Weekly Gems from Ronda Gates.
There's no logic to the play on words - this newsletter is a self-indulgent personal update.
Life circumstances often have a way of changing unexpectedly. Happily, for me, the latest was a happy one.
Last fall, as I was musing over where to grow my professional life I was offered an opportunity to create a proposal for a residential weight management program for a Center for Health (CFH) attached to the St. Helena Hospital in St. Helena, CA-the heart of Napa Valley. Ironically, the opportunity would fulfill a seemingly unattainable five-year professional goal-to use my eclectic professional experience in the creation of a weight management program that would be marketed by someone else. My proposal was accepted. I spent six months commuting between my home in OR and sunny St. Helena where, in between challenging work days I also experienced the wine country seasonal lifestyle of vintners, fine cooking and dining, spas, good hiking and the best-20 mile bicycle rides on flat roads lined by more wineries than I dreamed could exist in one place. In fall, just as the vines became so heavy with grapes I thought they'd break, I watched the harvest and thanks to a friendly vintner, the removal of stems and leaves before fermenting (most white wines are fermented in small oak barrels and red wines in large vats).
I digress. Prior to my arrival CFH hired Dr. Heather Pena, formerly the Medical Director at Pritikin Longevity Center. This brilliant physician, and her associate, Dr. Steve Inkeles, also formerly with Pritikin, challenged me to create a strategy that was moderate, and manageable by clients of all weights and ages. I was pleased that most my ideas were accepted although my feet were often put to the fire to justify decisions that included avoiding use of the Food Pyramid and synergizing the evidenced-based strategy of low saturated and trans fat diet with principles of glycemic load vs. the currently popular glycemic index.
After an exhausting six months a Pilot program was launched. Twelve formerly sedentary hospital employees gave up a week of vacation to be guinea pigs for TRANSFORMATIONS: The Napa Valley Weight and Lifestyle Management Program. On entry, eight were diagnosed with Syndrome X, two with diabetes and one was three weeks post emergency open-heart surgery. Their weight loss goals ranged from a low of 25 pounds of fat to a high of 120 pounds of fat (a 320 pound cook)! They committed to 12 hr days filled with exercise, healthy meals (in the Napa Valley tradition), lectures and interactive workshops on fitness, nutrition, metabolism and behavior management. They received personality profiling and one-on-one counseling with the physician, dietitian, exercise physiologist and psychologist, and participated in cooking classes and restaurant and shopping excursions. They each left with a customized, individualized strategy based on personal goals and life circumstances.
At the end of the program all had normal blood pressure and reported a weight loss of between 4 and 14 pounds. I'm happy to report that four weeks post-experience the fat loss continues.
In the last months of the creative process something on my plate (if you'll excuse the pun) had to go. Sadly, it was this newsletter. I guess I could have given up the bike rides on Silverado Trail or teaching my fitness class when I was home or the luxury of sitting with my cat watching the last weeks of Sex and the City, but I chose not to. Thanks to those of you who wrote asking, "what happened to the newsletter?"
This post comes at the end of a week of leisure as I contemplate a lucrative offer to continue the two places to call home lifestyle. I've been asked to coordinate the program for six months-a responsibility that would require me to live in St. Helena where I can grow the program, manage the experience, continue to enjoy the challenging and stimulating professional environment and take a more active role as a spokesperson on the war on obesity. I've already got a logistical process in the wings for sending the newsletter. My challenge will be to make time to receive what I can only describe as divine inspiration to get the words on my computer screen. Alas, this week that inspiration fails me and I've only my story to tell. I hope you'll stay tuned.
Meantime, if you know anyone who has struggled with their weight for a long time-who is tired of the yo-yo and crash diet strategy, who knows deep inside that low carb is just another fad that will go the way of low fat and that lifestyle change is at the heart of good health, I hope you will pass the word about this good work. The next 12-day session will launch May 2, 2004 to be followed by programs on a monthly basis. There are twelve still successful participants who are willing and eager to share their TRANSFORMATIONS experience. You can also read more about it by going to my web site: www.rondagates.com, and following the link under the icon: A WEIGHT MANAGEMENT STRATEGY THAT WORKS.
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