Fresh beginnings don’t start with a new year. As Charles D’Angelo, life coach and fat loss expert, can attest, they start with you. “Most people come to me to lose weight, and while I help them achieve that goal, I give them what they really need – tools to discovering joy in life,” D’Angelo says. “The first step is appreciating yourself, regardless of [self-prescribed] labels or past failures. Most people come to me having some idea of what they ‘should’ be doing. Some are even doctors and dietitians! They have trouble following through because of the story they’ve used to keep themselves from [breaking bad habits]. That’s where I come in – to help construct a vivid and compelling future, unhooking them from their past.”

D’Angelo approaches each client with that in mind, ready to transform his or her way of thinking. When confronted with news from his doctor that he had to get healthy or get medicated, Tim Buchanan made the tough choice. “I was having issues on my own trying to lose weight and getting more desperate,” Buchanan says. “[My reflection] wasn’t the person I saw myself as. It was going to be Charles or nothing at all.”

Choosing the natural solution forced Buchanan to confront his biggest issue. “[With Charles], everything has been so easy,” he tells. “The biggest obstacle is your own mind. When he tells you what’s going to happen, you don’t always believe him – but you have to ignore [those thoughts]. Charles is extremely skilled and knows what to do. I believe him because I know he did it himself.”

Today, Buchanan has discovered additional benefits to his better state of mind and body. “My wife is a long-distance marathon runner. Now, I can enjoy that part of her life with her,” he shares. “I was more than 400 pounds 10 months ago. I weigh 209 [today]. When people look at me and say, ‘I wish I could do that,’ I tell them to make that commitment – you can do it.”

Gary Pruitt learned to develop healthy habits when his blood pressure became an issue of concern. “[I’ve had to learn] to be prepared instead of haphazardly running through life,” he says. “You have to plan and exercise. Charles makes it simple as far as food planning goes.”

In his career as a truck driver, Pruitt has to practice forward-thinking when it comes to meal times on the road. The adjustments in his routine have proven immensely effective. “I gave up so many times before … But [this] works for me – and I feel better. I’m 150 pounds lighter,” Pruitt shares. “Most people want a quick fix. Nothing is easy, but I’m proof. You have to take the first step. Charles has focused me. Now, I set goals. I’m in the gym an hour every day. It’s become my hobby.”

Lacey Ebert sought weight loss to recover balance in her hectic lifestyle. “I have a busy household with four [young] kids,” she says. “I felt guilty leaving to go to work. I wanted to be able to give the kids the energy they deserved. Then, I realized the act of taking care of myself made me a better mom.”

After meeting Charles through one of his former clients, the real challenge began. “I’m a picky eater and I thought, ‘How am I going to do this?’ I chose broccoli, which I used to hate. Now, I actually like it. The first time on the treadmill, you think about how you’ll survive it. Then, you start to crave it,” Ebert claims. “My confidence has come back. As long as you have the want and desire to [lose weight], you can do it.”

D’Angelo connects to each of his clients because he understands struggle and the importance of perseverance. “Much of my passion to serve others comes from growing up in a tough environment,” the celebrity coach explains. “I was a 360-pound teen, my mom struggled with addiction and there were weight issues on my dad’s side. I witnessed a lot of suffering. Those experiences gave me a profound sensitivity to others’ feelings and scorched a burning desire in me to be a force for good in the world.”

Charles D’Angelo, 314-495-3228, charlesdangelo.com

LN's advertorial/wedding coordinator and staff writer has a love for all things beautiful, from fashion and beauty to picturesque places found around the world. Photo by Essence Photography by Martha

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