I Lost 50 Pounds At A Weight-Loss Resort, weight loss motivation – Beauty And Health


My size has always been a part of my story. I never felt ashamed of my weight or pressured
to change myself. I loved my body and loved eating good food—I
was even a food blogger in New York City. Yet after 14 years in New York, my life turned
upside down. I’d just ended a long-term relationship and
needed something new, so I decided to make a big change and moved to Greenville, South
Carolina. It was a huge risk but immediately I knew
it was the right choice for me. It is a charming town, known for its outdoor
recreation and active lifestyle. Hiking and biking trails crisscross the city
and while I loved this, at over 300 pounds it was, honestly, really difficult for me
to do. I realized that while I was happy with my
body I wasn’t happy with it getting in the way of things I wanted to do. I decided that while I was changing literally
everything about my life, maybe it was time to change this too. I deserve to be happy and healthy. Hilton Head Health, a health-focused weight-loss
resort, was located nearby so I took another risk and signed up for a three-month stay. I’m lucky in that I was able to take the time
off from my work as a freelance writer and use this as an opportunity to really focus
on myself. I opted for a weight-loss resort because I
didn’t want just a “diet,” I wanted to learn and change from the inside out. I wanted to do it the right way with a holistic
plan that focused on longevity, sustainability, and happiness, not just appearances. Upon arrival, I sat down with a counselor
to come up with a nutrition, fitness, and healthy living plan. I started by undergoing a detailed metabolic
assessment that showed how many calories I was burning and my current fitness level. A nutritionist gave me a customized calorie
goal to help me lose weight at a reasonable rate and I was assigned a personal trainer
to help design a fitness program geared toward my goals. (I wanted to get strong!) I also got a schedule of classes, including
cooking, nutrition principles, self-care, and many different types of workouts. Then I got assigned to a bungalow and got
to meet my roommate. For the first month, I did the Hilton Head
Health’s LoseWell program, which is a very structured program—there’s less choice and
more guidance, my dieting training wheels, so to speak. I met with a group of other people looking
to lose weight, and we ate pre-planned meals and did our prescribed workouts together. In between, I went to classes about the basics
of nutrition and fitness, trying to learn everything I could about this new lifestyle. I won’t lie: For the first couple of weeks,
giving up all junk food and sugar was really hard, but eventually the cravings stopped
and I began to feel happier and healthier. Plus, I’d already lost 15 pounds. For my second month, I moved up to the LivingWell
program, which is similar to LoseWell, but it offers more flexibility in what to eat
and which activities and classes to try. In the dining hall, everything is labeled
with calorie counts and nutritional information, so I could practice making healthier food
choices. I also learned during this time how to better
listen to my body. If I wanted to take three exercise classes
one day, I could, and if I needed rest the next day, I rested. Now I’m starting my third month, and I have
total control over my daily schedule. At this point, all the principles are ingrained
and I understand what I need to do and why it’s important, but I still have the support
of the staff whenever I need it. I know that real life isn’t going to be like
a weight-loss resort, so this is the final step in preparing me for when I leaving here. My days here are very different than what
they were before I came to the retreat. Most days I’m up at 8 a.m., but the last
few weeks I’ve been inspired to wake up earlier to take a sunrise beach walk. I am not a morning person normally, but it’s
turned out to be a surprisingly beautiful way to start the day. After that, I have breakfast. I can choose from a lot of different options
as long as I stay withing my calorie goal for each meal. My favorite is either oatmeal and berries
with coffee or scrambled eggs with vegetables. Sometimes I’ll have a smoothie. At 9 a.m., I take a fitness class. My current go-to is a treadmill interval class,
which energizes me in a whole different way than a cup of coffee does. That is followed by a medicine ball class
done with partners, which is a fun way to combine strength and cardio training. Next is a group meditation, followed by an
hour to recover, read, or write in my journal. Then comes lunch. Today at lunch I had vegetable soup, salad,
and a small cup of turkey chili with broccoli mixed in. (That’s one of the tricks I’ve learned here—adding
veggies is an easy way to bulk up food so I feel like I’m eating more.) After lunch I take a 15-minute “thermal walk”
or bike ride. These are short bursts of activity to keep
my metabolism active and burning fat after eating. Afternoons often include a TRX strength class
or cardio boxing, both of which I have fallen in love with, or meeting up with my trainer
for a personal training session. One of my primary goals here is to be strong
so we’re really working on strength training. I wrap up with hip-hop dance or yoga. Even though they’re totally different classes,
each bring me joy. If that sounds like a lot of exercise, it
is, but even though it’s more movement than I’ve ever done in my life, it’s always fun
and there’s no pressure to do it. I don’t have to do this many classes and some
days I choose to rest. Throughout the day, I take nutrition classes
or sit in on lectures to help me with my other goals. These are taught by registered dietitians
or other experts and are designed to teach us not only what to do but also why it works,
and how to maintain our new healthy habits for a lifetime. Dinner is similar to lunch but there are daily
specials that we can choose from in addition to the set menu, followed by another thermal
walk. At the end of the day, I always have a cup
of my favorite cinnamon tea and then I focus on self-care, whether that’s by taking a hot
shower, a shopping trip, or enjoying a game night with friends. One of the best parts of coming here has been
meeting all these amazing people going through the same journey I am. I didn’t know anyone when I started and now
I feel like I have a whole group of supportive friends. Honestly, most nights I’m tired from being
active all day and I rest, relax, and go to sleep earlier than I ever have. As a night owl I have a new appreciation for
going to bed earlier and waking up earlier the next day. I’m already seeing a lot of success here. I’ve lost over 50 pounds, which is a significant
amount for three months, but I feel good about it as we’re both monitored physically and
mentally, and I know I’m doing it in a healthy way. But I don’t really care about the number on
the scale. For me it’s all about the non-scale victories. For instance, I used to be uncomfortable with
anything fitness related but now I enjoy trying new workouts. I can ride a bike, lift weights, and many
other things I couldn’t do as easily before. Another happy side effect are how my tastebuds
have changed. I no longer crave salty, sugary junk food. If you had told me a year ago that plain almonds
or a banana with peanut butter hummus would be a delicious dessert to me, I wouldn’t
believe you. I’m still a food lover, I always will be,
but now I feel like I appreciate it even more. But perhaps the biggest change has been in
my mindset. I’m learning that health is all about balance,
which I’ve always known but to be here and live it has been eye opening and comforting
seeing it firsthand. It’s so easy to fall into an “all or nothing”
mindset, thinking that if I couldn’t do everything perfectly then it wasn’t worth trying or if
I “messed up” then it wasn’t worth continuing on. I’ve learned it’s okay to make mistakes. It isn’t about avoiding mistakes and not living,
or living in fear, but making positive steps forward. Being here has been a reminder to me that
there’s no good or bad food, just like there are no good or bad bodies. And when you strip away all the judgement
and perfectionism and rules that we create for ourselves, what’s left is so, so beautiful.

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