Mindset is key. If you’re exhausted and hate going to boxing class but would rather walk that day then do it! You set the limits and the goals, but get creative on how you can modify and not beat yourself up over them! For example, If my child or husband have a day off, rather than taking time away from them, I personally want to spend time with them, I’ll skip my workout or do it when they are gone or go to bed. Sometimes I need to workout I’ll explain I just need 20 minutes to myself and I do what I can.
So many of us have tried dieting. All too often though, many of us lose 10–20 pounds, but we end up gaining it back. Not only is yo-yo dieting unhealthy, it is also demoralizing and makes us feel like giving up. What exactly do we have to do to achieve a healthy body weight and to stick with it forever?
In this interview series called “5 Things You Need To Do To Achieve A Healthy Body Weight And Keep It Permanently” we are interviewing health and wellness professionals who can share lessons from their research and experience about how to do this.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nikki Walter Nemickas.
Nikki (Walter) Nemickas Health & Lifestyle Coach works with Families, Youth and Aging Adults on adjusting to healthier habits though food education, family meal prep, exercise, and is deeply passionate about the importance of family health history to help her clients prevent disease. Nikki’s life hasn’t been short on hardships. Her father died when she was a teenager in an automobile accident, and she lost her 35-year-old husband to leukemia, becoming a single mom at the age of 32. Every challenge she has faced only made her want to be healthier and stronger. She decided to pursue her passions and expertise in fitness and healthy living. Her passion for wellness education, and brining awareness to family genetic history for disease prevention lead her to be a leader and influencer in the health and wellness industry. Recognized in the business world with many distinguished awards, and recognitions in her corporate careers as well, Nikki has appeared on many tv shows, magazines, and websites as a columnist and influencer. A six-time champion in body building, international fitness model, motivational speaker among many other projects she takes on. In 2021 Nikki was appointed to the Kroger WOW Council, and became a Health and Wellness Ambassador, Influencer for USWeekly Magazine.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
I had always wanted to pursue Health & Wellness but my former life I worked the normal life of an office job. I obtained a business degree with an emphasis on corporate Health & Wellness, which I determined after life’s circumstances changed, I became a young widow and single Mom. I made a decision to pursue more of that life of what I love, health and wellness building the business on weekends or extra money, while maintaining a corporate career.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?
It takes a village, and I have had an awesome handful of supportive family and friends that helped me with my daughter throughout almost a decade. Working, training and traveling to compete and model I needed people I could trust and lean on when I had my hardest days of doubt. So many small acts of kindness, and support from others have led to the success I have had.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?
Mistakes are truly lessons learned. Funny, nothing stands out, but fulfillment for sure does. I’ve definitely learned that when we help others, recognizing their talents, we can be unstoppable. I am an advocate for sharing people and resources, to help others grow or enhance. I think that is essential because when you invest in others, partnerships build equity in your business. Equity is giving people what they need to make a change. Helping them grow is success all around.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
“Resilience is really adversity- something you have within”. This resonates, because I think we can all relate to going through things that may seem impossible to handle, especially in different seasons of our life. For me losing a father, and a husband forced me to be less co-dependent on those around me, I realized that my dreams could be a reality if I wanted them to be, that my decisions were my own, good or bad I grew confidence, and resilience. We are never given anything we are not believed we cannot handle. But when you persevere, and look back, much like me you’ll think…how did I get through that?
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
With the help of a great team of people, we are working to help families in Rural America, and to help fundraise for families with genetic cancers and health issues through our #ruralfit initiative. I am also working on an advice novel, and my daughter Addison & I enjoy building our podcast F…it on Apple iTunes and Spotify.
For the benefit of our readers, can you briefly let us know why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field?
Experts in any field are becoming more with the social media madness. I have a well rounded corporate career experience, so I’ve lived the daily issues of balancing parenthood, stress and health. I’ve worked with widows/widowers on health adjustments, care takers of ill loved ones and single parents. I think it’s important to live through, along with our readers to see how they can best adjust to their life as it is. Life changes, seasons and circumstances change. As an authority in the industry, it’s vital to have an open mind and coach them to as well, while providing practical and sustainable advice for each person.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about achieving a healthy body weight. Let’s begin with a basic definition of terms so that all of us are on the same page. How do you define a “Healthy Body Weight”?
Healthy body weight is being at a weight that you feel comfortable with, while trying to stay within yourself recommended BMI. For example, if you loose weight but you have a high BMI you may feel sluggish, or even see body fat in places you didn’t know it could exist. But if you begin to grow or maintain muscle, you’ll weigh the same but clothes fit differently. Unfortunately, genetics and age play a major role in body weight fluctuations, so everyone at some point in their life will struggle with feeling like they are at a unhealthy body weight.
How can an individual learn what is a healthy body weight for them? How can we discern what is “too overweight” or what is “too underweight”?
It’s important not to get stuck on the numbers, but to use a BMI chart as a starting point. I personally would visit with your physician about obtaining a BMI due to the many factors. Sometimes a person may not have a lot of fat stored up overall, but what they do have is the most dangerous kind, Visceral Fat. A person may not be heavy, but their organs could be coated with visceral fat, whose origins, genetically different from that of subcutaneous fat. This can cause metabolic syndrome. If someone has high blood pressure and high blood sugar, they are at a high risk for heart disease, diabetes, or stroke.
This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to expressly articulate this. Can you please share a few reasons why being over your healthy body weight, or under your healthy body weight, can be harmful to your health?
