Ellen Seigel


I had been practicing yoga on an off for a year or so. When my son went away to college, I searched for studios in Columbus so I could take a class when visiting. I discovered Wellness Forum Hot Yoga and those classes are what eventually led me to meeting Dr. Popper.

My previous health/fitness background can be summed up into one word: inconsistency. I had been a vegetarian on-and-off for years and I never did exercise regularly. I joined The Wellness Forum and took the 101 class with the tender attitude, ‘I’ll let this information wash through me and I’ll see what sticks.’ I had schooled myself on ‘so-called’ nutrition over the years and now was ready to take in new information. I was pleasantly surprised; I felt the new ideas were registering. I was making changes gradually. All of a sudden, the idea hit me that I couldn’t go on weighing 165 pounds. Gradual was no longer enough. I retook the Wellness 101 class and started to strictly follow the program. I also began to train with Pam, I participated in yoga regularly and lost 20 to 25 pounds within a short time. I never in my life allowed myself to feel ‘athletic,’ so I was delighted and surprised when I was awarded with ‘yoga student of the month.’

I worked hard during yoga to see and embrace the benefits of working with my body while relaxing my mind. It’s always wise to keep your spirits up and look for ways to turn challenges you’ve undertaken (changing to dietary excellence and exercise) into fun, enjoyment and gratification.

While I continue to remain consistent with this dietary excellence, I still eat a little too much—it all tastes so good. I am continuing to improve both my eating and yoga practice.  My family is amazed and impressed with the consistency of my eating right and exercising. The key to this, I believe, is keeping my active connection with ‘everything’ Wellness Forum. I participate in whatever I can as often as I can, even through the podcasts and telephone classes.

My husband, Gary, was not one to be a vegetarian or to exercise. Gary had three stents put in 15 years ago and never felt the need to drastically modify his eating or his relaxed sedentary lifestyle. At my invitation, he agreed to take the 101 class with me. I was happily surprised that he agreed. He also heard Pam talk at a few of the WF dinners and then, after we saw ‘Forks Over Knives,’ I witnessed the most amazing transformation in him. He started to walk an hour daily (briskly), significantly reduced his consumption of animal foods, lost 15 pounds and reduced his medications significantly. He even orders pizza without the cheese…and finds it satisfactory. I’m impressed!

While Gary had good reasons to change, I never thought he’d ever change. So I worked on myself. One of the things that tickles me the most is Gary saying, ‘I’m fixing salad, can I cut some up for you?’ I have a new closeness with my husband in an area I least expected. Sharing the food preparation and dietary excellence is amazing and wonderful.

My advice to anyone who is considering this type of change is to take yourself seriously and get moving on it, the sooner the better. A healthy and happy life awaits you. I was fortunate enough to change my ways when my only problem was being overweight—I did not have other serious diseases. And don’t make your plans based on others, even those close to you. In my case, my husband was not interested at all and eventually joined me because he saw the wisdom in it for himself. Sometimes someone has to go first, and maybe that someone needs to be you.