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01 Feb 2017

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU

Resolution Retreats

By Helen van Berkel

It was a sign: an invitation to start the year at Resolution Retreats in Tauranga. After all these years of failed goal setting — especially when it came to exercise and my expanding waistline — could 2017 be the year of change?

[us_testimonial style=”2″ author=”” company=””]Could this be the kickstart I so desperately need?[/us_testimonial]

The 14 other women had been together for nearly three weeks when I arrived for my three-day introduction. They had built a rapport that I could hear in the raucousness of their pool fitness session while I enjoyed my complimentary facial on arrival.

I had feared a batch of buffed, blonde bunnies in perky Lululemon activewear but instead met mothers, businesswomen, 21-year-olds: normal people. Most were seeking a lifestyle change towards less stress, healthier eating and a better all-round them. Sometimes, that’s the same thing.

They’d spent the past two weeks swapping second helpings for yoga and sugary cereals for soaked oats and chia seeds; and stodgy bought lunches for vegetable rice-paper rolls.

I met them at lunch on that first day (spinach, quinoa salad with a pesto sauce. It was divine, thank you.) The schedule is loose; some went into town to shop or to climb Mt Maunganui in the afternoon; some retired to their rooms — as I did, for a hot bath steeped in epsom salts and jasmine bath salt crystals. Others opted to go to a local trampoline park, some walked to the nearby Kaiate Falls — my choice on day two. If this was weight loss, I sincerely hoped it would take more than a week.

Before dinner we gathered for a brief talk about food groups and listened to our tummies gurgle in anticipation as a garlic-scented dinner of beans and finely cut beef was prepared. Programme co-ordinator Joelene Ranby says the retreat aims to bring about changes incrementally; to teach people how to make the changes they need to make themselves. To this end, the agenda features nutrition and meal-planning workshops, goal-setting sessions, talks on the role of hormones, and cooking sessions.

Chef James Broad lives nearby on a property where chickens cluck under laden avocado trees and a knee-high savoy cabbage marks the entrance to a garden where bees buzz among the flowering herbs and tomato vines climb above spreading zucchini.

Broad picked the green bean and butter beans for our lunch, adding home-grown parsley, kumara and melt-in-the-mouth home-smoked chicken — bought chicken, he added; his “pets” contributed only eggs and worked over the compost. Outrageously tasty starters of a brown rice fritter book-ended the meal with the equally outrageously tasty coconut date treats, proving that healthy food can taste better than anything that comes in a sealed bag from the supermarket.

Day three brought a headache so severe I could barely stand. The others nodded sympathetically as I sat down to breakfast: hey, no way was I going to miss out on my salmon and avocado on toast with cream cheese. I was in caffeine withdrawal. My morning habit came back to bite me with horribly big teeth that day. I was shocked at how such a small part of my daily routine brought such a punishment when I ditched it.

[us_testimonial style=”2″ author=”” company=””]The others said they’d all been through the same thing, sharing their own journeys on the retreat with me[/us_testimonial]

“I’ve learned how important it is to love myself,” said one. “I can’t do the best by others if I don’t do the best by myself first.” Another explained how she had always been fit and healthy until one day she had to buy clothes in a size 20. “I cried.” Now, having learned of the effect of hormones, she felt empowered to take control. All expressed concern at “keeping it up” when they got home.

[us_testimonial style=”2″ author=”” company=””]But they aren’t sent home alone: each gets a recipe book from their retreat and a private session with a personal trainer. A “squad” Facebook page lets them stay in touch and encourage each other. And judging by the warmth and camaraderie I felt among this bunch of glorious women, I reckon they and hopefully me, will all do just fine.[/us_testimonial]

This story was recreated with permission from NZ Herald. Visit the original story on their website.

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