On July 30th, I touched down in Charleston at 1:00 A.M. after spending the past four days in North Carolina visiting the Carolina House and beginning my training for my pilates mat certification through balanced body. I had a blast, but Monday definitely required lots of coffee.
On Wednesday evening before I left, I stayed the night with my friend Rachel. My fiancé Matt got up at 4:00 A.M. to pick me up and take me to the airport. My flight left at 5:30 A.M. so I had to be at the airport at 4:30 A.M.
Rachel was super sweet and left me boiled eggs in the fridge for a pre-breakfast snack. I was glad because I woke up hungry. Snap saw it first.
I flew out of Charleston and landed in Charlotte, NC. I had another snack then- granola bar.
I then got on my next flight to Cary, NC. The past year or so I have been working towards my certification in eating disorders – CEDRD through The International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (IAEDP). This requires me to have so many hours of supervision on my caseload. The dietitian I get supervision from, Jen, is the head of outreach for the Carolina House. She was so kind to invite me to for a site visit and their annual symposium. Jen picked me up from the airport. We have been doing supervision over the phone for about a year/year and a half and it was so surreal to actually meet her in person. She has taught me so much and I am forever grateful for her guidance and support.
We stopped for breakfast at First Watch, one of my favorite breakfast spots ever! Jen got their avocado toast and eggs. I have heard from a lot of people that their avocado toast is super good, but I have never tried it myself. I love making avocado toast at home and use the trader joe’s bagel seasoning on top. YUM. I got the A.M. superfoods bowl. I had never gotten this from there before. I typically get the bacado omelet with potatoes and fruit. I’m glad I tried this because it was so refreshing and delicious. It was coconut chia seed pudding with fresh fruit, fruit preserves, and house made granola. It also came with toast with almond butter and sea salt.
Every time I have ever made chia seed pudding at home it is always SO runny. This was SO thick and dreamy. I am still trying to recreate it. I have heard the key is to use full fat coconut milk and adding no other milk products. If you know, please tell me!
We then headed back to the airport to pick up some of the other guests. After that we headed to check out some of the Carolina House grounds. Carolina House is an eating disorder treatment center that specializes in treatment for those seventeen years and older. If you read my post about Veritas, then you know a little bit about treatment centers. The individuals who started the Carolina House, left and started Veritas for treatment for adolescents. That being said, treatment is VERY similar between the two. Their meal system is almost identical, but I’ll get into that later. For me, Veritas is almost like a nice resort time of feel, while Carolina House is more like in nature and has a home-like feel. Both are beautiful!
We first visited the outpatient treatment center.
We then picked up another guest and headed to the homestead to have lunch. The lunch was created by some of the patients at Carolina House. They took a trip to the local farmers market to get the ingredients. They try to have as much food exposure as possible with food prep, grocery store outings, restaurant outings, etc. I loved that they were involved in the cooking and they took a trip to the local farmers market. They really try to help the patients understand where food comes from, cooking, and why you should not be scared not only cook, but eat what you are cooking.
The lunch was held at their homestead. Itwas delicious if you were wondering. They had different types of protein salads, breads, fruit, salads, and desserts. I loved the tomato and mozzarella salad. We had skewers like these for my shower (Thanks Rachel for making them!) and I have been obsessed ever since. I just love the flavors together.
Carolina House really made me feel at home as a guest. They had accommodated gluten-free options for me as far as bread, crackers, and dessert. I was thoroughly impressed. As we were finishing up lunch, the food service director and one of the registered dietitians spoke on their meal program.
After lunch, we toured the homestead and their program there was discussed as well.
We went to the estate and their program there was discussed as well. We then checked into the hotel and headed to dinner. We had dinner at a Greek restaurant. I did not take a picture of the food. It was great to meet a lot of the staff there and talk to them with no electronics involved. The food was great including rice, different types of meat (lamb, chicken, beef), marinated vegetables, hummus, etc.
By the end of the night my eyes were glazing over because I had been up since 3:30 A.M. that morning. I slept very well that night.
The next morning I got up at 7:00. The symposium began at 8:30 A.M.
Breakfast was an egg white omelet with bacon, cheese, and veggies, fruit, and potatoes (not pictured).
In a nutshell, this is how their treatment options work.
Partial hospitalization program: This program is designed for individuals in residential to transition back to a normal life. Their goal is for individuals to transition into a life free of an eating disorder and any co-occurring mental illness. The way the program works is that individuals meet with their therapist 1-2 times per week for a full session and quick check ins throughout the week. They also meet with a psychiatrist 1-2 times per week. They also have group therapy as well as family therapy. If there family isn’t local they use FaceTime to do therapy.
