VIDEO TESTIMONIAL: Successful Holistic & Naturopathic Treatment of Bulimia
Confidential Patient Story
TESTIMONIAL: Food Addiction and Weight Loss
Before coming to the retreat, I had been feeling for a little while that I was at my limit and that I needed a break somehow. I looked into food addiction because my worst issue was that my eating was out of control – it was obsessive, it was all that I ever thought about and I was feeling out of control in many ways. I looked into programs that were based on weight loss but worried about the relapse rates. I also looked into food addiction groups, but they all seemed tied into substance abuse and/or anorexia. I didn’t feel that those were right for me, I didn’t want to be in a clinical space where they watch you eat. Finally, the holistic approach seemed like what I really needed, plus it was in Hawaii!
My first response when I started treatment at the retreat center was a little nervous, I felt weird about how relaxed and slow paced everything was – I felt like a patient and it was uncomfortable for a few days. Then a switch flipped and I eased into the routine and I felt more comfortable with the pace and gentle atmosphere. The flowers, smells, fresh fruit are surroundings that not everyone will get to experience; it is a special place.
I was pretty happy with the food – the chefs go through great efforts to make it interesting, creative and varied which helps fill the space of missing comfort foods that are emotionally fulfilling. There was some discomfort in taking the supplements but I understand that my body is depleted and that I need to do it. The enemas, though intimidating at first, don’t take long to get used to.
I absolutely loved Pilates, it was my first time on the reformer and I am interested in continuing it at home. The yoga was also great and I was able to take it as far as I could. Breathwork and EFT were most beneficial for me. I had been to counselors before and had not made much progress. My issues were on the surface at the retreat and both techniques really pulled stuff out. They were like an emotional castor oil pack – drawing the impurities out of my soul.
The snorkeling was absolutely amazing. The lava is dramatic and intense at the tidal pools and champagne ponds – it was nice to be centered between these two natural entities. The Volcano National Park tour was a once in a lifetime experience and it was spectacular to be a part of it. Also, I’ve saw my first mongoose!
When I get home, I definitely plan to schedule more exercise. I have had problems breathing and oxygenating properly and I want to continue the progress I have made with that. After 12 days, I feel mellow and at peace. A lot of the food practices I did in treatment were things I knew, but was unable to practice – it has been a good reminder of how you feel when you eat clean and raw. I lost 9 pounds in 12 days!!! I’m excited to replace junk dessert with raw healthy chocolate pie, and make other healthy substitutions in my eating. I feel very renewed and ready to go home and be better for my husband, my kids, and myself!
TESTIMONIAL: Bulimia, alcohol, heavy metal detox
As a child I was ridiculed, called fat, and developed a fear of becoming overweight. I had a lot of stress and anxiety and never knew how to deal with it. Surrounded by unhealthy processed foods and dysfunctional people, I started restricting my eating at age twelve. Who knew how bogus the statement “sticks and stones can break your bones but words can never hurt you” is? The mind begins to believe words like “chub-rock, thunder thighs, and round one”. My mind became a jail and the outcome became throwing up. I obsessed over everything I ate and at age thirteen, I started purging. The purging and restricting started slowly and it was scary at first. At age sixteen, I vomited very often and I would secretively work out; I started loosing a lot of weight. I didn’t have bowel movements or periods for years, my body started to shut down, and I lost interest in school and isolated often. I was in a living hell.
