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From a happy client to co-owner

Published January 9, 2007


Though her business is growing and she may soon expand to Tampa, Michelle Paoli said there are no secrets to her work at Healthy Inspirations.

"We all know how to lose weight," said Paoli, who is co-owner of the franchise at 6518 Fourth St. N. "We just need our hands held."

More than 1,000 customers have agreed with Paoli since she and business partner Phyllis Mann opened the small outlet four years ago. Catering exclusively to women, the business provides a regimen to make not just dieting, but healthy living, a routine.

"Long-term success is all about consistency," said Paoli, whose business provides diet consultation and an exercise program in a convenient package for almost 300 clients at a time. "You've just got to put it all in one space."

Paoli's typical client is someone like herself who has tried and failed with gym work and book diets. The rail-thin 6-foot Paoli now says she is underweight at 130 pounds, but she said she was pushing 200 after having children. Diet and exercise cut some weight but not all of it.

"I could not lose that last 35 pounds because I was doing it wrong," she said of overly strict diets and too many workouts. "I had to stop doing all that exercise and feed that body."

Paoli became a Healthy Inspirations client, which she said taught her that exercise has to be the right kind at the right time. She also realized that the kinds of calories matter, not just the number. She said she discovered she spent less time on exercise, didn't starve and still lost plenty of weight.

Healthy Inspirations requires clients to visit the business three times a week for counseling, exercise and weigh-ins. Clients also must keep journals of everything they eat. Short, frequent visits make the program effective and unobtrusive, Paoli said.

"Anybody has three hours a week," she said. Frequent visits also limit backsliding, she said. "There's not much damage you can do in one day off."

Clients develop a long-term plan based on store-bought fresh foods. Along with computerized exercise-machine work, the diet of 50 percent carbohydrates, 35 percent protein and 15 percent fats has most clients lose about 10 pounds a month, Paoli said.

Brenda Dill started the program in July and has lost 40 of her planned 50 pounds. The 58-year-old Clearwater resident said she expects to hit her goal next month.

"It's my valentine to me," she said. "The accountability was what worked for me."

Dill said buying fresh costs a bit more, but her doctor is so pleased with her progress that he reduced her cholesterol medication. The program itself can cost as much as $100 a month during its most intensive phases.

"It's the best money I ever spent," Dill said. "I would much rather put money in my retirement account than buy prescriptions."

Healthy Inspirations also coaches clients in how to maintain a healthy pattern so weight doesn't come back.

"It gets to be very routine," said Hillary Coleman, a 43-year-old Snell Isle attorney who lost 30 pounds in less than three months. "And I'm never hungry. It's almost too much food."

Coleman said she gets compliments from friends, but is most happy with the greater energy she now has to chase her two children.

Paoli said improved energy, health and self-esteem are common outcomes from her clients, who say the program actually takes less time than others.

"That's what women need," she said of the program's efficient convenience. "They need to like the experience or they're not coming back."

Paoli said she is now eyeing Tampa as a market for another franchise. Her business repaid the nearly $100,000 initial investment in less than one year, she said, but added that she and Mann wanted to get settled before branching out.

Paul Swider can be reached at 892-2271 or or by participating in


Healthy Inspirations

6518 Fourth St. N


Typical daily diet in measured servings:

Breakfast: 2 fruit, 1 starch


Lunch: 1 protein, 1 vegetable, 1 starch, 1 fruit


Dinner: 1 protein, 2 vegetable

[Last modified January 9, 2007, 07:16:53]

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