After three enlightening and emotional weeks in Vermont, returning home to Scotland was quite a comedown. I missed Green Mountain so much! Where was the 7 am Tai Chi? The blueberry pancakes? The snowshoeing? (I was there in early spring when there was still plenty of snow.) Settling back into real life—and bringing the healthy lessons I’d learned with me—was challenging. But after two months back home I’m still on the path and have made lasting change.
Taking Time to Feel the Feelings
When I first got home, I threw myself into my new lifestyle changes. I cleared the dining table of random objects so we could actually eat there comfortably. I reorganized my closet and donated everything that didn’t fit. I went back through all the notes from my Green Mountain classes and highlighted all the key points. I was busy, busy, busy.
It took me a while to realize I was actually trying to distract myself. The experiences and learnings from the trip had brought up some big, scary emotions. There was sadness about some painful moments from the past, and also a deep grief for all those years I’d obsessed over diets and self-loathing.
I was pleased that I’d turned to cleaning to help deal with those emotions instead of food, but I knew I couldn’t hide from these feelings. I had to let them rip! So I spent a good week simply feeling it all.
Making a Lasting Lifestyle Change
Once I was all cried out, I revisited the “slow and sustainable” to-do list I had made for myself my last week at Green Mountain at Fox Run. I had chosen just two habits to work on during my first two weeks at home. But once I got there, I felt the tug of the old dieting neural pathway… change everything! Right now! Instead of giving in like I have so many times before I asked myself, what do I want to do and what feels doable?
I started with yoga. While I was at Green Mountain, I’d invested in a one-hour private session with Lori Wright—a fitness instructor there who’s a whiz at modifying poses so any type of body can do them—and asked if she could help me come up with a 10-minute home practice. I pulled out my notes and soon I was in a groove with a daily yoga routine. It felt great.
Next up, I started a Sunday night ritual of “celebrating success and setting intentions” like we’d done each week at Green Mountain. Taking the time to reflect and get those small victories down in my journal was really powerful.
I also worked on building my support network, which I’d learned at Green Mountain was a crucial component of maintaining lasting change. My old dieter’s mind had been a Lone Ranger—always trying to fix things on my own. But that fueled the secretive eating behaviours. So I spoke to my nearest and dearest about what I’d learned in Vermont and how they could support me as I made small changes, then I joined the GMFR Alumnae Facebook group to stay connected to the Green Mountain world.
Hanging Out With the Humans
Isolation has often fuelled my binge eating behaviours, so I thought a “real world” yoga class would be a great way to make sure I got out of my bubble! The one I started going to is a body-positive class full of yogis of all shapes and sizes.
The class is now a true twinkle light—a little moment of pleasure—in my week and my downward dog is getting stronger. The class gives me that feeling of connection that I experienced at Green Mountain. It’s so heartening to be part of a little yogi community.
Finally, I signed up for regular coaching calls with my Green Mountain psychologist. After wrestling with my eating issues for three decades, I felt I needed professional support beyond those three fabulous weeks. I’d gotten so much out of my Pathway sessions, so it’s great there’s a way to continue.
Small Changes, Big Benefits
I’ve been home for over two months now and I’m still feeling the happy effects of my Green Mountain experience. The changes I’ve made are not the dramatic (and unsustainable) Before/After Photo kind of changes of my dieting days. These changes are solid, pleasurable, rewarding, and completely sustainable. If you’d like a shopping list of successes: I have more energy. My fitness has increased and my emotional eating episodes have hugely decreased. I sleep well. Instead of hiding away and numbing out, I’m making plans and hanging out with the humans. It’s living, instead of just existing.
There are tough days when it feels like one step forward, two steps back, but I know that I’m going in the right direction, however squiggly the path may be. My Green Mountain stay was a life-changer. Carving out that time and space helped me move forward dramatically after years of being stuck. If you’ve struggled with your eating issues for a very long time, there’s no better place to go.
Read about Shauna’s experience at Green Mountain here:
If you want to find clarity in your eating habits and you’re ready to shift your focus from weight to health, we invite you to experience the program at Green Mountain at Fox Run, where we’ve been changing the way women think about food, fitness, and living for over 45 years.
Bio: Shauna Reid is an Aussie freelance writer, author and blogger living in Scotland. She writes about her life, travels and wellness journey at shaunareid.com. You can also find her on Instagram and Facebook.