Monday, April 11, 2011


Ok... so what happened to me? ... I caught the mother of all flu!!! (how do you pluralize 'flu' anyway?)... Anyhoots, the Sunday I left (4/2), my voice was hoarse, and my throat hurt. 9 days later and I'm still sick! Ugh!!

I wanted to at least share my results since several people have asked me how I did... so, here they are, my results after a 4 week stay at Fitness Ridge in Malibu:

  • -18.2 lbs
  • -3.25" from chest
  • -3.75" from my waist
  • -4" from my hips
  • -3.3 bmi
A week later, I've dropped another another 5 lbs!!! (4 of them by that Wed!!). I have not worked out or eaten healthy since I got back. Although, for several days I barely ate as it was. This flu really knocked me on my ass for a bit. I had to take 4 days off from work, and I pretty much just lived & slept on the couch! Not what my plans were AT ALL.

So, after almost 5 weeks, a 23 lb weight loss? I'm friggin HAPPY with that! :) 

... But, I'm starting to feel better... and hopefully will start to put my plan in place and continue on this journey.

Thanks for following along & sending so much support. It really meant a lot to me... and kept the fire burning to continue on!

Take care!!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

where have I been???

Ok... so, where the hell have I been? (c'mon, you know you've been saying that!!). I'm ok, still here, winding down to towards the end of my visit. I've been pretty tired in the evenings and fell off trying to keep up with this blog. I'll work on catching up over the next two days ... sort of a mini-recap of the last week and a half.

All in all, I'm good. :) ... heads in a pretty good place (overall), feeling stronger everyday, pushing beyond barriers, and getting ready & planning my transition home.

More about that later... I'll start catching up tomorrow!! 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day 15 ... Monday #3

Here we go, another Monday. I didn't take any pictures again (sorry). As I mentioned yesterday, I opted out of the hike today... I figured it would be too muddy. Instead I worked out in the gym for about an hour and 40 minutes. Besides a little cardio, I worked all the machines. I can honestly say I'm getting a little more comfortable with them. I talked with Sam a bit this morning, and he pretty much said, if you're going to work strength machines, make sure to warm up first with some cardio - it'll increase the benefit of your overall workout.

I did two back-to-back Circuit Training classes rather than take a pool class. Since my arms still have a slight rash to them, and sometimes are still a bit itchy... so no pool & no hot tub for me for a bit longer. I felt stronger today, I'll really pushed it today. I even ran at 4.9 mph (only for 30 seconds), but still... I RAN!! Also, on the machines, I really pushed up the weights and/or resistance. I left everything I had in the gym. If felt really good too that my back didn't hurt - at all!

I saw Dr. Ray today (the Chiro)... another good appointment. He really has helped me out with my back & neck issues. He thinks by the time I got home, I might be an inch taller!!! WHAT???? Hey, when you're only 5'3", you'll take it!! Hell yeah!

Ok, what else is a positive thing I can share? ... well, I've noticed my complexion is better, much better. Actually, my skin in general is better. It's amazing what crap, unhealthy food does to your body... even your skin. This makes me want to really try to keep it uber-healthy once I get home. I mean, besides for weight-loss, just from an overall health perspective. This will be tough, since I do have some food addiction issues (as in I like a bunch of stuff that is soooo not healthy). The plan for once I get home is something that I'll need to start spending time on in these 2 weeks. One saying they have here is "Failure to plan means planning to fail". That's so very true, and definitely a contributing factor to my unhealthy lifestyle. I need to have a plan, and I need to follow through on it. "Not having enough time" cannot be my excuse anymore.

Well, I'm tired ... gonna go veg in front of the TV for a bit and get to sleep early!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day 14... Torrential rains!

My goodness... it has rained more today than... well, I don't know what. A friend texted me that they are talking mudslides in the area now! Just crazy. Today, on campus, we had to deal with the power going on & off, the tv going in & out, and the co2 alarms going crazy (because of the power problems). My plans got blown out of the water.... no shopping for shoes, and no laundry! Ugh. That means I'll need to do some laundry tomorrow - I hope... assuming the power stays steady and the clothes won't be soaked by the time I walk them back to my cabin!

So, what did I do today? Well. I napped. I sort-of watched TV (remember, it kept going in & out). Oh, and I got an 80 minute massage from Jonathan. I have to agree with this reputation... he's pretty darn good. I've had 4 masseuses here, and he definitely was the best. Others are good (one I didn't care for too much), but he has very skilled hands! I found out today he's been a massage therapist for 17 years! It shows! I also have 2 appts this week with Dr. Ray, who is still pretty awesome in my book!!

I was originally slated to be in the Yellow group this week, but I asked to change to Orange. One, my friends are in Orange, and two... a person I find *incredibly* annoying was going to be in my group again. I found it distracting the last week, and overall a negative influence, so I thought it best if I switched. So, I'm happy I did that... normally might not be something I would do. But, this journey is suppose to be about *me*, even though I'm uncomfortable with that at times.

So, all the newbies are here... 49 of them in all. So, there's 81 of us here this week. Already it seems like there's a better vibe than there was last week with the newbies, so that seems good!

Ok... so week 3 is about to begin, rain or shine! :) ... time to get to it!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day 13 ... itchy aftermath

Since I didn't sleep much last night due to all the itchiness, I didn't do the hike or anything today. I got up for breakfast (granola cereal with almond milk) and then promptly went back to bed afterwards. Well, not quite. I decided, sort of impulsively, to go get weighed after breakfast. I had told myself that although I wouldn't weigh in each week, I *might* decide to around the 2 week mark. So, the results? Just over 11 lbs down. Not sure how I feel about that. It's on track for what my overall goals for this trip were... but, as usual, I was being a little greedy and was hoping for more. I have a lbs goal & an inches lost goal. You don't get your inches measured until you are leaving. (3 measurements - chest, waist, hips).

