Million Dollar Monday

The Anti-Diet Diet: Goodbye Diet Culture, Hello Sustainable Health

December 06, 2021 Greg Muzzillo
Million Dollar Monday
The Anti-Diet Diet: Goodbye Diet Culture, Hello Sustainable Health
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

“We know 83% of dieters end up gaining more weight than they've lost within the first two years. And so how do we actually help people build sustainable change?” Emily Hochman has redefined “dieting” through Wellory, an app that helps people make healthier eating choices rather than crash diets. Tune in to hear valuable advice about starting and growing a business and learn some health tips along the way. 

Chapter Summaries 

Key Takeaways 

  • I  became what's called a certified health coach and actually learned all about food and diet and was able to cure myself of every single potential chronic illness utilizing the power of healthy food as medicine 
  • Our society has gotten to a place where we have so much processed chemical products that are filled with things that are not good for our bodies or our systems. And if we can just help people eat more whole real foods, we'll be in a much healthier place.
  • We know 83% of dieters end up gaining more weight than they've lost within the first two years. And so how do we actually help people build sustainable change? How do we change lives with food?
  • One of the strengths of our platform is just simply that accountability. Diet and nutrition has been one of the things that has been missing accountability, missing support, missing partnership. We have that so much in family dynamics in work and in sports, but when it comes to our health so much of the time we're just left on our own. So yeah, so much of what we do is, is accountability and support.
  • The key to growing a business is very simple. All you need to know is awareness, trial, and commitment.
  • Use Code BFF for 50% off your first Month (Wellory.com) 

Resource Links 

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Greg Muzzillo :

Hello and welcome to Million Dollar Monday. I'm your host, Greg Muzzillo bringing you real successful people with real useful advice for people with big dreams. I understand big dreams. I turned an investment of $200 and a lot of great advice from some really successful people into my big dream Proforma. That today is a half billion dollar company. Well, hello and welcome. We have a fascinating young lady that has accomplished a lot for her youthfulness and , I'm excited to chat with her. She is the founder and CEO of a company called Wellory they anti diet. I'm all for that anti diet nutrition app on a mission to bring healthy eating to the masses. Emily has been featured in business insider, thrive global ,well and good, named most influential woman, Bucknell businesswoman, and a Forbes 30 under 30. I'm excited to have Emily Hochman join us. Emily. Thank you for being here.

Emily Hochman:

Thank you so much for having me. It's an honor to , uh, to be here and thank you for the warm welcome. I appreciate that.

Greg Muzzillo :

Yeah. Well, I'm very excited to hear about the anti diet diet, but anyhow, let's , let's first, just start with your story, you know, your growing up years and what sort of led you to have a passion for business, business ownership, entrepreneurship, and nutrition.

Emily Hochman:

You know, I will start , with my childhood and my family, which is entrepreneurship is actually the family business. So both of my parents are entrepreneurs three out of four of my grandparents are entrepreneurs. So I always wanted to start a company and , you know , really thinking about entrepreneurship and problem solving was a huge part of my upbringing.

Greg Muzzillo :

I love it. I , you know, when I grew up, my parents said we don't talk about business at the table and that really frustrated me. Right. Because I wanted to know what my dad did, but he didn't want to talk about it at the table. So lucky you that you were able to have those conversations.

Emily Hochman:

Yes. My dinner table growing up is the complete opposite, which is we actually had something called the Hochman think tank . Yep . And most dinners, someone you could bring an idea to the Hochman think tank . And I grew up in a family of five. I have two brothers and my parents myself. And so we would go around the table and we would bring our present an idea and everyone would brainstorm and challenge it and poke holes. And, you know, we, we wouldn't get up from the table until the problem was solved. So I think , yeah, that's a , I think that's my, that was my first look into entrepreneurship, into collaboration, brainstorm, problem, solving, finding product market fit, if you will. And I think that's a lot of what, you know, team building and company building as really like

Greg Muzzillo :

I love that. So talk, talk a little bit more with us about how did you end up getting into the whole nutritional space?

Emily Hochman:

Sure. So I actually entered the nutrition space purely from personal experience. When I went to college, I was terrified of gaining the freshman 15, many have shared some experience with that. And I went on a diet and then I went on another diet and another diet and another diet. And I dieted like crazy for about four and a half years. I was really regimented about my routines. And unfortunately I ended up with none of these guaranteed results that these diets promised, you know , unfortunately instead I actually ended up getting pretty sick. So I went to the doctors and I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome, hypothyroidism, pre-diabetic and the risk of infertility at the ripe age of 22.

