Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day 14 - 2nd day of rest

Hey everyone,

Well, here I go again!!! Going into week 3 and I THINK I'm ready. Looking forward to my assessment hike tomorrow and will be glad to get back into being physical again... it's a great distraction! Not that I think distraction is the best thing right now, but I want to get my head back into an empowered state!!

My HURDLE yesterday. It's almost like I was waiting for it to happen, and after being able to process it, I AM glad it did. If I didn't experience any big struggles here, it may have hit me a LOT harder once I experienced them at home. The important thing I'm concentrating on is that the aftermath of the sneaking/eating of food was different. I admitted what I had done, and I have to move on with that.

I also took everything I didn't eat last night and threw it out this morning as soon as I woke up. This was instead of having junk to *enjoy* all day today with the thought of starting new on Monday. I decided to start new today. Another first!

I spent the day cleaning and organizing and just relaxing - read a magazine by the pool in the sun (albeit under a towel because it was so chilly!). Tonight we welcomed all the new guests.... there are 2 new guests from Canada – woohoo! But it was a little bit of a letdown that most of the stay-over guests left before orientation to watch the Oscars, so there were only 5 of us left to welcome and give advice to the new people. I thought that was a little lame. There are a bunch of 2-weekers this week, so hopefully I'll get to know them as they'll be here for the rest of my stay!

Ok, off to get all my gear ready for the hike tomorrow and to write out some goals for the week.

Thanks for all the positive response :)


Day 13 (a little late)

This is the hardest post I've had to write so far..... and I wasn't going to write it, but I'm really trying to be open, honest and authentic (to myself and to the people in my life) while I'm here and really, if I'm not going to be honest here, then why blog at all? I can't pretend I'm perfect and things are all happy and rosy when they are not.

So remember when I said on Thursday that there's a lot of personal/emotional/mental work to still do, that I'd be trying to use my free time these next 2 weeks to work on ME and that I had an appointment with the counselor on Friday morning that I'd hoped would help spur me along in this department? Yeah, well I guess this is a case of *be careful what you wish for* as things definitely got spurred along!

I think my meeting with Essara (counselor) on Friday morning started some emotions swirling around in my brain that I hadn't been in touch with much during my first 2 weeks here (I was a tad distracted with all that hiking and working out!). We talked a lot about being authentic and how I don't feel I have a true identity. And after my great hike that morning (after my meeting) things seemed to go downhill a bit in terms of how I was feeling. All afternoon and into Saturday morning, I lacked motivation, didn't want to exercise (skipped most of the afternoon classes and the Saturday hike), and generally just didn't want to do anything. Well, that's not true, I wanted to eat. That voice was back.... that voice that has been relatively silent here (except on that hike where it made me question my ability, and a few times when I've felt the cravings in my room at night), that hasn't really been that dominant. Well yesterday, that voice was LOUD. That part of me was making an appearance in a major way... and she wanted to EAT. Not the good stuff here, but crap.

She got her way.

So. this is what I did. I went to the mall with a friend yesterday (Saturday). Because I wanted to buy postcards to send to my kids. Yeah right. Postcards. The WHOLE time, and I mean almost every minute, I was thinking about how I was going to be able to buy food without my friend seeing me. I took my big purse so that it would be easy to hide whatever I bought. There weren't a lot of options, but I knew I'd find a way, and my chance came when she got in a line up to buy a coffee. I told here I was going to look for some *postcards* and off I went. The only option I had was the food court, and I couldn't buy anything hot or big, so I walked around quickly, conscious of time, and there I saw them – bags of chips at a sandwich counter. Perfect! WOOHOO!! I bought 2. Soooo excited!!! We then proceeded to Subway where we both got a sandwich for lunch. This was ok, because we'd planned on this and even with the sandwich I would still be within a *normal* calorie intake for that day.... but I made sure she went first and was already sitting at a table so that when I was paying I could sneak in 3 cookies (because 3 were cheaper than 2!). The chips and cookies were eaten while watching TV that afternoon, and THEN I went to supper.

