“I think the thing that stops people from walking through my door is the thought, ‘I’ve already tried every diet out there, why will this time be any different?’ I know firsthand how disheartening having a lot of weight to lose can be,” said Sonya Jones, certified Ideal Protein coach, Life Coach, and owner of Losin’ It with Sonya Jones, a new weight loss clinic located in Litchfield. “What I would tell the people who are on the fence, is to take that first step through the door because this time it will be different. I guarantee you have never done a protocol like Ideal Protein and I promise you have never been coached by someone like me. I may not be confident in a lot of things, but I am confident in my ability to coach. I am confident in my ability to help people.
Losin’ It with Sonya Jones’ weight loss program is geared towards people who need to lose at least 15 to 20 lbs., up to 200 to 300 lbs. Jones is no stranger to significant weight loss. She lost 144 lbs., as a finalist on the 16th season of NBC’s hit show The Biggest Loser: Glory Days. She is also one of the few contestants in the show’s history who has managed to keep the weight off since her season premiered on Sept. 11, 2014.
“After The Biggest Loser, I really developed a passion to help other people who desperately need a win in the area of health and wellness."
I am primarily focused on weight loss because it is something that people struggle with so, so much,” Jones explained. “Before the show, I had been overweight my entire life and struggled with self-worth and self- confidence. I tried almost every route imaginable to lose weight and gain control of my health. Losin’ It with Sonya Jones Ideal Protein Clinic is my way of giving back to my community and giving other people the tools I had access to when I competed on the show.”
A Litchfield native, Jones knew she wanted to help the people in her own community and decided that the first step was to open her clinic locally at 904 West Union Avenue in Litchfield. Interestingly enough, it was losing her previous job as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic that led Jones to open the weight loss clinic. Prior to the pandemic, Jones was employed as an outreach representative for HSHS Medical Group.
“Opening a clinic was not necessarily something I had foreseen. I was furloughed in April and recognized then that the writing was on the wall. So, when I was officially terminated in August I took some time and thought about ways that I could give back. After a lot of prayer and fasting, I realized that this (opening Losin’ It with Sonya Jones) is what I was being led to,” said Jones. “I did some research and realized that I wanted my home (Litchfield) to be the base for my clinic. I signed my lease mid-September and opened on Saturday, Oct. 10th.”
While Litchfield is the home-base for Losin’ It with Sonya Jones - Ideal Protein, Jones is able to coach individuals throughout the country. Stepping back into the role of coach is an unexpected blessing for the former physical education teacher and track coach. While she still plans to take on public speaking engagements (similar to what she was doing in her role as an outreach coordinator for HSHS) she is thrilled to be back working with people on a one-on-one basis.
Jones describes her newest coaching role as helping her clients maneuver the obstacles that prevent them from successfully losing weight. She meets with each client on an individual basis. The first consultation takes about an hour-and-a-half, after which the client meets with Jones on a weekly basis - generally no longer than 20 minutes per week. During the weekly meetings, Jones weighs and measures her clients, answers questions, provides support, lifts morale and makes sure they have everything they need to be successful over the next week. She also makes herself available outside of the weekly meetings, for everything from finding recipes and examining food labels to helping monitor fluid intake.
“I have always been a coach at heart. It is the thing I do really well, ” said Jones, with a smile. “I graduated from Greenville College (now University) and went straight into coaching. I have the natural ability to make people feel like they can do more than they ever hoped, dreamed or imagined. But the X’s and O’s aren’t always strong suits, which is why I need a scientifically tested product like Ideal Protein.”
Ideal Protein is a three-phase protocol that helps people reach their goal weight, stabilize their weight and maintain it. Phase one of the Ideal Protein program begins with partial meal replacements and one healthy meal a day. The goal of the initial phase is to reset the client’s body and get them to their goal weight. Phase two is a stabilization phase where clients begin to wean off of the meal replacements and begin incorporating more healthy proteins and vegetables into their diets. According to Jones, phase three, the maintenance phase is the most important. At the beginning of the maintenance phase, Jones and the client establish a trigger weight, which acts as a warning system for the client and Jones that they need to step back to the weight loss phase to re-establish the newly implemented lifestyle changes.
“The maintenance phase is really the central piece of the protocol, because there is nothing worse in the world than losing a bunch of weight and putting it all back on. If you hit your trigger weight it is okay, you just start over again. The only time that people fail is when they give up and they don’t get back up,” Jones stated.
She went on to explain that knowing what triggers emotional eating is a key component in maintaining weight loss. Jones has partnered with Julie Tucker-Ponder, a licensed clinical social worker and certified addictions therapist, to facilitate emotional eating groups. These are currently held both in person and virtually, as group therapy type sessions where clients can discuss toxic eating habits and learn to create healthy boundaries around food.
“A lot of us eat for comfort. We turn to food when we are sad, angry, lonely, embarrassed, overwhelmed or even happy, and that is when the pounds really pack on,” Jones explained. The emotional eating groups are a way for our clients to realize they aren’t alone in these habits and to help them recognize what is triggering them to want to eat. We talk a lot about habits and recognizing the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger.”
As part of her coaching services, Jones goes over every client’s health profile with a medical director and works alongside their primary care physicians to ensure the program works for them and doesn’t interfere with any medications they may be taking. The program is HIPPA compliant, meaning Jones’doesn’t share any client’s information.
“My clinic is designed to help people regain control of their bodies and their lives. This is a mind-set change as much as a physical change. The goal isn’t to be thin; the world is full of unhealthy and unhappy, skinny people. The goal is to be strong, healthy and happy,” Jones stated emphatically. “Unless you have personally struggled with obesity you don’t always understand the amount of shame that is associated with it. As a coach, being able to help my clients smile and feel confident again, seeing them able to look in the mirror and really like the person staring back, that is the ultimate win for me. That is what I want for everyone that walks through my door.”
Hours are by appointment only. Those interested are encouraged to call the clinic at 217-324-4144 or to contact Jones via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Losin’ It with Sonya Jones holds orientations at noon and again at 5:30 p.m. every Wednesday. Litchfield Chamber of Commerce is planning a ribbon cutting ceremony as part of the clinic’s grand opening at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 30.
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