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Well Traveled – A Fresh Start

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By Pamela Irving

When Catherine Hyldgaard decided to spring clean her home last April, she realized that her body might benefit from some spring-cleaning as well. She had participated in a weekend health retreat and had seen the benefits, but wanted to do something longer lasting with longer term results.

Like all good citizens of modern life, she Googled the Internet to do her research and was surprised to see a health retreat offered so close to home called Abundant Life Wellness Center. She filled in the pre-registration form, spoke to the program manager about her health needs and when confirmed ‘good to go’ decided to take her partner Philip along with her.

“We are both in the ‘fiftyish’ age bracket and weight had somehow accumulated over the years that was stubborn to shift. We needed a big change, not just a few modifications, a few calories dropped. We had tried all that and nothing worked,” says Catherine from her home in Beaumont, a small town in Alberta where her passion for horses keeps her active on the weekends and her professional life of financial advisor for Primerica has her full attention during the week. “Philip works with me and somehow we never made time for us as a couple to focus on our health, yet what could be more important?” asks Catherine.

Catherine and Philip feel much better and are continuing to lose weight and improve health after health retreat. Catherine and Philip feel much better and are continuing to lose weight and improve after their health retreat.

Together they attended a 14-day retreat. Catherine lost seven and half pounds while there, with another six pounds since then and another 35 to go. “It’s working for us. It was fast at first, and now it is slow and steady.”

Since the retreat, Catherine and Philip have changed their lifestyle and their eating habits. “We used to eat the North American diet – high in sugar and carbs, now it is more like the Mediterranean diet,” says Catherine who adds that she does not have cravings any more.

“We eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and if we want a treat, we go for a vegetarian pizza. We don’t feel like we are missing anything, except extra weight, and we have gained a new focus in life-vibrant health. We are also closer as a couple. We did not expect so much to come out of 14 days,” says Catherine who says she has more energy now than she did ten years ago.

“A huge and unexpected bonus is, the asthma I had for 17 years is gone and I no longer need medication for it, with my doctor’s blessing.”

With many, many happy clients, Abundant Life Health Retreats are rebranding as Fresh Start, but will continue to offer health restoration retreats to aid weight loss and wellness at a new location: the eco-friendly Ocean Resort, Vancouver Island’s Spiritual and Wellness Retreat Centre, accessible by air, ferry and car.

“We are very excited about this move, both for our clients and for the future of Fresh Start. The Ocean Resort is the perfect venue to offer retreats that require a relaxing, private environment, with excellent facilities for spa treatments,” says Ania Kastashchuk, Program Manager for Fresh Start, with the first retreat in the new location to be offered August 31, 2010.

Ania and Vasili Kastashchuk had been hosting the retreats in Alberta since 2005, completing over 125 retreats serving over 650 clients and are making the move to Ocean Resort because of the preferred facility and location.

Fresh Start is a health restoration retreat focusing on advanced whole body detoxification, weight loss and rejuvenation, during five, ten and 14-day residential programs.

The fresh smile of Ania Kastashchuk Program Director of Fresh Start Health Retreats Credit Vasili Kastashchuk The fresh smile of Ania Kastashchuk Program Director of Fresh Start Health Retreats Credit: Vasili Kastashchuk

“We use basic health principles and combine health lectures, emotional wellness with nutritional support and knowledge,” explains Ania. “Simple principles that work.”

The new Fresh Start team consists of a Naturopathic Doctor for onsite consultations, massage therapy, Reiki, reflexology and other spa services using the highest quality organic or all-natural products and ingredients.

Ocean Resort on Oyster Bay

Ocean Resort, located on Vancouver Island’s Oyster Bay, overlooks Desolation Sound and the Coastal Mountain range. The resort, established in 2008, boasts 28 well-appointed rooms and is uniquely positioned to host the Fresh Start wellness experience, with direct flights to the Comox Valley airport on major airlines.

“Guests can enjoy an environment that is both welcoming and supportive. Experience long walks on the beach; watch the resident eagle and other wildlife from the comfort of a beach chair. Fresh Start staff is serious about helping to improve well-being. This new setting will inspire wellness to a new level,” says Ania Kastashchuk.

Catherine and Philip are already planning a 5-day ‘refresher’ retreat at the new location. “It’s good to get inspired and keep motivated. Also, we can’t wait to see the resort and Ania and Vasili again. They helped us so much the first time round.”

The first Fresh Start retreat at Ocean Resort is offered August 31, 2010.

For Fresh Start Retreat Inquiries or to book a program go to www.HealthRetreat.ca

Top photo: Fresh Start Health Retreats will be offered at Ocean Resort near Campbell River, Vancouver Island. Photo credit: Cameron Stone

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