I’d been seeking treatment off and on since the age of fourteen, from outpatient therapy to involuntary inpatient traditional rehab centers. However, due to my lack of readiness and lack of a supportive environment, the seriousness of my problems was not understood and that in itself exacerbated my issues and gave rise to the bulimia. I felt like I would constantly find something that would allow me to sustain myself (for example: I survived one year on small amounts of graham crackers alone and at another point, I lived on mainly peanut butter for years). Eventually the binging and purging became out of control; any time I ate, I would obsess about where I could throw up. I could not allow food to stay in my system and it made people really uncomfortable. My teeth started deteriorating from the frequent vomiting and I had to spend a fortune on dental work, eventually getting full upper porcelain tooth crowns. I felt like I was constantly on overdrive because my body was deprived from nutrients. Once the bulimia -my “numbing drug”- reached it’s peak, along came alcohol and cigarettes, more tools to numb my pain. My alcohol use became out of control. Furthermore, I was surrounded by toxic chemicals from my work. The final straw, that provoked me to seek treatment, yet again (after already spending a fortune on past attempts), was my third DUI. Before finding Hawaii Naturopathic Retreat Center, other treatment centers did not address my whole being: they had me on lock down, didn’t treat me as a human that could think for myself, forced unhealthy processed foods on me, wouldn’t allow me to exercise, the therapy was horrible and I gained twenty five pounds in two weeks. The DUI and the terrible traditional treatment center were blessings in disguise because they lead me to seek holistic treatment to heal my whole body. I needed to not only be healed from my eating disorder but to be mentally relieved from the obsessive behavior and for my toxic, unbalanced body to be cured.
Before attending Hawaii Naturopathic Retreat Center, I spent six weeks on the phone with Nicolette and Dr. Baylac developing trust in them and they gave me some hope. As soon as I arrived, I knew it was the right place for me and that I would not return home the same person. I enrolled in the three month lifestyle changes program. As soon as I met Dr. Baylac, I started crying my eyes out because I new I finally found the right support. My life change started as soon as I stepped foot on the center property. It took a lot of trust to believe in the program, to participate in modalities like IV therapy, EFT, The Work, Breathwork, etc., but I went for it full force. I did exercise, swimming, yoga, Pilates, saunas and even the enemas!
Within weeks, for the first time in my life, I began to feel what it felt like to be in my body. That’s when I knew I was on the right track. If it wasn’t for the raw food chef, Ian, I don’t know what I would have done. His knowledge helped me to create a healthy relationship with my food, I was educated on the nutrients and learned that I could enjoy complex delicious meals. My cravings became manageable because I wasn’t consuming processed foods or unhealthy sodium or sugar. Feeling the energy and nutrients build in my body, from the food and green juices, I noticed my nails started to grow, and I started to heal from the inside out. I started to detoxify, my energy stabilized, my moods became more balanced and the irritability was diminished drastically.
The other patients both made me face issues that I needed to work on, and helped to create a supportive family that will always be there. I feel very confident and more than ready to live my life to the fullest and not just survive it. For the first time in my life (since I started purging) I am not purging at all! I’m finally able to laugh again, I’m finally able to share with people, both of which are very healing. I have a new found excitement for living, I want to go back to school, continue my passion for holistic living, love the earth, love my body, and someday be able to educate others on nutrition and wellbeing.
The bottom line of what I’ve learned is that you create your own reality in your mind. Finding your truth is key for living your own live. If something works, let it be (i.e. “Don’t f@*# with the formula!”).
32 years old
TESTIMONIAL: Panic attacks, eating disorder, bulimia
For many years I have been struggling with different types of problems in my life, problems I never knew how to deal with or get rid of. I sought help from psychologists, psychiatrists, and nutritionists… but I never found the solution to my problems.
I have struggled with panic attacks since I was ten years old, something that made me feel like I was handicap – even though I was a perfectly healthy guy otherwise. I stopped enjoying a normal kid’s life because of my panic attacks; I didn’t know what was happening to me and no one could explain to me what I was going through. When I was a teenager, I began to comprehend that what was happening to me was in my mind… however, a few times a year, I still had un-provoked panic attacks and I did not know why.
Because of the panic attacks, I developed eating disorder problems. I became afraid to eat certain things, I actually invented the idea that I had allergies to many foods (which, I did not) and avoided them for fear of feeling shocked and panicked. When I was fifteen years old, I started having a problem called bulimia. I had a fear that if I ate what I craved, I would gain weight and lose my image. Bulimia, for me, was on and off. I would purge for years, especially when I was under stress or experiencing panic attacks. In less stressful times, I would not purge for years. I never talked about my bulimia problems with anyone, not even a doctor or psychiatrist… I would only talk to them about how to live with my panic attacks and hopefully how to control them. I took antidepressant pills, went to therapy and to a nutritionist, but nothing helped me stop the self destructive behavior. No one understood what I was going through.
