Healthy lifestyle puts weight loss within reach


In a society where convenience is a commodity, losing weight starts with making healthy lifestyle choices.

East Federal Way nutritionist Amber Thiel once lived her life as many Americans do. She was always on the go, obsessing about her weight, skipping meals, experimenting with fad diets and finding it hard to resist stepping on the scale.

Things have changed for Thiel. She now teaches clients how to achieve weight loss by first focusing on living a healthy lifestyle.

“If you get healthy, the weight will come off,” she said.

Each year, losing weight and getting healthy top many Americans’ wish lists. They count calories and try the newest fad diets and weight-loss tricks. Alli, an over-the-counter weight-loss pill, is one example of the extremes many go to in an effort to shed pounds.

The pill results in small amounts of weight loss at the risk of urgent bowel movements, diarrhea and gas with spotting when more than 15 grams of fat are consumed in one meal, according to a June 11, 2007, Mayo Clinic article titled “Alli weight-loss pill: Does it work?”

Thiel insists weight loss does not have to be as agonizing as restricting calories or worrying about toting around extra undergarments.

“I’m 30 tomorrow and I feel better than when I was 18,” Thiel said. “It’s time to get off the wagon (of fad diets) and on something stable.”

The more the better

Stability comes in the form of living a healthy lifestyle.

This lifestyle includes eating small meals regularly, drinking water, exercising and educating oneself on how to eat healthy, she said.

Thiel recommends eating often — every two to three hours. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, yogurt, cottage cheese and lean meats are all nutritious foods, she said. Start the day off with a breakfast full of protein and fiber, such as slow-cooking oatmeal or eggs, Thiel said.

“As soon as you put food in your mouth, your metabolism starts working,” she said.

Going long periods without eating will signal one’s metabolism to slow down, launch into survival mode and begin storing more fats, she said. Drinking at least 80 ounces of water daily helps quicken one’s metabolism as well, Thiel said. Pair eating healthy and exercising often, and weight loss will follow, Thiel said.

Kent resident Vicki Buffer, 62, has struggled with her weight for years. She’s tried several ways to lose the pounds, and hopes to be active and mobile when she reaches her 80s. With no significant other or children to raise, she prefers not to cook, and exercise is not among her favorite activities. But by following Thiel’s advice, she has lost 15 pounds since January. Her salmon burger dinners are a far cry from the Lean Cuisines and fast foods of her past.

“It seems to be very very slow, but I figure it took me 50 years to put it on,” Buffer said of her weight loss.

Learning to eat regularly and healthy was Buffer’s biggest challenge. She now eats small nutritious meals. She’s also learned how to successfully shop for her meals.

“‘Enriched’ is one of the really bad words,” Buffer said. “Just because it is fat-free doesn’t mean it is good for you.”

Her next goal is to begin a regular exercise regiment. She is learning about exercises she can perform at home.

“I’m an ‘exercise virgin.’ It’s not one of my big things,” Buffer said.

After years of dieting and struggling with her weight, Buffer is finally seeing results.

“I’ve carried the weight for many many years, and this is the first time I’m losing weight and not focusing on the weight,” she said.

Contact Jacinda Howard: or (253) 925-5565.


Check it out:

Thiel will begin a seven-week course on how to lead a healthy lifestyle beginning on March 24. Clients will learn how to order healthfully when eating out, shop for nutritious foods, increase metabolism and keep a food log, among other things. To learn more or participate, call Thiel at (419) 306-1264 or e-mail

Healthy lifestyle tips:

• Eat foods such as lean meats, fruits and vegetables every two to three hours

• Consume 80 ounces of water per day

• Exercise a total of at least 30 minutes per day

• Educate oneself on pharmaceutical supplements and their uses

• Be aware of serving sizes

• Avoid weighing oneself daily or often

• Hold oneself accountable for the foods consumed and exercise performed

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