Jamie Johnson or a potential
client who may work with her, you will be delighted with her service. She has a
tremendous enthusiasm for her work and shows her great passion for helping
people to live better and more healthy lives. I wish she was not leaving.(Boston, MA, January, 2012)
Mark Dickinson MD MPH FAAP FACP
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Associate Physician in Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital
Assistant in Pediatrics, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children
Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, MGH Back Bay Healthcare Center
Jamie has provided nutrition and exercise advice and she understood my circumstances very well. In fact, I rate her helpfulness on a scale of (1-10) a “10” and her motivation has really helped me to respect myself and to be able to say no to others when I cannot do something. I used to put people in the first place and now I put myself first and am feeling much better. My most important goal is to lose weight and I feel I can do this because my energy is very high and I am more motivated to care for myself. I exercise frequently and have changed my eating habits. I sleep well and am managing stress. My self-esteem is very good and since our first meeting, personal effectiveness coaching has been a good experience. Jamie has told me numerous times and I have remembered that now I can make myself feel better by my own thoughts and words. (S.D. 54 yr. old female,Boston,MA, 7/2011)
Jamie’s personal effectiveness/wellness coaching performance including knowledge, helpfulness, understanding my circumstances, quality of advice and motivation is a “10” all around. I had very low expectations about personal effectiveness life/wellness coaching. Now I feel that coaching may not solve all my problems, but it certainly is making me feel there are a variety of things I can do to be more in control of how I live my life. Jamie’s best qualities are positive reinforcement. I never have felt like I failed and my worries are much less. Since working with Jamie, I really appreciate the focus and energy she brings to each session. Personal effectiveness life/wellness coaching has given me different ways of thinking about problems and has taught me coping mechanisms. My anxiety about physical problems is more under control. I am more motivated to think positively that I am in control of how I want to live my life. I exercise more and am working to fit more things into my life that matter to me. I am eating and cooking healthier foods and meals. Less junk food! I meditate regularly which definitely helps my stress management. (J.Z., 70 yr. old female,Boston, MA, 6/2011)
Jamie is extremely knowledgeable in the areas of weight loss, eating healthy and motivation to keep my plan. She is always available and shares ways to improve and she provides many resources for additional information. Jamie completely understands my circumstances, is easy to understand and has helped me attain my goals. Jamie’s advice has been great, I stay on track and if I get off track, we discuss how it happened and what I can do to keep me on track. I have lost weight and lowered my blood pressure, since I started seeing her. The biggest benefit is that I learned how to eat three square meals and snack throughout the day and still lose weight! I don’t diet or skip meals…amazing. I exercise more than I did before and I have changed my treadmill routine so it isn’t so redundant. Overall, I am not stressed out as I have been in the past. Jamie’s best quality is understanding my needs and goals and helping me create a plan to attain them. My expectation about personal effectiveness life/wellness coaching was that I would receive a list of food to eat and not eat, along with a list of exercises to do. Personal effectiveness life/wellness coaching is a whole lot more! We talk about me, what is important to me and then come up with a plan to meet all of my goals. (J.R., 38 yr. old male,Boston, MA, 6/2011)
Jamie helped me a lot with changing habits during our personal effectiveness and wellness sessions. She is very responsible, caring and easy to follow and trust. I am feeling stronger. I have lost weight and reduced my anger level. My mental health has also improved. I have a new focus on exercising and diet management to help me stay off medications. I am better looking with less of a belly. I have more energy and better performance at work and am more motivated with less stress to stay healthy. I am more relaxed and my self-esteem is very good. Jamie has done well to educate myself to achieve health and vitality. (H. J. Boston, MA, 2/2011)
Jamie is a natural teacher. She has a very broad knowledge base, and has been able to provide the kind of information I needed. She is very warm, compassionate, yet determined to see you succeed! She will challenge your preconceptions and push you in a kind way and is a very good listener. Jamie’s words are very encouraging. She knows how to demonstrate a concept. She is very enthusiastic, conveys her passion for her job and it alone is motivating. Jamie knows what she is doing and has used many different coaching techniques with me. Our sessions were always effective. Jamie opened new doors and ways of thinking about my life. I’m still in the process, but at least I can see more of the way. Jamie’s strengths include energy, positive attitude, and skill in personal effectiveness coaching. I really had no idea what to expect and was pleasantly surprised! (R.W. Newton, MA, 1/2011)
Jamie, I have truly appreciated all of our personal effectiveness coaching sessions. I feel fortunate to have you in my "wellness circle". You are a wonderful person. Jamie has extensive knowledge of nutrition and health. She is caring, professional, sincere and has true compassion for her clients. She offers excellent, personalized advice every time we talked. Jamie has offered great suggestions for motivation. She is especially effective with encouraging positive thinking! I have learned to do more planning each day for healthy eating and exercising. I also have learned to change negative thought patterns. Jamie has helped me feel motivated to remain healthy as I get older. I have received compliments on my fitter appearance. My current goal is to continue lowering my BMI. (M.G. Boston, MA, 1/2011)