A few months ago, I realized that my life was falling apart. My bulimia was out of control and I was getting quite sick, I had no energy and was very sad. The only days I felt good, was on days that I didn’t purge. My body was unhealthy and I was binging on certain foods – bread, chocolate, carbs – foods that are addictive in a way. That was when I decided that I had to do something to be free of this obstacle in my life – I call it an obstacle, not a disease, because I see it as an opportunity to learn and grow into a better person. I needed to find a solution to my problems and an answer to my questions, not only about my eating disorder but about my thought processes as well. I needed to learn to control my anxiety and become healthier, mentally and physically. That is when I decided to look for a retreat, because I needed to be somewhere where I could learn to control my life in a healthy way. I found several hospitals, but I didn’t want a hospital, I wasn’t sick in that way. Then, a miracle happened: I found Hawaii Naturopathic Retreat Center. A place that had everything I was looking for, not only to treat my eating disorder and anxiety problems, but it held the answers I had sought for my entire life. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to heal in the short two weeks that I could take off from my very busy career. So I emailed the retreat to see if that was enough time and left the response in God’s hands. The next morning, I received a phone call saying that they could help me for the two weeks! Two days later, I jumped in a plane to Hawaii. I was so scared that I wouldn’t find the answers, that I was alone on a long plane trip to a strange place with a bunch of people I have never met; really though, I was most afraid to face my problems head on.
When I got to Hawaii, they picked me up and I met this girl named Sarah and as soon as I started talking to her I felt at home. She was a very nice, talkative person who I could feel very comfortable opening up to. In the car ride to the center, she answered my questions and explained what would happen to me in the coming weeks and that made me even more at ease. When I got to the retreat, it was late at night and it was a perfect place – two story wooden home, near the ocean, surrounded by tropical trees – it reminded me of Puerto Rico and I felt at home. The next morning, I met everyone else in the house, the nurse, the doctor, the patients – or more like roommates really – people with similar problems, looking for answers. In a way we felt like we were on vacation, because we were not in a hospital, we were free to do whatever we wanted to do. Yes, we had a schedule, and some rules that we could follow or not follow – but, since I came so far, I figured I should follow every suggestion given. That first day I had a group session with my new roommates and I heard their stories and I realized that my problems are normal for a lot of people and that there are even people that are worse off than I am, and that made me even stronger… I KNEW I was going to get out of this.
That first week, I had counseling, I met wonderful therapists. I was on a healthy raw diet and began detoxing from all the processed foods that made my body sick. I felt weak, I had cravings for sugar and junk food, I felt hungry all the time… but I always told myself: ‘I’m going to get through this and I am never going to purge again and I’m going to keep my body healthy’. With that in mind, I kept my regimen going.
At the end of the first week, I started to notice that I was feeling healthier and that my body was adjusting to my new eating patterns. Because I was eating A LOT of healthy foods (and not purging), I was surprised that I was not gaining weight. In fact, I lost weight, my body was finally able to let go of the fat it was clinging onto me due to my previous starvation. I started finding the answers that I was looking for, about my anxieties and depressions in life. I realized that life is the way it is and that the only person who makes me have negative feelings is me – it’s in my mind. I realized that I was creating stress by worrying about the future and I began to look at life in a completely different way: life is only difficult if we make it that way. Nothing and no one belongs to us, things come and go, and that is life… if you understand this, you will see stress reduction in every aspect of your life. I started to feel peace, something I don’t remember feeling since, maybe early childhood. I started to have control of my life, my feelings, my thoughts, and even the way I was eating.