Unfortunately it doesn't end there.

I was then asked if I wanted to go to a movie with a bunch of people. And I did want to go.... but the main reason was so that I could get more food. We found our seats and then I made the excuse of having to go to the bathroom, and off I went – with my BIG PURSE. And I bought candy. Couldn't eat it there of course, but couldn't wait to get back in my room to eat it. And that's what I did. I felt the comfortable feelings I usually feel when pigging out like that. The autopilot I go into where I don't even notice I'm eating or how MUCH I'm eating... and it didn't even really taste good. But it wasn't about the taste, it was about filling something up. I don't know how many calories I ate altogether yesterday with 3 meals, a sandwich and all that crap, and it's really not that important. What's important is how I felt about myself the whole day and how it all fed into a feeding frenzy and then, as usual, we moved onto guilt. My best friend, GUILT.

Guilt, because this behaviour feels SO shameful to me... but I know also that this SHAME is all part of the cycle.... and the shame is what keeps me secretive, AKA lying – to myself and also to my husband. He's the only person I've really ever admitted my *secret eating* to – and when I finally told him... probably 6 or so months ago, it was HARD.... but I DID tell him... and then promised him I wouldn't do it anymore.... and I really did want to keep this promise, but I never did. When I talked to Marius today I was dreading telling him what I'd done yesterday (how could I cheat, how could I binge, how could I lie when we've spent so much money for me to be here), but I also knew I HAD to tell him or I'd be following the same destructive path I've always followed. AND I AM HERE TO CHANGE. I HATE leading this double life, and I HATE lying, but I hate disappointing the people I love more, and so it always felt easier to lie. The shame has kept me from being truthful. But the lying is also a big part of the vicious cycle and I think it FEEDS it.... because the shame gives me another reason or excuse to do it again; because when I feel the shame or disappointment, I want to eat to make myself feel better.

The hardest part about this is forgiving myself. Because in my mind it feels unforgivable.... it FEEDS into my insecurities and dislike for myself. I usually tuck it back into the mess of *failures* I keep a record of in the back of my mind, and then try to pull myself out of the sadness, and move on... but I never forgive myself. I've always just conceded that this is just part of what and who I am, and I have to live with it. But I know it isn't who I really am, and if I truly want to move on to a healthy state of mind and have a healthy relationship with food, I need forgive myself, but I also need to stop the lying and deceiving, as this is one of the ways the *voice* controls me.

The counselor also suggested that part of *addiction* is the adrenaline rush or excitement I feel when I *get away with* sneaking food, so maybe if from now on my new MO is to TELL someone what I did, then some of the thrill of getting away with it will be gone. Regardless, I'm glad I still have 2 more weeks to figure some of this out... I know it all won't be fixed by the time I go home, but I hope I will have some tools to keep it from continuing to happen, and I hope I won't do this again while I'm here. I'm definitely scared about going's almost easier to just stay on campus and not have ANY temptation.

If anything, this has shown me how important this part of my battle is. And how important my integrity is. I have never felt I had any (integrity) because of all this secrecy and hiding, which is a hard way to live!! So in by coming clean about my actions here, at the very least I can reclaim a little bit of that. Even if it's after the fact.

So..... I hope I've been authentic enough. I've had tears in my eyes a couple of times while writing this, because in those moments of weakness I felt that I wasn't just letting my husband down, but all of you out there reading this. But I know none of YOU expect me to be perfect and I know that of course I'll hit speed bumps and hurdles throughout this journey. I can also say NOW (the next day) that it was probably good that this DID happen, as it's allowed myself the chance to change a behaviour by telling someone about it, and I'm going to pick myself up and move on. 

Thanks for listening everyone :)

PS: I never did find any postcards

PPS: I saw *The Fighter* and it was an AMAZING movie... go see it

PPPS: I lost 9 pounds these last 2 weeks!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Day 12

Oh my, this has been a hard day!!

It started off great..... I did the Zuma Straight-through.... which means we did the Zuma hike I did last week and then added on 4 miles of uphill - with a van picking us up on the other side. So we hiked almost 7 miles and our elevation change was a total of 2900 feet - in 2 hours! And I did great!!! Even though it was raining, windy and freezing - I don't remember the last time I was so cold. I got back, had a long hot shower, went to Stretch and then lunch and then I just felt BLAH. I was probably tired, but I just felt *done* for the day. I went to one afternoon class and then slept the rest of the afternoon!

I saw the life coach this morning, and it was a great session.... she was able to illuminate some things for me - things I hadn't realized. I need to go through these and process them a bit, and then will write about them here.  I honestly just don't feel like doing it today... as I said I feel blah. First time I've felt that since I've been here, but I'm just going with it. Luckily, I don't have access to any food, as I KNOW I would be eating right now if it was possible. Instead, I'm going to go to bed early so that I can't obsess about it.

I think I'm also feeling a bit down because I'll be losing a bunch of friends tomorrow and Sunday. I knew I'd meet good friends here, but they really have become my support system, and I have so much fun with them. And although I do know a lot of the *new* people, it's funny how it seems harder to bond with them... they are all bonded in the excited nervousness of being here for their first week, and I'd say 90% of them were only here for one week anyway. So it will be interesting to see how my next 2 weeks will go.  I really have come to rely on these great friends for the laughter and support we give each other.

OK, enough of Debbie Downer here!! I'm going to go and sleep this off and hopefully will feel refreshed and differently tomorrow.... oh, and for those people who were jealous of my sunny vacation in southern California, DON'T BE!!! It's supposed to be about 3 degrees here this weekend and it may even snow!!! The warmest article of clothing I brought was a hoodie. Hmmmm - perhaps the crazy weather is contributing to my mood today!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 11

So I'm taking stock of how I'm FEELING today....

PHYSICALLY....I am feeling:
  • tired - but GOOD tired.... physically tired and not emotionally/mentally drained tired
  • strong... I always considered myself strong physically, but these 2 weeks have proved it - and I just keep getting stronger!
  • fit.... I feel more and more FIT everyday... I can hike faster and longer before feeling exhausted and I am running faster everyday. My legs no longer hurt (although I do stiffen up between workouts) from overuse and I can feel my heart getting stronger - I don't run out of breath as quickly and I recover from over-exertion quicker than 2 weeks ago.
  • healthy.... I feel like I've gotten rid of a lot of toxins and crap that was being stored in my muscles and I know as I lose fat that there's a lot of toxins being released there too. I can feel that my blood sugar is level and consistent and I feel comfortably full after eating and nice and comfortably hungry when I sit down to eat. I DO still have cravings, but I know these are more emotional/habitual cravings than physical ones.... I know this because I know from experience when I am OFF sugar, that my physical cravings really do go away. I really don't ever feel physically hungry here.... my body is really responding to this healthy diet and is doing great with the number of calories I'm eating.
Most of the above points go hand in hand with my emotional well-being, because really, they are SO intertwined... at least for me! So.....