Being underweight is linked to nutritional deficiencies, especially iron-deficiency anemia, and to other problems such as delayed wound healing, hormonal abnormalities, increased susceptibility to infection, and increased risk of some chronic diseases such as osteoporosis. Obesity, fat cells are metabolic active tissue which secrete a number of different hormones and hormone-like messengers. This inflation can lead to chronic disease, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some types of cancer.
In contrast, can you help articulate a few examples of how a person who achieves and maintains a healthy body weight will feel better and perform better in many areas of life?
Start with easy ways to cut back on things, not cut out. For example if you like sweets cut them back from 5 days per week to two, or cut the daily intake back from 1 to 1/2. As soon as we cut things completely out we are Programmed to want them more. Cutting back means cutting back, but for some having none at all is the easiest, it just depends on the person. I would also suggest planning ahead, making snacks ahead of time makes much easier days to get through. I’d you like to cook or hate leftovers, pick days mid week like Wednesday or Thursday to prep fresh snacks.
Ok, fantastic. Here is the main question of our discussion. Can you please share your “5 Things You Need To Do To Achieve a Healthy Body Weight And Keep It Permanently?”. If you can, please share a story or an example for each.
- Create a substitute or healthier version of your favorite meals. This requires effort, but there are plenty of examples online that show you how to cut calories. For example if you like food with ground beef, try cutting back or swapping your ground beef for ground Turkey or Bison. This works well for family dishes such as casseroles, pastas etc. the leftovers can be frozen and the meats if separate can be used in salads etc.
- Exercise: Each day is different but you’re commitment should be the same — that is to commit to you. Things come up, life changes, but the hardest part is to stay committed and disciplined to yourself. On days when things come up, have an open mind to take atleast 10–20 minutes to yourself. If you’re going through burnout, commit to doing something to move. Walk outside, create or find a body weight circuit that you feel would be fun, or call a friend to see if they want to try a fitness class or join you.
- Trust how you feel. Don’t get set on the scale number but pay attention to how you feel, and how your body is changing. Hormones, genetics can determine how your body reacts to foods and exercise, and with age those things can fluctuate. Make sure you visit with your physician about vitamins, or a dietician about possible changes due to medical or health issues.
- Celebrate small victories such as consistency. If your goal is to workout every day for 30 days, but you’re on fay 5… celebrate! If that means walking on a rest day, Drinking more water daily, Cutting back on coffee, or meal prepping weekly, celebrate! Just get through the day and you’ll have accomplished something!
- Mindset is key. If you’re exhausted and hate going to boxing class but would rather walk that day then do it! You set the limits and the goals, but get creative on how you can modify and not beat yourself up over them! For example, If my child or husband have a day off, rather than taking time away from them, I personally want to spend time with them, I’ll skip my workout or do it when they are gone or go to bed. Sometimes I need to workout I’ll explain I just need 20 minutes to myself and I do what I can.
The emphasis of this series is how to maintain an ideal weight for the long term, and how to avoid yo-yo dieting. Specifically, how does a person who loses weight maintain that permanently and sustainably?
The success of this create a culture that is sustainable with in your own life. This can happen by working with a dietitian or physician to understand food, nutrients, vitamins and how they are used to fuel your body. I’m when I work with families, I observe their food and lifestyle habits to map out a realistic plan. Shakes, and fad diets are not sustainable. But creating a versatile menu for a family based on their needs, activity level and budget can reset their kitchen staples and go to recipes, and rewrite their habits over time.
What are a few of the most common mistakes you have seen people make when they try to lose weight? What errors cause people to just snap back to their old unhealthy selves? What can they do to avoid those mistakes?
It’s easy when we reach our goals to celebrate with food, and drinks. Old habits die hard. Situational triggers or nostalgic ways are hard to decline. Your grandmas favorite dish she used to make or binge watching a show because you just want a break can throw you off. Make a point to write down your “why” the reason you’re making the change and remind yourself of how far you have come. Do what you can to allow yourself moderation, but as a reward to stay on track. Celebrate with experiences like a massage, or a new pair of sneakers that you have earned!
How do we take all this information and integrate it into our actual lives? The truth is that we all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
It’s learning your limits, setting them and how to live with them. The discipline of self control, but allowing yourself on occasion to look at what ever it is as an accomplishment, not a punishment. When you think of it this way, it becomes easier to implement and keep nee habits.
On the flip side, how can we prevent these ideas from just being trapped in a rarified, theoretical ideal that never gets put into practice? What specific habits can we develop to take these intellectual ideas and integrate them into our normal routine?
It’s helpful to journal or track on an app. Personally I like to use an app to help me “check off” my list. Set attainable small victories, and when you have conquered one, add another. Allow yourself time. If you take a step back. Pull out that journal and see the progress you have accomplished and know you can jumpstart all over again!
Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I think there are so many great initiatives and programs in existence. I’d like to see more collaborative efforts to share resources and connect others. We are working on an amazing project with Ruralfit as we work to help families in Rural America, I would love to do more with the American Cancer Society to make genetic testing for certain cancers available to everyone. If you knew you carried a dominate gene mutation for a certain cancer you could save lives of your children, siblings etc and make the lifestyle changes to prevent or prolong disease are pre destined to have.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂
I would meet with any celebrity or businessperson of influence who takes time to meet. I’ve met a few famous friends, and the ones who take time to have meaningful conversations or pay it forward are amazing. I’d love to collaborate with them on health initiatives. A healthier world is bigger than a selfie — it’s taking time to work together to create access and implement programs to change the culture in families and communities to create a healthier life for all.
How can our readers further follow your work online? www.nikkiwalter.com
Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.