Coach Gila was “born” two and a half years ago. For many years Gila Guzman struggled with maintaining a healthy weight. She was concerned about transmitting unhealthy habits to her children and was determined to rewrite her story.
Fate stepped in six plus years ago. Coach Gila, a voracious reader, was at the library when she noticed the librarian holding a book that caught her eye. The book, “The Blood Sugar Solution” by Dr. Mark Hyman, preaches a holistic approach and encourages the individual to stop dieting and live a healthy lifestyle. Over the course of one year, Coach Gila lost 60 pounds. In the past, Coach Gila had experienced success with conventional diets but always gained the weight back. This was different. She says, “I no longer felt controlled by the scale. I learned I can change my relationship to food.”
People noticed Coach Gila’s new physique and asked her about it. She began unofficially coaching people and offering advice. Coach Gila was set to return to her job as a lawyer (she had been home with her youngest child). Then, with her husband’s support and encouragement, she made a decision: Leave law and go to school, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, for certification to be a Health and Wellness Coach. Coach Gila received her certification in July of 2014 and graduated the program in December of that same year. Upon completing her studies, Coach Gila and her husband founded Main Asset Health LLC.
Since that time, Coach Gila’s career has taken off. The energetic and enthusiastic entrepreneur is involved in many things. Oh yeah, she has five kids whom she has ingrained in the benefits of healthy eating. “When I’m with the youngest at the supermarket, and I say we can’t buy a product, he asks if it’s because it has too much sugar or dye.”
Coach Gila serves as a nutritional consultant at Grand and Essex. She gives customers recipes, advice on how to cook certain meals, healthy food ideas, etc. The supermarket also carries a line of her food. She gave the store recipes, and they cook the food and sell it with a sticker that says Coach Gila approved. Some favorites include turkey zucchini burgers, cauliflower kugel, golden chicken (breast) and avocado lime dressing. None of her food has preservatives, white flour or white sugar.
Coach Gila also teaches nutrition at a Yachad vocational program. She ends each class with a cooking lesson. She describes her work with Yachad as “fulfilling, and an incredible part of my week.” This past summer, Coach Gila served as the Camp Nutritional Specialist at Camp Mesorah. She was in charge of the entire camp’s nutritional needs and dietary concerns.
Coach Gila also works privately with clients on a 1:1 basis. Sessions include lessons on how to prepare a healthy meal on a limited time and budget. “I break it down into manageable steps: what to do at the store, what to buy, when to do a prep session and more,” says Coach Gila. The work with each client is specific to them and is tailored to their history and relationship with food, and needs.
The majority of Coach Gila’s clients are working mothers. However, she has also worked with men and people who have medical issues including IBS and diabetes. One thing that is a constant about Coach Gila’s clients is, “They come to me to be healthiest version of themselves and have limited time.” Her goal is to make healthy living accessible to busy people.
Finally, Coach Gila gives talks on healthy eating. She does so at schools and presents “eat the rainbow” where she goes through food for each color of the rainbow and notes what part of the body it’s good for. Nutrition 101 is information based and is good for older kids. She also has worked with faculty and administrators to help set school policies on Rosh Chodesh, lunches, birthdays, how to bring nutrition education into the classroom and alternatives to food rewards.
Coach Gila also speaks at shuls, with her next gig at Ahavat Achim in Fair Lawn on Monday December 12 at 8 p.m. (contact [email protected] for more information). The presentation is entitled, “Moms Need to Eat, Too.” Coach Gila says, “Traditionally, moms come last and make lunches for others first.” Attendees will receive ideas for easy, creative, healthy, nutrient-dense lunches to pack for work and snack ideas. In addition, Coach Gila is striving to empower women that they need to do for themselves and the time is worth it.
Today, Coach Gila is very fulfilled person. She says, “For years I struggled with being overweight and feeling badly about myself. I now understand why this was my challenge—so I could make a difference in people’s lives and consequently their children’s lives.”
By Larry Bernstein
Larry Bernstein is a freelance writer. To learn more about his services or see samples of his work, visit www.larrydbernstein.com.