EMOTIONALLY... I am feeling:
  • for the most part, happy. I don't really like to use that word, because what does it really mean?! Maybe content is a better word. I am happy to be able to have this time to really focus on me, while feeling no stress or anxiety. Just happy to be able to experience what I'm experiencing
  • a lot more connected (thanks, Lori!) to myself and although I know there's still work to be done, I feel a lot more in tune to my thought process - both positive and negative.
  • confident.... I'm growing more and more confident in both my physical abilities and personal strengths and potential.
  • cravings still. As mentioned above, I KNOW these are emotional and habitual cravings instead of physical ones... and really, I don't really believe they are even emotionally related here, as I feel pretty good about myself.  But they are definitely habitual. I only get them at night once I'm alone in my room, and it's something about it being the end of the day and *my turn* - which as I've mentioned before has evolved into equating to *my time to eat*... my *fun time*!!! These are the cravings I will definitely need to address once home.
  • a little nervous about the work I still have to do on myself emotionally, but that's really what the next 2 weeks are for. I sort of feel like these first 2 weeks were more about challenging myself physically and proving that I can push myself beyond what I thought I'd be able to do. I feel really confident in that area and know I'll excel at the physical part by the time I leave here, but there's a lot of personal/emotional/mental work to still do, so I'll be trying to use my free time (which I actually have quite a lot of these 3 last weeks) to work on ME. I have an appointment with the life coach/counselor tomorrow morning and am hoping that will help spur me along in this department!
So really, all is good and how it should be. I had a great hike today... supposed to be one of the harder ones, and I did well. Meaning I was able to keep up (albeit in the back, but I've LET GO of that and got over myself already!) and I felt really strong on it.... tomorrow I believe we're doing the most challenging hike you can do here. I've done half of it before (Zuma - the 2 1/2 miles UPHILL with a 1200 foot elevation gain), but tomorrow we will continue going up and will be picked up on the other side by a second van. So basically, it's 7 miles uphill. I'm feeling positive about it though, and it will be a great way to end my 2nd week.

OK, so one more thing I want to delve into here before I'm off to's something I've really tried to be conscious of while I'm here, and that is how much I WORRY. I seem to worry about a lot of things.... and most of those things are things I have absolutely not control over, and even if I DO have control over them, I still worry about them, and I'm tired of expending unnecessary energy on this!!! I worry about... oh God, so much....being late, whether people will like me, whether there will be a seat with my friends at meals, whether I'm holding up the group, whether I'll get to the airport on time, whether whether whether, if if if, worry worry worry... and it causes me a lot of anxiety. I seem to always be trying to project into the future and control what MAY happen... and then worry about future events which may not even occur, and of course beat myself up over what I was NOT able to control or foresee. I was reading an Oprah magazine on the plane out here, and one of the questions in the article I was reading was *Why Worry?* And beneath it was written

"These 2 words, considered sincerely, can radically reconfigure the landscape of your mind. Worry rarely leads to positive action; it's just painful, useless fear about hypothetical events, which scuttles happiness rather than ensuring it. Some psychologists say that by focusing on gratitude, we can shut down the part of the brain that worries. It actually works!"

This really struck me....I'm realizing I *live* in fear a lot. Of what MAY happen, of what MAY not happen, and I really do try to control uncontrollable things. Like what people may think of me, for instance. If I know I'm a good, nice person, why worry about how other people might judge me or think about me? Why does this matter so much? I can only control how I act, not how other people might react to those actions.

I'm also realizing that this goes part and parcel with *living in the moment*, which is almost impossible when you're focused on or worried about the future. When I hiked today, I really tried to concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other and not look up to where I was going, as this usually leads to a moment of panic or a negative thought where I decide in my mind that it looks *TOO FAR* or my old standby *I'LL NEVER BE ABLE TO DO IT*. It's amazing how fast and easy that uphill climb was today when I just concentrated on each step and not where I was going. Deep stuff, huh?!!!

So to close, I'm including this quote (thanks, Mika!):
"If you want to reach a state of bliss, then go beyond your ego and the internal dialogue. Make a decision to relinquish the need to control, the need to be approved, and the need to judge. Those are the three things the ego is doing all the time. It's very important to be aware of them every time they come up."--Deepak Chopra

Now THIS is how I'd like to live my life!!!

(Sorry - no pictures today as I forgot my camera battery in my room - arggg!!!)

Day 10

So, this will be short... I'm tired!

I was THRILLED to hear that our van was going to the Beach today... I did this hike on my 2nd day here and it's a relatively easy one, and after being psyched out yesterday, it was the perfect hike for me today! It was also a beautiful sunny day (last week it was foggy) and I had a great time. I also did great this afternoon - in cardio today we did *Mountain*, where you continually increase speed or incline for 12 intervals - all 3 minutes each. Hard!! I really tried to push myself again and sprinted my last 3 minute interval.

