Today’s post is by Rebecca Scritchfield, RD, a dynamic young RD who we had the pleasure of meeting and working with last week at Green Mountain. This is just one of her posts she wrote on her blog Balanced Health and Nutrition about her experience here. Be sure to scroll down to watch one of the videos she put together, too. And learn what she learned about her night-time emotional eating.
My week at Green Mountain at Fox Run came and went super fast. In my last few moments at this wonderful women-only healthy lifestyle retreat, I took some time to reflect on my take-aways from my short stay.
1. You are not alone. I think so many times people feel isolated when their trying to lose weight. They’re living inside their head and bodies — wanting things like less pain, to feel better, less judgment from themselves and others. I think that when you arrive here you realize there are other anxious, lonely, and frustrated women here too. You can start the process of changing your mindset and behaviors together. Knowing there is support and community is very comforting. I met a group of women who were strangers, became friends over 4 weeks, and are already planning their support network — and a fun reunion in a few months.
2. It’s not really about _______ (weight, food, or insert the obvious “problem” here). Everyone shows up asking “how much weight will I lose?” or “Will you cure my food addiction?” Usually the desired goal when you arrive is completely different than when you leave. Even within a week, you realize that it’s not about the weight (a number that is actually really bad at determining health status). It’s about the way you see things. It’s about your mindset. What do you believe about yourself? What behaviors have you built in to your life? Are these things that will keep you healthy? What do you need to “unlearn”? The bottom line is that if it were a simple “problem” and simple “solution” then it would not feel like a struggle. But when you come here and things start to click, you get this sense of relief because you finally understand and your motivation is finally where it needs to be to change your life.
3. You will accomplish things you don’t believe you can do yet. Many of the women there went from no exercise to several hours a day. They got sore. Many others went from chaotic eating of 1-2 meals a day out of a styrofoam container to eating three delicious and nutritionally balanced meals and 1-2 snacks. They couldn’t believe the amount of food — and some got nervous they were gaining weight! (she ended up losing 3# her first week) Others went hiking, ascending challenging trails when just a few weeks ago, they had a bad back.
Watch this video to see the view on one of our “Vermonting” hikes.
My big accomplishment was in dealing with my night time eating. I’m an emotional eater. It runs in the family. There are times when it is more prevalent, usually when I’m anxious like in the evenings and sometimes social events. (I was so nervous at the fact that I would not have a fridge to raid in the evenings when I first got there.) But in all honesty, it was so much easier than I ever would have imagined. By the second night I wasn’t worried about it and by the third, I could care less.
I only got hungry for an evening snack once and I was able to get something from their evening snack bar. Textbooks have taught me “eat every 3-4 hours, balanced meals, for normal hormone cycle patterns” — I knew it was true. I had knowledge. But let me tell you something EXPERIENCE KICKS THE A$$ OF KNOWLEDGE… I think deep down I did not believe 100% that it would work for me because it is just something that has been part of my life since I was 12.
There’s nothing like someone else saying “You can do this. I believe it even if you don’t.” (which is actually something I say to clients quite often) I’m a firm believer in my own experience and the reality is, we do need to eat regularly. It only took a few days and boy, I was hungry every few hours but it was much more gentle, not “ravenous” I was able to enjoy eating, some days less some days more. But when there’s too much eating at dinner and after dinner, you will likely wake up uncomfortable, still full, and on the “let’s skip breakfast” train.
4. It’s about how you feel, not how you look! So, if there was one collective a-ha that could summarize everyone’s experience, it’s this concept. Nobody feels good on a diet. Many people don’t feel good when they’re overweight either (emotional and physical pain, mobility issues, joint pain). I certainly learned how “good” I feel when I eat regular, balanced meals consistently… and I remember how “bad” I feel when I over-indulge (and for me, it is not about weight, it is literally about how stuffed/tight my stomach will feel and how it is harder to digest the food, gas paid – heheh, seriously! It’s literally my body saying WTF did you do to me? That contrast is burned in my head now. I would not overfeed a friend, a child, so why do it to myself. It makes NO sense.)
More on feelings… The body wants to be energetic. It wants to move, but if we don’t work out, swim, walk, do strength training, yoga, dance… something, our bodies don’t get those endorphins that make us feel happy. And let me tell you — if a 400 pound participant can swim and dance every day, so can you! Stop focusing on what you weigh and focus on how you feel. Are you eating in a way that makes your body feel good? Could you be malnourished because your “food” is so processed and devoid of nutrition that you aren’t getting energy-producing vitamins and minerals? Open up your mind to a different approach to wellness.
I cannot say enough about my experience at Green Mountain and I wholeheartedly recommend it. I hope to be back early next year leading a week-long retreat and I’d love to have you join me! Post a comment or shoot me an email and let me know if you’d like more information. If you can’t go when I’m there, anytime is great time!
More posts Rebecca wrote about her Green Mountain stay: