Updated: Jan 31, 2020
By Marcia M. Fiesal for the Oklahoman
Originally Published: January 28, 2020
Each day, an Oklahoma woman is helping hundreds of women regain control over their weight and improve their self-image and self-concept.
Women who have given up on losing weight have found success with Fitness with Lindsay, a fitness and lifestyle program named for its founder, Lindsay Simpson.
Though she lives and works from a farm in rural Piedmont, Simpson is in daily contact with scores of women who live all over the United States. She coaches online through posts of exercise videos to use at home, writes positive articles to give new and pertinent information and to debunk myths about dieting and self improvement.
Simpson said she knows what it’s like to be insecure, to lack confidence and feel badly about one’s self. She’s been the person at the gym without the knowledge of how to choose or use the equipment, yet too intimidated to ask for help.
After training in cosmetology as part of vocational education at Westmoore High School, she was a hair stylist for many years. Simpson learned about diet and fitness for herself. Along the journey, she realized she wasn’t the only person struggling with weight.
Though she quickly clarifies that she’s not a registered dietician, she earned a weight-loss certification as a conditioning specialist in behavior change and coaching.
She started by meeting women for personal training at a gym two times (later, three times) each week. In time, she realized she needed to reach more women, so she set up Facebook groups in order to communicate. Now, there are no face-to-face meetings or gym sessions; it’s online.
Groups of fewer than 25 people begin every two weeks, and six groups typically operate at a time. Each session lasts four weeks. Word-of-mouth from happy clients has been the most effective tool to gain new members, Simpson said. The fee is a little more than $1 per day.
“Everyone has to start somewhere,” Simpson said, and she tells people to jump in full force. She said she believes the motivation to start a diet is tied with one’s emotional state.
After the first session, members move into a long-term group, and the clients begin to thrive, she added.
“They interact together, and not only about weight. They encourage and affirm each other in messages. There’s a lot of feedback that comes from other group members,” Simpson explained.
About the Program All FWL clients "check in" during the week using the Facebook group page. At midweek, members tell how the week is flowing. Members post weekly menu and food plans, as well as exercise goals. And, one day per week, members weigh at home for accountability and to show progress. The number on the scale is never revealed, but each member posts personal weight losses or gains in ounces and pounds. When a four-week session ends, members post total loss or gains in ounces and pounds and body measurements. No photos or body weight numbers are publicly posted.
There are no pills, powders, vitamins or drinks for FWL members to buy or consume. The monthly fee covers private text or online sessions with Simpson when needed. She answers online questions, and posts recipes and menu ideas, as well as at-home fitness routines.
Participants do not need fitness equipment, shoes or clothes because exercise can be done at home. Participants walk, run, jog, cycle, spin or go to a gym or pool. No matter one’s choices for body movement, Simpson encourages people to exercise in a way that fits their lifestyle and budget.
Simpson calculates calories and determines the macronutrients each participant can consume and lose weight. She divides nutrients into grams: protein, carbohydrates, fiber, sugar and fat. Each person tracks meals by adding foods into a smartphone app.
“I have been with FWL for 11 months. I am down 44 pounds, and have lost over 27 inches. I feel better in my clothes now than I have for years. I don’t consider this a diet; I see it as a lifestyle change. I still eat what I like, but in moderation,” Houston resident Debbie Smith recently said.
The plan focuses on macronutrients, so people keep muscle and lose fat. Simpson communicates the importance of reaching the personal protein goal each day.
“I was very intimidated by the idea of macro counting and of nutrition, yet I walked away with nutrition information and a lot of awareness. It was a retraining of my thoughts. I believe I have an even better understanding of myself and why I eat like I do,” said Regina Webber, nurse practitioner at Lakeside Doctors Gynecology and Obstetrics in Oklahoma City.
Each month, Simpson reads the latest scientific information about diet, exercise and physical fitness.
She encourages all members to set specific and personal goals, and along the way, learn why past weight plans didn’t work.
“I took a huge leap of faith when I started with Fitness with Lindsay," said Heather Flowers, an FWL member from Edmond. "I knew from researching her business that when I did take that step, I’d have to be ready to make big changes and face hard truths. I was right. Lindsay doesn’t take no for an answer and doesn’t let you do that either. She is the most knowledgeable and compassionate person."
Simpson posts new information about dieting and planning tips, and she challenges people to start healthy habits. Video messages are posted to the FWL Facebook group. Topics vary, yet the subjects are aligned with self-improvement and making self a priority.
A women’s health care provider, Webber listens to many patients’ questions about weight and food. A program like Simpson's can help, she said.
“All too often I see women give of self while they pour into others. However, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Fitness With Lindsay encourages women to make themselves as much a priority as other people,” Webber added.
Simpson said she recognizes that many factors affect one’s self esteem and self-concept. Thoughts about food, one’s emotions, physical or medical conditions and medications are involved in losing weight and physical health. She said she knows not everyone will gain from each informational post, yet there is someone who will.
“Fitness with Lindsay literally changed my life. Lindsay has a way of pulling out your strengths and showing you that you are capable of way more than you imagined. She has a way of pulling you out of denial and asking the hard questions. She helped me confront some really uncomfortable situations in my life and in turn, I made some really tough choices that caused my life to turn upside down, which was absolutely necessary. She was with me every step of the way,” said Emily Elneser, of Edmond.
Read the original article on The Oklahoman's website.