I decided that while I literally changed everything about my life, maybe it was time to change that too. I deserve to be happy and healthy. Hilton Head Health, a health-focused weight loss center, was located nearby, so I took another risk and I signed up for a three month stay. I've been fortunate enough to be able to take leave of my job as an independent writer and use it as an opportunity to really focus on myself.
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I opted for a weight loss station because I did not just want a "diet" I wanted to learn and change from the inside. I wanted to do it the right way with a holistic plan focused on longevity, sustainability and happiness, not just on appearances.
Upon arrival, I sat down with a counselor to find nutrition, fitness, and healthy living plan. I started by undergoing a detailed metabolic evaluation that showed how many calories I was burning and my current level of fitness. A nutritionist gave me a personalized calorie goal to help me lose weight at a reasonable pace and I was assigned a personal trainer to help design a fitness program tailored to my goals. . (I wanted to become strong!) I also had a class schedule including cooking, nutrition principles, personal care, and many types of workout sessions. Then I was assigned to a bungalow and I was able to meet my roommate.
During the first month, I attended the Hilton Head Health LoseWell program, a very structured program – there is less choice and advice, so to speak. I met a group of other people who were looking to lose weight, and we ate pre-planned meals and did our prescribed workouts together. Meanwhile, I went to class on the basics of nutrition and fitness, trying to learn everything I could about this new lifestyle.
I will not lie: during the first two weeks, giving up all the junk food and really hard sugar, but eventually the cravings stopped and I started to feel happier and healthier. Plus, I had already lost 15 pounds.
For my second month, I switched to the LivingWell program, which is similar to LoseWell, but it offers more flexibility in what to eat and what activities and classes to try. In the dining room, everything is labeled with the number of calories and nutritional information, so that I could practice healthier food choices. I've also learned during this time how to better listen to my body. If I wanted to take three classes a day, I could, and if I needed rest the next day, I would rest.
Now, I'm starting my third month and I have total control over my daily schedule. At this point, all the principles are rooted and I understand what I need to do and why it is important but I always have the support of the staff when I need it. I know that real life is not going to be like a weight loss station, so it's the last step to getting ready when I leave here.
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A typical day
My days here are very different from what they were before I came to retirement. Most of the time, I get up at 8 am, but in recent weeks I've been inspired to get up earlier to take a walk on the beach at sunrise. I am not a normal morning person, but it has turned out to be a surprisingly beautiful way to start the day. After that, I have breakfast. I can choose from many different options as long as I stay with my calorie goal for each meal. My favorite is either oatmeal flakes and berries with coffee or scrambled eggs with vegetables. Sometimes I will have a smoothie.
At 9:00 am, I take a fitness class. My current go-to is a treadmill interval class, which energizes me in a completely different way to a cup of coffee. This is followed by a medicine ball course done with partners, which is a fun way to combine strength and cardio training. Next is a group meditation, followed by an hour to retrieve, read or write in my journal.
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comes lunch. Today, at supper, I was eating vegetable soup, salad and a small cup of turkey chili with broccoli. (This is one of the tricks I've learned here – adding vegetables is an easy way to stock up – I eat more.) After lunch, I go for a 15-minute hike. minutes or a bike ride. These are short periods of activity to keep my metabolism active and burn fat after eating.
The afternoons often include a TRX strength class or a cardio box, which I fell in love with or meet my coach for personal training. Training session. One of my main goals here is to be strong so we are really working on bodybuilding. I end with hip-hop dance or yoga. Even though they are totally different classes, each brings me joy. If it sounds like a lot of exercise, that 's it, but even though it' s more movement than I 've ever done in my life, it' s still fun and fun. there is no pressure to do it. I do not have to do so many classes and some days I choose to rest.
Throughout the day, I take nutrition classes or participate in conferences to help me achieve my other goals. These are taught by 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 life.
Dinner is similar to the special lunch we can choose in addition to the menu, followed by another thermal walk. At the end of the day, I always take a cup of my favorite cinnamon tea, then I focus on self-care, whether taking a hot shower, a shopping trip or an evening between friends. One of the best parts of coming here has been meeting all those amazing people who are going through the same trip as me. I did not know anyone when I started and now I have the impression of having a whole group of friends in solidarity
Honestly, most nights I am tired to be active all day and I rest, I relax and I sleep earlier than I ever have. As a night owl, I have a new appreciation of going to bed earlier and waking up earlier the next day.
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I am already seeing a lot of success here. I've lost more than 50 pounds, which is a significant amount for three months, but I feel good about it because we are both being watched physically and mentally, and I know I'm doing it right. 39, a healthy way. But I do not really care about the number on the scale. For me, everything is a question of victories without scale. For example, I used to be uncomfortable with everything related to fitness, but now I like to try new workouts. . I can ride a bike, lift weights, and many other things that I could not do as easily before.
Another happy side effect is how my taste buds have changed. I do not feel like salty and sweet junk food anymore. If you had told me a year ago that simple almonds or a banana with peanut butter hummus would be a delicious dessert for me, I would not believe you. I am always a lover of food, I will always be, but now I feel like I enjoy it even more.
PLUS: 6 Things You'll Have to Give Up If You Want to Lose Weight for Good  But maybe the biggest change has been in my mind. I'm learning that health is a balancing issue, which I've always known, but being here and living, is opening my eyes and comforting by seeing it first-hand. It is so easy to fall into a state of mind "all or nothing", thinking that if I could not do everything perfectly then it was not worth it to try or if I would "screw up" then that was not worth it to continue.
I learned that it is good to make mistakes. It is not a matter of avoiding mistakes and not living, or living in fear, but making positive progress. Being here reminded me that there is no good or bad food, just as there is no good or bad body. And when you strip away all the judgment and perfectionism and rules that we create for ourselves, what's left is so, so beautiful.
For more Sarah's wellness trip follow her on Instagram @NYCFoodieFinder or visit her website .
The article "I lost 50 pounds in a weight loss center" was originally published on Women's Health