We’re excited to introduce you to Colleen Drummond, RN, B.S.N, T.T.S. and Heidi Maher, L.D.N, M.S., B.S. of Ideal Weight Loss Center. Colleen and Heidi share how finding your niche (weight loss and management, in their case) can shape business success.
What influenced your decision to specialize in weight loss?
Colleen: As a nurse, I have always been passionate about helping people feel better. Choosing to specialize in weight loss, however, evolved from a very personal reason.
Both my husband and I had put on weight in our mid 40’s, and were wanting to lose weight and feel better. We followed a healthy eating plan recommended to us by a friend and experienced great success.
But as a nurse, I thought I understood what healthy eating was but when I really examined my food choices and eating habits I learned that I was not making the best choices. Our friends and family were noticing the change in us and asking how they could follow our plan to achieve their weight loss goals. My husband and I decided to open a weight loss center to help the people in our community to achieve their weight loss and health goals.
Heidi: For me, the credit goes to my oldest sister, who is 12+ years older than I am. I remember conversations centering around my sister’s weight when she entered adulthood. She was blessed with a curvy figure, but struggled with her weight at times. (Since then, she has done a wonderful job losing weight and keeping it off!)
Because I was little, I had no solutions, but finding one sparked my interest in nutrition. In junior high, I naturally gravitated towards home-ec and started learning more about food. Then, I went on to take foods, as well as psychology classes, in high school. This led me to pursue an undergraduate degree in dietetics with a minor in psychology, followed by a graduate degree in Nutrition & Health Promotion from Simmons College.
How do you combine your studies of nutrition and psychology when working with your clients?
Heidi: Knowledge of human psychology can help motivate clients to make changes. Sure, we can educate clients how to eat, but actually helping them get motivated to follow their plan is another step.
Combining nutrition and psychology helps clients learn how to eat, but also allows them to turn inward to figure out what their “why” is and use that to keep them motivated throughout their journey. We’re not robots and have emotions that spring up from time to time, so when making changes it’s important to have tools to help clients navigate those feelings.
How do you think focusing on a specific niche has helped Ideal Weight Loss Center grow?
Colleen: Weight loss is usually the primary goal of our clients, however, the other benefits that our clients experience is what really helped our business grow. As our clients achieve a healthier body composition, they feel better and recognize the other health benefits – having more energy, sleeping better, feeling less stressed, and reducing or completely eliminating medications [for high blood pressure and diabetes] – which helps them live better. This is enormously rewarding for our clients as well as for us at Ideal Weight Loss Center.
How has technology helped you practice and run Ideal Weight Loss Center?
Colleen: Technology helps us connect with our clients in real-time and meet their needs efficiently and effectively. Our clients lead very busy lives and we are always looking for ways to make our services more easily accessible. The addition of the Healthie App to our practice has had many benefits. Through the Healthie App food journaling and appointment scheduling, our client experience has improved.
Heidi: Technology has helped in a few ways. Using Healthie, I feel more connected to my clients as a whole, which helps provide a well-rounded experience.
Also, our InBody scale really sets us apart because not only does it tell us clients’ weights, but it breaks it down into total body water, fat, and muscle percentages. Plus, we can see how strong clients are and their change in muscle mass, which is nice when they start increasing physical activity. If we are not seeing the results we want, this information can help us tweak their plan.
What is your biggest source of referrals of new clients?
Colleen: Without a doubt, our biggest source of new referrals is from our existing clients. This has been enormously rewarding for our center to know that our clients trust us and believe that we can help the people in their lives that matter to them. Achieving a weight loss goal is a very personal journey that we feel privileged to help our clients achieve.
Heidi: With that in mind, we do our best to truly provide the best service we can. To do that, we stay current with information, and I learn a lot from courses I need to take for my license.
What’s your number 1 piece of advice for those starting in private practice?
Colleen: I would say one very important thing to know and understand is your own personal scope of practice. The most important thing is that your clients are successful and reach their goals in a healthy manner. Sometimes our clients need services that are beyond what we can provide. When this happens, do not hesitate to recommend or guide your client in exploring other options or support to help them achieve their goals. We’ve referred clients to physicians, counselors, or mental health specialists to assist them in making the healthy lifestyle choices they need to reach their goals.
Heidi: Be willing to take a risk, have faith in your talents, and be patient.
"Be willing to take a risk, have faith in your talents, and be patient."
What does the future of Ideal Weight loss Center look like?
Heidi: Right now, we are looking to find more ways to promote telehealth. In addition, we are looking to start using the Superbill feature in Healthie, so hopefully more people will find our services affordable. As always, we constantly try and find the best ways to promote what we do.
Colleen: At Ideal Weight Loss Center, we look forward to helping many more clients achieve their weight loss goals, as well as continue to help our current client base maintain their new healthy weight. We are consistently evaluating the programs that we offer and improving and expanding them to meet our client’s needs.
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