After that I napped. After lunch, I pretty much just relaxed in my room, watched TV a bit and napped some more. I'm really tired this weekend. I'd like to start off next week strong, so I'm going to rest now while I can.

Tonight's graduation was another emotional one. Two friends in our group are leaving after today, and it's sad to see them leave! 

I'm not sure what the next two weeks have in store for me, but I'm ready to face the challenge (after another full day's rest that is!). Bad planning on my part for tomorrow. I need to get new shoes, and based on someone's recommendation, I want to check out this store nearby. However, I would have been better off renting a car for the day, but it's too late now to book it. Sooooo, looks like I'll have to get a cab. I wanted to also hit a pharmacy and get more benadryl, but I might not be able to do that part, we'll see.

Anyway.... looks like tomorrow will be my first off-campus day, and I'm a bit nervous about it. Life inside the "bubble" is safe, and, well... secure and gives you confidence. I'm not so sure about me fitting in "life" outside the bubble. Not yet anyway. Which is why I know it's the right decision that I stay here longer. I still have 2 weeks, and much to learn.

I can hardly believe 2 weeks is done already... this week, even with all its problems, really flew by.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Day 12 ... ITCHY!!!

Ok, so I'm miserable today. Did the beach hike - since I did that one before, I didn't take any pics. I decided to do Cardio Intervals after the hike instead of the pool class. I did ok, but my feet hurt... in fact, they were sort of asleep & very tingly during the whole class. I think I need new shoes. Someone told me about a store around here where they video you walking on a treadmill & then based on their analysis of that, they'll recommend shoes. I want to go do that this weekend.

So... since my shoes were an issue, I decided to sort of take it easier this afternoon, and took all pool classes. Since it was colder & windy, I stayed in the pool. Bad idea. I guess they don't have enough chlorine in the pool... so, I got contact dermatitis and essentially have a VERY itchy rash from my neck down. Thankfully someone had a benadryl gel that I borrowed. It seems to be the only thing that could help with the itch. The hydrocortisone cream didn't relieve it. As of right now... I'm still not sure I'll be able to sleep tonight.

Here was today's schedule (which I didn't follow in the afternoon):

6am - stretch class (didn't go to)
7am - breakfast (french toast & scrambled eggs)
8am - hike (beach hike again)
11:15 - cardio intervals (treadmill with inclines for me)
12:30 - lunch (chicken stew & wheat roll ... was more like chicken soup, but was tasty)
1:15 - mtg for stay-overs (prep for next week)
2:30 - liquid moves
3:30 - circuit training (which I normally like)
4:30 - cardio disco jam
5:30 - dinner (meatball sandwich)

Ok... I'm done for today.... still itchy though :(

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day 11 ... swollen ankles

I woke up today to swollen ankles, and the top of my left foot hurts with every step. I talked to Mikalyla about it and opted out of the hike for today. I stayed in my room and iced my ankles for well over an hour, and then I napped on & off for a few hours. She thought it was best if I took it easy in the morning so that I would be at full strength for the afternoon. I was going to try to go to the gym in the morning, but my ankles & foot were really arguing that. Plus, I'm tired. I just haven't slept all that well since being here.

I think the problem with my ankles was due to switching to my newer gym shoes that perhaps were too tight on my instep. I loosened them for later in the day. 

The menu today - which again was the only pic I took since I didn't go on the hike.

Breakfast... I skipped since I had bad memories of a similar sandwich for our bagged lunch on Sunday (which was awful)... so I had oatmeal instead. I liked it.... even without the toast I would have normally had it with.

Lunch... soup was pretty good, and the pizza was surprisingly not too bad.

Dinner... It was not bad, although I'm not sure I'd have it again. However, the chocolate covered strawberries were AWESOME. And, mine were covered to the top this time, so I was cheated out of some chocolate, so I was happy!

The schedule for today:

6am - stretch (I didn't go)
7am - breakfast 
8am - hike (didn't go since I was in my room icing my ankles)
11:15 - liquid moves (skipped)
12:15 - lunch 
1:45 - open gym (skipped)
2:30 - Ball Works (was an ok class... much easier than when Sam taught it)
3:30 - Treading (explained below)
4:30 - total body h20 (Sam taught it... so, it's a good & hard workout, even in the pool!!)

Treading class... you pick a cardio machine, I stuck with the treadmill, as was my plan this week (to work on inclines). After a warm up, you go all out for 5 minutes, then recover for 5 mins, then all out for 4 mins, recover for 4 mins, then 3 mins cycle, then 2 mins, then 1 min repeated a couple of times. By the time we got to the 1 min all-outs I pushed myself to doing 15% incline and a slightly higher speed (for me)... so, a bit over 2.0 mph. I was dying & sucking for air by the end of class!

I pushed hard this afternoon, so that felt good. Hopefully I've figured out what the problem is with my shoes and that won't stop me tomorrow. Of course, I also had an appt with Dr. Ray tonight (the Chiro), and he's AWESOME. So, my body is feeling good tonight. Plus, I'm all caught up with my blog, so that feels good too. :)

Regret of the day: none!

Day 10 ... Emotional

Wednesday... a common day for hitting "the wall".

Below is the only picture I took today - it's of the menu. 

The salmon for dinner was very good! .. The greek pita was ok, but made me ... well a bit burpy for the day. It's the first time in nearly a week where I had to take an antacid. One thing I've learned, my supposed "acid reflux" problem is DIRECTLY related to my diet. I guess I should have known that, but in reality, I didn't realize to what degree that was true.

This is a hard post for me to write, but I think it's important I do so.

