Janet Stark, 52, Ontario
Food & Cooking – My Greatest Loves
Food and cooking are two of my greatest loves but, like any other love, overindulgence was not the route toward happiness. Since the birth of my children 25 years earlier, my weight had climbed by a couple of pounds per year. I seldom exercised and the results of my overeating came on so slowly that I ignored them. I noticed the weight gain but it didn’t seem to be harming me, so why discipline myself to the pain of exercising?
My Wakeup Call
I began paying attention in 2011 when I had an experience of cancer and I realized that I was getting more and more lethargic. A simple walk up the stairs would leave me winded and I struggled to get up from a sitting position on the floor. I knew I had to do something about my eating style and non-existent exercise habits before my physical distress took a permanent toll on my body.
Nourishing Myself to Weight Loss
I began my search for a weight-loss retreat knowing that counting calories would not work for me. I wanted to change my habits and was drawn to Green Mountain at Fox Run, where their mind-body-spirit approach to weight loss and their emphasis on behavioral changes for weight loss resonated with my desire for a long-term life change. Rather than focusing on food-restrictive diets and demanding exercise routines, Green Mountain takes a sensible approach to weight loss and offers support for women like me.
Changing the bad habits I had developed over the past 25 years would not be quick. I didn’t need quick, though. I needed effective and long-lasting. I chose Green Mountain’s four-week weight-loss program and traveled to the retreat in June of 2012. I knew I would need all four weeks to establish new fitness and eating habits and I was ready to begin.
My New Menu of Fitness and Food
While I was at Green Mountain, I signed up for every walk and hike they offered. I learned about aquatics and yoga and took low-impact aerobics as well as balance and strength classes. It sounds like a lot to take on at once, but I loved the classes.
Not only have I continued to practice these disciplines, but I have become a fitness instructor for seniors! Who would have thought one and a half years ago that I would be leading fitness classes? My experiences at Green Mountain changed my perception of exercise and I realized that moving my body feels great. Maintaining a fitness level allows me to feel good all the time. For me, variety is key, and many of the fitness activities I learned about at Green Mountain are now part of my daily life.
Green Mountain at Fox Run showed me that it’s more important to focus on what I really want to eat, instead of what I can’t have. Eating healthfully has become more and more easy. I started bringing home higher quality foods and began experimenting with different grains. I love fresh fruit and vegetables and began taking pleasure in preparing a colorful plate. I even made a scrapbook for food and fitness ideas and have used the scrapbook for those times when I need ideas and encouragement.
A Better Quality of Life for Me and My Family
It’s been a year and a half since Green Mountain and I’ve experienced many changes. I have more energy than ever, I’m sleeping better, I’m off all of the prescription medications I had needed before the weight loss, and I feel better and younger all the time. I am elated that I can still be a “foodie” and lose weight – 50 pounds to be exact!
By taking care of myself, I have also been able to lead my family to better health. My husband can’t believe how much my quality of life has improved and, as a result of eating better and trying to keep up with me, has lost a significant amount of weight as well.
In the end, I never had to give up the things I loved. Instead, I was introduced to a new love—exercise. My old loves—eating and cooking—only deepened and my relationship with them has become healthier.