I wish that I had met Dr. Baylac, Witek, Lilia, and Connie maybe fifteen or sixteen years ago, because if I met them then, I wouldn’t have had to confront all of this at this age. But, you know, it’s never too late; I’m twenty nine years old and I starting to live my life and enjoy every aspect of it to the fullest.
I ended up extending my retreat stay to a little over the original two weeks because I wanted to take advantage of everything I learned and I wanted to be sure I was completely prepared to continue my new healthy habits in my ‘real world’. So, that day came, I’m not going to tell you I wasn’t afraid, I questioned myself all the time on if I was really ready or not. But I realized that the fear was only in my mind, and not in my body – my body felt good and ready to leave. I know I’m going to be great when I get back home, I’m going to keep doing the things I learned at the retreat, because it’s the happiest I have been in a long, long time.
The only thing more I can say about the retreat, is that it saved my life. I think there should be a place like this in every part of the world, because there are millions of people that suffer from eating disorders, anxiety and panic attacks. I can tell you first hand that those problems CAN BE HEALED.
Thank you very much.
29 years old
TESTIMONIAL: Binging, overweight issues – detoxification, raw foods
Hello Dr. Baylac and Rachel!
I miss you all very much and think about you daily! Thanks for the email regarding the rest of the bill. I am so sorry it has taken me a bit to get back to you. Transitioning back into my normal life with all of these new changes has been somewhat difficult, but things seem to be settling down a little now so all the good I have gained at the retreat center is not lost. I tell you though, I was so thankful to Anjeli for giving me dinner to go, because I was surprised by how tempted I was at the airport to eat things that would have sabotaged all of my wonderful success. Please let her know how much she helped me through the airport and flight home.
Well, I have done really well the past couple of weeks for the most part. When I was feeling very vulnerable and stressed I did go and get some of my binge foods and ate them slowly in front of my husband and chewed every bite to death. I wish I could tell you that they didn’t have the same appeal to me or that they tasted terrible compared to all the beautiful, living, healthful foods I got to eat at the retreat center, but they didn’t taste terrible and I enjoyed every bite. I was bummed about this. However, I did feel absolutely awful after I ate them.
I have since learned after a little playing around with all my favorite foods that any kind of dairy product gives me almost immediate sinus and allergy problems, I feel like a sinus infection is forming, my eyes itch, my nose runs and I sneeze all day long, I have to clear my throat all the time because I have so much phlegm. When I eat fried, greasy foods or potato chips (Doritos in particular – a very bad binge food of mine), I have some of the same symptoms with the phlegm, and sinus stuff, but also terrible sluggishness, feeling of being drugged and tired and heavy and depressed – it is so interesting how this happens. Then if I eat sugary foods, or foods with a lot of bad carbs, I begin to notice muscle aches and pains, joint pains, sluggishness, tingling in my skin, moods problems, and some sinus and drainage issues. All of these things seem to make me feel like someone just put a brick into my intestines and now I have to try to pass it.
Experimenting with all my favorite binge foods hasn’t changed my love or physical desire for the taste of them unfortunately, but it has certainly convinced me that they are definitely the culprits of all my physical problems and issues, and many of the emotional and mood related ones as well. That in and of itself has been enough to drastically alter my diet and work very hard to eat mostly raw foods. I did have 2 binges since being back, which has let me know that even though I have made tremendous amounts of progress, I still need to keep up all the good work I started because all these changes are still very new and fragile.
Dr. Baylac, you have sort-of ruined my binges though because both times all that runs through my head is all the things you have talked to me about: hurting my body, my body didn’t ask for this, think about how my body feels, having to take responsibility for wanting to be fat, the old Jennifer is dead, connect with my food, chew slowly so the intestines don’t have large chunks of food in them (can’t remember why that’s not good), then of-course there is the visual image of you binging on the lasagna (because what you did is pretty much what binging looks like) and then choking afterwards (ha ha ha -that still makes me laugh), the emotional conversations at our group meals, Rachel telling us how it made her feel to see this problem, etc. etc… After all of that you can certainly see how you have messed up binging for me. There is also the strong desire to feel I need to let someone know, so that I don’t keep it secret and so that I figure out what is going on emotionally behind it. I have noticed that anger is pretty much the main culprit, behind all the stress or too many things to do, or anxiety about something, anger is usually lurking deeply beneath it all.