Today's hike, which was called Winding Way, involved a forested path that crossed a stream 4 times (8 if you count the return trip back). This meant crossing over slippery rocks or logs, whatever was there that you could use. Most of the time, I'd wait for the hiking guide (Hargo, who was very helpful) to go stand mid-stream and offer his hand to help you balance as you cross. Well... we got to one of the crossings and when I saw how dicey it was for the person in front of me to cross.. I kind of lost it. I started crying, and even shaking with fear a bit. I had to pull myself together in order to cross... which I did, and did ok... but all that did was make me want to cry *more*. So, as I kept walking.... and knowing I was dead last ... I kept crying a bit. So I decided to try to think about it... what was it that was triggering this. What emotions was this tapping into. Granted I didn't want to fall into the stream & get wet... but that couldn't be the only REASON for me to react this way.

Then something happened. As more tears would run down my face, my *reaction* to get it to stop was anger... just ugly, unadulterated anger. I think I snipped at a few people. I just wanted to be left alone and I didn't want to cry, and I didn't want to think about WHY I wanted to cry.

Well, I didn't come here to ignore things. So, I tried to think about it... but whenever the tears would hit me a bit too strong, I'd revert back to pure anger. In fact, towards the end of the trail (and then back to the almost mile of paved road), I was the first up the steep incline. The path was narrow, so since people wouldn't be able to pass me, and I didn't want to hold up anyone, AND I was so full of anger at that point, I steadily climbed, even a bit quick for me... through the pain, through the negative thinking, I just climbed. Back at the van a couple of people said, "wow, you really cranked it up on that last hill". That felt good a bit... but, I knew it was the anger that had me all fired up.

Anyway... back to the *issue*. So, why did I cry when I realized I might not be able to cross the stream. After much reflecting... here's what I came up with...It was because I'd be noticed, and not in a good way. I've spent many of the last years trying to hide, to be in the shadows, to not be noticed.... because, if I was noticed, it would be for negative reasons (my weight being the primary reason). Anyone who knows me knows I use humor... many times self-deprecating humor... as deflection. However, I don't normally make any disparaging comments that would bring attention to my weight. That's typically off limits...  But, to be pitied or laughed at because of it... would be mortifying. But why? .... I've gone through some things in the past 6+ years where I have been publicly humiliated and where my character, my looks, my weight, just everything about *me* were attacked. I'm not being paranoid, it DID happen, repeatedly. I'm not going to get into a ton of details, but.... that on-going incident (from a person on the periphery of my life), has done a lot of damage to my foundation... to my core. It started me on a path that completely shattered my self-confidence. A path that I never quite thought I'd recover from.

I used that as a crutch, or an excuse, in why I sunk further into the abyss of being overweight, feeling sorry for myself, feeling overwhelmed with having a large amount of weight to lose... and then doing nothing about it, except making the problem worse... by just giving up. It's a very strange self-fulfilling prophecy.... and a damaging cycle I would like to stop doing, for good. I'm still not totally clear on HOW I'm going to do that... but, recognizing these emotions head on is definitely a good first step.

That's the thing about Fitness Ridge... they work you until you're just exhausted. Tired to your core.... so tired, in fact, that your emotions are just RAW, they are *pure* and right there under the surface. All the BS, all the pretenses, all the excuses are gone.... and you can start to FEEL things that perhaps you've known were there, but couldn't really deal with. I think this is maybe one of the reasons people say their visits here have been life changing and *more* than just about losing weight or even about getting healthier.

It's a start anyway.

However, today was so emotional for me that I definitely hit the gloomy Wednesday wall during my afternoon classes... not quite able to give it all I had. A little bit of "just going through the motions". 

But... here's what my schedule was for the day:

6am - stretch (I didn't go)
7am - breakfast (sausage & egg sandwich, side of fruit... not bad)
8am - hike (winding way... too PO'd to take any pics)
11:15 - stretch
12:15 - lunch 
1:45 - open gym (I skipped, took a nap instead)
2:30 - mountain (12 increases of speed/incline/resistance, 1 every 3 mins)
3:30 - h20 circuit (this time was all arm exercises with a noodle)
4:30 - kickboxing (I skipped class, just hit my wall)

Biggest regret of the day:
  • Not going to kickboxing and pushing through the fatigue I was feeling

Day 9 ... keep on keepin' on!

I was dead tired Tuesday night, which is why I'm writing this entry on Wed and I never even finished it until Thursday!! I was in bed by 8pm on Tuesday, although I did watch TV until nearly 10.... was just waiting for the sleeping pills to kick in. I still have not slept soundly, but I suspect I've figured out why. I think the biggest reason is that the beds are softer than I'm used to. Anyhoots... I'll just keep taking sleeping pills until I can sleep through the night on my own. Lack of good sleep REALLY shows up in your effort and energy level the next day. I tried to push myself, and for the most part I did (even did bursts of 15% incline on the treadmill), but I had NO endurance. Sam's total toning class (think circuit training but on other stuff than machines), I just couldn't go for the full minute all-out portions of class. I could start out each of them, but just had no energy to sustain the full minute and needed longer than the allotted 30 secs for recovery.

Some other highlights of my day:

  • Charmlee - pretty views. I took a few pics. Although we only did about 3.6 miles (from what someone told me), I'm exhausted. A black shirt, even a dry-weave/wicking shirt on a sunny day is just brutal after awhile. For anyone planning on going on the hikes, make sure you put sunscreen on BEFORE you start your hike - you'll need it, even if it's cloudy. I burn pretty easy, so I wanted to be careful. So far, between that and wearing a hat, I've been ok burn-wise. I need to figure out how to get better sleep... because I'm just dragging and don't have much endurance for the second half of the hikes, even with electrolyte tablets in my pack.

  • Yesterday I had another appointment with the Chiro. He told me to ditch my shoes, they were beyond being supportive. I did bring 2 pairs of gym shoes with me... one pair really worn in and the other have always been a bit tight. So, I guess I need to switch to the newer pair. Shoes are such a big deal.. your feet are everything when taking the type of punishment we're giving them at a place like this. Taking care of your feet really is critical.
All in all... a pretty good day. I'm just beat!

