Divine Nutrition


Sometimes in public, I hear comments like “That person is so fat, why don’t they lose some weight!” As a registered dietitian, I’m aware of the complexity of weight loss and am sensitive to the plight of obese or overweight people. Hearing such hurtful words, I just want to reply “It’s not that simple, stupid!”

The biggest myth in weight loss is to eat less and exercise more, as if it were just that easy. Eating less and exercising more causes a vicious cycle of malnourishment, starvation, storage of body fat, and increased risk for chronic disease. So when Kevin walked into my office at 412 pounds and unable to afford my program, something told me I had to help. I saw in him confusion, exhaustion, and an eagerness for change and at that moment, I decided I would take him on as a client for free. The only thing I required from Kevin was a commitment to change.

A year and half later of following the Eating Free plan, no surgery, no pills, along with daily check-in emails, daily food recording, counseling sessions every other week, and serious behavioral modification, Kevin has lost 175 pounds. It wasn’t easy and many days were a struggle, but I wonder sometimes what would’ve happened if I just let Kevin walk out my door at that first meeting. Perhaps it was divine intervention or just plain simple altruism, kindness, and sensitivity that more of us should practice more often.

Photo crdeit: Photo.com

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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