Change Your Body (and Your Life) in 48 Hours
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Change Your Body (and Your Life) in 48 Hours

We joined 50 readers at the Red Mountain Spa in St. George, Utah, for the Peeke Week Retreat, hosted by FITNESS advisory board member Pamela Peeke, MD, author of Body for Life for Women. Here we share a "make over your life in a weekend" guide of all the tips, recipes, and motivational tricks that helped us get stronger, fitter, and totally energized in just two days.

Step 1: Get Focused

This weekend, make taking care of yourself (and your body!) a priority. Use this as a guide to upgrade your self-image and set a plan to reach your goals. Do the "homework" in a quiet place, and share your resolutions with a friend, or jot them in your journal.

The Woman Behind the Plan

Pamela Peeke, MD, says, "One weekend is all it takes to inspire a healthier, fitter life. In two days you can lay the groundwork for smart habits, making changes that will truly last."

Start Here: Motivation That Sticks

"When a ginormous piece of chocolate cake is staring you in the face, having a short phrase or mantra to repeat can be a powerful push-it-away tool," says Dr. Peeke. Think about what you hope to achieve -- maybe it's running a race or dropping 10 pounds. Then summarize it in a short, snappy rhyme, such as "142 by September 2!" or "5K is the way."

Jump-Start a Better Body Image

"It's impossible to hate your body and feel good about yourself at the same time," says Adrienne Ressler, national training director at the Renfrew Center Foundation, an eating-disorders treatment facility in Philadelphia. Do these statements ring true?

"The scale determines how good or bad I feel about myself."

"When other people compliment my appearance, I think they're lying."

"I've avoided social situations because I feel unattractive."

"I regularly make negative comments about my looks to others."

"I won't be satisfied until I've reached my ideal weight."

Checked any? If so, it's time to give your body some R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Here's how: "Give up any fantasy you may have about how different your life will be when you lose weight," Ressler says. "Stop putting things off until later -- start living your life now." Be aware of how often you use negative words when you think about yourself, and replace them with positive phrases. Don't say anything to yourself that you wouldn't say to a close friend. Choose to surround yourself with people who love you as you are, not those who point out your imperfections.

Stick to Your Goals

Step 2: Eat Healthy

"Eating right increases energy and provides the foundation for a healthier lifestyle," says Kathy Egan, nutrition consultant for Red Mountain Spa. These four easy, low-cal recipes will take you from morning to night. Try one or all during your two-day "spa."

Breakfast: Breakfast Burrito


Lunch: Fall Salad with Herbed Apple-Cider Dressing


Dinner: Chicken Caesar Pita Pizza


Dessert: Chocolate Chip Cookies


Step 3: Get Fit, Gain Energy

Wake-Up Workout

Start your morning right with these stretches from Kim Watters, fitness manager at Red Mountain Spa.

Body Extension

Lie faceup with legs extended, arms by sides. Reach arms overhead and flex feet. Stretch right leg, then left, as far as possible. Next, stretch right arm, then left, as far as possible.

Rounded Spine

Lie faceup with legs extended, arms by sides. Bend knees 90 degrees (over hips) and place hands on backs of thighs. Pull knees toward chest and crunch up, rounding spine and pressing chin down. Hold for 20 seconds.


Lie faceup with legs extended, arms out to sides, palms up. Bend knees 90 degrees (over hips) and slowly lower them to right, keeping shoulders down. Turn head to left. Hold for 20 seconds. Switch sides; repeat.

Firm Up Fast

Start this cardio, flexibility and strength-building routine during your get-healthy weekend, then stick with it for the rest of the week, says Watters, who created the plan for FITNESS. Do each activity for at least 20 minutes. You should do up to 60 minutes if you're more advanced.

Saturday: Play outside with your kids (try kickball, tag, or jump rope), or play fetch with your dog.

Sunday: Go for a long bike ride, hike, or power walk.

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Strength-train with dumbbells.


Wednesday: Try a dance class, or work out to a dance DVD.


Thursday: Take a boot camp class.

Friday: Do yoga.

Want the Real Deal?

To learn more about the upcoming Peeke Week Retreat in '09, e-mail and provide your contact information. You can also log on to and click on the Retreat link for information.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, October 2008.