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Meet the Experts: Wellness Board Member Liz Josefsberg

Written By Adrian Crawford Jan 9th 2022
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Here at CBDistillery®, we know that taking charge of your health and wellness is a daunting task and it's sometimes overwhelming to know whose recommendations to rely upon.

Transparency is key to our approach in every aspect of our business, which is why we wanted to introduce a series of conversations with CBDistillery® staff as well as other experts in their fields. We hope that these conversations will offer more information about our company and products and help foster trust in our products.

In this edition, content strategist Adrian Crawford sat down with the first member of our newly created Wellness Board, nutrition and lifestyle expert Liz Josefsberg, to discuss her inspiration to pursue a career in this space, the book she authored that spawned an app and wellness program, and more.

Adrian Crawford: First things first. It perhaps sounds self-explanatory, but can you give me an idea of what being a health, wellness and weight loss expert entails?  

Liz Josefsberg: In my case, it entails truly studying, researching and personally testing and living the newest science, nutrition, exercise science, behavioral psychology, and lifestyle modifications to assist people in losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. My practice and programs are unique because I personally struggled with my weight from early childhood and lost hundreds of pounds across my lifetime. That perspective has made me super aware, perceptive and empathetic to those living to make changes to their wellness. I am not just talking a talk. I am personally walking that walk, which allows me to create solutions that actually work in the long-term for people. I believe in a holistic and well-rounded approach, but knowing where they are coming from helps me to really uncover the deeper “why” that will propel people forward. Science is just science; until you can help someone understand how to trigger change in their lives and navigate through the mental, physical and emotional stresses that come from that change.   

AC: Next up, the origin story. What first sparked your interest in this particular line of wellness work and what has the journey been like along the way?  

LJ: I struggled with my weight since childhood, so I always had an eye on the next diet. I started at age 13 in a restrictive diet center and then proceeded to try all the diets and diet books I could get my hands on. I repeatedly regained the lost weight plus more. It was a struggle because I was, at that time, a successful professional Broadway actress and singer, where my weight and wellness were always up for scrutiny from my peers, co-workers and bosses. I suffered mentally, physically and emotionally. I couldn’t understand how I could be so successful in one area of my life and be so stymied in another area by something that everyone reported as being so “simple”. It’s just calories in and calories out, right?  

As I left my acting career, I gained additional weight and went to Weight Watchers for the first time to try to lose it. This was transformative for me because I finally got to sit in a room full of people who felt just like I did and struggled like I did. I loved it so much that I got a job at the lowest level of the company as the person who weighed people in when they came to the centers. I worked my way up through the ranks, eventually helping thousands of people lose weight and became their celebrity weight loss expert and National Spokesperson. I was responsible for helping people like Jennifer Hudson, Jessica Simpson, Charles Barkley, Al Roker and Katie Couric lose weight and keep it off. I appeared on every program from Oprah to co-hosting Dr.Oz for an entire season, as I continued to work on the science team and went back to school to certify as a personal trainer and nutrition exercise specialist. I wanted to be able to help people in all parts of the wellness journey, not just with food plans. I stayed at Weight Watchers for 11 amazing years and then decided to start my own company. I have now worked around the world for over 20 years in weight loss and wellness with a focus on behavior modification. I have helped companies like Lifetime Fitness create wellness programs, starred in wellness educational programs for Optum and United Healthcare, and written my own book called Target100 – The World’s Simplest Weight Loss Program in 6 Easy Steps. 

After writing Target 100, I started my company of the same name and built out an entire program, app and philosophy centered around a 10-week course that teaches anyone how to use behavior modification, alongside support and expert teaching, to change their lives for good. I always say that people know that an apple is a better choice to eat than a candy bar, but the gap between their intentions and actions is wide. I teach the skills that lead to healthy, lasting changes that improve people’s lives in multiple ways. It's not just about weight loss, but the feeling of finally knowing that we are not broken. The programs of the past were one-dimensional and centered around simply supplying a consumer with a set of rules. Those rules were close to impossible to follow. At Target100 we invert that process and instead supply you with the tools to write your own rules and your own program. That inversion leads to empowerment, freedom and long-lasting success because you own it. Today I run multiple courses per year, and we have a wonderful community and membership that is growing by leaps and bounds. 

