It was so nice to catch up with Debra Orringer, a Nutritionist who you may have read about at Fit Nation if you have followed her articles. My personal favorite was the building of her standup paddleboard
“DebO” as she is affectionally called, has run the Gobble Gobble and is a big fan of how fun and laid back it is Thanksgiving morning. The fact that it’s so non-intimidating is great for her in her field as she’s always trying to encourage better fitness and nutrition for her clients and when she is speaking at conferences.
Debra was drawn to the field by her own struggles with weight issues.
“I was always chubby, but not necessarily overweight growing up. After I got my first part time job, I started gaining weight. By the time I got to college, I put on 50 lbs my first year and by my last year in college at age 21 I had put on 100 lbs. I was depressed.” That was when Debra had the epiphany after working in upstate NY cleaning out dorm rooms to turn over and caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror and didn’t like what she saw and said,“I’m done.”
That low self-image after looking at other girls in sports bras and shorts and seeing herself in heavy sweat pants prompted her seeing a doctor. In the next 8 months, she lost the first 50 pounds. She eventually lost the entire 100 pounds back that she had gained.
Later on while she was at the gym she noticed a sign advertising “so you want to be an aerobics instructor..” She decided to attend a class as she enjoyed teaching fitness. This eventually ended up drawing her into clinical exercise physiology and low and behold she found herself as a new fitness pro teaching. That still wasn’t enough. She started going to conferences eventually and gave presentations about proper nutrition. One of her specialties was on how to make sure your balance of PH equilibrium was in order. Fast forward to a 10-year contract of working with NASA at Kennedy Space Center working with astronauts on getting them to their peak nutrition and health.
After that contract expired and budget cuts to the space program ended her term there, she looked on a map for somewhere on the coast of Florida to move to. Her finger ended up along the coast of Southwest Florida in sunny Naples. She started her position at Tiburon Golf Club part time and as of this year in January she has left and has decided to go full time into her own business. She described her clients as ranging the gamut. She learned to find creative ways to try and align people’s goals with what they are able to give up and what they aren’t.
Like many that suffer depression or self-esteem issues at some point in their lives, Debra went through some dark patches. At one point, she said, “I didn’t get out of bed for about a year.” She had some intellectual property that she wasn’t given proper credit for. There were unkept promises and her concept and brainchild was developed into a successful project without her and it was devastating at the time.
“I talk to everybody—everyone has some kind of struggle—they aren’t going to change their lives—I try and listen to people and try and find a way to help them. It’s not always me that can help—so I will direct them to someone that fits them if I can.” In her case, she recommends something as simple as self-esteem affirmations, “just wake up and name one thing you are grateful for every day.” That eventually gave Debra the clarity she needed to reset her own future. Her mental and physical health were rejuvenated by just getting back out there.
Deb has worked with an organic supplement company that she is passionate about as well and it’s one she’s made great relationships and friendships through. She can provide more detail from her website or email and you can read more about Debra here
Heard a lot of debate about the nutritional value of eggs lately? Watch this short video and DebO’s take
In her spare time, she enjoys coaching kid’s swimming ages 6-12 years old. When she chats with mothers they typically start asking how to incorporate nutrition for their growing athlete into their regimen. We have such fantastic resources in Naples for everyone to make healthy choices and enjoy better lifestyles. Be sure and get to know DebO the nutritionist. You’ll be glad you did!