BRANDON – Pearl Chiarenza, the owner of Bodyworks Health & Wellness Center in Brandon, wants to take away any excuses people might have for getting the bodies of their dreams. She recently started an essay contest for people to share why they want to get healthy. The winners will receive three months of weekly coaching, vitamins and packaged food at her center, 132 E. Bloomingdale Ave., Suite B.
“I lost 57 pounds four years ago this October with this program,” said Chiarenza, who is an independent distributor for the protein-based ITG Diet. “Ninety percent of dieters successfully maintain their weight with this program. I’ve maintained now for four years.”
Bodyworks Health & Wellness joined the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the center on Aug. 8 to celebrate its 2-year anniversary. The business moved into its new location in April of this year.
Jan Bowers of Valrico has been coming to the center for more than one year and has lost 40 pounds. On average, people lose 25 pounds with most losing 2 to 3 pounds a week, Chiarenza said. She has one client who lost 125 pounds.
“I have loved the program,” Bowers said. “It’s really easy to follow. I feel more energetic and my skin looks better.”
Bowers said she prefers Chiarenza’s supportive approach as opposed to a boot-camp style or programs that shame people with public weigh-ins.
“She is wonderful,” Bowers said. “If you mess up, she doesn’t make you feel bad.”
Rosemary Sorg of Lithia is a size 6, but considers herself “skinny fat,” because her body fat percentage is high.
“When I got measured out of curiosity, I was surprised that I had 15 pounds of fat to lose,” said Sorg, who is training to be a coach with the program. “I like the food. I’ve tried the snacks and drinks and they are good.”
Chiarenza said people who join her program follow a three-step plan that includes giving up virtually all fat, fruits and carbohydrates except salads and vegetables. The goal is to “re-set the pancreas” by consuming the ITG diet’s shakes, snacks and meals that are rich in protein, she said.
The second step is a 4-week process of re-introducing healthy fats, carbohydrates and fruit. During the third and final step, clients learn about food combining, grocery shopping and enjoying “safe days” to eat whatever they want in moderation once a week.
A former mortgage broker, Chiarenza moved to Florida from Ashburn, Va., with her family, seven years ago. She has two children with her husband of 26 years, Charles. Matthew, 16, is a junior at Bloomingdale High School, while Nathaniel, 13, is an eighth-grader at Barrington Middle School. The family attends St. Stephens Catholic Church.
Chiarenza said she tried dozens of other diets before finding lasting success with the ITG diet.
“I’m busy and always on the go,” Chiarenza said. “This made it very simple.”
She said many of the food items are gluten-free. Clients do not receive any diet pills or shots.
People participating in the essay contest need to submit a “before” photograph, essay and letter from another person explaining how they will help the applicant.
Chiarenza is also sponsoring the essay contest at her other location at 315 Doris Drive, Lakeland.
She hosts a free health seminar on the second Wednesday of every month from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Brandon location.
For more information on Bodyworks and how to participate in the contest, call (813) 324-8988 or (813) 449-3308.