Regret of the day:

  • Having a newer, but slightly worn in pair of gym shoes for the exercise classes - that FIT WELL!
Below are some pics from Day 9

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 8 ... Monday again!

Today was worlds away from last Monday. I can hardly believe how much stronger I feel in comparison. Don't get me wrong, I still struggle, but it's all new struggles... it's all about pushing yourself a little further each day. Two examples:

  • Today's hike. We were back at Malibu Creek, although the trail we took was a bit different. We did nearly 5 miles. I did this hike last Wed. What a great way to compare my progress than to do *almost* the same hike again. This one was the one that had a killer hill near the end, and where I had a meltdown (about my dad... and because I was just exhausted). Well, this time, I managed to never even have to stop while going uphill!!! I mean, how ABSURD is that?? Didn't even have to stop? My speed may have slowed down, and my steps might have gotten shorter, but I didn't stop.... for nearly the entire 2 hours. Pretty amazing. I still went slower than many other people... but remember, it's MY hike, and that's all I concentrated on.
  • After the hike, rather than take the pool class, I took the other option, which is Mountain. Ok, what's this class? You start on a cardio machine (I was on a treadmill), you pick a comfortable pace and every 3 minutes you have to *up* one of the controls - either the speed or the incline. You do this for a total of 12 times (36 minutes)... add in the warm up & the cool down, and you've got your 45 min class. Anyway, I chose to go, and I picked incline all the way. Which meant, by the time I was at the top of the "mountain", I was at a 12 incline! Again, I might not have been going super fast, but I'm building my endurance for those hills!
That was my morning... my afternoon looked like this:

2:30 Circuit training (I actually RAN on the treadmill for a couple of 30 seconds bursts!!, and not jogged, but full out RAN)
3:30 Core training (mostly mat work... but it's grueling)
4:30 h20 circuit

Again, my favorite thing about having pool class last is getting into the hot tub immediately after!! I could only stay for 10 minutes since I had to hurry up to go eat dinner & make my Chiro appt.

No pics again... the only one I really took yesterday was of the menu. I'll post that tomorrow. I need to get better about putting my camera in my jacket pocket during the hike. I just don't want to stop to take pics when it means getting it from my CamelBak pack. I'll keep working on this... I know people want to see hike pics! They really are pretty (when I manage to look around instead of just staring where to put my feet). Staying injury-free is job #1... looking at the scenery is #2! LOL

Thank again for all the kind words... in comments here, and in email, texts & facebook. It truly does mean a lot to me... and inspires me to keep on pushing!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day 7 ... a day of rest

Relaxation on Sundays is encouraged. I didn't have to be told twice! My day consisted of laundry, a massage, and hanging out. Perfect. The icing on the cake (hmmm, maybe I need a new phrase, LOL) would have been the hot tub, but I'm at least 1 more day away from that.

Not much to write today... and no pics (again). I plan on trying to pick back up with the pics - of the food & hikes this week... so you have that look to forward to! :) 

The newbies are all here.. beyond full capacity this week, there are 82 people. 40 stay-overs, and 42 newbies. The stay-overs are supposed to give advice during the introductions after dinner. Mine was that your hike is YOUR hike... it's not a race, it doesn't matter if you're first or last, it's YOUR hike and don't compare yourself with anyone else. I thought that was pretty good advice... it was definitely a struggling point with me this past week.

I'm not sure about the "vibe" I got from the newbies... lots of them are here for only 1 week. It was just weird at dinner to look around, and see so many new faces. But, it's my journey... it should be that for everyone here, it's all about me for each of us. That's probably one of the coolest things about this place.

Ok... I'm going to sit, relax & watch a little TV before turning in early. We have another assessment hike tomorrow to place us in our "groups". I'm nervous to see what hike I'll be on.

So, may week 2 begin! The adventure continues.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day 6 ... took it easy

Saturday... supposed to be a half day. I was originally only going to work out in the gym on the weight machines, but I felt terrible this morning. So I decided to listen to my body, and just rested. I actually took a nap for a few hours and that has been the deepest sleep I've had since being here. I had the TV on the whole time. So, maybe that's been part of my problem... it's been too quiet? Starting tonight, I'm going to try putting the sleep timer on the TV and see if that helps.

I'd love to take some time & reflect about this past week, but I'm still so tired. So, I think I'll make this post rather short instead.

I'm surprised how emotional I am that some people are leaving after tomorrow. I guess I don't always do well with change... and this week is no different. One of the new friends I made here leaves tomorrow... and I'm bummed about that. She's really a very cool person, we have a lot in common and she's always has such a positive attitude and is so calm. I'm going to miss her!! ... She'll be in NYC late this summer, so hopefully we'll be able to meet up then.. and keep in touch before then.

That truly is one of the most surprising things.. how closely you bond to people. I think it's an extension of being so beat up physically that your emotions are so raw... just under the surface. So, when you connect to people while in that state... you REALLY connect to them, ya know?

I've cried more this week than... well, than in a long time. Most of it has been "good". Some of it points out some things I need to explore further. I'm thinking I want to book an appointment with the life coach here in the next week. I think there are some "issues" I need to talk about... and see where that takes me. This place is so much more than a "fat camp" or even a fitness resort...... it truly can be life changing, and I think that's what I' looking for. Change. Me. Wow, that's growth (for me). I talk the talk, but I don't always follow through with it (change), and I'm hoping this time will be different.

Tomorrow is a day of rest, and I'm looking forward to doing exactly that. Rest & Laundry.

G'night all!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day 5 ... The good, the bad & the ugly

Friday. Finally. But I'm miserable. Ok, if TMI is too much for you... walk away NOW. It's that time of the month for me (started late yesterday), so today was almost unbearable. It's not something I would normally *talk* about, but... in my efforts to be honest, I have to share that - because of the effect it had on my day.

