BALD HEAD ISAND, NC (WECT) - The Bald Head Island Center for Wellness offers a six-day program to help clients learn ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The wellness retreat starts with a beautiful ferry ride over to Bald Head Island. It is quaint and quiet but the retreat is hard work both physically and emotionally.
Cathie Ostrowski, MS, RD, LDN is a registered dietician, she has a Master's of Science in Nutrition and is a Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist.
Ostrowski opened the Bald Head Island Center for Wellness in 2009 when her clients asked for more than just nutrition guidance.
"We picked Bald Head Island because we enjoy the island itself. We enjoy all the amenities of the island. The island is so relaxing," explained Ostrowski "My clients kept asking me for more guidance, they said come live with me, cook with me, teach me how to exercise, teach me how to meditate and manage my stress."
So, Ostrowski designed a program that includes all of it. Each retreat focuses on:
- nutrition education lectures
- group fitness classes
- individual personal training
- cooking classes
- delicious meals
- spa treatment
- overall relaxation
"I think in order to be a healthy, happy person there is a holistic component to it," said participant Joan Keefe, who searched for a program that offered a variety of things.
Joan lost 45 pounds at the Bald Head Island Center for Wellness and has gone back three times.
"Every time I come away from the program I have a new self actualization," explained Keefe. "I discover something new about myself which you wouldn't think you would at this age."
Karen Mortimer participated for the first time in the September retreat and likes the support she gets from the other women.
"When you're in an intense environment like this, where it's very controlled, you have the ability of working the program really well," explained Mortimer.
Learning about nutrition is one of the main components in living a healthy lifestyle. An executive chef is brought in to create balanced healthy meals high in protein.
"I have to give them enough calories to make it through the day but no empty calories," said Chef Tony Crosson.
So, Crosson makes recipes with healthy substitutes. For instance, eggs Florentine is made with low fat whole wheat English muffins, organic eggs, spinach and a mock hollandaise sauce.
Counting calories is a must, but it's done according to each participant's metabolism. For example, two women may weigh the same but burn calories differently. So participants blow into a machine that can calculate metabolism.
"By using the Body gem machine we can measure within two percent accuracy the number of calories the metabolic rate of the participant," explained Ostrowski. "We're able to look at this person here and this person here and then tailor their calorie need."
Click here to find a list of providers in your area that provide the metabolic test used at this retreat.
The program goes beyond the week long retreat. Making healthy choices and sticking to an exercise regiment is even harder when you are back home on your own, so each participant leaves with an iPod touch.
The iPod is loaded with links to different apps so they can continue to track what they eat, how many calories they take in and podcasts to review some of the presentations when they get home.
"My lifestyle is completely different and um the way I eat, the way I work out, the way I manage my stress, just everything you know everything has changed," said Keefe. "This program is just wonderful, it's changed my life."