When I came to Real Food Wellness, I knew my relationship with food was fraught, overwhelming, and taking up far more space in my life than I wanted it to. I had spoken with other therapists who had been helpful, but were not food or body image specialists. When I found Laura, I felt my whole body relax: I knew she 'got it'. Laura offers a grounded, calm, and inquisitive space to delve into sensitive topics. She helped guide me towards healing, showing me how to give myself some grace and illuminating how my struggles with eating related to struggles with perfectionism and control at large. Working with Laura for 4 years, I came to a space where food was no longer the primary focus in my life. I was able to speak more openly and with less shame about my journey with disordered eating and negative body image. I was able to put the energy I had expended on trying to control my food intake into new relationships, new career pursuits, and new adventures. I recommend Laura highly to anyone who is looking to find peace with food and eating and needs support in their journey.
Allie B., Grand Rapids, MI
“Working with Laura has been one of the biggest blessings in my life. When I first reached out to her over a year ago I was hopeless. I wasn’t sure how much more calorie counting, restricting and poor body image I could take, I was ready to give up. Looking back, it is hard for me to even comprehend who I was a year ago. I no longer hate my body, I’ve stopped restricting, my scale was proudly thrown in the trash and am able to finally look in the mirror and love my body the way it is. When you first meet Laura you feel as if you have known her a lifetime. She creates a sacred place for you to deeply unravel and dissect what caused your poor relationship with food and your body. She’s the first person I have felt like really understands what I am feeling. Laura lets you know that all work is optional and allows you safely explore food when you feel comfortable. She is the true definition of your biggest cheerleader. A year later and I am proud to say the war with my body is over and I have won some of my biggest battles, all thanks to her. I will forever be grateful for her and her knowledge” - Allie B, Grand Rapids
Ashley, Byron Center, MI
Working with Laura has absolutely changed my life. When I started meeting with her, I was in a very bad place with my feelings toward myself and my relationship with my body. I had reached a point where I couldn’t stand the calorie counting or weight obsession any longer. I didn’t want to be in a place of hating myself, and food, for the rest of my life. Somehow, I stumbled upon Laura’s website and I felt like something was telling me that meeting with her was the next step I was supposed to take. Over the past year, my life has completely changed thanks to her. She has helped me learn to listen to my body and to enjoy food for the first time in my life. I no longer obsess about calories or the number on the scale. Food no longer controls me. I finally feel free to be myself and the constant guilt I had surrounding food is finally gone, which is something I never thought would be attainable. I can’t say enough good things about Laura. She is incredibly understanding and kind, and she cares so much about her clients. She really does get to know you and takes your whole life into account when working with you. I would not hesitate to recommend her to anyone struggling with food and body image issues. I will forever be grateful for the work that she does!
Carrie, Grand Rapids, MI
Laura helped me improve my relationship with my mind and body concerning food and eating, and to develop a healthy approach to eating, weight loss and self-care. Prior to meeting with Laura, I was overly focused on counting calories and macros, working out, and restricting foods in order to lose weight. I put a tremendous amount of energy into eating the “perfect” foods and losing weight. I did lose weight, but I quickly gained it back (and then some). I compared myself to others constantly. I tried many different diets. But the result was binge eating, weight gain and extreme fatigue. Laura helped me to understand the reason I began to binge eat and the cause of other unhealthy thoughts and practices that I had developed over the years. She creates an incredibly safe environment. I was embarrassed to talk about binge-eating and worried how she would react. But Laura’s response was very comforting and I always left our sessions feeling refreshed, confident and energized. As a result of my work with Laura, I have regained my energy and I overall feel mentally and physically healthier. Both my relationship with food and with myself are healthy and positive. It is very clear that Laura deeply cares for her clients. I highly recommend working with her.
Dave D, West Michigan
Laura has been instrumental in helping me understand the psychology of my poor eating habits. Together, we have made huge strides in improving my overall health and happiness by tailoring a diet that works for me and my lifestyle. Her compassion and willingness to understand her clients individual needs is something unique and refreshing. I highly recommend she and and her services! Thank you Laura!
Mallory, New York
"Working with Laura Burkett of Real Food Wellness over the past year has changed the way I think about almost every aspect of myself. I never feel shame or embarrassment with her even in my darkest moments, just total acceptance and support. If you need, or want, some help navigating your health and inner life–which lord knows we all do–she is the kindest, smartest, and most trustworthy of guides."
Carrie N, Caledonia, MI
I looked forward to my time with Laura because I knew I would come away with feeling better about myself and who I wanted to be. Laura helped me acquire the tools I needed to overcome the obstacles I was facing with my health. She helped me to see how I could manage my mental and physical health in a way that made me feel like I could do anything. After only a few sessions, I started to see progress in my life. Things started to make sense because of our conversations. Laura would mention a viewpoint that I hadn't thought of and it was refreshing to know that I didn't have to be stuck in a rut. Most importantly, I felt that Laura truly cared about my thoughts and feelings. She is a great listener. I am truly blessed to have her in my life. Because of a suggestion from Laura, I am on a life-changing journey to better health. My decision to change my eating habits has positively affected my family and some of my friends. I am proof that one person can make a difference. Thank you , Laura!!!
Kenda H, Lowell, MI
"I truly appreciate you and the work that you are doing! I was thinking yesterday on my drive home how last year I was so very fed up with my struggle and I started looking for someone to help me. I didn't know WHAT I needed. In my searching and 'facebook stalking' of someone else, a suggestion for Real Food Wellness popped up in my side bar. I was literally like....hmmm, what is this? That led me to your website to read about you and as soon as I read your story, I knew that I needed to meet with you. It was honestly a God thing, fate, whatever you want to call it. My life is truly richer and freer because of you and everything you have taught me and worked through with me. It is literally like I have lost the chains that were holding my life and mind in a jail cell of sorts. It's super hard to describe. But I used to feel like a failure every day. Now I feel like an empowered woman who enjoys life."
Tim & Jan McCollum, Grand Rapids, MI
We love Laura! We began working with her simply because we wanted to feel better. In chaotic times, it's easy to make nutrition an afterthought. In her intuitive, personalized sessions, Laura keeps the focus on establishing achievable goals, implementing small changes on a consistent basis. These changes have now become daily habits that are an integrated and natural part of our lifestyle. Laura's approach is based on instruction of how foods work naturally with body. In a maze of competing nutritional strategies, this is refreshing. Simple changes like shifting the time frame of our main meal and taking the time to chew have made a powerful difference in our energy levels, sleep patterns, and how we treat each other. Dropping a few pounds along the way has been an added bonus. Laura's work with us is responsible for of the most significant shifts in our lives this past year. And have her tell you about Coconut Coffee (with Cinnamon)!
Lisa, Grand Rapids, MI
"Hey Laura. I just wanted to give you a quick testimonial. I met with you in late spring, and was struggling to lose a few pounds that would just not leave my body. You had emphasized safety, and how if the body doesn't feel safe, you can't lose (or gain) weight. I continued to calorie count, work out often twice a day until I was exhausted. And this produced no weight loss. In fact I felt heavier. I do not weigh myself, but I couldn't feel or see any changes in my body. Then it hit me. I didn't want to spend my life like this. I didn't want to be a slave to marathon work it's and worrying about everything I ate. So I gave it up. I started working out less, incorporating one day of weight lifting and cardio a week for balance. Practicing yoga daily, which my body loves. And I just chose to eat things that made me feel good. I planned my lunches thinking "what will make me feel the best throughout my day, and not make me tired." The weight has been falling of me. I hardly noticed until my scrubs pants were falling off, and people kept asking me what I was doing. I have to thank you for planting the seeds of loving myself and finding a gentle and safe balance. While they needed time to sprout, I feel so much more at ease in maintaining a healthy body without creating a constant inner turmoil."
