Nick Perkins, Upslope Media

“Everybody always needs a place to start,” Wellness Matters owner Sam Knight stated. “Where do you start?”

It’s a good question. When it comes to anything that’s hard, anything that takes time, anything that requires investment, the hardest part is, well, starting. Whether you’re a writer looking at a blank page or a chef looking at an open flame, or just a general human being looking at yourself in the mirror and knowing that something needs to change — the biggest, hardest, most important step is always that very first one.

For Gail Knight, Sam’s wife and business partner, her journey into the world of health and wellness started when, quite simply, she ran out of options.

“I was really sick my whole life,” Gail shared. “I’ve had surgery every other year for most of my adult life, and I’m missing all of the organs that they say you don’t need, like my gallbladder and my uterus, my thyroid and some other things. I had a CPAP machine. I had fibromyalgia. I was on medicine for gastritis and GERD and IBS and colitis and gastroparesis. I had migraines and depression.”

In short, Gail was sick. And tired. And she was sick and tired of being sick and tired. She knew something had to change. She knew she had to change. She just didn’t know where, or how, to start.

“All of the medical professionals that I saw, including the ones I went to the Mayo Clinic to see, said that I didn’t have any chance of getting better,” she remembered, with something of a sad smile across her face. “[They said] there was just really no way to fix the things that were wrong, and they said I’d just have to take the medication whenever the symptoms would get bad. And then, when they got worse, I could come back, and they would give me more medication.”

That was not the solution that Gail was looking for. That was not the life she wanted for herself. But what was she to do? These medical professionals that she was sent to speak to told her they couldn’t do anything for her except provide her pills for when things got bad. It wasn’t a solution; it was a bandaid.

For a long time, Gail lost hope.

“I got to a place where I was unsure about whether I wanted to live,” she said. “And as a woman of faith, that’s a big, big, big statement.”

It was a big statement. It was a hard time for Gail and for her family. She calls herself a woman of faith, and she absolutely is. But that faith, at least within herself, was starting to wane. Fortunately, Gail believed in something bigger than herself, and that “something” reminded her of just who she was and what she was capable of. Gail decided that she wasn’t going to give up. If the doctors wouldn’t help her, she’d help herself.

And that’s exactly what she did.

“I was gonna go look for anything and everything I could find,” Gail said. “A friend of mine pointed me towards eating for my blood type. So initially, I did a really big elimination diet; wheat, corn, dairy, soy, potato, tomato, sugar, and pork. I got rid of all of them. And in four months, I didn’t need my CPAP anymore. I was dreaming. I didn’t need the medicine for all my GI Tract issues. I was going to the bathroom regularly, I wasn’t having migraines.”

It was a physical change, to be sure. But, maybe even more importantly, it was an emotional change. A mental change.

“I didn’t hurt all the time,” she said, that smile getting bigger. “I found joy. I was laughing again. I wanted to move and be in the sun and have a nice life. I didn’t need any of my medication anymore. And when I figured out that there’s a different way, I wanted to know more. And I wanted to share it with others.”

And so, Wellness Matters.

Gail went to school for many years, becoming a nutritional therapy practitioner. She and her husband opened Wellness Matters after a series of conversations she had with the clients from her insurance business. Gail found out that her story, or at least some aspect of it, is shared by countless people. And she wanted to give people a chance to find themselves again, like she did.

Wellness Matters opened in January 2023 and it quickly became a hub of nutritional information, supplements, spices, teas, herbs and so much more. And now, Wellness Matters is gearing up to present its first weight-loss program, called Restart.

Nick Perkins, Upslope Media

“It’s a sugar detox,” Gail stated. “People agree to come in and they learn the first week; we set up all the expectations. Everybody gets a bioelectrical impedance — that’s a way that we can look to see what your body composition is, like how much water mass you have, how much fat mass, what your total body weight is, etc.”

Gail stated that the purpose of the bioelectrical impedance is to give participants, as the name of the program implies, a place to start.

“Sometimes people begin a process or a journey and they can’t see immediate results,” Gail said. “This is a five-week course, and every week that we meet, I do the bioelectrical impedance test so they can see and find the ways that their body is shifting, even if they can’t discern it.”

The bioelectrical impedance test is just one part of this five-week course. Throughout the course, Gail will teach users about macronutrients. She’ll talk about sugar and all of the true harms of it. She’ll talk about fats and how to make good choices with them — which ones to cook with, which ones to not use, etc. She’ll also teach about proteins and the importance of different protein sources.

Nick Perkins, Upslope Media

Users will get a journal to write about their journey. They’ll get a cookbook. They’ll get a ton of information, supplements, and more. The best part, though — the most important part — is that they’ll get to develop relationships with people who share their struggle.

“It’s a group setting,” Gail said. “Classes are 10 to 15 people a class, and we’ll share in each others’ gains. We create friendships and bonds, where we’re supporting each other and can text or talk throughout the week.”

Gail is realistic about this program, and she wants the participants to be as well.

“People usually lose between seven and 10 pounds,” she revealed. “This isn’t gonna be a thing where you drop 60 pounds. But it is the thing to give you a new start. And once you begin to see the weight loss and you begin to feel a little better, because you’ve gotten rid of some of the foods that can make people have a histamine response, or an allergic response or just, you know, muddle the system — when you take them out, then people feel like a million bucks.”

It’s not just about losing weight; it’s about feeling better, in body, mind and spirit. That’s the goal of this Restart program. It’s Gail’s goal, because she knows the good that can come out of getting a fresh start.

“You go to your doctor or your chiropractor or somebody, and they might just make blanket statements like, ‘Don’t eat so much sugar,’ ‘Eat less grains,’ or ‘Maybe you should move more,'” Gail said. “But there isn’t anything in our community that’s really comprehensive about those macronutrients and how to best use them, why we need to eat them. And by talking about this stuff, it gives people an opportunity to know what it feels like to be better. To be healthier. Because a lot of people think they feel good, but they don’t know that they don’t feel good until they actually do feel good.”

Wellness Matters, and the Restart program, is offering Casper residents the chance to take that first step toward feeling good. Whether you’ve tried everything, or anything, or nothing — this is your chance to find something that works for you, to start feeling good, to “restart” your health journey.

The program begins May 16 and it will happen every Tuesday night for the next five weeks, from about 7:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m., or a little later depending on the conversations that are taking place.

The total price is $200, which includes a weight-loss support supplement pack (which will only be given out on the first night to the first eight people that sign up; typically, it’s $179 dollars by itself), the journal, the cookbook, the bioelectrical impedance test every week, the group chats and access to the “Vibration Prep Plate.” The prep plate is designed to help people who have lymphatic drainage. It’s for people who have maybe had a knee replaced or something else is preventing them exercising. The prep plate is an exercise mimetic, and it allows those people to safely exercise.

Nick Perkins, Upslope Media

The total price also gives users access to Gail’s time and energy. It gives them access to her heart, which is what started this whole thing in the first place. Gail knows that what worked for her may not work for everyone. But she wants to give them a chance to find out for themselves. She wants to give them a chance to find out what works for them, and what doesn’t. She wants to give them a chance to do-over, to try again…to restart.

“I want to give people hope when they don’t have hope anymore,” she shared. “I want to open the window. I want to give them a little glimpse into what’s even possible, through sharing my story, hearing what’s going on with them, and helping them find another way.”

The Restart program begins on Tuesday, May 16 at 7:15 p.m. It’s happening at Wellness Matters, located at 235 S. David St., in Downtown Casper. For more information, or to register for the class, visit the Wellness Matters website or its Facebook page.

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