I would rate Jamie's personal effectiveness coaching a "10" on a scale of 1-10. I have found this to be one of the most helpful exercises I have ever done. This coaching has helped change my life in many positive ways. I found Jamie to be well versed in nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, addiction issues, job skills and family issues. Jamie understood my circumstances which are extremely complicated, immediately. I was greatly impressed with her ability to keep track of all the details in my life. The instruction was well thought out and detailed... and I felt the advice was extremely high quality and bespoke. I used to think of diet and exercise as punishment and now I am more mindful of my body, mind and spirit. Coaching was extremely effective and my girl friend noticed differences immediately. I look and feel younger since I started coaching. I am looking forward to fulfilling my goals in life with small steps and enjoy being the person I have always wanted to be. Jamie understood what motivations would help me be very successful and habits that prevented my success earlier in life. My self-confidence is much stronger, my mind is less cluttered, I focus better and I have a more direct approach to solving problems. I will always be grateful to her for this wonderful personal effectiveness coaching experience. (D.H. Manchester-by-the sea, MA 9/2010)
I am glad I worked with Jamie over the last three months. Jamie is great and I recommended her to a friend. I feel more motivated and confident in my physical abilities. I am exercising much more regularly than I did before and my back feels alot better. I feel more fit and have more energy. I am glad Jamie has kids because she understands my circumstances better. I liked the weekly personal effectiveness check-ins too. Jamie is a good listener and really cares. She keeps you on track. Jamie also helped me manage some situations that I did not realize could affect my health. I can manage my stresses more effectively. My goal now... is to stay consistent and sustain these changes without Jamie, even though I will check-in maybe a couple of times a year. (J.O. Boston, MA 7/2010)
Jamie's best quality is caring for her clients. She has knowledge, experience, empathy and compassion for her client's situation. Before I did personal effectiveness and wellness coaching I was confused and full of anxiety about how to achieve my goals. I had little confidence in my abilities and myself. Today, my confidence has grown and my life is influenced by positive thoughts, self-reflection and the present experiences. I am not anxious any more about how to achieve my goals. I am more confident in my abilities and communication skills. As I keep learning and practicing, my confidence builds and everything else improves. I have been recovering from anorexia nervosa and now I feel happy and my eating habits are more regular...and I do not stress about food and meals any more. I am comfortable with my food and nutrition choices. I get helpful advice, positive reinforcement and unconditional support from Jamie. She listens and teaches me to recognize and understand the positive changes that are affecting my life. Jamie has taught me new ways to deal with the many stressors in my life. She also has given me new tools of coping methods in my head. I feel healthy and happy enough to start regular exercise again. (J.S. Quincy, MA, 7/2010)
Personal effectiveness coaching was was much more than my superficial, rah-rah biased attitude. Jamie brings to coaching a high level of intelligence and knowledge with breadth and depth, wit and a positive attitude that is infectious. She is able to connect with a wide range of people, making each person feel individually heard. Her ability to form an alliance is a real asset. She is very well informed...highly intelligent and enthusiastic about her work. Her positive slant on everything was refreshing and it instilled in me that the huge task in front of me was possible to accomplish. I know that a commitment to this process along with positive thinking is very significant and powerful. (G.V. Boston, MA, 4/2010)
Jamie truly understood my cicumstances, wow. She is a great motivator! I changed my way of eating...I lost 20 pounds and I now exercise 3x's per week. I sleep better, manage stress better and my self-esteem is high. Jamie is very knowledgeable and by involving myself in personal effectiveness coaching I got more than I ever expected. (G.S. Quincy, MA, 4/2010)
Jamie is able to truly explain her role as a wellness coach. She helped me see the flip side of worrying about a problem. She understands my situation extremely well and the excellent quality of the advice was very valuable. Jamie's caring attitude motivated me to be more positive and use a different way of seeing my issues. I am more productive doing chores and my exercise habits have improved. I still am working on losing losing weight, improving my eating habits and creating a compelling reason to want to do this. This was a new experience for me. I understand wellness and personal effectivness coaching and find it to be very beneficial! Jamie understands me and uses her positive, upbeat attitude toward living to help me improve. (J.B. Wellesley, MA, 3/2010)
Jamie is very knowledgeable concerning issues and... in ways in which to solve or alleviate problems. She is very helpful and more importantly offers realistic advice. Especially in her attitude, she is non-judgemental. Another strength, Jamie understands my circumstances and personality type. Sessions are informative and easygoing. Jamie is an excellent motivator. Her kindness and positive attitude makes me want to change b/c I want to, not b/c I feel I have to. (W.L. 48 year old male; Marshfield MA, BP went from: 144/98 -117/76, 2009)
Jamie you were great. I have much higher motivation to keep up both exercise and nutrition. You did an excellent job staying on track with me. My BP dropped significantly! My coach's best qualities were motivation and the ability to make me think about the motivations behind why I am doing what I am doing. My self-esteem is stronger. Jamie was very helpful with new ideas on exercising and eating. (M. W. 30 year old male; Boston, MA BP went from 152/89 -126/84, 2009)