Groups may include yoga, art therapy, culinary group, and restaurant outings.
Carolina House’s IOP is three days a week. It is for both males and females men who are almost ready to live on their own and are in the process of transitioning back into normal life. IOP is very similar to their PHP. It still consists of individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy, and experiential therapies. Individuals in IOP engage in three and a half hours per day of programming. They can choose either a morning or evening track, whatever works for their school or work schedule which I thought was really cool!
They also have a free eating disorder support group. They have plenty of meal outings including an espresso outing!
These are decaffeinated drinks typically and patients can journal and have a coffee drink. I thought this was super cool
That brought up another topic. How is caffeine managed in residential? Patients are able to have 1 caffeinted beverage per day. Often caffeine is used to restrict intake with individuals with eating disorders. Therapeutic passes are given by the patient’s therapist based upon their therapeutic readiness. They can use these for meal and movie outings in residential.
The Homestead is housed in a beautiful, 16-bed craftman-style farmhouse. It is for women 17 and older.
The Estate is housed in a 6-bed brick colonial home. It is for all genders 18 and older.
Residential includes a staff psychiatrist, an internal medicine physician, registered nurses, licensed therapists, registered dietitians, a professional culinary team, an art therapist, a yoga/mindfulness instructor, a body movement therapist, and residential client assistants.
How does movement work?
Patient’s have to have a BMI of at least 16 to participate in movement. A lot of restorative yoga is done. Obviously someone with a BMI of 16 is not allowed to do much. Body movement is done 2-3 times per week for 30 minutes.
The treehouse was built this past year to do movement in. It was such a special space. They hold what is called a body wisdom group there, as well as restorative yoga.
I love what the body movement therapist said. She said “Here we believe in nourishing your body and nourishing your soul.” In residential, patients experience a lot of the same things they would in outpatient programming, but of course it’s more structured.
PHP and IOP more flexible as far as meal plating. In residential, one of the meals are plated, and the other two are plated by the patient with supervision from staff. Patients are given a meal card based upon the exchange system which tells them how much of each food group they need in a meal (IE one starch, one dairy, etc.). Super similar to Veritas!
I think one of my favorite things about their residential program was the goodbye snack and goodbye book. When a patient discharges, a goodbye snack is had which is typically something challenging such as dessert, to celebrate. The goodbye book is signed when someone leaves- when someone arrives they can read the book. So cool!
My second day was spent attending the Carolina House’s annual symposium. It started at 8:30.
Breakfast was an egg white omelet with bacon, cheese, and veggies, fruit, and potatoes (not pictured).
My favorite presentation was on yoga and eating disorders. The speaker was awesome. She discussed how to choose a good studio for patients and why yoga is helpful for patients who have mood siroders and eating disorders. For example: if a studio advertises yoga for weight loss it might not be a good fit. We even broke out and did some yoga during her talk. So fun!
The talk by Raegan Chaisten on Health At Every Size was another favorite. She was amazing! My favorite thing she talked about was how as clinicians in eating disorders we should realize how tough it is for our patients to recover in a society that is obsessed with weight loss. However, full recovery is possible.
I thought about how important it is as non-diet providers to understand that people are new to the health at every size perspective. If you’ve never heard of it, I encourage you to read about it. For me, it’s taking the focus of weight off the table, and focusing on healthful behavior change. I consider myself new and I have been practicing this way for a year or so now. We have to show compassion to those who are new instead of degrading them. I am sad to say I heard some of this from someone at the symposium. Show grace. Show compassion. Haley Goodrich said something on a podcast before about how we should always consider ourselves students continuing to learn. I love that.
This was snack.
This was lunch.
I had to duck out of the conference a little early because I had to be at Evolve Movement at 4:00 to start my training.
The studio was really pretty at night because they had lights hanging up in the trees but I’m sad to say I didn’t get a picture of it at night. I had a cliff bar before heading to Evolve movement that night to begin my Mat Pilates training. I was introduced to Pilates for the first time only a couple months ago and fell in love with it. I knew I wanted to get my certification in it. I never knew that there were so many types of Pilates. Right now, I am starting with Mat and going to test out in Mat. Mat really helped me transition from physical therapy to exercising again, along with my good friend personal trainer Matt Carte at IFITT24. 🙂
The first night of Pilates was spent going over movement principals. Movement principals are basically things you can add to give your Mat class more of a flow in between pilates exercises. Some examples are childs pose, down dog, etc.
It went until 9:00. My hotel was about 15 minutes away from the studio. I was extremely hungry by the end of the class. I tried to order Mellow Mushroom and they didn’t do delivery after 9:00 which I thought was strange. Oh well. I ended up finding Hungry Howies and it was so tasty. It was easily one of the best gluten-free pizza crusts I had ever had. Nothing fancy, but so good.