Anyway, all of these emotional and physical feelings and goings-on around food, has bumped up in priority the necessity of planning my day better around healthy raw meals and how I can prepare green smoothies at work, and how I can have them waiting for me when I get home from work (my kind husband has taken this one on). I have also figured out how to work in exercise (still trying to work in the yoga though, no success there yet). So many changes! So many really good changes. I sure miss you all and your wonderful care of me, there is not a day that goes by that I do not think of you, and very much miss being at the retreat center. I felt like I was becoming part of the place, and where talking about and dealing with feelings, and doing enemas and walks were becoming routine. I am striving to implement that into my life here.
Along with all the different eating habits, another major change my husband and I have both made is no more TV, which has made time for more exercise, reading, and talking. We have found a raw food restaurant that we have started frequenting at least once per week, and they offer raw food “un-cooking classes” and potlucks and lots of other things to help support this very different lifestyle. This has become my favorite day of the week as it is the only time I get real food, which brings me emotionally right back to the center, and I feel so good and happy, otherwise I get to eat green smoothies, lots of grapefruit, and some nuts and the crackers Jon and Anjeli made for me. I have never been much into food prep, so as you can imagine, raw food prep nearly feels like an impossibility to me. I am just trying to take it slow and be realistic with it, because extreme, all-or-nothing behaviors get me in trouble with food.
TESTIMONIAL: Weight loss, toxicity, phobia – raw foods detoxification
I just wanted you to know how wonderful I have been. I have enjoyed my new variety of foods and renewed excitement for life. We have gone out to eat a few times and again it has been a wonderful feeling.
I have lost a few more pounds and have taken up running. I have been very busy with work but would love to write about my experience at your clinic. Mark is looking forward to his chance at a new beginning as well. Everyone is very surprised at the changes that I have made. I still can’t get used to food stuck in my teeth. But it is a fair trade for my new eating habits.
I have managed to stay with a healthy diet and love the results, but I am always snacking. Grapes, apples, granola, etc. I wanted you also to know how wonderful your staff was, with a special thank you to Margo. Her energy and renewed joy for life is something I will always cherish.
You will always have a special place in my heart, thank you!
Follow-up one month later:
What I thought was an eating disorder – not really knowing the underlining cause, but searching through talk therapy. It had started at a very young age. I would push away many of the foods that were presented to me. So when my mother would find something that I would eat, it would become my new food. From the age of 2 to about 13 all that I ate was peanut butter sandwiches and an apple. Of course a wide variety of junk food but my lunch and dinner remained the same. Thirteen was when I changed to just bread and butter and had discovered bacon. This became my breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next seventeen years. Of course never letting go of my junk food. Throughout this mind set of just living with never going out to eat, and never being around people that didn’t know about my “phobia of food”.
It made my social life suffer along with my health. My reluctance to try new foods was a gag reflex that was such a terrible fear that after thirty years of that mind set, I was afraid that it might never change. I had tried on my own once to eat a salad. The experience was fearful, I cried and gagged the whole time not able to eat more then a few bits. This left me feeling like I would never experience the joy of food, the pleasure I see in everyone around me when a good meal is prepared.
I had discovered Dr. Baylac’s program about two years ago. I would keep the web site on my favorites and read it on occasion. I had also taken two years to send her the letter that I had written about myself and my situation with food. The next day I had received a response that I never thought I would read. I was so scared at the thought that someone had called what I had a phobia and not an eating disorder. That was when I realized that maybe I was just on the wrong path. The month before my trip was very emotional for me. The only way that I can describe it was that a part of me was going to die. It was the most intense month, filled with panic attacks and lots of crying. This only confirmed that it was the right decision.
