Sadly, nutrition and exercise are often at the bottom of people’s lists of priorities, and Fountain Hills mom Lonni Lattie wants to help Valley residents be healthier through nutrition-filled meals and staying fit. The 40-year-old Fountain Hills resident and former advertising professional co-founded Sollus Nutrition and Fitness in September 2012 with fellow mom Sonia Thalman, and the American Council on Exercise-certified fitness instructor coaches individuals, families and businesses on everything from how to healthily stock refrigerators, to exercise moves to stay toned. Lattie shared some of her top nutrition tips, and keep scrolling to watch a video of Lattie sharing her five favorite reasons for being a Valley dweller.
What brought you to Arizona?
We moved from Washington, D.C to the Valley in 2007 as my husband was relocated for work. I was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin. My family lives in a tiny town of 2,200 people. and I had a great childhood, but knew there was more to living than what I was exposed to in my upbringing. After graduating from college, I moved to Green Bay and worked for a few years before moving to Washington, D.C. for a position with a design studio.
What inspired you to start Sollus?
Relocating from D.C. removed me from my network, and after 10 years of being a stay-at-home-mom and a challenged economy, I knew it would be hard to get back into advertising. I’ve always been passionate about fitness, and when my friend Sonia and I had a discussion about getting back to work, it became apparent that our ideal job was very similar. We decided the best thing we could do is join forces and make a name for ourselves in the world of nutrition and fitness.
How did you get interested in fitness?
Exercise has always been my outlet. I started out with a passion for running and ran a lot of local races. I then navigated towards fitness classes and yoga. Having found sporadic success in my health goals over the years, I started to dig deeper and research the fundamentals of fitness.
I knew there had to be an easier way of incorporating exercise into my life without it having to be like a part-time job. I learned so much about how to be more efficient and what work-outs were supportive of my goals, and which were sabotaging my efforts. It inspired me to get ACE-certified, so I can teach people how to decrease their time at the gym, increase their results, and eliminate the mind-set that working out is the only answer to weight loss.
How does the nutrition aspect come into play in Sollus?
Most of us have been misled when it comes to weight loss and the true picture of health. With Sonia’s nutrition certification and our continued research, we recognized the appropriate balance for being healthy was a focus of 80 percent food and 20 percent fitness.
So with that focus, our programs start by educating and empowering people in nutrition. We help them understand the realities of their food choices and how they impact weight, mood, overall health, even their sleep. Once people understand the power of food and how losing weight and eating healthy doesn’t have to be restrictive, boring or stressful, we introduce the fitness component of our services. Sollus means “whole” in Latin, so we really work to make sure everybody incorporates both aspects into their world, but nutrition plays a much bigger role.
What are the biggest mistakes people make in regards to their fitness or nutrition?
With fitness, we all have goals, and the common mentality is that we have to exercise harder, faster, longer to see results. The truth, when you look through studies and research, is that chronic cardio can lead to weight gain, a compromised immune system, inflammation, and injury. We educate our clients on fitness regimens that take only 20 minutes of their day. As soon as you tell someone that fitness is a complement to boost your results instead of the end-all-be-all to your results, people are much more inclined to do it.
As far as nutrition goes, we as Americans are in crisis. The foods we have been recommended to eat, that line the shelves of grocery stores and are listed on menus at restaurants, have led to a frightening epidemic of obesity and disease. What’s worse is how we are being taken advantage of. The fad diets and expensive products that promise results but instead hook you into the never-ending cycle of failure have exacerbated our situation.
We really de-stress a lot of the way people handle their food choices. Often, you’re counting calories or worried about portion size. When you’re eating the right foods, you’re sort of unlimited in some respects. By opening up people’s eyes to that reality gives them a choice when they didn’t have one before.
Do you have any special type of diet?
I’ve definitely found incredible success eating more whole foods. As a family, we eat a lot more produce and shop from the perimeter of the grocery store. I focus on high protein and healthy fats for sustained energy and filling power.
How can families be healthier as a whole?
Unfortunately, there are some parents and kids who think vegetables are dull and not worth the effort. It’s truly a mind-set parents can control. We have found a lot of success just educating kids on why a vegetable like broccoli is good for strong bones, introducing them to healthy dips and yummy cooking methods that will make them coming back for more.
Parents must lead by example, and give their family time to transition. Many don’t realize what a captive audience we have when packing school lunches. They need to take every advantage. And at home, make veggies or fruit a means to an end. A handful of cucumbers should come before the bowl of Goldfish.
What have been the biggest challenges to being a business owner?
It was important for us to be business owners because we still wanted to be a big part of our daughters’ lives, which required the flexibility of making our own hours. While that’s been really rewarding and appreciated by our husbands and children, it’s definitely hard to work from home. It’s a balancing act, it’s always changing, and there’s really no rhyme or reason day-to-day, but you have to just make your best effort to make sure your family and your clients all get the attention they deserve.
What have been the best aspects to being a business owner?
Our client successes. Each client who embraces the process, sees results, and feels better than they have in years is the greatest feeling in the world. The cheerleading, support and motivational aspect of our jobs is the best part. Our business is growing the best way possible, through successful experiences and word of mouth. People believe in what we do, and there’s just no better feeling.
What are your goals for the business?
Corporate wellness, which we are jumping into this fall. We’ve developed three programs, and while our clients’ one-on-one time is important and valuable, the more people we can talk to and educate, the better. It seems like a great opportunity.
For people who find it difficult to make lifestyle changes because they’re overwhelming, what advice would you have for them?
It is overwhelming, and you can set goals, and the best thing you can do is work on one goal at a time. If you want to eat healthier and lose weight and start an exercise program, start with the food. Get educated and informed, and start to recognize what has worked and what hasn’t. Open yourself up to eating more whole foods and less processed foods.
What types of people should hire a wellness coach?
Any family that’s looking to eat healthier as a whole, and anyone who wants to see results when past efforts have failed them. We love to show people that losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle doesn’t have to be hard. Diets are not a one-size-fits-all approach, and the gimmicks are usually just that. If you really want to have sustainable results, our personalized approach and support provides you the tools and a plan to help you achieve your goals.