About Rob

Rob PortingaSince I was a kid, I’ve loved food. Cooking, as well as eating. Unfortunately issues with both quality and quantity led to me being overweight nearly my entire adult life.

In 2008, at over 380 pounds, I decided I needed a change. I would lose weight with different “diets” over the years, but those pounds always came back – and they brought friends. I needed help.

On April 8, 2009 I had roux-en-y gastric bypass surgery and by January of 2010 I reached 188 pounds, my lowest weight since middle school. And while the surgery helped me lose the weight by helping me control how much I eat, the entire process has helped me learn to better choose what I eat. And it’s this new respect for the quality of what I eat that has, helped, and will continue to be the key for me to maintain my weight loss.

My outlook on food has changed, I still love to cook. I still love to eat. But now I get as much pleasure, maybe even more so, from the process involved in cooking healthy foods.

I was overweight, had sleep apnea, hyper-tension, acid reflux, with a family history of high cholesterol and diabetes. I’ve seen and lived with the consequences associated with over-eating and poor nutritional choices. I don’t “diet”, “diets” don’t work. Instead, through healthy eating and increased activity I live a Positively Healthy lifestyle.

Along the way, my outlook on health also evolved, I take a holistic or integrative approach, where the focus isn’t just on food, but also other aspects in your life such as exercise, relationships, and a spirituality to help find your personal balance. I’ve studied basic nutrition, dozens of dietary theories, and a variety of practical lifestyle coaching methods.

As I’ve learned more and more about being healthier myself, as I’ve been able to turn things around in my own life, I’ve received a lot of support and encouragement from those around me. Working with folks as a health coach, for me, is sort of a way to “pay it forward” by sharing what I’ve experienced and what I’ve learned, helping others take the steps they need to start living a Positively Healthy life.

I believe I can help you find this better balance for yourself. Contact me if you’re ready to take that first step.


ISSAMy interest in nutrition as a way to help others started when I earned a certerificate in Fitness Nutrition from the International Sports Sciences Association. From there I went on to become a Certified Holistic Health Coach from the American Association of Drugless Practitioners after studying with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.

One of the more enjoyable ways I found to bring the discussion on health to others was asone of the founding producers and hosts of The Wake Up Call, a health & wellness program that broadcast out of the Twin Cities area on AM950 for nearly four years.

  • Continuing Education Credits
    • Food, Stress & The Brain
    • IBS and Inflammatory Gastrointestinal Disorders
    • Sugar, Salt & Fat
    • Support Group Facilitator Training
    • The Power of Calcium
    • Water, Thirst and Dehydration
    • Women’s Health and Physical Fitness

OACThe topic of obesity, the disease, it’s treatment, and the bias and stigma that surrounds it has been a major focus of mine. As such, I’ve been a proud member of the Obesity Action Coalition since 2011. As a volunteer on the Bias Committee and the Your Weight Matters Convention Planning Committee, I get to work with others as part of the OAC on various weight bias and obesity advocacy issues. In 2014, I was honored to receive the Barbara Thompson Award for Advocacy, their Advocate of the Year award.

  • Some of the other work I’ve done with, or as part of my work with the OAC
    • Member Advocate for the Treat And Reduce Obesity Act – speaking to legislators in Washington DC
    • Speaking on engaging patients as advocates to the MN Chapter of the ASMBS
    • Assist in development and presentation of the Advocacy 101 class as part of Your Weight Matters 2014 Convention
    • Co-Presenter of discussion on Beginning Advocacy at the Your Weight Matters 2014 Convention
    • Assist in development and presentation of the You are the OAC: Discover the Power of Your Voice class as part of Your Weight Matters 2015 Convention
    • Presenter of the discussion on The ABCs of the OAC – Simple Ways to Make a Difference as part of the Your Weight Matters 2015 Convention

The OAC is a non-profit organization dedicated to giving a voice to those affected by obesity and was formed to build a nationwide coalition of those affected to become active advocates and spread the important message of the need for obesity education.

The OAC offers a wide variety of free educational resources on obesity, morbid obesity and childhood obesity, in addition to consequences and treatments of these conditions. The OAC also conducts a variety of advocacy efforts throughout the U.S. on both the National and state levels, and encourages individuals to become proactive advocates.

photo credit: Candy’s Photography