AC: What challenges, in your experience, have the past few years presented for people in terms of creating the best opportunities for themselves in terms of self-care and wellness?  

LJ: The past few years have been the most challenging that I have ever seen for people to maintain their wellness. The changes that occurred during the pandemic left us unhealthier.  For many, that meant weight gain. I believe that weight loss and wellness exist in a holistic combination of habit formation in six different pillars (nutrition, hydration, movement patterns, exercise, stress and sleep) In the past few years the stress alone that people report experiencing is much greater. That stress has affected people’s eating habits, sleep patterns, movement patterns and more. Advances in technology have reduced our need to move and isolated us from important time outside and time interacting with people, face to face. What I am hearing is that many feel totally confused about why they are unable to lose weight, feel more energized or even trust that anything will work for them. There is general apathy and disengagement. I feel so excited when I can change those feelings for even one person. I see them light up and they begin to feel like themselves again and they go forward to inspire and motivate others in their circle. Wellness is truly contagious. When we can ignite someone, they ultimately inspire those around them. 

LJ: Another real struggle we face in today’s landscape is a toxic food supply dominated by ultra-processed foods filled with sugars and other addictive substances. Couple that with the new brain science and understanding that we are triggered to eat food each time we see it, many struggle to be able to stop the intake of these foods, feeling broken and out of control. The diet industry has exploded and there is so much noise and so many voices encouraging people to make unrealistic and difficult wholesale changes that can’t be sustained. It’s led to “diet confusion”, apathy and a general distrust that anything will work. I have committed my life to cutting through that noise and helping people understand the simple and realistic changes they can make to get lasting results. I don’t ascribe to fads or quick fixes. We go about helping people with root causes, habit formation and a stable and steady return to themselves. 

AC: Was there a particular “lightbulb moment” during your career that opened up your understanding of the importance of nutrition and exercise or brought it all into focus?  

The opportunity to work with world-renowned behavior modification experts and economists like Dan Arieli and BJ Fogg as we built out programs for weight management giants and start-ups was life changing. The lightbulb moment I learned from working with them is what I talk about in Target100. It was never really about the food, but about our habits and patterns around food and wellness. It’s about looking at the patterns, uncovering them and dismantling them. For example, if you consistently use the “snooze” in the morning, waking up too late to pack lunch or eat a healthy breakfast, then arrive at the office late and stressed, you will suffer if you just try to think about this as a food problem. The problem is with the snooze bar. Once we understand that we need to change that behavior, not that we don’t know what to eat for a healthier meal, we start making real change. I learned from the best about the simple things we can do to ignite change. I learned how the brain is wired and how we can “trick” it into any pattern we want through repetition, awareness and the eradication of guilt and shame. These moments led me to write Target100 so I could share that weight loss is possible when we understand why we are doing what we are doing.  

AC: You have a veritable all-star cast of high-profile clients. How similar or different is the guidance between someone like Jennifer Hudson and your everyday person who’s interested in improving their wellness? 

LJ: The guidance is exactly the same. They are humans with tons of pressures and stresses. I was always hearing from people that “celebs have it so much easier than the rest of us because they can have a trainer or a chef”. It’s simply not true. They have to get out of bed and show up to that trainer and make the healthier food choices. When you have a chef, they can make you anything and won’t force you to eat the healthier choice. Everyone must make the changes themselves. When we compare ourselves to others and decide they have it easier than we do it is our brain standing in the way of our own change. It is focusing on what we don’t have or can’t do, which puts us into a state of doing nothing. The celebrities that I worked with had exactly the same mental, emotional and physical struggles that all of my clients have had. They worked hard and built new coping mechanisms, habits and skills and are living proof that weight can be lost and can stay off, for good, and I have too. 

I actually think that weight loss for celebrities can be more difficult than for many other people. Celebs are often traveling and away from home more than they are at home. Contrary to popular belief, they don’t have someone following them around with a healthy snack or meal. They often make quick decisions in an airport or late at night in a hotel when they are exhausted. They change time zones, have no real stable day to day schedule, are isolated from friends and family and get very little sleep when they are working. All of these things make the task very difficult. Those I have worked with took the time to examine the challenges and we worked hand in hand to develop strategies for the different situations. There is always a solution. We sometimes just need some help seeing it. 

You can learn more about Liz and Target100 here.