I also had a chiropractic appointment today and it was fantastic.... my right hip is really tight (has been since my first pregnancy) and he was able to loosen it up.... awesome!

I sat with Brendan from the Biggest Loser yesterday for lunch and got some dirt on the show... if you watch it, you know that the contestants lose a ton or weight (sometimes 30+ pounds) their first week.... WELL, that first weigh-in is actually a MONTH after they start!! After that, they do try to keep to 7-9 days, but the contestants never know WHEN they will be weighed in... they're weighed in in the morning and then that weigh-in segment is taped at night with the *fake* scale. Also, he talked about the extreme lengths the last 3 contestants go to get themselves to their lowest weight for the finale... they are extremely dehydrated and a lot of them go on liquid diets in the weeks leading up to it... and because they were getting so extreme/sick for that finale, the producers changed it so that they actually get weighed in the Saturday before so they can drink and eat and look *normal* for the actual finale and the fake scale... he said some people actually weigh up to 20  pounds more by the time they tape - 4 days later!! There was a lot of other stuff he talked about - I felt bad because I'm sure he gets those questions all the time! He's a really great guy.... says he's just a regular guy who got lucky and was able to transform his life.

Ok, that's it for me - time for bed! I've added some pics from the beach below - I was going to include a video I took, but ALL you can hear during it is my crazy heavy breathing (we'd just reached the top of the cliff)!! Hilarious (and embarrassing!)

Hope everyone is well!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 9 - Story Telling

(sorry - this is loooong!)

I've been writing the bulk of this post for a while..... and today seemed like the perfect time to post it since it speaks to the physical/mental/emotional wall I hit today. As I mentioned yesterday, I placed MYSELF in the fast intermediate van on the heels of the success I had on yesterday's hike. Today my van went back to the Solstice hike – I did this last Thursday and I really enjoyed it... knew what to expect and was really pumped up about how much better I was going to be able to do. So we start out and I KNOW how hard it's going to be since I've already done it – straight up for ½ an hour. Well, about 5 minutes into it I just felt zero energy. I stopped to recoup, take off my jacket, take a picture and then started again.. there were 2 people and a guide behind me. And I just kept stopping, which isn't like me, as since I've been here my motto has been *head down, one foot in front of the other and DONT STOP!!!*. Stopping plays with my mind and of course just makes the climb longer!! So I end up at the back – the last hiker with the guide behind me.. and I just lost it! I was so mad at myself for being last and for not being as improved as I should be. Of course, I was trying to keep a faster pace than last week, but I didn't acknowledge that and just felt so disappointed in myself. I sniffled all the way down to the bottom of the canyon where everyone was exploring ruins and then really lost it..... actually sobbing! I went off by myself and just let it happen as there seemed to be a lot of emotion at the surface. I was left alone as we had been told if we see someone *going through something* NOT to do the nice thing and approach and give a pat and ask what's wrong... emotional moments are encouraged here and they'd rather us not be distracted or interrupted, but just to let the emotions flow. So it was good. I hung back from the little bonus climb and just tried to figure out WHY I was feeling so emotional. It was then an easy hike out to the vans and I had a great afternoon where I really pushed myself and got up to 5.6mph running on the treadmill!

So.... this all speaks to how much I expect of myself, how I beat myself up over what I think I SHOULD be feeling/doing, and to the negative self-talk I'm so prone to. I've been trying to figure out WHY I do this, and some of my thoughts are rambled around below....

I started to read a book about 5 years ago called *How to Tame Your Gremlin*..... it was all about ending negative self-talk and began by asking to just IDENTIFY that voice – HEAR it, but don't fight it, don't talk back to it. I read that first chapter and had one of those light bulb moments (oh my god, this is me!!) and then in the next instant got a headache and my neck stiffened up - it really hurt! It was the weirdest thing, it was as if that negative voice had realized it had been discovered and was NOT happy about it! And I have NEVER picked up that book again. It has sat in my bedside table for these past 5 years and I look at it and think *I should read that book* but I don't. And that goes to prove that there IS a part of me – I'll call it a voice - that doesn't want to be gotten rid of.