I chose the water fast, well because juicing and raw foods was what I was afraid of. This also made sense because my body was so toxic from my poor diet. I am 5’2″ and weighted between 140-145lbs, my thyroid was inactive, my triglycerides (fat in my blood) where over 350, and my cholesterol needed some work. I have also suffered from acne my whole life. I fasted for 14 days, after the 5th day of just water, I had more energy and was walking everyday I needed some nutrients, so Dr. Baylac supported me with a quiet understanding and reassuring words and I tried the green juice! I continued with the green juice for the rest of the fourteen days.
Part of my therapy for the month that I was there was breathwork. I had emotions that Dr. Baylac helped me discover and then let go of. Without going into too much detail I had a less than favorable childhood with an abusive father. The gently supportive breathwork helped me open up my blocked emotions that I held in my throat and my stomach. This was the fear that kept me from being able to try new foods. When my 14-day fast ended I was able to control and let go of my fear and sample the Hawaiian native fruits.
I had a few more hurdles to over come like eating around other people and sampling different textures, but Dr. Baylac was with me every step of the way. I ended up leaving Hawaii a few days earlier eager to share eating with the ones that I loved and had supported me through out my 30 years. This was the greatest feeling in my life. Going out to dinner, “breaking bread” with my husband. Eating and not feeling left out.
It’s hard to find the words to express how I feel today. I have been home now for a month and have continued eating healthy and trying new foods. In total I lost 27lbs and have taken up jogging. I feel and look healthy for the first time in my life. I have a glow that is how I had always felt from the inside, now I can see it on the outside. Fasting for me not only helped my body return to a natural state but I have not suffered from seasonal and dust allergies.
My vision for my future is now no longer a struggle, but an adventure. I have a new approach to all aspects of life, and am looking forward to my next visit to Dr. Baylac’s new home in Hawaii. Just for the fasting and the BIG ISLAND LOVE. Many Thanks to Dr. Baylac, her wonderful staff and to my special friend Margo.
TESTIMONIAL: Eating disorder – Ten day water fast, raw foods
I came to the Mind Your Body retreat center [Hawaii Naturopathic Retreat Center] knowing very little about the place, or about Dr. Baylac. My plan was to do an extended water fast, and in the process address an eating disorder I’d developed over the last couple of years. I’d done several fasts on my own in the past. Each time, a wave of challenging emotional issues came up, but I never traced them to their roots, so each time I stopped fasting I always slid back to my starting point.
This time, I thought, I’ll get someone to help me through the process. I talked to Maya briefly before making my decision, then hopped on a plane for Hawaii. I cannot imagine having been in better hands. Her expertise in the area of fasting is vast. More importantly, her understanding of the human psyche, the human heart, and the spiritual condition of human beings far surpasses anyone I have come across in the medical or psychoanalytic fields. She is a rare and special being.
Maya helped me see aspects of my psyche that I knew something about intellectually, but that I had never actually confronted head-on. In the course of her counseling, using a range of techniques, she took me to a very deep place inside of myself and gave me exactly what I needed when I got there to make the fundamental shift that I longed for.
I ended up fasting for ten days, with four days of raw food introduction after that. She was nurturing, attentive, and truly present every step of the way – a great mix of professionalism with heart-centeredness. She cares deeply about what she’s doing, and puts everything she has into it.
The main part of her house is on the second floor, nestled in a grove of wild tropical trees and flowering plants. Scores of birds sing and chirp in the branches from sunrise to sunset. The house is so open and airy that even if you’re in your bedroom or the big living space, you still get the feeling of being outside. The beauty and vibrancy of the natural environment played a large part in allowing me to heal, I’m sure. And when it was time to eat again–whoa. Wild papayas, wild avocados, wild bananas, wild passion fruit, the freshest greens …
It may sound like I’m on Maya’s payroll, but I’m not. I was just fortunate enough to be guided to her Center. I went there hoping that when I left I would be a freer person, and I am.