Our Current Stories on Caring for Our People

Wellness Program

A Recipe for Success

A Recipe for Success
Nordstrom chef Jonathan Rohland adds meals and drops pounds, all in the name of deliciously healthy eating.

Like any chef, Jonathan Rohland loves good food. As Nordstrom's regional chef for the company's Southeast and Capital regions, he's around it all day: tasting ingredients, sampling sauces and evaluating new foods and recipes.

Even though Jonathan's life revolves around food—and he knows a lot about nutrition—he's the first to tell you he didn't always eat wisely. "I used to be a butter and cream, eggs and potatoes kind of guy," says Jonathan. "I knew there were healthier ingredients. I just chose to stay away from them."

On top of that, Jonathan's typical day involved skipping breakfast and maybe lunch, followed by binge eating in the evenings. "I travel quite a bit for work, so at night I would consume probably 3,000 to 4,000 calories from restaurant takeout menus or fast food—anything that was convenient."

Time for a change

"My 'aha!' moment came while tying my shoes," relates Jonathan. "First it was a struggle bending down to tie them. Then, coming back up, I was winded and it felt like my head was going to pop. I thought, 'What's going on here? What am I doing to myself?'"

Jonathan vowed to turn his diet around, beginning with the first meal of the day. "Eating a healthy breakfast was a difference maker," he says. "It helped tremendously with my metabolism, and I found myself having more energy throughout the day." Jonathan also eliminated fried foods and most carbohydrates and fats from his diet; added lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and lean proteins; and maintained a daily intake of about 2,000 calories.

"The pounds just flew off," says Jonathan. "I lost 30 pounds in a couple of months, which is when I felt good enough to start exercising." On business trips, Jonathan would hit the treadmill in the hotel's fitness room. At first he alternated between running and walking. By summer's end he was running three to four miles a day and the weight on his 5'11" frame had dropped from 290 lbs. to 230 lbs.

Jonathan also completed a health screening after years of avoiding doctors. His blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol all registered at healthy levels.

Sharing a healthy approach

At work, Jonathan has shared his healthy approach to cooking with Nordstrom's culinary teams. He has also proposed nutritious new dishes for the Nordstrom Café menu, including a seared tuna loin with a quinoa tabouli salad and a seared tuna salad with arugula and spiced citrus.

What keeps Jonathan on track? "That's easy," he says with a laugh. "I have to tie my shoes every single day. Each time I do, it's a friendly reminder of how far I've come. I have three kids and I want to be around for them. I'm also doing it for myself—it's a lot more fun to feel great!"

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