At D-Toxd, we get to spend time with 100’s of people every year and watching them embrace our simple approach to healthy living is a true gift.
Every now and than, we get to spend time with people who are committed to making significant changes and for us, 2017 was another year where we got to see this all happening.
We’ve known Keith for many years now and have watched his journey from afar so when he contacted us and asked for some support, we knew that the time had come for him to make those changes.
As the year went on, he simply embraced everything and we are so very, very, very proud of everything he achieved but we’ll leave it to him to share his experience with you.
Here we go!!
2017 will certainly be a year I will never forget, nor would I ever want to.
It started in a hotel room in Den Helder, Holland.
I was exhausted and fed up after being overworked for the previous six months. My diet was getting progressively worse, I didn’t have the time or energy to exercise, and I wasn’t overly happy at being sent to Holland on New Year’s Day for another tough month of work.
Quite frankly, I was ready to give up.
I had made a career switch four years earlier to try and improve my health and fitness, and at the beginning it was highly productive. I lost a significant amount of weight in order to pass a medical for the new job, but then I reverted to old eating habits and consequently it became a cycle of losing weight to pass a medical followed by a rebound period until the next medical was on the horizon and I would go back onto an intense diet, sometimes with a trip to D-Toxd to get me started.
As I was getting more responsibility at work, my hours lengthened and it became harder and harder to make any headway with my health. So it was in that hotel room on New Years Evening that I thought to myself ‘I wish I could just go out to D-Toxd, get some proper rest and then really get myself in shape’.
Suddenly that thought changed to ‘Actually, what’s stopping me? I have money saved for a rainy day and it’s absolutely pouring down.’
That thought kept me awake all night, and at 6am I sent a message to Gareth and Jeroen explaining my situation and asking if they needed a volunteer for the year.
Sadly they already had a full quota of volunteers, but they told me they wanted to help me and would work something out.
That was all I needed to hear.
I handed in my notice at work and 6 weeks later I was on my way to Spain.
Prior to leaving for Spain, I had time to work out what I wanted to get out of the year. My overriding thought was that this would be my last chance to really make a huge, permanent change to my life.
I knew I had to change my relationship with food.
I knew I had to keep pushing myself out of my comfort zone.
I knew I was going to need a lot of sunscreen.
Arriving at the retreat in February I was very thankful and excited but I was also somewhat fearful and nervous about the enormity of the task that lay ahead of me.
I think the vast majority of people who have spent time at D-Toxd will have picked up new friends whilst they were there, and fortunately for me a couple of those friends were back at the retreat for my first three weeks of this year so the nerves and fears I had quickly dispersed and it felt like coming back home.
Nonetheless it was very tough at the beginning.
On previous trips to D-Toxd I would normally have juices for pretty much every meal and then try to cover as many miles by hiking as my aching feet would allow. I have never really enjoyed healthy food – I generally considered vegetables to be the decoration around the actual food.
This year had to be different though, so I decided that I was going to eat as much of them as I could and hope that I would learn to enjoy them.
Even the hiking was proving more difficult than I remembered, my energy levels had dropped so low that an hour of walking would wipe me out for most of the day.
It didn’t take long to see real changes.
I have never been one to notice subtle differences in the mirror and I didn’t want to become preoccupied with what the scales were reading – I didn’t even know how much weight I had been losing until four or five months down the line when I had another medical in preparation for going back to work.
Instead my focus was on what I could do physically.
I would time how long each walk would take me and take note of what I could manage in the exercise classes and I was amazed at how much I was beating my records by week after week.
As time passed it was becoming more and more difficult to beat my records, so I set myself a new challenge.
Inspired by Gareth running the London Marathon despite being badly injured, I decided to try and walk the marathon distance in the hills around the retreat on the same day that Gareth was running in London.
TO BE CONTINUED . . . . .