Melissa Lehrer, 55, from Morganville has been trying to lose 15 to 20 pounds for years. “The weight always came back. I was maintaining a weight that my body was comfortable at,” she says. But she wasn’t comfortable with it. That is, until she tried Love of Food, a local weight loss counseling service that offers real, healthy results.
“I was never a bad eater,” she says. “I was always eating the right thing.” She chose salads and grilled chicken instead of cake and cookies. Despite trying every weight-loss program, success was hard to find. Then she found Love of Food in Manalapan; a weight-loss program that owner Jerri Bavaro has run for nearly 10 years.
Love of Food: Lose Weight, Not Hope
“Typically, by the time they find me, they’ve tried everything,” says Jerri. “The only thing they regret is that they didn’t find me sooner.”
Jerri says her program is simple, with no magic or special secret to success. In fact, at Love of Food, Jerri personally counsels every client. Over time, she teaches clients how to slowly and gradually change their eating habits. Of course, habits don’t change overnight, so instead she offers the tools clients need to eat better.
“I teach people how to eat from the six food groups,” she says. “There are no tricks. Nobody in the program feels deprivation. It’s a doable way of life and it’s healthy. You’re not missing any nutrients.”
Plus, Love of Food doesn’t focus on what you’re doing wrong. Rather, the program zeros in on what you’re doing right and builds on that, making each plan unique. “The biggest thing is you have to change your habits,” she says. “It’s about moderation and variety. That’s the definition of a healthy diet.”
Lehrer agrees. “It works because it’s a program that’s meant to work,” she says. “It’s a lifestyle that’s sustainable. I haven’t had to give up everything. I can eat bread and an ice cream bar and I’m losing weight.”
Custom Programs for Every Client
Jerri also has programs for people with health conditions such as diabetes or celiac disease. “My favorite part of my job is when people tell me, ‘Look, they took me off this medicine’ or ‘Look at my numbers,’” she says. “That’s my number one goal—overall good health. When someone comes to my office, my goal is to make sure they’re healthier than when I first met them.”
Jerri knows a lot of competition is out there. But she also knows she stands out in a few ways. With most weight-loss programs, clients reach a goal weight and have to maintain it on their own. But with her program, clients still come in for six weeks after they’ve met their goal weight.
Of course, having to meet Jerri in person or online means clients must own up to what they eat. “I’m the cheerleader and I’m also the police officer,” she says.
Thanks to Love of Food, Lehrer is down 24 pounds, going from a size eight/10 to size four. “I’m happy to get dressed and I feel good about myself,” she says. “Jerri is stuck with me for life.”
All Photos: © Jerri Bavaro / Love of Food