The holidays are just around the corner, and that can bring terrible temptation for anyone trying to lose a few inches.
Ziporah Janowski knows that scenario all too well: Get-togethers with assorted cookies, fatty treats and sweet cocktails all pile up over the evening. And it’s followed by another evening of the same. And another.
That’s where Janowski can help. She’s a co-founder of Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts, which can help people establish a more healthful approach toward eating and living. It’s an adult offshoot of the Shane Camp, the long-established camp for children who have weight issues. The Westin La Cantera, 16641 La Cantera Parkway, recently became the company’s second adult resort home, thereby allowing those in the program the chance to enjoy the beauty and serenity of the Hill Country while they learn everything from how to cook better to how they can modify their behavior in a more healthful manner.
So, when they leave the resort and they head out to a party, they know how not to go overboard. The advice can be as easy as reminding people to watch what you eat and drink, such as opting for water instead of punch or cocktails. Or you should eat something healthy before you go, so you won’t be tempted by all of the sweets around you.”It’s like that old saying about never going to the grocery when you’re hungry,” she said on a recent visit to San Antonio.
And if you do eat too much one evening, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just resolve to do better.
Helping people reverse their weight issues has been the goal of Shane since Janowski’s in-laws first offered a camp for children in 1968. The first adult resort opened in 2008 at Honor’s Haven Resort in the Catskills, while the Westin came online in May.
“The people here saw what we’re doing,” Janowski said. “They pulled us in.”
And she’s glad they did. The 300-acre resort in the Hill Country provides a scenic backdrop for the Shane approach to weight control, which consists of three dimensions — nutrition, fitness and behavior coaching — each of which is given equal emphasis.
“Our guests sign up through us,” she said, explaining that they can get information from the company’s website, www.shanedietresorts.com.
Many stay for just a week, while others average a month at the resort, learning how to rethink the way they eat and adjust their lifestyles to something more healthy. Activities include cooking classes, fitness activities that range from hikes to Zumba, field trips, and coaching that will help people examine their history of weight gain and establish strategies for permanent weight loss.
Janowski was careful to place the emphasis more on losing inches around the waist over simple scale readings. Anyone starting a fitness program could lose inches but still gain weight because adding muscle will add pounds, yet that is desirable because of the health benefits that result. “I wish I could tell people to put away the scale,” she said, adding that it feeds people’s fears more than it helps.
People who check into the Westin as part of the Shane program are “not locked up here,” Janowski pointed out. “”We’re not a boot camp. We’re not whipping people. … They can call for room service. They can go to the bar.” Neither is desirable, but the people who work on the program know that change doesn’t happen overnight.
They also realize that people who seek Shane’s help want their meals to taste great. So, recipes have been developed to meet the programs set-up of three meals and three snacks a day. Breakfast could consist of banana oatmeal pancakes with turkey bacon or a frittata with fresh fruit on the side and an eye-opening Virgin Mary. Lunch options include grilled chicken with vegetables or whole wheat macaroni and cheese, while dinner could bring fish, chili or even a steak.
Snacks can be a bit trickier, especially if you want something to keep in your desk at work or on hand while doing errands. Janowski suggested Greek yogurt, string cheese, a whole wheat pretzel with mustard, hummus and homemade baked pita cheese, and even a homemade power bar made of dates and nuts blended in the food processor. “Sometimes you could add other dried fruit, such as cherries, or you might add lemon zest,” she said.
“You’ve got to keep your metabolism up,” she said, adding that it means having that most important meal of the day, breakfast, as well as something here and there throughout the day, all without eating to excess.
“We’re teaching (people) how to eat,” she said.
At the Westin, a team of kitchen workers have learned to make menus the Shane way for those taking part in the program, and by mid-December, two registered dietitians will be on staff to assist.
Many still need help after they leave the resort and return to their regular lives.
To help them, Shane has a cookbook due out soon that will be filled with “simple, simple, simple recipes,” Janowski said, so that people can make whatever they need at home. These include several ideas for Thanksgiving or any time of year, including Honey-Baked Carrots, Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Zucchini Bread.
There’s also an after-program that Shane offers, in which followup calls are made to help people stay on track with their goals.
It’s all part of the Shane plan, which has helped many lose weight and keep it off. That change in people’s lives pleases Janowski. “I have seen people completely change the way they eat,” she said. “You do have to be serious about it, but we do try to make it fun.”