Once over 200 pounds, Misty Humphrey’s new website FreeHealthyDietPlans.com is where this one-time larger than life dieter shares her lifestyle, experience and knowledge with readers. Offering counseling and coaching to those who could use an extra nudge from the Certified Holistic Nutrition Educator and a member of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (say that five times fast), if you’re lucky enough to live near her in California, she offers shopping trip therapy (holla!). If you prefer to reach out and touch someone online, her services rival what locals offer–and better yet, as someone who understands low carbohydrate, healthful eating, she’s already in your corner.
We caught up with this hot vixen when she had a moment between her green smoothie and an appointment with a client to ask her about everything from coaching to making the commitment to change.
So we’ve known each other a few years now because of the forum lowcarbfriends.com (holla!). Has participating in a forum in any way influenced your decision to help people as a weight loss coach?
Absolutely! In reading the forums and through my participation for the past ten years, it dawned on me that most of the folks that frequent the low carb forums are depressed, frustrated and looking for easy to understand answers. Not all of us are technologically adapted and I found myself consistently answering the same questions over and again. I didn’t have the ability to be curt and say, “Use your search tool.” Instead, I would answer each and every question over and over! The interesting observation I’ve made from this is others began repeating what I had posted and at that point I knew folks were listening and as there is no “I” in “team”, my low carb buddies were helping me and the original posters out. This not only helps the posters but it truly helped me to retain the information.
Please explain what a weight loss coach does. I mean, what do you do beyond what posters can do on their own through forums?
In my particular case, I am holistically trained to assist the client in making healthful food choices to prevent disease, improve the immune response and normalize the body. This means that I have the ability to direct someone should I deem it necessary for further metabolic testing. Not only can I direct someone, I can receive them back with an assessment and help them meal plan accordingly. I utilize a professional program called “Food Pharmacy”, a cutting edge nutrition software tool that eliminates the guess work for those suffering food allergies and/or the need to eliminate contraindicated foods. With all of the conflicting information on bulletin boards, sometimes the client needs one person to assist them in locating the right answers for their biochemical individuality. It is fabulous that we have so many educated folks in the low carb community, but when one finds there are ten different recommendations in their post, how, when and why do we put all of these recommendations in place in our own plan? It’s also important to note that we can constantly talk about what promotes weight loss or gain, but to really understand how the foods we consume affects us, we need further education. I am constantly working to assist the dieter in understanding how dangerous their previous food choices are to their family members.
What kinds of hours are you keeping right now? Don’t you feel a little bit glued to technology to do this gig? How do you decompress?
Currently, I’m fairly consistent. I am also a Real Estate agent which prevents me from being tied to the computer with nutrition which is usually my first choice. I wake in the morning, have a cup of coffee, I then grab my computer and read journals, say hello on the boards, do a bit of work on my web site, check my e-mail and go about my day. If I’m out and about, I’m not tied to the internet. Something I have not embraced is the mobile technology. While I want to be accessible, I don’t want to get burnt out. That is a promise I made to myself. To decompress, I’m an outdoor enthusiast. My husband and I try to take a “field trip” a couple of times a month but my decompression moments are at the gym. I belong to a health club that has everything I need.
How do you pair clients with eating plans? Is there ever not a good fit?
I pair clients and eating plans based on a questionnaire assessment. This questionnaire has quite a few questions that allows me to dig into the client’s biochemical individuality as well as lifestyle. Should we find the program not working, we adjust macronutrients. We are one species with the same micronutrient needs provided by that of the macronutrients we consume. Amounts of each will vary based on medical condition, metabolism, lifestyle and taste.
How do you handle the exercise equation?
The human frame was made for movement. I encourage some form of exercise. However, if one is performing exercise that one dislikes, the chances are great that they will not continue the program. I always encourage my clients to choose exercise habits that they can live with and be consistent with. It actually takes very little exercise to maintain a healthy body. I’m a promoter of a short HIIT type cardio with weight bearing exercise three times a week and admire the person who can focus in a yoga class.
How much is the success of the client on you and how much is their responsibility?
Like a good ball game, I throw the ball and the rest of the plays are up to the client. The responsibility lies in the hands of the client. I just deliver information and guide. If the game isn’t being played, I gently coach. If the client/player is not participating in the game, I can be a firm coach. A firm coach will present the information to the player in a calm, educated manner that allows them to think about their choices and how they affect the final score in this game we call nutrition.
