Looking for Motivation


Clients come to Eating Free™ often asking for motivation to lose weight. They look at me as if to say, “Give me a reason to change!” But I would be granting them a huge disservice if I pretended I could give them that reason. Motivation is intrinsic. I may inspire, but I cannot motivate.

In my nutrition practice, what usually starts off as excitement, often quickly diminishes in the face of honest self-examination, a lack of energy, time, and motivation. Struggle comes from looking oneself in the eye and realizing all the negative, bad habits we’ve accumulated over time. Unlearning these habits is only accomplished by learning new ones and “teaching an old dog new tricks” is a challenge in itself. Eating Free™ is not a diet plan. We don’t count calories or points and we surely don’t starve ourselves. In my practice, if a client is not interested in evolving, becoming self-aware, or learning about healthy habits and food – how much, how often, and why to eat – then they’ve come to the wrong place.

What motivates us may come from fear, but hopefully it comes more from a place of positivity, hope, and progress. Do you dream of finishing college, having a family, starting your own business or could your sense of accomplishment come simply from losing weight? Simple accomplishments in weight loss could be taking a walk around the block, bending to tie your shoe, or even just playing with your children without pain or gasping for air.

For example, a client of mine once had a weight loss goal so he could walk without his cane. Several months and 60 pounds later, he left my office and had actually forgotten the cane. As I yelled out to him, “Hey, you forgot your cane!” we met each other with a tear of joy. He had achieved his goal and was free at last!

As a registered dietitian, I teach people all about good, wholesome foods and appropriate portion sizes, but what I really do is have my clients dig deep and visualize a better place. We discuss why they want what they want and we turn that want into a need. Why do they need to be better and how will they accomplish this? Motivation to achieve anything, be it college, a family, a business, or weight loss, comes from this inner place of need, a need to evolve, succeed, and be free.

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About The Author

Manuel Villacorta is a registered dietitian (RD) and certified specialist is sports dietetics (CSSD) with more than 16 years of experience. He was recently appointed national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, which identifies him as one of the United States’ leading weight loss and nutrition experts. Villacorta is the owner of San Francisco-based private practice MV Nutrition, the recipient of two consecutive “Best Bay Area Dietitian” awards (2009 and 2010) from the San Francisco Chronicle and Citysearch, and the creator of the Eating Free™ weight management program. Villacorta also developed MV Professional Nutrition (a software suite designed to assist RDs with their own private practices) and created www.eatingfree.com (an international, Internet-based weight loss and weight management program). Villacorta is a compelling, charismatic communicator—a public speaker, who is often praised for making audiences feel, heard, motivated, and engaged. His warm, approachable style, alongside his strong bilingual proficiency in both English and Spanish, have made him an in-demand health and nutrition expert on both local and national television and radio, and in articles in print publications and online. Villacorta worked closely with Dr. Nancy L. Snyderman, chief medical editor of NBC News, to provide expert nutrition advice on a number of topics for the BeWell network. He is often invited to speak at annual state and national conventions such as The Oregon Dietetic Association (where he was the keynote speaker), and The American Dietetic Association (where he spoke to other dietitian professionals about his successful private practice). Villacorta has acted as a media representative for food companies such as Foster Farms (one of the largest chicken producers on the West Coast) as well as for such California statewide health campaigns as the “California Latino 5-A-Day Program” and “Got Milk.” Prior to setting up his private practice, Villacorta worked as a public health dietitian for California Children Services and the Prenatal to Three Initiative, where he offered prenatal, infant, and childhood nutrition consulting. He has worked as a clinical dietitian for Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco and has held a faculty position with the School of Nursing at the University of San Francisco. Villacorta received his bachelor of science in nutrition and physiology metabolism from the University of California, Berkeley, and his master of science in nutrition and food science from San Jose State University. He has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards for his research, including the Outstanding Master of Science Degree Award from San Jose State University’s Department of Nutrition and Food Science.

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