This voice likes to tell stories. Stories not just about how I should feel about myself, but about how other people feel about me or think of me. I know the stories are untrue, but I tend to believe them anyway, probably because they've become a regular part of of the scheduled programming in my head.

Let's start with the truth. The truth is that I'm a very nice person, people like me, I'm smart, I'm a fast learner, I'm a good teacher, I'm strong, I'm a good mother, a good friend. These things I know, but the voice likes to screw around and try to make me question these things.

Case in point: I've been offered every job I've every interviewed for – I sell them on my skills, my personality, my attitude. But the story my *voice* tells me is *wow I sure fooled them*. This means that even before I started a position, I felt like a fraud, which led to never feeling good enough, crippled my self confidence and made any mistake I made great proof at what a loser I was. I'd believe that I got the job INSPITE of myself, and believed that once hired that my employer would soon learn who I really was and regret the decision. Being the self saboteur that I am, I think I would even do things that would prove that inner voice correct. But I also always felt like I was disappointing everyone. And not good enough.

Case in point #2 - I tried out for, and made an elite soccer team when I was 15 and played for them for 2 years – even went to Nationals and we came in second! But the story I told myself was that really I wasn't good enough and my coach was going to look at me one day and realize I didn't belong there and kick me off. Looking back I never felt I did my best and really no wonder - how could I achieve my best or live up to my potential if I felt I was a fraud – there by accident or that it was a mistake ready to be uncovered.

I don't know when this voice first appeared, but I know it was when I was quite young, as I can remember a lot of *negative* events that happened and can remember how they made me question myself. Nothing traumatic or horrendous, just a bunch of negative moments that got mashed together and seemed to snowball as I got older.

Maybe it's because I was the first born and a lot was expected of me? I always knew I was unconditionally loved by my parents, but I know they also naturally used me as their guinea pig... as every parent does with their first child... is she meeting her milestones? Is she like other kids? We should she be eating? Is she doing well in school? Should we let her drive? What should her curfew be? All those things were worried about with me, tried out, and then as expected, since I survived the parenting experiments, they let down more of their guard with each of my brothers, so that by the time my youngest brother in high school, it was *curfew? Oh yeah I guess we should give him a curfew... oh and here – take the car whenever and wherever you want, check in whenever you want, and while you're at it, here's some pop and chips!* Probably so worried that they'd spoil me.... but I don't think I ever felt like I was the cute one or that I was indulged much. I know with Maya, I expect a lot from her... sometimes too much for her age, and expect her to act quite maturely. I know she CAN, so then I expect it, but maybe by me piling on expectations, I'm creating inner expectations that she will feel she has to meet herself. Maybe that's what happened to me? I just know I never felt like I was meeting anyone's expectations and to this day believe that I should be a better friend, mother, wife, daughter, sister, niece, employee, coworker, babysitter - you name it – I should be better at it!

The voice likes to tell me what I SHOULD be. And it really is crippling to my self-esteem and belief in my capabilities. I would imagine some people would be surprised that I felt this way, because I never wanted others to see how I really felt, so I kept all these fears inside. As a friend of mine said when I told her about all this: “Wow, you're a really good actress, I never would have believed you felt so bad about yourself”! Unfortunately though, you CAN see the results of all this negativity just by looking at me, as the years of *SHOULDS* have contributed to a vicious cycle of deprivation and bingeing which has ultimately led to me being overweight.

Anyway, I've talked too much for today and am not even sure if all I said makes sense! It may be a bit rambling, but I'm just writing all my thoughts down – hoping they will reveal something to me! I've included a few pics from my hike today - most taken BEFORE my little breakdown :)

PS Funnily enough, I recently was told that my Mom also felt she was never good enough, which was surprising to me as I never thought of her this way. Something I need to explore more!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Day 8 - it begins again!

Happy Monday!!