I started meeting with Laura shortly before my fortieth birthday. I remember being completely exhausted when I arrived to our first session. I was tired pretty much all the time then. Although I had had all kinds of tests run, I never got a diagnosis. Sure I was overweight but overall, I was supposedly healthy. This just didn’t make sense to me. I tried to make myself feel better: I was on anti-depressants for a while, I sat in front of a SAD lamp in the winter, I took vitamins, I tried to squeeze yoga into my schedule, and I was always experimenting with some kind of diet. I would feel a little better for a while and maybe even lose some weight but then I would go back to feeling tired, heavy, stressed, and guilty for not being able to find balance in my life. Deep down I felt scared. If this is forty, what would fifty be like? I kept most of this a secret. I tried to act like I had it together but in reality I often felt out of control. In our first session, I just slumped on the couch in Laura’s office and cried. She validated all of my concerns and I could tell right away that she was incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about helping people work through these kinds of issues. Even though I was sharing things that I had never told anyone before, I felt very safe. Laura helped me realize that lasting change comes from a place of love, not hate, and one of the first things we started working on is what I now like to refer to as radical self-acceptance. I realized that I had been punishing myself for not having a thin body since I was a little girl. I went on my first diet at the age of eleven and have gained and lost hundreds of pounds since then. Laura’s wisdom and insight have helped me to understand how to nourish my body by listening to what it needs. Instead of calories, carbs and fat grams, we talk about rhythms, self-care, and mindfulness. Our work together over the last year has been nothing short of life changing for me. I honestly can’t believe how much confidence I have gained and how much better I feel. I kicked my caffeine addiction. I sleep better. I am more assertive. I even wear a bathing suit to the beach and can enjoy ice cream without guilt! I also hike, walk my dog, and ride my bike - not to burn calories but because I love it and it feels good. And yes, I have lost weight. Next month I will be doing my first ever group cycling tour. I am riding my bike almost 300 miles over four days and crossing through three states! Before working with Laura, I never would have dreamed I could do such a thing. I always wanted to be an athlete but my negative self-image always held me back. There was always a voice in my head saying, “but you’re a fat girl, you can’t do that.” Working with Laura has brought me out of the shadows and into the light. I am beyond grateful for her patience, support, and encouragement. Laura’s holisitc approach is a perfect fit for anyone who is looking to make peace with their body and live a more balanced life.
After suffering from stomach and digestion issues for a few years, I finally felt I needed to consult a professional. I wanted to speak with someone who would look at my concerns holistically, and offer me real answers and the kind of supportive solution that would allow me to take matters into my own hands versus using medication or something of the like. I had a chance run-in with Laura at a dance class, and I’m forever grateful for it because it led me to her services! Laura has a really genuine demeanor, and a kind, light voice that welcomes you to interact. She listens very well to concerns, but also dives into any aspect of your life that could be affecting your issue. The process is empowering and enlightening. She made many connections for me, and the most astounding and profound was the link between mind and body. After this realization came to fruition, everything began to fall into line. Together, we addressed my issues through various approaches and philosophies, leading to a physical, emotional and cognitive transformation that somehow Laura made feel like it was all on my own. After a solid series of sessions, I feel completely well, and very in control. I’m armed with tools, tips and sound knowledge, along with a deeper self-awareness that has enhanced all areas of my life. I know she is just a quick phone call or email away, and I’m forever grateful for her counsel and friendship. I seriously recommend Real Food Wellness and I am thrilled that I took the leap to speak with someone – it has made an enormous impact! - Lauren
Keriann Poquette, Grand Rapids, MI
"Working with Laura has been an amazing and enlightening experience for me. I grew up with food controlling my life. My teenage years were spent either dieting in an effort to look like all the "skinny" girls in school or "giving up" and eating anything I wanted, paying no attention to how my body felt. In college, I became obsessed with losing weight, over-exercising and limiting my caloric intake to such small amounts there was no way my body was getting the nutrients it deserved. I joined Weight Watchers, kept track of points and lost weight. That whole process was a lot of work, time, and energy spent worrying about the food I was putting in my body. My journey with Laura is an ongoing one, through which there is much self-discovery about my relationship with food, how to take care of myself, and most importantly, how to listen. I have learned that there is no need for a rule-bound relationship with food. I lost right around 20 pounds. :) 2 sizes, that was the best part! What is most important is giving yourself permission and listening to what your body needs. Slowing down and really paying attention to what food, activity, or time your body requires is the best way to take care of yourself. For me, self-care has lead to the most happiness. There is a sense of fulfillment when you give yourself permission to eat what your body needs at any given time. Thank you for all your guidance. You are the best!"
