Physician Uses Own Weight-Loss Journey To Help Others ‘Find Their Inner Athlete’

Dr. Danielle Mitchell, 5-Time IronMan finisher, Launches Chattanooga Sports Institute And Center For Health

Friday, December 27, 2013
Dr. Danielle Mitchell, founder of Chattanooga Sports Institute and Center for Health, uses her own weight-loss story to help others.
Dr. Danielle Mitchell, founder of Chattanooga Sports Institute and Center for Health, uses her own weight-loss story to help others.

In 2007, physician Danielle Mitchell received a shock when she saw two words written on her own medical record: “morbidly obese.”  Dr. Mitchell had struggled with weight her whole life. “I well remember people making fun of me as a child,” she says. But her story was not a typical one in some ways. She was physically active and had completed marathons in 2003 and 2006 despite weighing more than 200 pounds. But now, at 250 pounds, it was clear she had to make some changes. She joined Weight Watchers and within a couple of months, had lost nearly 30 pounds. 

She set a goal of being able to compete in an IronMan Triathalon, something she had dreamed of doing for years. By the end of 18 months, she had lost nearly 100 pounds. She is now a five-time IronMan finisher and continues to be an avid cyclist and runner. 

“Losing the weight was a unique experience, and it has had a major impact on my career,” Dr. Mitchell says. “When people came to me in my practice with similar weight issues, learning that I had done it allowed them to talk more openly with me and also realize they too have an inner athlete.” 

What she discovered, she says, is that most physicians “have very poor training in advising people about healthy lifestyle choices.” She decided to study and receive her sports medicine certification, which she did in 2011 at the University of Utah. After becoming board certified in Sports Medicine she relocated to Chattanooga to begin her career working for a major hospital, but found that something was missing in the way healthcare in larger medical systems was delivered. It became apparent that she wanted to start her own clinic, which would offer both family practice and sports medicine counseling and to bring her unique insights to her patients. 

So, about a year ago, she began putting together what is now the new Chattanooga Sports Institute and Center for Health in Hixson, where she and her team provide full-scope family practice, sports medicine and urgent care services, athlete performance testing and training, nutrition and exercise counseling, weight-loss programs, physical rehab, as well as complementary alternative medicine, massage and skin therapy. She is already seeing how she can help in a city and community where so many struggle with obesity. 

“Recently, a mother and daughter both came to see me,” Dr. Mitchell says.  “I asked the daughter, ‘What if I told you you could do a 5K?’ Both sets of eyes lit up, and the daughter said she had always wanted to run in a race like that but didn’t think it was possible.”  

For so many families, she says, weight-loss goals for one individual have to involve the whole family in order to be achievable. Reaching out to these families, as well as individuals, is part of CSI’s mission. She’s designed every aspect of CSI to facilitate that mission, including putting raised planting beds outside the clinic where she plans to grow produce, showing visitors the direct connection between healthful food and their overall health.  

“People ask, ‘Who’s throwing those banana peels on the ground out there?’ and I tell them, ‘Me! I’m composting! Would you like to contribute?!?’” she laughs. 

Dr. Mitchell explains that she wants to help her patients “find their inner athlete. I can assist them in creating a road map for success, one that they can stick with.”  

Chattanooga Sports Institute and Center for Health is at 4206 N. Access Road. For more information call 875-1005 or visit www.chattanoogasportsinstitute.com.


Local GI Doctors Participate In Colonoscopy Performance Study

The gastroenterology specialty physicians of Galen Medical Group hosted visiting physician, Dr. Michael Wallace, professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla.  Dr. Wallace updated the Galen GI physicians on their baseline performance in identifying and removing precancerous colon polyps, a quality criteria these doctors have been studying for years.    ... (click for more)

Williams Accepted Into Chattanooga's Women's Leadership Institute

Chattanooga’s Women’s Leadership Institute announced their 2014 mentees and includes Joyce Ann Williams, senior tax accountant for Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain, PC, Top 50 Accounting Firm. Ms. Williams, received her B.S. degree in Accounting and her Masters of Accountancy from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  Prior to joining LBMC, she worked as a ... (click for more)

General Motors To Invest $185 Million In Engine Plant, Build New Cadillac SRX In Spring Hill

  General Motors will invest $185 million to make small gas engines at its Spring Hill manufacturing complex, officials said Wednesday.  GM also identified the next-generation Cadillac SRX as a future mid-size vehicle to be produced at Spring Hill. “We want to congratulate GM on this important investment in its future in Spring Hill and Middle Tennessee,” Governor ... (click for more)

Reception Honors County's 2nd-Longest Serving Employee

General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck, at a County Courthouse reception, asked anyone who was working at the courthouse in 1966 to raise their hand. Only Circuit Court Clerk Paula Thompson was able to do so. Judge Shattuck said he believes only Edna Camp of the Criminal Court clerk's office, has been at the courthouse longer. Ms. Thompson did not seek re-election, ... (click for more)

Vote No On Health Insurance Changes Affecting County Teachers

Our Hamilton County School Board will vote on insurance changes effecting both active employees and retirees, who are not on Medicare at this time.  HCEA strongly objects to changes being made at this time and urges a “No” vote.  Insurance had been frozen three years by negotiations.  Since the Educators Professional Negotiations Act was nullified by the 2011 Legislature, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Al Sharpton’s Wise Remarks

I’ll admit I paid little more than scant attention to the Monday funeral of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old who was shot and killed by police bullets in Ferguson, Mo., after he allegedly was involved in strong-armed robbery. There are too many tawdry details and, in my way of thinking, there is nothing under God’s sun, absolutely nothing, that gives others the right to riot, burn ... (click for more)