Living the healthy life and teaching others to do the same

BY JOHNA MAILOLLI

Retail Registered Dietitian

ShopRite of Tallman

Every day, I get the opportunity to announce an inspiring message for associates and customers to hear in my store.  People often ask me, “Where does this inspiration come from?” Inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere, I tell them, even at your local supermarket.

While I have only been a Shoprite Supermarket Dietitian for close to two years now, I have witnessed the benefits and life changing outcomes of our free nutrition services. It’s inspiring to see others achieve health goals that they have struggled with in the past, some for years and some for most of their lives. Even before I became a Shoprite Dietitian, I always believed this could be one of the most impactful positions I could ever take on as a dietitian. Each day I get an opportunity to help someone improve their health and transform their life. This is something you just can’t put a price on. And truly, there is no price because the nutrition services we offer at Shoprite of Tallman are free.

This past year our associate wellness challenge, that took place from January-April, resulted in three associates losing a total of 90lbs! Months later, these three associates continue to carry on their healthy habits and surpass their original weight loss goals. I see changes, not only in their physical appearance, but in their minds as well. They have a more positive outlook on life, they are more confident, and overall, they are happier.  I’ve always believed that when you are in your best health, it’s hard not to be happy.

Paula Phillips and Elvira Papalini are two of my regular clients that have reaped the benefits of this program.  I met Paula and Elvira in November 2016.  They had completed a weight loss challenge 2 years ago at a local library that had jumpstarted their weight loss, but they were unsure about how to continue on their weight loss journey. Normally, I do not take clients in pairs as I find it is difficult to consult two people at the same time. However, I made the exception considering both of them knew they had similar habits to change- they had little control when it came to food and wanted to have a better relationship with food. I also knew they could be a great support system with one another. They had a tight friendship and had both endured the loss of losing their significant others. They came for routine personal nutrition consultations and attended other nutrition education focused events in our store.

Although they encountered struggles, set-backs, and dreaded weight plateaus, they both have been able to successfully regain control of their eating habits and have lost significant amounts of weight. Paula has lost 24lbs and Elvira has lost 20lbs. Paula started a regular walking routine with a friend that also inspired her co-workers to get moving as well. Elvira has been able to see better numbers with her blood glucose levels as a diabetic. They both agree that they feel better about themselves and although it “didn’t happen overnight, it was well worth the wait!” They also share the fun they’ve experienced learning how to eat better at various Shoprite events such as cooking classes and Melodies & Meals, an educational in-store event that involves live cooking demos and music. “This program is different from any other weight loss program out there. Not only do you get private nutrition counseling but there are fun activities going on like supermarket tours, cooking classes, and musical nutrition events. You don’t find this in other programs like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig.  And the best part is that it’s free!  Paula also states that joining this program with Elvira has strengthened and enhanced their friendship. “Hats off to Inserra for starting this program in their stores. It’s truly been a life changer for me.”

I’m excited to share more inspiring stories with you in the future. Remember inspiration can come from anywhere and anyone. Perhaps the next one will come from you.

 Johna Mailolli is a Registered Retail Dietitian for Shoprite of Tallman. She has been working as a Registered Dietitian for the past seven years. She is also a certified health coach and personal trainer with the American Council of Exercise.