After nearly 20 years in the food industry and 15 in various positions at Medical Weight Loss Clinic, Consultant Jaye Cooper is a wiz with food and educating patients on how to make it work best for them.
“I can help change food, move food around with timing, make suggestions, and help them try to be consistent if they’ve reached a plateau,” the West Bloomfield resident says.
An example being if the patient eats fruits at dinner and there’s not enough time to burn it off, she will suggest to the patient that they do two fruit portions in the morning or one portion maybe mid-morning so they’ve got the rest of the day to burn it off.
Jaye says that a big challenge for patients is that the foods they love the most may be unhealthy. But she helps patients get healthier without sacrificing their favorite meals.
“I can convert anything,” she says. “If there’s a culture of food they love, I say to tell me the ingredients you’ve been using, maybe I can convert it to something else.”
She recognizes that change is difficult, especially around eating habits and food. Add to that all the confusion and misinformation about food that circulates and change becomes even harder.
“It’s about education,” Jaye says of her job at the Farmington Hills clinic. She says she helps her patients understand what the problem is with what they eat. “It’s beyond losing weight; it’s about making healthy choices.”
“When I make the suggestions and several days later they come back to me and say, ‘I did what you said,’ and bingo they’re down three pounds, I mean holy moly! That’s a huge discovery.”
The most rewarding aspect of her job is changing lives, Jaye says.
“I’ve seen diabetics who are on the verge of getting an IV pump get down to one pill a day — that is huge. They develop self-confidence. They become self-aware. They become proud of their accomplishment. Some are looking for jobs or they start going out socially. In many ways, this is a journey of self-discovery.”
It’s important that Jaye helps patients stay motivated, which can be difficult, especially if they have a setback or plateau. Each patient is different, but one method that Jaye finds to resonate across the board is to set small, incremental goals rather than just one big, daunting one.
This is a skill that Jaye learned how to translate from her time on the dance floor as a competitive ballroom dancer.
“I think what I try to instill in people or talk about is the sense of commitment and consistency and accountability – and there’s always goals. There are little goals we can accomplish and see if we can make a bigger goal.”
Similar to how she transfers what she learns in the dance studio to the competition floor, Jaye encourages patients to take what they learn about foods and portions and see how they can transfer it to a restaurant experience or eating at a friend’s house.
It makes sense that Jaye thinks of her work in ballroom dancing terms, because she is so passionate about both. Jaye refers to ballroom dancing as the love of her life; and it’s a love she discovered 10 years ago once she was already in her golden years, she says.
At the insistence of a former patient, Jaye gave ballroom dancing a try.
“I was like a duck to water,” she says. She competed in American style before switching to International — a longtime goal — with a new partner and teacher 2 years ago. Now her styles include the waltz, tango and foxtrot.
Jaye keeps busy with two private lessons each week, solo practice at a studio once or twice a week and the gym about four days a week.
She’s started to travel to competitions, most recently to Cleveland in October, and she plans to take part in “the granddaddy of competitions,” the Ohio Star Ball in Columbus this month.
“It’s freedom. It’s a release of the inner soul. When I dance, I’m free. It’s flying. There is nothing else in my life. I don’t think about anything else.”
If you want to work with consultants like Jaye who are focused on your unique health journey, contact Medical Weight Loss Clinic today! Book your free consultation here or call 248-353-8446.