Greg Muzzillo :

And during this experience, no one asked me what my lifestyle was like, no one asked me, what was I eating or my case at the time, what was I not eating? I was, I was intermittent fasting. I was living free. I was on a very, very strict diet and it was just several fast diagnoses effectively. And I said, something's wrong here? Like, I'm healthy. I played sports my whole life. Like I needed to poke some holes and I needed to find some answers and so, nothing existed that would help me solve that. And I ended up enrolling myself in a secondary school, called the Institute for integrative nutrition took classes at nights And weekends became what's called a certified health coach and actually learned all about food and diet and was able to cure myself of every single potential chronic illness utilizing the power of healthy food as medicine. And so when that happened, it was a very transformative experience, as I'm sure you can imagine. And they said, wait a minute. Yeah. And then I said, you know, how do we bring this to the masses? And how do we get everyone learning how healthy food can impact your health, how healthy food can help you lose weight, how healthy food can give you more energy, reduce inflammation in the system. Like it really all starts with what we eat and that is the missing, missing part of the conversation. So with that, I started Wellory. A lot of people I know, talk about intermittent, fasting, KETO, gluten- free. For yourself what are you willing to talk about? What some of the things were that maybe you were doing wrong , that might've had a negative adverse impact on your health?

Emily Hochman:

Mostly everything was going wrong. You know, I was a protein deficient. I didn't have enough healthy fats. I was starving myself for way too many hours a day. I was eating foods that were giving me headaches. I was addicted to coffee. I mean, it just, wasn't it, and a lot of things had healthy labels on it. You know, protein bars, for example, protein bars are a huge myth. I was eating, you know , high sodium protein bar for lunch every day. And sodium is one of the biggest leading causes of, you know , heart disease and potential stroke. And , I was just feeding my body with chemicals and chemicals and packaged food. And none of that was doing anything for me. It was actually making me gain weight, bloat, causing issues, you know, with my, hormones.

Greg Muzzillo :

I do have a sense that the food pyramid, I think has changed somewhat over time. But as I look at that food pyramid, it just seems like it's full of really bad advice and sponsored by the different food producers that make the meat or make the grains or make whatever the sugar , rather than truly being healthy for us. I , I'm not sure what your reflection is on that whole food pyramid.

Emily Hochman:

Yeah. Our biggest point of view on nutrition and it's what we practice at Wellory, are you with our clients is from packaged food to real food, which is the source of health comes from a nutrient dense diet, which means real food. That means fruits and vegetables and lean protein and healthy fats. And our society has gotten to a place where we have so much processed chemical products that are filled with things that are not good for our bodies or our systems. And if we can just help people eat more whole real foods , you know, we'll, we'll be in a much healthier place.

Greg Muzzillo :

All right so you in this pursuit and the passion for solving your own nutritional and health issues, how did that lead them to starting the business?

Emily Hochman:

Great question. I was working at a tech startup in New York. I was there for about two and a half years. And , you know, I was going through this, this personal experience and I saw a hole in the market that I became obsessed with solving and the answer didn't exist. And what do I mean by that? I mean, I had cured myself of what could have been a lifetime of illness and sickness and medication. And I went and told everyone, I know I'm a big extrovert and every friend, family member, neighbor, colleague, everyone had their own relationship with food and their own story and their own diet and their own struggles with weight loss. And the truth of the matter is nobody knew where to turn and people were spending hours and hours on Google trying to find like what's the right diet for me, or how do I lose weight or , you know, whatever, how do I find a nutritionist, et cetera. And there wasn't a clear path forward for anyone. And then on the other side of the market, you know, you have hundreds of thousands of nutritionists and dieticians and health coaches who are actually qualified to help people. And there was no way for these, these two people to find each other. There was, you know, quick diets online, sign up here to lose 30 pounds in 30 days. But you know, we know 83% of dieters end up gaining more weight than they've lost within the first two years. And so how do we actually help people build sustainable change? How do we change lives with food? How do we make food, a topic of conversation that's not scary or overwhelming, but actually just the norm. And so I just started asking all these questions and, and no one was answering them. And there was no company that was answering it. There was no person, there was no solution out there. And so the questions , started as, you know, 5, 10, 15, 500. I just kept having more questions and more questions and became obsessed with trying to try and solve the problem. And it just, you know, was something that I couldn't get over and said, you know, I really wanted to go solve that.

