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Overcoming temptation

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By Emile Hallez

Linda Barnard has a message for her clients: Pour the soda down the sink and stock up on dietary supplements.

Barnard, the owner of a South Jeffco fitness studio, has decades of experience that have produced an ethos that emphasizes restraint and doesn’t accept failure.

It’s been more than a year since Barnard opened DOT Weight Loss and Wellness, which was inspired by her time managing Gloria Stevens Figure Salons in Massachusetts.

So far, Barnard admits to losing almost no clients to temptation — even though a Baskin-Robins sits a few doors down in the same shopping center.

“If they stick to the plan, they’re going to lose weight,” she said of the company’s programs, which incorporate the motivational acronym DOT — Determination Over Temptation.

Most of DOT’s customers stick to that plan, she said. When clients lapse, Barnard picks up the phone and calls them at home.

“We make sure they do,” she said. “I’ll tell you why: We call them on the telephone. We send them cards. We do anything we have to, to make sure that they keep coming in.”

Beginning this month, Barnard will be offering free weight-loss counseling for children ages 8 through 13. The classes will meet once or twice a month, and topics such as nutrition and proper exercise will be discussed.

“We’re going to teach them to make good choices — how to eat properly, how to avoid peer pressure and, obviously, if they need to lose weight, how to help them lose weight,” Barnard said. “I’m totally excited about that.”

Barnard’s studio, at 6730 S. Pierce St., offers a blend of counseling and exercise. Standing before the track-lit pink walls is a tiny gym complete with exercise balls and small benches. The combination of oldies playing on a boombox and water trickling on portable rock fountains provides a feel miles away from the chaotic, sweaty atmosphere typical of a health club.

“Most of the time people either join a place to lose weight, or they join a place to exercise,” Barnard said. “So I thought our clients — they’re joining to lose weight, but should they want to, they can come in. … We work with them, and we’ll work out an exercise plan.”

Barnard encourages clients to stop in at least three times a week, though some come by every day to work on their goals. Barnard and her staff help construct dietary plans, and customers keep food diaries to keep bad habits in check.

“I feel like I’m not starving myself to death,” said Maureen Schultz, who said she lost 25 pounds since joining DOT in May.

Though the alteration DOT encourages in customers’ eating habits is often radical, Barnard asserts that such changes need to become permanent habits, ones that stick around even after a customer has shed some excess pounds.

“Once you’ve created all these bad habits of eating, it’s hard to break them on your own,” said Roxborough resident Michael Federico. “It’s a lifestyle they’re teaching me.”

Despite being a regular at DOT for a mere 20 days, Federico said he had already lost 15 pounds. Weight-loss experts typically recommend losing between 1 and 2 pounds per week, though initial losses, as in Federico’s case, can be higher.

While losing weight is the crux of DOT’s service, the staff agrees that the self-esteem boost that often accompanies fitness is central to their mission.

“I love helping them to feel better about themselves,” said weight-loss counselor Suzanne Roper. “Oftentimes they come, in and they’re not feeling too good. … Sometimes it may be about things other than their weight, but it’s all kind of is related.” 

 

Business info:

 

DOT Weight Loss and Wellness 6730 S. Pierce St. 303-972-0570 www.dotweightloss.net   Open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.