Client and Trainer Become Co-Authors

El Vaquero Staff Writer

After trying many different weight loss methods without permanent success, GCC staff member Florence Ricchiazzi decided to have a gastric bypass surgery, which would initiate the process of going from 358 pounds to a mere 190 pounds.

A week after she had the surgery, Ricchiazzi began training regularly with GCC Instructor of Health, Barbara Erfurt.

Erfurt advised Ricchiazzi against the gastric bypass surgery, which involves stapling most of the stomach or suturing it almost completely shut. “The surgery doesn’t cure the problem,” Erfurt said. “People have to eat right and exercise regularly if they expect any weight to stay off.”

Post surgery lifestyle changes are a critical part of the process. Unless serious behavioral and diet changes occur, the process of losing weight may not be successful.

Finding no available resources for post-gastric bypass surgery patients, Ricchiazzi and Erfurt decided to write a book that would help patients deal with the challenges of maintaining a healthy, balanced diet and exercising regularly. “New Moves, New Tastes, The New You: A Resource for Gastric Bypass Patients & their Families” is about the authors’ daily experiences after the surgery.

Written mostly in a conversational matter between the patient and her trainer, the book includes a series of recipes, tips for a healthy diet and exercise, along with illustrations and pictures.

Part of it is a cook book including nutritional information about the recipes.

The recipes were written by Ricchiazzi and the nutritional information by Erfurt. “The book is functional in many capacities. It’s welcoming to the bypass patient who’s afraid of exercise and doesn’t really know what to do. It explains and makes people more comfortable with physical movement,” said Erfurt.

In her introduction to the book, Ricchiazzi says that even though she had always been obese, she realized that living a full life to an old age was questionable; she decided to go on with the surgery.

Many people go into the surgery with the belief that it will take care of everything. However, without lifestyle changes, the surgery could become ineffective.

Erfurt said that gastric bypass surgery is not for every obese or morbidly obese (50 to 100 percent over ideal body weight) person. “People who are best served by it are the ones who just can’t get motivated to get started,” said Erfurt.

Impressed by her business partner’s success, Erfurt said, “She [Ricchiazzi] is a perfect role model for what a person who has had the surgery needs to do; she just promotes everything that is healthy and good.”

Erfurt has a Master’s degree in public health from Loma Linda College. She considers the establishment of trust between and trainer to be one of the biggest challenges of her job.

Since she began working at GCC in January 1999, she has contributed to the growth of the college’s fitness programs.

In fall 2000, she developed the fitness certificate program, which is designed to prepare students to work in different fitness industries.
Regular exercise and a healthy diet are the foundations for staying fit. “There is no magic way to be healthy unless you work on it and give it time and priority,” said Erfurt.

On Sept. 26, at noon in Kreider Hall, Ricchiazzi and Erfurt will be presenting a lecture on modifying lifestyles to ensure health.
It will emphasize the “importance of realizing that the modifications that people make have to be targeted towards their health and not towards wearing a size 10 or an eight.”

For more information about the fitness specialist certificate program, visit

The book can be purchased at