The hike. Yeah.... Well. We get to the trail, and it's closed for the day. So, Randy, the lead hiking guide for our van, comes up with an alternative plan. I think he forgot what level we are at in this van. He parks along the side of some road. He says, well... there's this fire road we're going to take. (here comes the direct quote)... It goes uphill a little, we'll see how you guys do. Ok. OMG.... this thing was steep in parts and went uphill for friggin DAYS. I started out strong, but then started to fade a bit. Later in the day, I found out we had done part of reverse zuma and any trail name that starts with "zuma" will be really hard! But no, the fun doesn't stop there. Then, back down we go, and onto this other trail (in the woods, which was really nice). Not sure the name of it (I think it may have been part of bone tail?). Anyway, feeling like I was feeling, being sooooo low on iron, I was dragging. I brought up the rear. I think I made it back to the van a good 10-15 minutes behind the lead people. 

Came back and went to Stretch class. That always helps my back... even if I can't get into all of the ridiculous poses she shows us. I just make modifications.

After lunch, I went to Circuit Training. I gave it all I had... and it wiped me out. Besides having no more energy to give, my other *issue* for the day was just becoming problematic for me to continue. So, I opted out of the 2 additional afternoon classes (one of them being a pool class). I intended to take a nap, but couldn't ever fall asleep. So, I missed the 1 class I've been looking forward to all week... Cardio Disco Jam. Oh well, I'll catch it next Friday.

Tomorrow will be another difficult day physically for me, so I've decided to take it easy a bit. I'm not going on the sign-up hike or taking the Cardio Blast class. I asked if instead I could workout on the weight machines. Those are machines I would really like to get VERY comfortable with since they are at the gym at home. I feel weak, especially my upper body, and I would really like to work on increasing my strength for both my upper & lower body. So, I'll be working out solo, although there will be a class going on in the gym at the same time. But, they will all be on the cardio equipment (treadmills, arc trainers, recumbent bikes, Nu Step), so I should have the machines pretty much to myself, unless someone else is in there working out like I am.

I had a shiatsu massage tonight. It's a distant cousin (if you will) to a Thai massage (which I love). It was good, but, given how sore my muscles are, I think I'm better off sticking to the Swedish massages. My lower back spasmed while I was getting the massage. I'm hoping Dr. Ray can help with that. I have 2 appointments with him next week.

So... still not sleeping well. Plus, last night I had VERY weird dreams. I'm really hoping this detox crap ends soon... I could use a decent nights sleep... it's only been over a week since I've had one!! So I don't think I'm asking for too much!

All in all... icky, uncomfortable day..... BUT, people here are so supportive, you don't really have a chance to sit in your own stink (stinkin' thinkin').... the ones who have been here more than a week have lots of advice and share their thoughts... it helps keep you motivated, and it also helps you know when it's ok to take a break when your body demands it. One thing I hope to learn while here is how to listen to my body more. It talks to me, but I haven't a clue of what the hell it's saying half the time!!! I need to get better at that, I need to find a healthier balance... and be in tune with it. I think achieving that will help me go far in my overall goal of weight loss & a healthier lifestyle.

Regrets of the day: Not going to Cardio Disco Jam

No pics (I think I took some, but I'll upload them tomorrow). G'night!  

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 4

I didn't take any pictures today... not even of the food. I felt blah... the hike really took a lot out of me. It wasn't the difficulty (it actually was a moderate hike, 4.5 miles, but not any monstrous uphills). It was the heat & sun. I got a bit burned, even though I put SPF 70 on. I must have sweat it off. I hate being burned. In fact, the heat is the biggest reason I decided to come to Malibu instead of Utah. It must be all that Canadian blood in me!

This is going to be a short entry.... first up, the schedule:

6am - stretch (I skipped)
7am - breakfast (fruit, muesli & almond milk... once I added some truvia, it was really good!)
8am - hike (back to Paramount Ranch for my group)
11:15 - liquid moves (think cardio, but in the pool)
12:30pm - lunch (an AWESOME chicken & avocado soup in broth, and turkey sandwich & salad)
1:15pm - cooking demo
2:30pm - total body h20 - another pool class, this time all about strength
3:30pm - ball works (the class from hell... taught by Sam)
4:30pm - treading (tough class)
5:30pm - dinner (stuffed peppers, vanilla pie (grapenuts & tofu))

Tonight was awesome... no after dinner lecture. I was back in my room by 6:20. That gave me some time to catch up on my blog. :) ... sadly though, I took no pics today.

Today was just a day where all I was thinking was "just make it through the day". And I did. I didn't wear my polar watch today, because, as I feared, the chest strap has caused some skin-related issues and it felt rather raw today. So, I decided not to wear it after the hike (I like it for the hike, so I can gauge my heart rate and know when my body needs to stop & recover, and when it's just my brain telling me I'm tired & can't do it..... this is a re-training my brain process that I'm working on).

I hope to feel better tomorrow (need good quality sleep), and then I'll be back to taking pics in no time!

And keep the comments coming. One of the highlights of my day was when right before lunch, I checked my email and read a very sweet & uplifting blog comment (thanks Olivia) that put a little bounce in my step (until Sam's class beat the crap out of me!!! LOL)

Biggest regret of the day

  • another easy one... not having a massage appointment today!!
  • not having brought good quality after-sunburn care

Day 3

Sorry I didn't get a chance to blog yesterday... so I'm catching up. This blog is just about day 3, which is now yesterday for me. Last night I was in bed asleep by 8:30!!! Of course, I've been having A LOT of sleeping issues, so, I was up at 10:30, then again at 12:00, then 1:30... and so on. They say that when you detox from processed carbs & sugar, that one of the symptoms can be disruptive sleep. I'm hoping that ends soon, because I'm exhausted!!

Ok, let's get to it!


6am - stretch (optional)... as previously mentioned, I'm not attending these this week
7am - breakfast (eggs & toast, side of fruit for me)
8am - hike... we did Malibu Creek (more about the hike later)
11:15am - Circuit training.. 2 mins cardio, followed by a weight machine. Repeat for 45 mins
12:30pm - lunch (soup & BBQ pizza)
1:15pm - lecture: Emotional Eating
2:30pm - Kickboxing (however, with my back pains, I could only punch
3:30pm - Mountain (cardio machine, increase every 2 minutes, 12 times, then back down)
4:30pm - h20 circuit - pool classes are tough, but easier for the joints
5:30pm - dinner (chef salad, mango sorbet)
6:15pm - lecture: Intuitive Eating

The BEST part of having pool class last? ... the hot tub!!! 15 minutes of that, followed by dinner. After the after-dinner lecture, I had an appointment with the Chiropractor. This guy is GOOD! (and ladies, he's pretty hot looking too). He diagnosed what my problem is within minutes. The session with him definitely helped, but hasn't cured my problem. I'm going to need some recurring visits to really see some improvement. Ohhh, and he used this stuff, called Bio Freeze, much better than icyhot or ben gay, and it has a roll-on dispenser. AND, there's no smell. The stuff works well... and doesn't stink up your room (or make you smell funny during class!)

The hike..... ok, about 15 minutes into the hike, we hit this steep decline. I asked one of the guides if our hike was a loop or a return trip. Figures, it'll be a return trip... meaning, this steep decline will be a killer uphill towards the end of this hike. I was scared of it. So... fast forward, we get to the base of that now steep incline. I told the hiking guide, the only reason I was going to climb up was because the f'n van was on the other side. She gave me some tips of how to go uphill (shorter steps, suck in your belly button, don't stick out your butt, and don't lean forward). Her advice helped, my back wasn't too painful going up. By the time I got up to the top, I was alone (I was in the middle of the pack), I rested some before another smaller inclined section. I was looking around, trying to think about something other than my burning leg muscles. And, I noticed how scenic it was. And then in another second, I thought how much my dad would have loved this view. And then in another second, I fell apart. (My dad passed away just over a year ago). Grief just consumed me, and I think I stood there for a few minutes just sobbing. I mean, chest heaving, loud, all out crying. It was a very emotional few minutes for me... that actually lasted for awhile - by that I mean, I was not talkative once back to the van, or even for a couple of hours. I just withdrew. It's something I needed to feel. But, it's been many months since grief has taken a hold of me like that. 

I think when you're body is just tired.. your beat to the core (like they do here), your emotions are just very raw, and very close to the surface. It doesn't take much for them to come raging out.

So, after my Chiro appointment, I showered & went to bed. Even blogging was too "talkative" for me to handle. I needed some space. So, I took it. That's another thing they try to teach here... listen to your body/mind. Give it what it needs when it asks.

Biggest regret of the day: 

  • having waited until I got here before going to a Chiropractor. Living with the constant pain has been unnecessary. I didn't want to go before because I assumed I would get the type of answer most doctors tend to give... "lose weight". I didn't want to hear it AGAIN. They say that like I'm all of a sudden going to say, wow? really? I didn't realize I was overweight. They should teach more doctors some compassion & how to respect people. 

I took a few pics along the way, plus some food pics of course.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day 2.... not as bad as I feared!

Of course, I have a theory of why... because, after yesterday's assessment hike, I was put in the slow bus - or, the beginner group, but the slowest of the beginners. Oddly, instead of this *bothering* me, I got a bit optimistic - I thought, well... maybe my hikes won't be as scary as yesterday's was, AND, maybe this will put me at the front of the pack (and boost my ego some.. yes, it NEEDS boosting, it's rather bruised currently). Guess what? I was up near the front of the pack! So, that was good. Granted I didn't burn as many calories, but I'm hoping I'll gain some strength and improve as the weeks progress.

Drama. I nearly lost it at one point today. At dinner, I took a few bites of the baked penne, and well... didn't like it. Tried the broccoli, didn't like those. I must have muttered something, and my table mates asked what was up. I told them. They said, ask for something different! Normally, this is a very difficult thing for me to do (believe it or not). So, I did. The server said, well, since you started eating it, that's all you can have... and walked away. I stared to tear up. But, I did NOT want to lose it at dinner. The girls at my table really did step in, cheer me up.. got me to go get a side salad, and essentially derailed a complete *mood* that was settling in. It would have been an ugly mood, not just crying, but the kind of *thing* that can settle in and takes DAYS to go away... a ride down a spiral to a very dark place. So, I'm grateful for them today... very much so.

I've decided to pretty much skip the optional 6am stretch class - this week. The problem is that because I'm in week 1, there are lectures ever night after dinner. So our day doesn't end until 7pm. Add in a shower, a blog entry & surfing (to unwind ... have not yet turned on the TV), and I went to bed @9pm last night.. tonight will be more like 10pm (because I got a massage). I haven't been sleeping well - partly due to detox (from processed carbs & sugar), partly from nerves. In any case, tonight I took some Advil PMs because I must get solid sleep. Anyway... I got off-track... getting to bed then, makes it difficult to get up at 5 or 5:30. So, this week, no stretch class. Next week, when there are no after-dinner lectures, then I'll try to add them back in.

Ok, some notes:


  • Did the beach hike - or slightly modified version because of being in the 101 group. 
  • Still managed to do 4 miles.
  • Took a road for part of it (on the way back), which had us pass some richy-rich houses, so that was kinda cool to see. BUT, the road, took a STEEP switchback curve... had to be at least 15% grade. Thankfully, we were going downhill at this point. But I learned something, going downhill that steep makes your quads BURN.
  • Best thing I've been doing is making sure I wear a hat during the hikes & wear sun screen. I burn very easily and have avoided getting a burn on my scalp (my hair part usually gets one)
  • Stretch class after the hike was AWESOME
  • Total Toning with Ursula... in 2 days, THAT class made me sweat the MOST, it was literally dripping off of me. Resistance bands, tough.
  • h20 intervals - Sam taught this class. OMG, I didn't think I could get my heart rate up to 160 while in the pool!! (my polar FT7 works in the water, excellent!). Had some fun in that class, although it was tough!
  • cardio intervals - didn't have much in the tank left for this one, so, I wasn't able to give it my all, but I did push a little bit in spots.
  • Total calorie burn (from 7am-5:30pm) was only 2400. A bit of a let-down actually.
Notes about the Pics:
  • Olivia asked in a comment from yesterday about the electrolyte tablets. I took a picture of the container. There are 16 tablets in there, and I bought them here. I strongly recommend them. Now, at lunch, I drop a tablet in my water glass & drink it right there... gives me a bit of a pick-me up. Bye bye headaches & shakiness.
  • Sorry the dinner pics are kind of dark. I tried futzing with the settings, but, my brain hurt. 
  • Forgot to take a pic of breakfast.... scrambled eggs & 2 french toast (yes, seriously), even with a 1 oz serving of pure maple syrup!
  • make sure to check out the pics, there's one of me in it :)
Regrets of the day:
  • Easy... that I didn't book an 80 minute massage instead of a 50 minute one! (Swedish massage)
Remember, click on the images to open a new page to see larger versions!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Day 1 .... and I'm TIRED!!!

Well, I made it through day 1 and I will admit, there were a few times that I didn't think I would. I managed to only have a couple of mini melt-downs (few tears a bit). BUT, I survived the day. I'm exhausted... this has to be the single hardest physical day of my life. Let's put it in perspective... counting ONLY from 6am until 5:30pm, I burned a total of about 3000 calories. That's insane, right? In fact, 1400 of them were done by 11am!

Ok, since I'm so tired (will be in bed well before 9pm), I thought I'd do a quick run-down of my day & a few other things. Those from work will recognize this... a list, from me! LOL ... that's my usual MO when I'm sending a rambling email. Anyway, I think it will work best for this post.

First, initial thoughts before my day began:

  •  Pillows are kinda squishy (too soft for my liking)
  • Bed is pretty comfy overall
  • Water pressure in shower is very good
  • I should have packed slippers for the room - socks get dirty fast & the floor is a tad slippery.
Stretch class:

  • My lower back really hurts after just standing for a few minutes. After the awesome stretch class (6am with Sam), it actually stopped hurting... until the hike. Must bring Motrin ON the hike in case I need it that early in the day. Imagine a stretch class... and I burned nearly 350 calories in about an hour.
The hike:

  • Did Paramount Ranch today - roughly 4 miles in about 90ish minutes. Lots of ups & downs. I decided the take the good advice I was told and I took no pictures, concentrated on putting on foot in front of the other. Still some muddy spots on the trails, and the trails are shared with horses... so lots of things to look out for, not to mention how they tear up the trails after it's rained.
  • Had a mini melt down - and was completely alone - the last few people & hiking guide behind me were nowhere in sight, and those in front were WAY gone. The cause? The pain... but, not in my feet/ankles or knees like I feared, but in my lower back. Add in that I had to stop every now & then because my heart rate hit 177 (which I think is my max - based on my age... 220-your age is supposed to be your max, on average). So, needless to say I was sucking air.
  • I got caught up for a little bit in not being last... I just didn't want to be last on the hike. Which is stupid. I know it's about me - for everyone there, it's about them. But, I was just scared of what that meant. I *think* I got over that part by the time the hike ended.
Rest of the day:
  • 15 minutes is not a lot of time to get back to your room & get ready for the pool class. OR, to get back to your room to get out of your swimsuit & get ready for a gym class. Brutal.
  • Classes went well overall, but I was loosing steam as the day went on. By the time I got to Circuit Training at 3:30, I barely had anything left in the tank.
  • Classes were done @5:15, and while the last class was good... I was DONE 30 minutes before it ended. I mean, I went through the motions best I could, but wow... put a fork in me, I was done.

Biggest regrets of the day:

  • Not having taken an electrolyte tablet earlier in the day (I took mine around 8pm)
  • Not taking Motrin when I came back to my room throughout the day (I kept forgetting since I was pressed for time... I mean, did you SEE how far my cabin is????)
  • Not keeping antacids on me, been a real problem today

Since I didn't take pics during the hike, the only pics I have today are of the menu board, my schedule for today and all of the food! Speaking of which, has been really good - even the Sloppy Joes that I've heard people complain about before. I'm not gonna lie, I got hungry a few times during the day, which is when I started to wane in class... but, I worked through it best I could. 

Remember, if you click on the pics below, it'll open a new page with larger versions of the pics.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day 0 ... Am actually HERE!

Wow, ok. So, I'm here. Feels unreal a bit. Where to begin... ok, first, what *happened* today - arrived here around 2:30pm. Checked in - which means you get your water bottle, guest workbook, lanyard that shows your name & has your room key, and get your schedule. I'm in the ORANGE group this week. So, after the hikes, there are 3 groups that rotate the pool, aerobics room & the cardio room. My new friend Noelle is in the orange group with me, so I feel like I'll have a buddy with me already! :)  

You then sign up for an appt (I got the 2:35pm slot), walk up to the 3rd floor... and your prize for going up there? Getting weighed in & measured. At first I was very nervous because one of the two people there was a man... that just made me immediately feel insecure & nervous. It was John, the fitness manager. I have to say, that by the time I left 10 minutes later, I was calm. They really do work hard at making you feel at ease. 

Then off to my cabin. WELL.... in today's pictures, I included a map of the place. My cabin is #44, which is in the way upper right corner. Just about as far way as you can get. Why does that matter? You have 15 minutes in between classes - even for pool classes. At least 10 of those 15 minutes will be just walking here & back! So, I'll get a little mini workout in between my workouts!

