Scoffed all the pies & eaten a turkey on your own? Rather than dealing with post-Christmas guilt-fest & ill-fated New Year’s diet resolutions, join Zoe Macfarlane as she visits Vermont for a transformational trip.

I always envisioned my first trip to Vermont would be at the birthplace of my old boyfriends, Ben and Jerry. Instead, I head to Green Mountain at Fox Run to do the opposite of over-indulging on 40+ ice cream flavours. I’m taking a deep-dive into my relationship with food.

I feel embarrassed to go public on my sugar addiction. To look at me, you wouldn’t guess my secret binge eating. I look healthy but check out my other stories and note the obsessive referencing to chocolate, cakes, and freakshakes. Okay, but why give up vacay days to not indulge, especially when travelling to the junk-food-obsessed US?

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I’ve been getting into ‘transformational travel’. Instead of selecting a trip based on sights, museums, and white sandy beaches, I’ve shifted my focus inwards. Retreat holidays offer time for self-reflection and self-development, usually in a beautiful setting. When you travel to change your world it has a ripple effect.

With another stash of empty chocolate wrappers in hand, it was time to do something. A quick search on ‘emotional eating retreats’ and I was on the phone to Green Mountain at Fox Run. I came clean on my healthy-BMI-versus-unhealthy-innards story and was reassured that their Emotional Eating Pathway was sought after because it is designed for everybody. Well, female bodies, as it’s exclusively for women.

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Green Mountain is in Ludlow, Vermont, a small town famous for skiing on Okemo Mountain. The facilities are even housed in a former ski chalet. The old-school décor conjured memories of hot chocolate around an open fire. This seemed alarming – shouldn’t even the hint of sweet treats be off my radar? Apparently not.

Green Mountain offers a non-diet, weight-neutral health program and no food is off the table. There’s even sugar for your coffee! The schedule provides an opportunity to reprogram your relationship with food. Tricks are taught and tools are given to assist in making mindful decisions about what you eat and how. The freedom of choice is more challenging than a traditional ‘fat camp’ or detox regimen but with longer-term rewards.

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Image: Green Mountain at Fox Run

Throughout my stay, I attended a curated balance of classes – both educational and fitness – as well as excursions around Vermont. If you time your visit with the fall foliage, it’s eye candy to keep your mind off the real candy! I upgraded to include the Emotional Eating Pathway, with extra therapist-led sessions. The insights, strategies and ‘aha’ moments are prep for the next time I find myself forlorn with a basket full of Cadbury’s.

So did it work? Writing about my sweet weakness has been triggering and, yes, I had some chocolate before I began writing. But I chose the small bar instead of the family one and didn’t even finish the whole thing! Instead, I used the techniques taught at Green Mountain, recognised my trigger for what it is and stopped when I felt satisfied. We’re taught it’s all an experiment and a constant work in progress but already, I know I’m winning.

 

Are you planning a transformational trip?