Local coach spreads gospel of healthy living

admin | 3/22/2012, 5:30 a.m.

Kathlene Hepburn-Okehis message is simple: Soul food is healthy food; just make a few slight changes and you can still eat it. Using what she has learned from her Herbalife diet, the 67-year-old has become a health and wellness coach for the company and will be offering a free eight-week weight loss and nutrition seminar at Mt. Tabor Missionary Baptist Church beginning on Wednesday, April 18th. The course teaches what a healthy diet consists of, how to eat a balanced meal as well as the importance of being physically fit and even offers weekly walking exercises. New guidelines recommend that an active adult woman eat at least five servings of fruits and servings a day, while her male counterpart should eat six and exercise for 30 minutes daily, according to the Centers for Disease Control. However, a 2005 CDC survey found that only 12.6 percent of Black women and 16.5 percent of all minorities achieved followed the guidelines. Hepburn-Okehi knows first-hand the importance of a healthy diet and exercise. For six years, she suffered from an undiagnosed thyroid issue that caused her to remain inactive and eat countless calories daily. She found herself gaining weight until she eventually weighed more than 300 pounds. It was like someone just pulled the plug and I didnt have any energy, but when I would start eating something [the food] would call me until I had finished the whole container, she recalled. I was pitiful. She credits learning and following the Herbalife diet that teaches about the importance of eating whole foods, proteins, fruits and vegetables to helping her emerge from her illness. She has since lost almost 60 pounds and has gained a new appreciation for life. I didnt appreciate this life God gave me and I didnt understand this temple God gave me or understand what it needed to run normally, she said. God has given me a second chance and one of the things He asked me to do was share what I know. Over the course of eight weeks, she will be leading participants in her wellness seminar. More than following any particular diet, she believes that its important to know how the body functions. People can use whatever weight loss method that they want, she said, but I will be teaching about health and nutrition. The class will offer prizes including cash to those who participate in and win the weight loss challenge. One of the things were going to teach people is how to treat themselves without food, she said. The classes are free but there is a fee to participate in the weight loss challenge. For more information call 305-638-3587. By Kaila Heardkheard@miamitimesonline.com