Let me start by saying that success in this case is a work in progress. Success is the achievement of something desired, and my last stay at the Oaks is just my beginning.
I have been at the Oaks five times in the last five years. I had previously lost 56 pounds over a total of 53 days total over 5 years at the Oaks, but this time was different. I had been gaining weight for months and couldn’t understand why. I knew I had to do something drastic and my typical twelve day stay wouldn’t do it. I decided that the Oaks 30 night package might be just the thing I needed this time around.
So I took off the entire month of February, with a few extra days added and headed off to the Oaks. I knew that the program Nancy had given me five years ago worked for me, the question was, “Could I make it for thirty days? What had to change?”
I started my stay with the Daily Activity Schedule, planning out the entire first week as my time to ramp up for the following 3 weeks. I have learned the absolute need to not over do it, while trying to get the maximum fitness I can in the time I have here. During this stay, I was never sore, although a little stiff in the mornings so I was able to push myself in a safe and healthy way. The first week I did the 9 am and 4 pm Flexibility classes daily, plus a daily average of 3+ hours of aerobics, including 2 hikes, and 45 minutes of strength per day.
I also met with Nancy early that first week to reaffirm the fitness plan she had given me five years ago. She suggested that due to the high impact I would be getting on my joints, adding water classes would be helpful so I included six the first week.
I would say daily, “You’re not going to lose it all in a day.” It was important to remember that, no matter how hard I exercised. Slowly … things started to change.
After twelve days, I had lost a lot of weight around my waist. The third week I pushed myself to see how my body responded and used that information to plan what I would do the fourth and final week.
Nancy had cautioned me in week one about losing too much weight which would result in the appearance of wrinkles on my face and after about eighteen days I noticed something I hadn’t seen in over a decade. My face was noticeably thinner and my cheekbones were more noticeable. Nancy let me know that I was okay, that I looked healthy, not too thin, and that I wasn’t losing the weight too quickly.
I was now down to the last week. Week 3 had gone great and rather than backing off, it was time to increase the amount of exercise I was doing. Week 4 consisted of the standard ninety minutes of flexibility a day, which had now made me more flexible than I have ever been. I now exercised an average of 3 ½ hours of cardio a day with a total of 90 minutes of strength training. I might add that Randi’s boot camp combined with her circuit training class was challenging every week along with Elizabeth’s Hi/Lo Cardio.
At the end of my stay Nancy weighed me and measured my body-fat content. In 30 days I lost 24 pounds, which was less than I expected since in prior stays I had averaged losing more than a pound a day. Nancy applauded my good work however and gave me a solid Nutritional Plan for home, and encouragement to challenge myself with my exercise program as well.
A month home now, I definitely have more stamina, am running farther and am definitely lighter than I was when I started. I lost three belt notches and some of my old pants are noticeably baggy. I am pleased not only with my progress have a lot more tools to work with now.
I not only made it for 30 days, I made the 30 days work for me in ways I didn’t expect! As I stated at the start of this story, this is only a beginning.
After her November 2013 stay at The Oaks, Adele D. had this to say, "I don't exercise because I think it's boring. After taking World Dance & Zumba, I realized I am not working out to the right thing. Thank you for sparking this inside of me. I now know what I need to do to be healthy and have fun while doing it."
Michele from Canada June 2013
“How the Oaks Changed My Life
Have these sixty days been the most amazing gift I have given myself to date? Definitely! Would I recommend this same experience to anyone seeking health and wellness for themselves? In a heartbeat! My Oaks stay has absolutely changed my life.
I thought that in coming to the Oaks for 60 days my life would be about losing weight since I have fought with food and fat for forty years. At 58, I felt defeated and felt like I was dying. I was so unfit and unhealthy that I saw these 60 days as a desperate last effort to change my circumstances. I did not like the person I had become nor the habits and behaviors I was exhibiting.
Was I surprised when after only a couple of days at the Oaks I realized that I had really arrived at a place where I would be changing from the inside out. I was really here to heal emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. The shock when I realized that I had to do that FIRST, before I lost weight, was profound to say the least. And how did that inside out healing come about? In many ways, through the various evening lectures, the afternoon seminars, things the class instructors would say, but primarily through the discussions I had with so many absolutely lovely and fabulous women who were kind enough and brave enough to share their inner journeys with me. Their examples gave me the strength to examine my own habits and body and to start the work towards the change I saw necessary. I am so glad and grateful that the Oaks is structured in such a way that it makes it easy to meet new people who are interested in health and wellness.