Jamie is a good coach. She motivates me. She supports me. Jamie lets me speak and tell things. I can go for runs now. (B.M. 31 year old male; 148/93 - 118/80)
Jamie has been persistent in helping me with my wellness. I am not the easiest patient to get focused. Although I am at the Benson Henry Institute, Jamie has continued to stay in touch and to offer advice. I find her advice to be a great compliment to Benson Henry. Her advice on cognitive behavior has been spot on and helped me to deal with a very stressful situation. At the end of my 13 week program at Benson Henry, I will be making more use of Jamie. It is a service that is very beneficial. (E.C. 43 year old male; BP went from: 153/92 -140/92, 2009)
Jamie, wellness coaching provided the impetus to my lifestyle changes and made me realize how out of control my eating habits and life and exercise were. Thank you for asking how I am doing. I am down 56 pounds in five months since we first met in June and I am running 5 miles at a time. I ran my 5K on Thanksgiving in 39:45. I don't require any check-ins any more. I have developed a large support network and I will be okay without monthly check-ins. Of course if I have questions, Jamie, I will not hesitate to contact you. (K.G. 29 year old female; BP went from: 152/105 -140/85, 2009)
Jamie is near perfect. This program has been so helpful and continues to be. I would recommend this to everyone. It truly has made me a better person - physically and emotionally. I wasn't motivated to care for myself, now I am - this is a terrific program! I honestly didn't have any idea how good this could be for me. Everyone should do this. (J.R. 48 year old female; BP went from: 152/93 -130/93)
Jamie is a good coach. She gave me the good confidence and support. She does her job perfectly. Thank you for helping me find myself better. I know how to value myself now. I couldn't see myself, I was always thinking about others. Now I am different. I have more motivation for doing the important things in my life. Now I can say I walk five days/ week. My self-esteem is better. I eat less than before and healthier. (F.R. 47 year old female; BP went from:141/84 -123/73)
Jamie's advice was appropriate and helpful and the coaching methodology was effective. Coaching helped me feel more secure and motivated to focus on addressing some things I needed to do. My energy shifted from negative to positive. It freed up a lot of stagnant energy. Managing stress is much improved by addressing the relationship to my thoughts and taking control of them. Self-esteem improved especially turning around anger and frustrations into their underlying values. (J.L. 53 year old female; 115/73 -104/69)
I am doing wonderful. I will say that my stress level has been reduced a great deal after our last session. I want to know what your three month vision is for yourself. My vision is to be more focused in finding a new job. My main focus will be to lose some weight and reduce my stress level. From time to time I do look at the cards we wrote up. What habits/activities do you want to be doing in three months? I have started going to the gym several times a week. I will continue that schedule throughout the spring.What results do you want to achieve? I would love to lose 10 pounds and maintain that weightWhat strengths will you draw upon to be successful? Being positive even if I don't lose any weight, ensure that I do not gain any weight also.Who do you want to be? (List three things you value about yourself.)...being respected, happy and appreciated have a wonderful day. (B.F. 45 year old female; 172/102 -128/76)
Sorry I haven't gotten back to you. Anyway, I am doing pretty well. My back has been in good shape and I have been running a lot...about 20 miles a week, and still swimming once or twice a week. I am signed up for a half marathon at the end of March so I am training for that. Hopefully that goes well and then I'll do a marathon over the summer or in the fall. The goal I set for myself is to run a marathon before I turn 30 next November. I have a friend that is a tri-athlete/marathon runner so he has been encouraging me and I have been running with him. He is starting a triathlon team and wants me to join. I have lost a few pounds. The other day I weighed in under 190 pounds. I was happy. Most of weight loss has occurred over the holidays so the stress and extra food hasn't hurt me because of the increased running. I've found that once I got beyond running 3-4 miles at a time I am really enjoying it and looking forward to the next run. I am only running every other day and on the off days I am just looking forward to the next run and can't wait to get back out there. It is becoming addictive. I guess that's it for now. Happy New Year!(E.A. 30 year old male; 141/91 - 128/73)
The purpose of this letter is to give my highest recommendation Jamie Johnson. As The Director of Corporate Fitness Management at The National Institute for Fitness and Sport, I oversee the operations of a department that staffs and manages onsite health and fitness centers in nine states and offers companies innovative wellness solutions to reach employees with multiple risk factors. The challenges are many and as often these employees are hampered by facotrs of motivaiton, self-esteem, time management etc.
Jamie was hired to manage two sites serving our largest client. Many things Jamie brought to the job were unprecedented. First, her enthusiasm and energy were apparent from the beginning. She was a tireless worker, staying on the job long hours, paying close attention to individual needs and always carving out time to listen and help employees in the quest of achieving healthier lifestyles. Many of these people and were overweight, if not obese. Jamie conducted programs to address all these issues and went oout of her way to serve employees at the second, smaller site which is several miles away. This extra effort went well beyond the expectations of the job.
Jamie is a supreme wellness coach and a true servat leader. She is an overahciever who really cares about people and their health. I strongly urge you to give her your highest consideration for working with her. (B. Burgman, 2007)
You can also contact me for a free personal effectiveness or coaching consultation of your choice at: