A Couple’s Story of Weight Loss in Costa Rica
In the beginning of February, 21 Rebooters came together on the beautiful beaches of Costa Rica for a 7 night, 8 day LIVE Guided Reboot experience. What exactly do we mean by that? You probably know about our Guided Reboot Programs by now — the 15, 30 or 60 Day Reboots that are moderated online and via webinars with our Reboot nutritionists — but we took this one a step further, a step to the blue waters and sandy beaches to be exact. Led by Abigail Hueber, RD along with yoga enthusiast and Reboot event planner Lisa Merkle, the week was filled with fresh juices, local Reboot-friendly meals made from farm fresh produce, Reboot coaching and personal nutrition consultation, oceanside yoga classes, cooking and shopping demonstrations (including a visit to the local farmers market), and much more.
We wanted to hear from someone who was there and in action to get the full scoop. Kate and John Repko volunteered to share their story — together they lost 26 pounds in just eight days. I’ll let them tell you the rest…
- How did you learn about the Costa Rica Guided Reboot Retreat?
Kate: I’d seen the first Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead movie when it came out and had juiced inconsistently for two years. I also receive regular emails from Reboot. I got the one in October outlining the Costa Rica Reboot. My husband and I talked it over and signed up within 48 hours. It was an early Christmas present to each other.
John: My wife Kate has been a Reboot / Joe Cross advocate for years, and her juicing (and weight loss) was one of the first goals we shared when we started dating years ago. She’d tried juicing, and it *worked* for her and she was excited to try a Reboot in a foreign, nice-and-a-bit-exotic place. She and I had seen Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2 in a “sneak preview” last fall, and it was easy for us to both get excited to participate in the Costa Rica Guided Reboot Retreat.
- What inspired you to sign up? Was it weight loss goals? A health condition? Or simply you needed a healthy getaway?
Kate: My inspiration was a quest for health. I want to be metabolically healthy, because I believe with good metabolic numbers I have a much greater chance at avoiding illness. I want to grow healthy and old with my wonderful husband. I want to engage the world with John, but in a different way than we had been.
John: Work and life have been hectic enough that an early-February Reboot sounded like a great idea. I had a couple of specific goals for the retreat. To commit to it — go all-in, and help Kate go all-in. It would be a great experience for us as a couple.
- In just one week, what were the most notable changes that occurred in your body?
Kate: I’m less bloated. I can see it in my face. The cheekbones are back, baby! I’ve never met a loaf of bread and a stick of butter I didn’t want to make intimate friends with, and staying away from processed carbs even for a week made a huge difference. I had a massage the day after we returned to Colorado, and my massage therapist was amazed at how hydrated my body felt. I feel light in my body. I lost 8 pounds that week.
John: I lost 18 pounds during the week. I changed my diet completely: I had juice, 2 Reboot salads, 1 Reboot soup (see below!), and one local meal (Costa Rican specialty Gallo Pinto — all vegetarian except for 1 fried egg) and these were my only deviations from juice for the 8 days of travel and retreat.
My medical “numbers” changed completely! Years ago I suffered transient kidney failure as a reaction to imaging agents following a terrible bicycle accident I had, and in the years since my serum creatinine was always a bit iffy — not terribly out of line, edging out of the normal range. At an annual physical 3 days following the Reboot I ran my best creatinine numbers since before the accident (maybe ever) — middle of the normal range(!), and the lowest blood pressure and cholesterol numbers I’ve had in at least a decade. It was painless getting there — I was never “starving”, and our juicing meals simply restored the balance.
I didn’t realize that “health” could be thrown so far off just by diet, or recovered so completely with the commitment I started at the Reboot.
- How did the support of a coach help you on your Reboot?
Kate: Abby was a great coach, and Lisa was a terrific asset as well. They complimented each other and both have terrifically positive energy. Abby helped explain a lot of the science behind the Reboot, and I like that. I work in healthcare and am scientifically trained, so I respond very well to that type of explanation. She also helped us focus on specifics we could implement when we got home. Lisa led the Mindfulness and yoga classes, and she helped me learn how to be still, and I truly believe being calmer internally will benefit my overall health. My husband and I also had a real shock half way through the Reboot. Wednesday afternoon we learned that our four-footed child, our dog, had died quite suddenly and unexpectedly back at home. I was crushed and distraught, and emotional hunger surfaced immediately. Abby had just lead a talk on the difference between emotional and real hunger the day before, and because of that talk, I was able to separate the physical sensation of being ravenously hungry from the real, raw emotions I was feeling. It was really difficult, though, because had I been back home I would have stuffed my face immediately, and this time I didn’t have food as my crutch. (So I just sobbed for 12 hours straight.) I never expected to have an immediate, real world experience on which to apply what Abby had just taught us.
John: Yes — the coaches were terrific! If the Reboot coaches and team weren’t “all in”, it would have been much harder to break away from the world I know, and so much of the Reboot experience I owe to their knowledge, understanding and support.
- Did the support of other Rebooters on the retreat help? How much did that community impact your experience?
Kate: It was tremendously important to know I wasn’t alone on this weeklong experience. We absolutely supported each other. The first two days I was overwhelmed with desire for food—pizza in particular. (I have very strong emotional attachments to food; I am definitely an emotional eater). I talked with other Rebooters, some of whom had Rebooted before. They were able to “talk me down” and let me know these cravings would pass, and that I could get through it okay.
John: Yes — we were a team. Part of the Reboot experience was “not wanting to let the team down” — we were all in it and committed to changing our lives together.
- Did you juice only or eat too?
Kate: I did juice only, and I gained so much confidence in myself, knowing that I could juice only. Okay, 95% juice only. We went snorkeling one day and the boat’s captain brought watermelon and cantaloupe for when we were out of the water. It was the best fruit I’ve ever eaten in my life! Also, with Abby’s knowledge and blessing, my husband and I tried Costa Rica’s national dish of Gallo Pinto (rice and beans) with an egg on top. I loved every bite I had. When you juice only, every mouthful of solid food becomes heightened in taste, texture, and experience.
John: I drank mostly juice, but I added a couple of salads and soups in advance of some of the more physically challenging parts of the week — for me on our snorkeling day. Kate and I also ate one meal down in Tamarindo — the local specialty “gallo pinto” was a real treat for Wednesday breakfast, and while it wasn’t 100% vegetarian I do believe it was minimally processed, and following the single meal I didn’t experience any problems getting back on the juice-track.
- How did you transition when you returned home? Did you continue Rebooting?
Kate: I did not continue Rebooting, but I have continued to juice and make smoothies on a daily basis. And I haven’t had any bread and butter yet, either!
John: I have continued almost 100% vegetarian since I came back, and I don’t know when (if ever) I’ll have red meat again. My goal on return was shaped by our call with Joe Cross — to whom I asked “What do we do when we go back to the world we came from?” He had by far the best answer I’ve heard in the many times I’ve asked the question, paraphrased thus: “You’re home, and out for a meal. Your plate has 4 quarters to it: the first quarter contains a meat, the second contains some starch with the meat (not french fries, but something — do your best). The other two quarters should be filled fully with plant products — they are your main meal, and the meat and starch are just condiments to the plant-based main-course of your meal.” I try to stick to plants, but when I don’t I remember Joe’s words, I enjoy my 1/2 plant meal, and I savor the other treats on the plate. I believe that this (and staying away from processed foods) will be a diet that stays with me the rest of my life.
- What is your number one takeaway from the Costa Rica Guided Reboot?
Kate: We were fortunate enough to have a Skype conversation with Joe Cross on Day Six of the Reboot, and he ended with the words “Be kind to yourself and each other.” That’s a powerful sentiment. I interpret them to mean not only “Play nicely, kids”, but also, “Be nice to your body.” Feed it well and it will take care of you.
John: Hope and strive for better — it’s not too late! I don’t have to surrender to the diet and poor health that stares me in the face every day. I DID “Reboot” — first in diet, and even more in the practices I want to choose as part of how I live my life.
The Costa Rica Guided Reboot was a life-changing experience for me, more than I could have dreamed before the experience began. What Joe Cross has created (and the people that he’s chosen to staff it) is unbelievably beneficial — maybe more than even Joe Cross thinks it is!
This was of the most valuable week of my entire life.
A special thanks to Costa Rica Rebooter Lyn for providing all of the images!