It was then time for bed.
Training started at 9:00 the next morning.
I went down and got continental breakfast. Because I ate dinner so late last night, I was not really hungry so I had a hard time picking what sounded good for breakfast, but I knew I needed to eat. I ended up going with yogurt and granola, fruit, and bacon. I know. It was a weird combination.
We started Saturday with a Mat class.
We had a brunch/lunch break from 10:30-12:00.
I got a vanilla iced latte with a girl from class but then decided to explore some while she was looking over the material.
Right across the street from the studio was Cameron Village which was a cute (but expensive) place with shops and eateries. I walked around and ended up stumbling upon some more girls from class at Chopped, a salad place. So I stopped and got a salad with them. This was the Palm Beach salad with chicken, avocado, hearts of palm, and some type of vinaigrette. Really good! Some sweet potato chips for some carbs.
We finished up the movement principles then started the exercises. Each time we would go over a group of exercises, we would then break off into pairs and teach someone the exercises. Not knowing anyone, this of course was out of my comfort zone, especially since the instructor, Melissa, had you practice on someone different each time. I’m glad she did though because it was SO helpful. Life begins when you get out of your comfort zone, right?
We got finished at 5:00, and then I went back to Cameron Village and walked around some more. I was pretty hungry. I ended up going to Cantina 18, a taco place- go figure?!
I got one taco with goat cheese, chicken, apples, and dried cranberries, and a second taco with beef, white cheddar, slaw, and some type of chipotle sauce.
Matt would have liked this place since they double wrapped the corn tortillas. That is his only complaint with Black Sheep. Corn tortillas are supposed to be double wrapped. Come on Black Sheep. Spoken like a true Guatamalan.
I went back to the hotel and after talking to my parents and Matt, I went to sleep. All that movement wore me out.
Breakfast was a egg white omelet with cheese and veggies, potatoes, and fruit. I learned my lesson that bacon before a Mat class was not a good idea.. We will just leave it at that LOL. Channeling my inner sports nutrition mindset- I knew I needed protein, carbs, fiber, and healthy fat.
We started Sunday with a more advanced Mat class.
Seal and open leg rocker are HARD- both something I am going to have to continue to work on.
We finished covering the exercises. Then it was time for break again from 10:30-12:00. The instructor, Melissa, was going out to eat with her two sons and husband for her sons birthday, so she walked over with is to Cameron Village. She was such a down-to-earth person and such a sweet soul. She gave us suggestions on what to get from the restaurant we were going to, Tazzo. She was like “The pizza is really good, if you eat carbs…a lot of people don’t these days..” I could tell she thought it was absurd to not eat carbs. I chimed in with “yes I still eat carbs!”
I was not super hungry since I had just ate breakfast a little while ago, but I knew I needed to eat. They were serving brunch and lunch at the time. They had breakfast tacos which sounded really good, but I had just had tacos the night before. I ended up going with their arugala and goat cheese salad and adding salmon to it. I have recently had a new found love for goat cheese. For the longest time, I did not think I liked it. But after having the taco with goat cheese and this salad with goat cheese, I changed my mind.
After lunch, it was back to work. We finished going over the exercises and practiced them on each other. On Friday, we were given a test to finish by the end of the weekend. We broke up in groups and discussed our answers with each other. went over our test. The hardest question on there for me was a question asking you to make up an entire Pilates mat class. Melissa was so kind to take what I had and teach me what would be helpful in adding to it to make a great class.
To end the training we all taught one Pilates exercise to the whole class. Melissa said that this is one of the biggest mat training classes she has had in a long time. There were about 25 of us. Mat 1 completed. The next step is observation hours and teaching hours! So far the only person I have taught is Matt. That has gone well when he doesn’t make me giggle lol.
Next I headed to the airport to have some dinner and catch my flight.
Grilled chicken with Gouda and bacon on a lettuce wrap with Parmesan fries
After landing, my flight to Charleston was delayed and I got some PB m&m’s.
Finally made it back to Charleston at 1 A.M.
A couple days later after getting home, I received my certification of mat 1 completion.
I’m so excited to be able to share Pilates with those I love and those I have not met yet. I used to be terrified of going out on my own and doing my own thing, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve overcome that. I realize that God made me me for a reason and there is such peace in that. He called me to do work for His glory. And I’m really never alone. He is with me. I believe that it was Dr. Seuss that said “Be who you are and say what you feel. Those that matter won’t mind and those that mind don’t matter.” That being said, I was still ready to be home and see some familiar faces. This trip filled my cup.