Slimming Down

If you listen closely, you’ll hear the sounds of spring: birds chirping, snow melting and ads telling you to “get your beach body ready” before summer arrives.

Northern Colorado is chock-full of weight loss options to help you slim down or embark on a new journey of wellness, whether you want to take the traditional route of diet and exercise or try something else.

Skinny Up! weight loss drops

Skinny Up! is a line of tinctures you drop under the tongue that are packed with herbs, vitamins and amino acids that target stubborn visceral fat. Visceral fat, commonly called belly fat, is considered dangerous and may be present even when you can’t see it in the belly. The tinctures are formulated by Fort Collins chiropractor Dr. Kenna Venekamp.

Skinny Up! tinctures and health journal for documenting your weight loss.

“In 2010, we hit on this idea of creating a sublingual vitamin tincture that would aid in weight loss and detox, and when we used it ourselves, the results were incredible,” says Sarah, Kenna’s wife and Skinny Up! co-founder. “We both experienced dramatic weight loss and major health breakthroughs, and all of our patients wanted to try it.”

Skinny Up! drops are part of a weight loss protocol with three different products: Reduce, Yeast Redux and Maintain. The first product, Reduce, contains ingredients that support organs that work hard to cleanse the system. These include a proprietary blend of amino acids, B vitamins and detoxifying herbs such as burdock root and dandelion root.

Taken while on a moderately limited diet, Reduce signals to the brain that more calories are needed and that it’s time to open up the stored visceral fat, Venekamp explains.

However, Venekamp says it’s difficult to eliminate cravings if there is yeast overgrowth (or candida) present in the gut. This commonly occurs due to a high-carb, high-sugar diet or use of antibiotics. That’s where Yeast Redux comes in—it’s an herbal candida cleanse that can be taken alongside Reduce to kill off yeast and restore the proper balance of bacteria.

“Yeast in the body is just like yeast in a lump of bread dough; it grows and swells in the intestines, screaming at the brain to give in to sugar cravings,” says Venekamp. “Yeast Redux acts like a yeast mercenary, killing off the candida very quickly. Within just a few days, those screaming cravings are reduced to a whisper, and then they’re gone, so it’s easier to stick to the protocol and eat what you’re supposed to.”

Once the Reduce and Yeast Redux protocol is complete, the third amino acid-based product, Maintain, is taken as a follow-up to keep sugar and starch cravings at bay. Maintain, just like it sounds, helps retrain the hypothalamus to keep the body at its end-of-diet weight.

When taken as a series, Venekamp says anyone can lose up to 30 pounds using Skinny Up! weight loss drops, depending on the length of each protocol. If someone has 60 pounds to lose, they can repeat their protocol of choice until they’ve reached that goal.


Allura provider Brianne Emerson, R.N., consults with a Semaglutide patient during their medical evaluation prior to starting the program.

Semaglutide injections at Allura

Instead of using brands like Ozempic and Wegovy that are in high demand for Type 2 diabetics, Northern Colorado’s Allura Skin, Laser & Wellness Clinic has its own form of the FDA-approved medication semaglutide, compounded at a local pharmacy.

Semaglutide aids in weight loss by mimicking a natural hormone in the body called glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), which reduces your appetite, says Brianne Emerson, nurse injector at Allura. It also slows digestion, causing you to feel fuller with smaller portion sizes.

Clients receive their first semaglutide injection at the clinic, where a nurse shows them how to administer three additional shots at home over the next few weeks. Then they return to the clinic for monthly check-ins with their injector to monitor their progress.

“We gradually increase the dose until clients have reached their desired outcome with as few side effects as possible,” says Emerson. “The duration of the treatment depends on how much weight they want to lose; if that’s 10 pounds, they’ll probably lose it in about a month, and if it’s 50 pounds, it’ll be closer to 6 months.”

Some clients may experience nausea, constipation and diarrhea. Emerson says those side effects can usually be avoided by eating slowly, and by eating smaller, healthier meals (no fried, fatty foods or refined or sugary carbohydrates). She also suggests drinking lots of water and eating plenty of fibrous foods to keep things moving.

If a client is uncomfortable on semaglutide, Emerson says she can adjust dosages or call in prescriptions to help mitigate any GI symptoms. Some serious side effects are possible, though they are rare due to thorough client screenings and mandatory blood work before starting the treatment.

“We go above and beyond with the lab work and really look into each client’s history to make sure they are a good candidate for semaglutide as opposed to just handing it out,” Emerson says. “There are people who can’t take it, like those with a history of thyroid cancer, fast cardiac arrhythmias, diabetic retinopathy or pancreatitis, and women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to become pregnant. People on insulin or diabetic medications also can’t take it because it stimulates insulin secretion in the pancreas and lowers blood sugar levels. Those are the kinds of things we screen for.”

Since clients lose a couple pounds per week on semaglutide, the treatment gives them time to assess their caloric intake and change their eating habits. Combine that with regular exercise, and Emerson says it won’t be hard to keep the weight off.

Cassye training her client, Barbie, on the lat pulldown machine. Photo by Desiree.

Personal training and nutrition coaching at 43fitness

Anyone trying to get in shape knows the importance of diet and exercise for a healthy lifestyle. But getting started is at least half the battle, which is exactly what Cassye Delphy helps her clients with at 43fitness in Fort Collins. As a certified personal trainer, nutritionist and behavioral change specialist, she believes that a positive mindset and self-love are the keys to reaching your fitness goals and getting your mojo back.

“It doesn’t matter how much money you throw at the problem, how many times you see a trainer or how many healthy groceries you buy if you’re in a constant shame spiral,” she says. “I help clients reframe the way they think about their goals and how they talk to themselves from the beginning, so they are in a positive space to make long-lasting changes.”

Delphy offers one-month, three-month and six-month personal training programs that are customized for each client with a focus on weightlifting. In the beginning, clients meet with her several times per week to hone in on their technique and start building progress. As they become more autonomous, they meet with her once per week while doing an online delivered system on their own, either at her gym or a gym they belong to.

In addition to weight training, Delphy provides nutrition coaching to help clients be more mindful about what they eat: “I’m all about whole foods and maintaining a healthy balance between protein, carbs and good fats. I don’t like elimination diets where entire food groups are off limits; it’s more about portion control and adding in the good stuff while taking out some of the bad,” she says.

Delphy recognizes that’s easier said than done, so she offers a range of tools and techniques to help clients develop a healthy relationship with food. These include grocery store tours and pantry makeovers (at an additional cost), as well as help deciphering the marketing jargon on food labels.

When it comes to things like sugar, alcohol and processed foods, Delphy says to proceed with caution. In fruit form, sugar is delivered with lots of fiber and phytonutrients, she says, but pair it with fat and you have a highly addictive substance that is hard to resist. Then you add alcohol to the mix, and all inhibitions go out the door.

“It’s easy to overdo it with alcohol and give in to all sorts of cravings,” she says. “You end up having an entire plate of nachos in addition to the second margarita, so they play off each other in a negative way. A little bit is fine, but you really have to prioritize your goals and stand up to those temptations—and the people egging you on—to keep making progress.”


Laurel Aiello is a Fort Collins native and CSU alum. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find her out in the garden, reading a good book or soaking up the sunshine with her husband and pup.