I am leaving here in the best shape of my life. At times I have been thinner, but never fitter. When I first got here I would sometimes cry after I completed some of the cardio classes because I felt so happy that I could and did do the class! I didn’t care that I looked like a beet and sweat like a pig- I was on my way down the Highway of Health!
How do I summarize a life changing experience? I am leaving here with so many new friends, a new mind, a new heart, and a new body! All of the Staff at the Oaks from the Front Desk, the Dining Room Servers, the MOD’s, those at the Nest, the class instructors, the Directors, Sheila herself, not to forget the wonderful cleaning ladies who were teaching me Spanish, are all in some way responsible for helping along my transformation.
From the very bottom of my heart, I extend a great big thank you with much love".
"We are coming back next year for a week and cannot wait. There is something very special about the Oaks and although I cannot put my finger on it - it is there. My daughter and I have gotten so much closer due to our visits at the Oaks. I have met people there who have changed my life in many ways. Awhile ago I taught adults for many years and made a difference in their lives. I believe all those who work at the Oaks have changed lives and made a difference." Nancy G.
" It's New York Judy who was there for the most WONDERFUL month from October 23 through November 20. I didn't know if I'd last the whole month but I must say that I was happy every single day I was there and could've even stayed longer! My New York friends couldn't believe I stayed the entire time. I came home looking better than I've looked in years body wise and find that my cravings are now for tofu, quinoa and brown rice rather than sweets! I was a diet coke fanatic and haven't had one since I'm home. My sugar had spiked from 5.2 to 7.2 right before I went to the Oaks and went right down to 5.2 when I got home and my cholesterol readings were better than ever. I had a mini face lift on December 14 and am looking even better. I fell in love with Ojai and have been investigating properties there. I'm scheduled to be back February 1 through the 10th with a wonderful woman I met there (another plus) who lives in L.A. My birthday is January 16th and I'm wondering if I could have the birthday special during that visit? If not, no big deal. I'm also coming back next December 15th through January 1 and have a wedding in L.A. mid July and am sure I'll combine that with a few days at Ojai. In fact I can't imagine every going to L.A. on a visit without stopping at The Oaks. I have been raving to my friends back in New York about The Oaks and they can see the results by looking at me." - Judy from New York.
"After a turbulent year, I received a much needed break at The Oaks at Ojai and it was a life changing experience that affected my body, mind and Spirit! I didn’t know how badly I need peace and solace and a focus on overall wellness. Thanks!" - Frederick from Los Angeles
"My life has never been the same since I discovered The Oaks at Ojai some 23 years ago, and I am very grateful for the sanctuary you offer. I am also blessed to be able to afford it; it costs about as much as liposuction, but it’s so much better." - Abby from Calabasas
"Every time I come to The Oaks I go home with a new healthy habit, and reinforce ones I am now living by. It is also a wonderful to reconnect with the caring staff and other interesting guests I have met over the years. Sheila the founder is a wonderful role model and I am grateful for The Oaks." - Michelle from Camarillo
'“This is the happiest place in the world” some loved one always hers these words from my mouth within 24 hours of my arrival at The Oaks at Ojai. I appreciate The Oaks for the balance and calibration it has brought me over the years and enjoy it every visit.' - Jill from Los Angeles
“I came to The Oaks in 07 for my 50th birthday I was planning on more relaxing than a jump start but I found myself inspired by the incredibly good low cal food, great classes and private session with Nancy. I am back again at the Oaks ready to rest and be inspired all over again. I suffer from auto-immune disease, and had resigned myself to mediocrity, but NO MORE! I honestly never thought that I could feel so good Thank you Oaks” - Jane from Colorado
"There is something special for everyone at The Oaks at Ojai. For me it was my body composition profile with Nancy. One year later I am happy to report my cholesterol is down, my blood pressure is down and my body fat is down. All thanks to the Magic of The Oaks." - Peggy from Torrance
"What a great way to “unplug” and relax while getting into shape down time in this very busy life." - Karen