My first meal here. Dinner was Chicken Polenta with carrots & green beans. I don't ever remember having polenta before... was... interesting. I'd eat that again, but it might take me some time to get used to it. The veggies were good... but the chicken was very dry if I'm being honest. Good thing they give you some Marinara sauce with it. Dessert on the other hand, was Tiramisu. Essentially it's some granola with tofu of some sort on top. Guess what? That was pretty darn yummy. I definitely could see having that at home.

After dinner, everyone introduced themselves - and the stay-overs (people here on at least their 2nd week or repeat guests) gave their advice to us newbies. It was good to hear what they had to say!

I need to turn in early tonight (it's just after 8pm now). Tomorrow's schedule is:

6:00 - stretch class (taught by Sam from last year's Biggest Loser show)
7:00 - breakfast
8:00 - leave for hike (all in all a 2 hr hike)
11:15 - total body h2o (or Mountain)
12:25 - lunch
1:00 - 1st weekers: announcement
1:15 - 1st weekers: Lecture - Budget
2:15 - Intro to Circuit
2:30 - h2o intervals
3:30 - circuit training
4:30 - core training
5:30 - dinner
6:15 - 1st weekers: Lecture - spending your calories wisely

So... 7:30, pass out? LOL 

It looks to be a busy day tomorrow!! Tomorrow is where it's time to put the rubber to the road.

I'm going to try blogging everyday... will see how that goes. I want to give a shout of thanks to everyone who has left comments already - they really are very encouraging, and I truly appreciate each one of them!! So, keep 'em coming! I think I'm going to need some help with the motivation part, and those definitely help keep my head in a positive place.

If you click on the album, it'll open a new page so you can see the pics larger. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hello LA....

Well, I made it to LA today! I switched flights very late last night. When I went to check in online for my flight, I found out I had a middle seat on a full flight. Ugh. I started to panic, started to change my mind about going. Started to get in a very FOUL mood. Here's the thing... and for those not overweight, you just cannot fully understand the feeling, so let me try to explain it. When you're overweight - and the fact is that I need to use a seat belt extender (very embarrassing to admit) - it's extremely uncomfortable to fly, let alone in the middle seat with people you don't know. For one, it's *physically* uncomfortable to squeeze yourself in. Second, I feel shameful and guilty towards the people on either side of me. Like I just want to crawl into a corner and hide (and cry). Plus... this flight was 6 hours long. 

So, for an extra $50, I switched to an earlier flight and managed to get a window seat with an empty middle next to me. Woohoo!! That helped.

So, I stayed up all night, finished packing & getting ready (even a shower @2am). We left the house at 4:30am, and I took my 7:30am flight. Got here @10:30am, checked into hotel, ate lunch, and then crashed. Sleep felt good, even though I didn't get enough sleep. I plan on turning in early tonight. My body clock is all messed up. I feel like I lost my 3 hour advantage already!

Once I got to my hotel and had a chance to breathe... it started to hit me. O-M-G, *what* have I gotten myself into? That's right, the big baddie fear reared it's ugly head. Thankfully, I was tired enough to fall asleep and could ignore it for now. **kickboxing, kickboxing** (that's what I mutter to myself when fear shows up)

Before this journey begins - I just wanted to say thanks. Thanks to my family & friends for being supportive. Thanks to that awesome facebook group of alumni & future guests of FR (fitness ridge). They have been so supportive, welcoming and so willing to share their knowledge, opinions and advice. It definitely has helped calm my nerves about going somewhere - somewhere like this, alone. I made friends early on with one woman months ago, and so I already feel like I'm taking this trip with a friend, so that *really* helps!

Oh.. and for the record, I had to bring THREE bags (plus a stuffed tote bag) - 2 suitcases & a duffel bag. Remember, I said I overpack a bit, but at least I feel prepared... I think.

Ok.. about to call it a night. Trying to clear my mind - and not set any expectations, and just go with whatever is about to happen for the next 4 weeks.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

3 days to go...

In looking at some other people's blogs, I found these 2 videos that are pretty interesting for anyone that wants to know more about what goes on at Fitness Ridge. Granted they show the resort in Utah, the fundamentals are the same for the one in Malibu. So I thought you guys might like to see them:

   Part 1:  
   Part 2:

Plus a great article link:

Work is hectic and I'm anxious for this week to end. I'm a little stressed about packing, so we'll see how that goes. I think this may be the first trip in my life where I have 2 suitcases! When we went to Thailand for 3 weeks, I didn't even have 2 suitcases! (duffel bags don't count!) I think a good third of the suitcase is non-clothes/shoes. It's like every supply imaginable that I might need - from Motrin, to heating pad, IcyHot, neosporin, blister case stuff (moleskin, vaseline, blister band-aid), CamelBak hydration pack, and the list just keeps going! Like I said, my tendency is to over-research, over-prepare and over-pack. So, check, check and check!! LOL

Except, there is ONE thing I cannot find that was on my packing list. I have a bit of acid reflux. I thought for sure when I quit smoking (officially 22 months ago), it would get better. It didn't. Then, I thought when I quit Diet Coke (18 days ago), it would improve. It still hasn't. For me, nothing works like Pepcid Complete. And for whatever reason, Northern New Jersey does not have it - anywhere! They only seem to carry Tums, which doesn't cut it for me. Grrrr.  ... Anyone have any ideas or suggestions?
I don't know, maybe it's stressed induced. The work week before a normal vacation is busy enough, but before 4 weeks off? It seems every time I finish 1 to-do list item, there are 3 more to take it's place. And frankly, I'm very tired. :( 

By the way, if you're interested in my non-quest stuff (although travel is an on-going life quest). Here's some pics we took while in Thailand and Cambodia back in 2007. 

   Travel photos: 

It hardly feels real that I'll be there in a matter of a few days.......