Have you had some particularly hard cases, where the client maybe isn’t quite ready to make the changes you’ve suggested? What happens then?
I have a couple of cases I can think of actually. Each one of these clients had different cases of circumstance. Examples include illness, family tragedy, lack of interest and addiction. Lack of interest is the most difficult for me to help the client over come. It’s more difficult than addiction. I find that one must get to a low in order to obtain interest. Interestingly enough, sometimes illness isn’t enough of a low as in a case I’m dealing with right now.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of working with someone over a long distance?
The advantages are clearly the benefit of convenience. One can turn their computer on and have an e-mail from me, a blog update, without even brushing their teeth first! The disadvantage, without face to face contact, is the message has no eye contact, no voice, no gentle hand. I’m a loving, compassionate person. Looking into the eyes of my client, holding their hand and being able to say, “I’ve been in your shoes, I understand and I can help,” has had an impact on both my client and myself that I can’t even begin to put into words.
Do you feel pretty much in your element, regardless of venue? Has anyone taken you up on the shopping trip yet? It looks like a hella good time.
Oh, I love my shopping tours and have had quite a few. I can actually draw an audience! It is especia
lly interesting when helping the client shop for full fat fare. This is a fabulous experience. How many times have we gone to our favorite bulletin board only to have a poster exclaim with great depression that their purchased item has sugar in it or the front of the label states “0” grams of trans fat per serving. It is freeing to be able to understand the labels as well, understand how to make choices based on their plan. We’ve all spent many hours mindless shopping. When we have to begin to think about our purchases, it can be confusing and overwhelming.
Have you considered teaching some cooking courses to locals to help them prepare healthier meals?
I haven’t considered cooking courses but my husband has. He enjoys cooking very much. He develops many of the recipes I have on my site. While I love and enjoy food and different cuisines, I’m not as excited to cook. This is why I am linking to sites like yours and others. Eggs are always my default meal if we’re not cooking one evening. I have however, held lectures locally and they are quite successful. I am currently working on putting together a nice lecture that I will film and upload on to my web site.
What are your long term goals with regards to helping others?
That’s something I’m evaluating now. I am in a unique area in California and the ability to continue my education abounds. I am interested in a local herb school as well, continuing my education in a more clinical fashion. I have found that as a holistic nutrition educator, by the time I’ve reviewed the assessment, many are suffering many current common ailments of their nutrition choices. By continuing my education in a clinical manner, I will be able to receive referrals from local practitioners.
What is your personal motivator for keeping the weight off for as many years as you have?
Of course now, my main motivation is to “walk the talk”. No one wants to see a dentist with missing teeth just as a client won’t take a fat girl seriously trying to assist them in losing weight. Most importantly though and something I will never lose sight of is that I have finally found the freedom from food, addiction and a properly firing neuro-transmitter system. I didn’t realize how affected I was by my essential fatty acid/ amino acid deficiencies. I think more clearly, I am a better mother, wife and a better friend to myself and others.
Five quick things someone can do right now to make a positive change in their health and eating habits?
1. Begin by eating breakfast. Breakfast is our most valuable meal as it sets us up for regulated blood sugar control. The dieter that consumes breakfast is always more successful. Eggs fried in butter and topped with avocado would be a fabulous start to anyone’s day.
2. Add something healthy to your day, whether it’s a nice salad, a cup of broccoli or even a scoop of green powder in your glass of water. Even if one added a tablespoon of cod liver oil to their day, the body begins absorbing those nutrients and the healing process begins. One can lose weight, but to elevate your health is of greater benefit both for weight loss and the prevention of disease.
3. Eliminate one bad habit a day. If you’re a soda drinker, drink one less a day. This includes diet soda. If you snack on a candy bar at 3:00p.m., have an apple dipped in a nut butter instead. Small changes and habits lead to bigger changes that will show marked improvement.
4. Drink water with a nice squeeze of lemon. Many practicing the Standard American Diet have unhealthy livers. To cleanse the liver is to metabolize fat.
5. Commit to reading and learning about your body even if just a small paragraph. We read so many directions about so many household items but haven’t a clue about our most valuable asset, the human body.
Are you prepared for that dreaded diagnosis?
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
To heal. I used to want to fly, now I just want to heal.