Kassandra Gyimesi, R.D.N., and COO Jonathan Harding of PlainSmart, a scientific-based individualized weight loss and wellness clinic in Englewood. Photo by Peter Jones
BY PETER JONES
When it comes to weight loss, it helps to be smart—even PlainSmart.
“We have no scales here,” said Jonathan Harding, president of that so-named clinic in Englewood. “We’re not about losing pounds. We’re about getting your body-fat percentage under control, reducing your visceral fat, which is the fat that causes chronic disease.”
The decidedly health-conscious approach to slimming down puts the science back into the emotional human impulse to look good and feel good—while ensuring that “look” and “feel” actually mean something when it comes to actual health.
This individualized approach to wellness may not have scales and mirrors at every turn, but it does not take long to stumble on the clinic’s body-composition calculator and evidence of the DNA testing that is revolutionizing the science of healthier living.
The 21st century answer to weight loss might just be found in a cheek swab.
“It comes out with this huge report that will tell you how you metabolize each macro-nutrient,” explained Kassandra Gyimesi, clinic director and a registered dietician and nutritionist who counsels many of PlainSmart’s clients. “Some of [the DNA information is about] how your body responds to exercise. It can tell you whether you have fast-twitch or slow-twitch muscles, whether you should do high-intensity, or a slow and steady type of exercise.”
DNA testing that is revolutionizing the science of healthier living.Photo courtesy of PlainSmart
This first outlet in a planned system of PlainSmart clinics in Colorado opened last summer in a medical office building on Hampden Avenue, not far from the Swedish-Craig hospital campus. PlainSmart was founded by High Plains Bison, which has promoted the nutritional value of bison as a low-fat, lower-calorie alternative to red meat.
That is not to say buffalo meat is mandated at PlainSmart, said Gyimesi, a vegetarian who insists the program can adapt to any lifestyle preference or dietary restriction.
Still, for those seeking one-stop convenience, the clinic boasts a small food store offering PlainSmart’s own line of recommended, but not required, frozen foods—not just bison, but chicken, seafood and vegetarian options.
Whatever their choices, people process their food differently, as evidenced by DNA.
“A test will break down how much carbohydrates you should have, how much protein, how much fat—and from that we talk about calories and what that means,” Gyimesi said.
What’s more, the clinic’s body-composition machine can create a detailed full-page printout on a client’s body type in a matter of seconds.
“It’ll tell you your visceral fat storage, your skeletal muscle mass—it goes through the whole list. I can tell when people have been working out,” Gyimesi said.
The intention is to identify what the clinic calls the “TruYou” and develop a program based on everything from a person’s pre-diabetic condition and exercise limitations to another’s gluten-free diet and muscular strength. High cholesterol, allergies, celiac disease—the list goes on.
“The RDNs [or registered dieticians and nutritionists] use [the data] to provide a prescription that’s tailored, that’s unique, that’s customized for that specific person,” Harding said.
The idea, Gyimesi adds, is to be realistic—not just to get weight off, but to remain healthy throughout the process—and to keep that weight off.
“We’ll come up with a plan that you can follow for life,” she said. “You really become like a cheerleader when they don’t understand how awesome they’re doing. I had a lady who said, ‘I don’t look any different. Then she saw her before picture and said, ‘Oh my god!’”
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