Nursing

Jody Orfield’s journey to fitness detailed at first Lunch and Learn

March 24, 2015 by Cindy O'Dell

The journey from fat and happy to fit and authentic did not happen overnight for Jody Orfield, associate dean of the Marybelle and S. Paul Musco School of Nursing and Health Professions.

Speaking to about 80 participants in person and online at Brandman University’s first “Lunch and Learn” nutrition seminar, Orfield described herself in 2009. She was her all-time highest weight and her all-time lowest emotionally.

Despite a gregarious outward appearance, she was ill (ulcerative colitis, arthritis, drug-induced lupus and pulmonary nodules) and unhappy and ignoring what she had once learned about nutrition while becoming a nurse.

Her efforts to become fit led her to a personal trainer who was also a nutritionist. By 2013, she had lost 50 pounds and participated in a 545-mile, seven-day bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. She plans to ride in the AIDS Lifescyle event again this year. She also competes in triathlons.

The starting point, she told the group of Brandman faculty and staff members, was good nutrition.  “I can’t stand here and tell you what to eat,” she said. “There is no cookie cutter approach. What works for one person, might not work for another.”

Instead of talking about specific diet concepts, she walked Brandman employees through the basics, reminding them that eating the right kind of food to be healthy is the dictionary definition of nutrition.  She guided them through a reading of nutrition labels, describing what everyone needs: protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals and water.

Answering questions, she talked about her personal preference for the paleo diet, one emphasizing whole foods. “I know now what I need to avoid to be healthy. I know what the outcome will be if I don’t,” she said.

The Lunch and Learn session is part of Health U, the Brandman Wellness Program. In addition to the seminar series, the program has introduced HealthTrails to encourage employees to meet “step” challenges and focus on fitness.

Suggestions for future seminar topics should be sent to wellness@brandman.edu.

Related story:

Executive vice chancellor determined to set a good fitness example for Brandman employees

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