I am facing "Project Raquel" with passion, responsibility and discipline. I set a goal, and I know I will accomplish it.
Raquel Enjoys Christmas in July
Raquel first came to the Rice Diet on December 22, 2007. While most family traditions during the holiday season center around food, her family decided to experience a "healthier" alternative. They left the familiar festivities of their home in the Dominican Republic, and they decided to spend Christmas in Durham, North Carolina. In the past seven months, Raquel has maintained a weight loss of almost 100 lbs at home. Find out how this present from her parents was the gift that truly keeps on giving!
What made you decide to come to the Rice Diet Program?
I started to lose a few pounds before going to the Rice Diet, but deep in my heart I knew that I was going to gain them back over the holidays. That feeling was my wake-up call, and we decided as a family to have a "healthy" vacation at the Rice Diet. I knew this was going to be the best Christmas gift from my parents ever!
What changes happened while you were at the Rice House?
On that first morning, my blood pressure was 148/85. Today (at home) it was 108/65, and I feel just great. I was not on any medication before, but I am glad that I took control of my life before having to start. I have lost 98.5 pounds in total, and still have more to go!
Have you been to the program more than once?
Yes! I have been to the program three times this year. The first time for three weeks, the second time for 10 days, and my last visit was a week long. Even when I reach my desired goal, I know I will still come back. The reason I return is because I benefit from the program as a whole. This is a very well structured program, the classes are so helpful for me, and I recharge my energy every time I go. I meet special new friends that are an inspiration and act as a support group.
Which classes did you find most helpful at the Rice House?
ALL OF THEM! When I am at the Rice Diet, I try to attend as many classes as possible. I always learn something new, and I strongly believe the classes are as important as the food and the physical activity. When you adopt a true lifestyle change, it is important to understand the reason for it and change from the inside. The classes give me the confidence I need to return home and put these changes into action.
Just to mention a few of the great classes:
All the nutrition classes with Ryan helped me understand how to apply the program to my life, and how to make the right food choices. The Going Home lectures help relieve any anxiety that I have about returning home and help prepare me to face my busy life.
Dream Boards with Kitty: These are so powerful to me, and they helped me visualize my goals. I learned how powerful and healing writing could be.
Meditation/Yoga with Dr. Rosati and Joy. This was new to me on my last trip, and I've applied some of the breathing techniques that I've learned at home.
Medical Lectures with Dr. Neelon and Jeff Georgi: I found these classes very interesting, and I now have a better understanding of the psychological implications of an eating disorder.
What do you do for Physical Activity?
When I first came to Durham, I was not active AT ALL. I started incorporating physical activity after a week into the program. I walked one mile in one hour, soon after two miles, then progressed to three miles a day. I now continue to walk 2-3 miles a day at home. For the past five weeks, I've been working with a personal trainer three times a week.
What helps you remain focused at home?
I have Dr. Neelon's words in my mind from when I left - "Take care of your nutrition the same way you are taking care of your eyes." And that is exactly what I've been doing since. After my second trip, I signed up for the After Care program with Bobbie. Talking to her every week helps me remain focused, and I record what I eat, my blood pressure and my weight daily. I often review my class handouts, and I have found them to be a valuable reference.
All of this helps me to remember that this is a very important and special project. I am facing "Project Raquel" with passion, responsibility and discipline. I set a goal and I know I will accomplish it.
How has the Rice Diet Program impacted your life overall?
- I have changed my attitude towards food. I used to eat when I was happy, sad, and/or stressed... Now I eat my meals and enjoy every single one. It is amazing. The fact that I can truly enjoy and value an orange is hard to imagine.
- I understand and experience things that I once thought were too hard or too silly to try -- like being more active or journalizing.
- Before going to the Rice Diet, I did not cook at all. Now, I cook whenever I can, actually enjoy it, and even create my own recipes!
Is there anything else you want to share?
When you have lived for years with a weight problem, you just don't know where or how to start making changes. It is very important for me to live one day at a time and to remember that it took many years to pack on so many pounds. I can't count how many "diets" I've tried.
The difference is that I have now adopted a healthy lifestyle, and what really matters is the steady long- term results. I truly believe this is the answer to all of my years of yo-yo dieting. Thanks to all the great support from the doctors and the wonderful staff at the Rice Diet Program, this is possible.
Follow up: As of March 2009, Raquel has continued to lose and has maintained a 140-lb weight loss.