Health Beat

Health Beat: Top chef helps shed pounds

ORLANDO, Fla. - Priann Franco grew up feeling insecure about her body.

"I would like to wear what other girls wear, but it just made me feel really low and down about myself," Franco shared.

At 16 years old and 170 pounds, Franco was ready for change. Her pediatrician recommended the weight and wellness programs at AdventHealth in Orlando.

Edwin Cabrera, the executive consulting chef at AdventHealth's Center for Nutritional Excellence, could be the not-so-secret ingredient to this program's success.

Trained at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Arizona, and formerly with nationally-recognized restaurants like Morton's of Chicago and Canyon Ranch Health Spa, Cabrera now teaches how to make food taste fantastic and still allow for weight loss.

"We just talk about cholesterol. We just talk about saturated fat, so they start understanding what to choose," Cabrera explained.

Cabrera said the key to healthy eating is prepping ahead of time, with a focus on getting key vitamins and minerals from whole foods, not processed foods.

"If you're not eating anything, any fruits and vegetables, it doesn't matter if it's organic or not, because that's what you have to start doing," Cabrera continued.

After losing 10 pounds and eight inches around her waist, Franco has donated many of her older, larger clothes to Goodwill.

Mom Indira joined her daughter in the change and has also lost 10 pounds.

"I thought before, like, broccoli in my dinner and not rice? But now I say, 'OK. Broccoli is cool,'" she said.

The AdventHealth for Pediatric Weight and Wellness Program is for kids aged five to 17 who must be referred by a pediatrician. The program lasts six months and is usually covered by insurance, but if not, the self-pay rate is $63.

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