Whole Foods for a Whole (New) You

Food and exercise are essential components of a healthy lifestyle.  Exercise is not hard to figure out…there are many good options.  But food?  That’s a lot harder…especially in our on-the-go society.  This is a land of fast food, prepared food, and processed food.  Those are alluringly simple options when you’re in the car, pressed for time, running between appointments, or just don’t know how to cook!

North Ottawa is pleased to introduce a third meal plan as part of its medically supervised weight loss program.  This plan, called Whole (New) You, is based on whole foods such as lean proteins, vegetables, healthy fats and fruits.  It also incorporates education to help people develop a long-term healthy approach to food.

“Nutrition and physical activity changes are about much more than moving the number on a scale,” says Dr. Jennifer Sandy.  She, along with NOCH dietitian Sarah Portenga, RD, are the authors of this new program.  “People who eat whole foods and exercise regularly feel better.  They are often less depressed, and have more energy.”  And from an overall impact standpoint, you can reduce your risk for many diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity by learning to prepare and eat wholesome foods.  “At least 13 cancers are associated with being overweight,” observes Dr. Sandy.  “If we learn to make different choices, we can positively impact our overall health and well-being.”

Dr. Sandy knows that this is not easy to do.  “I talk with people every week who want to eat better, but honestly don’t know how to prepare vegetables,” she notes.  “They try to cut calories, but don’t know how to replace those calories with more wholesome choices, or incorporate those changes long-term.  As a result, their resolve crumbles and they go back to old habits.”

Dr. Sandy’s plan is designed for long-term success.  First comes a meeting with Dr. Sandy and a registered dietician.  “We start by having participants eat foods that are on an approved foods list,” says Dr. Sandy.  “We ask them to focus on meal preparation and planning, and note how they are feeling.   We do this to eliminate cravings, and also to identify any food triggers or food sensitivities that might exist.  Then we start adding other foods back in, but in moderation.”  Over the course of 16 weeks, people learn to eat differently and gain the skills to maintain new habits for a lifetime.   They can attend classes and meet with a dietician to help keep them on track.  For people who are part of the medically supervised weight loss program, NOCHS also offers one-on-one reviews of the food journal, and optional one-on-one coaching.

All services are provided by licensed or registered experts as appropriate.  They are supervised by a physician or physician’s assistant who specializes in weight and weight-related care.

This program is focused on teaching people to fish (pardon the pun) rather than giving them a fish.  “We want people to learn to make their own meal plans, gain some basic nutrition knowledge, and understand what kinds of foods will work best for their tastes, budget and well-being,” continues Dr. Sandy.  “These are important skills for everyone.”

NOCHS is offering seminars to share information about the Whole (New) You program.  Consider attending if:

  • You are looking to lose some weight and are tired of fad diets and yo-yo results.
  • You think you may have food sensitivities but don’t know how to identify them.
  • You want to learn more about the impact of food choices on your overall health.

You can also learn more about the full spectrum of NOCHS’ weight loss options by visiting or by calling 616.847.5489.


Back to News