Greg Muzzillo :

Right. So you have this idea of solving, it sounds like you're saying solving , in Wellory , how people seeking better nutrition and health can get hooked up or linked up with the right nutritional consultants and advisors that, right. So that's what I'm hearing you say. So then when did the idea click to say, I think that's a business. I think that's a business. And then how did you go from the idea? I think that's a business to those first early action steps that you took to turn the idea into a business.

Emily Hochman:

Yeah. Let's see a lot of research. You know, a lot of research to understand the market, to understand would people pay for this. What's the size of the opportunity. Is this a real problem that exists in the world who needs something like Wellory, who talks to nutritionist , what do nutritionists needs, what do consumers need, what are they looking for? What's missing, et cetera. So again, just questions after questions after questions, and a lot of research to try to figure out is this real. And I was spending like every not work hour thinking and researching it and created, you know, what I would categorize as a V1 of a business plan to just get my thoughts on paper, to see if this made sense and saw that it was a big opportunity. And there's a lot of people in the world starting, let's just say with America who are struggling with the diet related disease, you know, more than half of the American population has a diet related disease. Like how do we actually fix the diet first instead of just prescribing medication or, you know , putting someone on a meal plan. And so , the data spoke significantly. Um, and, and I couldn't get the idea out of my head. And so , I put a plan together that said, you know, I need to save up X number of dollars and start having conversations. And , I told my boss that I was going to start a company in nine months and spent nine months building towards that, and then eventually quit my job , and started, you know, put up my first landing page. And then eventually raised a little bit of capital brought on a business partner and fast forward , about two years later, we are almost a team of 10 have raised four and a half million dollars and are servicing, you know, thousands and thousands of customers.

Greg Muzzillo :

That's awesome. So take me back. You said you gave your boss nine months notice, and I'm assuming you also told many other people , during that period of time, what kind of feedback did you get? Was it all positive were there some people that wanted to try to talk you out of?

Emily Hochman:

Oh, no, there's always naysayers. I think would probably be shocking if someone's didn't have any naysayers in their life. You know, I think a lot of people, I think what was encouraging to starting the company was the business made sense and people said, oh I'd sign up for that. Oh yeah. I'd love to work with the nutritionist. Oh, I'm dying to lose weight. I don't know how to do it. You know, and so that was how I got my first couple of customers, right. Which is leverage my network. And primarily I got a lot of positive feedback, definitely got some negative feedback along the way and then the support of my family obviously helps .

Greg Muzzillo :

So did you have one of the Hochman , problem-solving circles talking about your business?

Emily Hochman:

Many, many, I would imagine.

Greg Muzzillo :

How did those go?

Emily Hochman:

Good, really good. You know, it was a lot of , you know, they were poking holes at all the right topics . So by the time I ever had my first investor pitch, I had, you know, gotten through, you know, some reflection of what , what investor call looks like. At what

Greg Muzzillo :

At wat point did you decide to take on a partner?

Emily Hochman:

At w hat point, you know, I was probably about nine months into building and my business partner is actually a close friend from high school. So, w e had known each other for quite some time and I always wanted a business partner. You know, I think there w ere so many highs and so many lows and company building and having someone to go through that it's really important. You know, for me personally, I'm actually a twin, which means I've g otten through my whole life with someone and, you know, having, having people to build and, and surrounding yourself with the right team, I think is a necessary ingredient excuse me, to businesses.

Greg Muzzillo :

I agree. I try to tell we're a franchising company. I try to tell our franchise owners when I try to talk about being more successful, that on your own and all alone is a recipe for disaster. And I had a partner in my early days, eventually brought that partner out. Sometimes those things happen, but I wouldn't be here today. If I hadn't had that partner, we just both had a desk in the same room. We had no money, we bootstrapped everything. And I thought he's picking up the phone. I better pick up the phone. We both need to dial for dollars. Right. And the energy that two people together can create , is massive. It's not, it's just not two X, it's like 10 X. Right. All right . So you're up and running. You've got some customers. At what point did you start raising capital?

Emily Hochman:

When we saw that there was a, there, there, I would say, you know , we had some customers, we had some feedback and then there was a clear path for, okay. How do we level up? And what does that look like in terms of technology? What does that look like in terms of marketing? What does that look like in terms of team, in terms of brand , et cetera. And I think one of the things that I talk a lot about for anyone who's starting a business, I believe it's very important to decide in the very early days Are you building a venture backed business or not, and there, and is your business prime for one or the other, and that, and the decision you make drastically affects future decisions you make and who you hire and how you prioritize your time and all of these things. And so , for the business, we're building we very much saw the path for venture and what that capital could do for the speed of our growth and the speed of our impact. And so once we knew that there was a there, there, and had some data points that could support our hypotheses, we went out to raise , our first round of funding.