Leigh, Grand Rapids, MI
“Laura has taught me how to bring balance back to my body in many ways.I really appreciate the space I am given, the love and compassion I receive, the reality that this is someone who really wants to help me. I love that I am always reminded to be kind to myself and to take care of myself because we so easily forget to do this on a daily basis. If anyone is struggling with their relationship with food or their relationship to their body, I would highly recommend her counseling. There is a better way to live.”
A.L. Hudsonville, MI
"Food used to consume my thoughts. I was fearful of food, only eating certain food and was religiously counting calories. I hated my body and was over-exercising, thinking that more and more would get me skinnier. Food is no longer all that I think about, and I have learned to listen to my body and what it needs. I have learned to incorporate the foods that I told myself I couldn't have and not letting them have power over me. Laura has helped me to understand that more and more exercise has not been good for my body. My body was telling me that, I just didn't know how to listen to it. I have also been learning to love my body. Self-love has been the greatest gift that I can give myself. My body is now thanking me, all I need to do is listen to what it’s telling me and love it :)"
H.K. Grand Rapids, MI
"I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate our time and the work we have done together. Before we began I always had such a deep sense of something being "wrong" with me, and that I needed to fix it in order to become the "right" kind of person. Our work has really brought me to a place of so much more self acceptance, and an understanding that what works for one person doesn't necessary dictate what will work for another. There are many ways to show up in this world, not just one "right" way. You have helped me to see and honor this. Thank you so much."
Nicole D. Holland, MI
"Working with Laura, I received so many benefits. Most noticeably, I lost approximately 16% of my body weight and dropped about three dress sizes while weight loss was not a focus of ours, improved health was the focus. I also noticed an improved mood (more optimistic and all around happier) and clearer skin, I need less sleep (about one to two hours less a night) because I am eating better, I handled stress better and I am more motivated to get stuff done and exercise."
Audrey V., Miami, FL
"Since starting Laura's program I've stopped binge eating after learning what the root problem was. Once I was satisfied, I didn't want anything more and I stopped my obsession over food, weight, etc... I quit freaking out all together and started back at the basics: listening to my body and filling it with wholesome food. I also started cooking more and experimented with yummy dishes. Before I was even afraid to try and cook so I made boring things that were not appetizing. Now, with Laura's encouragement, I've bought ingredients and food I have never tried to cook and made them into a tasty dish!"
Sally K. Grand Rapids, MI
"When I started Laura's program I suffered with several hunger episodes throughout the day, feeling unsatisfied throughout the day and major carb cravings. After graduating her program I've gained a better understanding of why I crave certain foods and what my body needs to feel satisfied. She will enlighten you to her holistic approach to food and life. I highly recommend you try it out. You will be amazed with what you can do and how great you will feel!"
L.C. Grand Rapids, MI
"I am definitely more sensitive to what I eat and how it makes me feel. I feel more in control of what I eat, when I eat, and most importantly why. Since starting Laura Burkett's six-month program I've lost weight and have gained awareness around my cravings. I am also more sensitive to the way food tastes and am eating out less frequently."
K.P. Grand Rapids, MI
"Since starting Laura Burkett's program my relationship with myself and the way I look at food has changed. I no longer worry about a craving for sweets or looking at what I eat as good or bad. Instead, I listen to what my body is telling me and honor the messages of hunger, rest, comfort, energy, and respond with choices that I enjoy. I love the challenge to find fresh, good-for-you foods and creating and sharing without expectations- that what is important is that I am doing it for me and if others come along for the ride, great! Thank you, Laura, you have taught me so much and I am living with intention, purpose, and happiness."
Brandy A., Grand Rapids, MI
"Through my program I've distanced myself from the good/bad food mentality and discovered new foods that have enlivened a joy of cooking. Because of Laura's holistic approach, I've finally found a path in which eating is no longer a chore to agonize over, but more of a pleasurable, key component to an overall lively and healthy lifestyle."