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According to the most recent report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 65% of adults in North Carolina are overweight, and 28% are obese. It’s not hard to see why: The CDC also reports that only a quarter of North Carolina adults consume fruits and vegetables at the recommended levels, and less than half get even the minimum recommended amount of exercise each week.
The Bald Head Island Center for Wellness, a North Carolina-based group, is making great strides in addressing these health issues with week-long full-immersion Wellness Retreats. Their upcoming program, happening September 7-12, 2013 on Bald Head Island, is a uniquely-tailored, comprehensive approach to health and wellness that combines nutrition, exercise and behavioral health instruction for a full lifestyle “reboot.”
“Getting healthy, losing weight and learning how to eat well doesn’t have to be a pursuit people dread,” said Cathie Ostrowski, registered dietician and co-founder of the Bald Head Island Center for Wellness. “Participating in a full-immersion retreat in a beautiful place like Bald Head Island is an ideal way for people to begin to create better habits and rethink lifestyle choices while they’re relaxed and happy. When people make these decisions in positive environments, they’re much more likely to stick with these changes in the long run.”
One of the hallmarks of the Bald Head Island Center for Wellness is their focus on personalization. Because attendance at the Wellness Retreat is capped at 10, each participant receives a great deal of individual attention, encouragement and assistance throughout the week. Meal plans and exercise programs are tailored to each participant.
“We don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to health,” said Ostrowski. “Everyone has different needs when it comes to weight loss and fitness, and we work to make sure everyone gets on a wellness path that works for them.”
Ostrowski and the rest of the team at the Bald Head Island Center for Wellness incorporate technology in interesting ways during the retreat to help encourage healthy choices and support weight loss goals. Ostrowski uses a metabolism testing machine to help determine how many calories each participant needs per day to lose or maintain weight, then tailors meal plans accordingly.
All retreat participants receive a complimentary iPod Touch, which comes loaded with a food tracking app, music for workouts and meditation, and inspirational images and messages to encourage participants throughout the retreat, as well as after they go home.
“Follow-up is a big component of our method for success,” said Ostrowski. “We keep in contact with our retreat participants for months after they go home, following up on their goals and encouraging them to stay on track.” While many other wellness programs charge additional fees for such follow up, the Bald Head Island Center for Wellness does not. “We see follow-up as key to long term success.”
A typical day during the Wellness Retreat includes nutrition and lifestyle coaching, cooking classes, individual and group exercise, meditation, hypnotherapy and comprehensive diabetes education where appropriate. Three meals and two healthy snacks are provided each day, prepared for participants by a gourmet chef.
“Cathie and the whole team provided an exceptional experience with their wellness program,” said Leslie I., a past participant who lives in Cary. “They were professional in all aspects of their program. The wellness retreat gave me the kick start that I needed to start taking care of me.”
Ostrowski is a licensed and registered dietitian who holds a master’s degree in nutrition from D’Youville College in Buffalo, NY. Currently, she is the Dietetic Internship Director for Meredith College in Raleigh and runs a private nutrition consulting practice, Personalized Nutrition. Cathie received the Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year in 2000 and the North Carolina’s Nutrition Educator of the Year award in 2007. She also provides nutrition services to several physician’s offices in Cary and Raleigh.
The $1499 cost of the 6-day retreat is often subsidized by insurance. Cigna, Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina may reimburse a portion of the cost. To learn more or to register, visit www.bhiwellness.com, or call 919-367-0677.
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