Greg Muzzillo :

And you, did you raise the whole, I think you said $4.5 million or something like that. I was that all in one go round or was there a family, friends kind of a go round and then a more formal go round.

Emily Hochman:

I didn't really do a friends and family round. What we did was a pre-seed round. So we did a , um, a smaller, just over a million dollars pre-seed and then that helped us get our first product off the ground, basically from this hacky solution. That is very funny to look back on. And then we went and raised a proper seed. About nine months later.

Greg Muzzillo :

Tell me, what are the big plans that you have for the future of Wellory?

Emily Hochman:

Yes. let's see. What can I share with you is that I'm thinking you know. Our big plans are around growth, you know, how do we, how do we make , Wellory, are you a household name? How do we get in front of more people, not just in New York where I'm currently located and not just in major metropolitan areas, but how do we help people in, you know, smaller populations and communities, and, you know, those who have different socioeconomic status and those who are not don't have the access to the hottest, newest, latest trends, but how do we help more people and people who are really in need is our number one biggest focus. So , you know, the next year for us, is just all about growth, growth, growth, getting in front of as many people as possible that can use food to help them lose weight and help them feel good.

Greg Muzzillo :

What is the economic model. If I can ask, if somebody wants to find a nutritionist, the, does the person that wants to find a nutritionist pay to get on the side or do the nutritionist pay to be members or what's the economic model.

Emily Hochman:

Yep . So where a monthly subscription . So if you wanted to sign up for Wellory, for example, you could go to our, our website, Wellory.com. You create a profile and then we have an algorithm that will match you with the nutritionist. And then you sign up for one month, three month or six month subscription.

Greg Muzzillo :

And that subscription also gets me the ability to meet with my nutritionist.

Emily Hochman:

Yes, exactly. And the entire experience happens over an app. So unlike any other diet plan that exists, you can actually message with your nutritionist Monday through Friday. So very high touch experience. And then we create a meal by meal plan for you. So we teach you how to eat breakfast, how to eat lunch, how to eat dinner, we provide recommended recipes for you And we really give you a full service to understand what to eat, how to eat and why to eat.

Greg Muzzillo :

How amazing, because so many people, including myself need encouragement, right? Uh, when you're going to go make a bad decision to just say, I would imagine, especially, is there some accountability built into this with the nutritionist? Is there some way of even inputting? Here's what I ate, so it can add up your different nutritional values.

Emily Hochman:

Yes. To all of the above. So I would say one of the strengths of our, of our platform is just simply that accountability, which is we, as humans are naturally people , people and , you know, diet and nutrition has been one of the things that has been missing a team missing accountability, missing support, missing partnership. You know, we have that so much in family dynamics and in work and in sports, but you know, when it comes to our health so much of the time we're just left on our own. So yeah, so much of what we do is, is accountability and support.

Greg Muzzillo :

Absolutely. We're on our own, you know, I'm probably as good as the last ad I saw on Facebook for the next neat new nutrition or diet, or you're eating too much fat. You're not eating enough fat, all of those kinds of things. You know , I was very good friends , with Fred DeLuca, he's the guy that started Subway. He would always say , that the key to growing a business is very simple. All you need to know is awareness, trial, and commitment. He would always talk about how his stores were just a way to make people aware, give it a try, come on in and give it a try and then get committed to wanting to be a subway customer. So I'm assuming that's probably your challenge and opportunity right now is how do you grow awareness and then trial. So if I wanted to try this and then get committed, can I just sign up for a month and just try it?

Emily Hochman:

Sure. And you can use promo code BFF for 50% off your first month.

Greg Muzzillo :

And it's Wellory.com.

Emily Hochman:

Yes. W E L L O R Y Wellory .com

Greg Muzzillo :

And B F F gets me 50% off. And so I , so somebody can really easily just try it. There is no big huge commitment. And then if that starts going well, then people can get far more committed. Well, you're following the very advice that Fred DeLuca had for how he grew subway to be as large as it was. And you're clearly on your way, Emily, to some exciting stuff, not just for you and not just for the business, but you're impacting lives in a very positive way. So multiple kudos to you for your passion for making people's lives better and more healthy. It's been great spending time with you. Thanks a lot, Emily.

Speaker 3:

Thank you so much Greg for having me appreciate it .

Introducing Emily Hochman
Problem Solving
Health Starts With What You Eat
Misconceptions about Dieting
Starting Wellory
Leveraging Your Network
Raising Capitol
Growing the Future of Wellory