Today was tiring, but not nearly as tiring as last Monday!! We did another assessment hike and I found myself in the middle of the pack - couldn't see the 3 people in front of me or the 6 people behind me, and it was just so peaceful and quiet and beautiful. I just LOVE being out in nature that way, it feels very.... fulfilling? Sorry, can't find the right word - my brain's not working too well tonight! We hiked up and down and around about 4 or 5 hills and although hard in parts, it was a nice consistent hike. I'm waaaay more in shape than I was a week ago, and actually ended up with the first 2 hikers and guide because the other 2 guides and the remaining 4 hikers decided to walk down the road instead of going on the trail because there were some sore knees and it was muddy. When I realized it was just me and the fast hikers, I was like *craaaaaaaaaaaaaap!!!!! as they were going at a much faster pace than me, but I had no choice, so I just hoofed it as fast as I could behind them. I told the guide he could pass me, but he's not allowed - has to stay behind the last hiker - so I had no choice but to keep pace. Well, actually I had a choice, but I chose to just try to keep up. And I did it!! I was so proud of myself - definitely out of my comfort zone, but once again, proved that I am stronger than my mind says I am. I asked to be put in the Fast Intermediate group... one step up from last week!

I also pushed my boundaries in circuit today - I promised myself I would run every time I was on the treadmill (2 minute intervals between cardio machines and weight machines), and I did it... I even pushed through the 5mph that I've been afraid to reach.... for some reason that's been a barrier, and I just went for it today and got to 5.4mph. It was definitely all mental - the whole 2 minutes I was arguing with myself saying *I cant do it!* and then *Yes you can!* So silly, because the whole time I'm having this conversation in my head, I WAS doing it. Hard to tell yourself you cant do something WHILE you're doing it!!!

I've added a few pictures of my hike below, but have also included lyrics to a song that I've been listening to for the past 3 or 4 years. I loved this song the first time I heard it - something about it spoke to me and moved me. It's almost like it was describing HOW I was feeling, but I was still unable to live it. I listened to it a couple of times on my hike today and realized that I am now living it, that I am truly making it happen. Kinda corny, I know...but true!

"Unwritten" sung by Natasha Beddingfield

I am unwritten, can't read my mind, I'm undefined
I'm just beginning, the pen's in my hand, ending unplanned

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

I break tradition, sometimes my tries, are outside the lines
We've been conditioned to not make mistakes, but I can't live that way

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

(and yes, this was the theme song for The Hills!)

Peace out :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Day 7 - the day of rest

Hi y'all  (there are a lot of southern people here :) )

I just got back from dinner and the place was packed with new guests. It was so much fun seeing them all come in all nervous and excited - just like I was last week! We all shared our name and where we were from and the stayover guests gave advice. It was great. One of the guests here this week is from Season 10 of the Biggest Loser - Brendan - for those of you who watch the show.  Also, Holly from Season 4 was a guest last week, and Sam from Season 9 is now a trainer here. It's neat to have former contestants here - very inspirational. Here are some pics so you know who I'm talking about!


So a lot of people left today.... it was hard to say bye to Barb, who became such a great friend here and my hiking buddy, but I know we'll stay in touch. Other than hanging around and saying goodbye, I went out for lunch and a movie with a bunch of people - we went to Subway, which, if you watch the show, is a big cliche (but darn yummy)!! and I spent the rest of the afternoon in my room - emailing, putting pictures up on facebook, organizing... it really was quite boring, and I'm actually looking forward to tomorrow and being really busy again!

Everyone who left today weighed out yesterday and some of the stay-over guests weighed in this morning. I've chosen NOT to get weighed as I'm sticking to my pact with myself that it's not about the number of pounds I lose here, but more about what I gain in terms of emotional and mental empowerment. Some people lost a lot (like 12!) and some people lost a little (like .8) and I don't want a number to have power over me or derail me. I saw it happen today... people who were so pumped about what they'd accomplished last week became deflated once their *number* didn't match whatever expectation they had. I MAY weigh in next week at my midpoint just for a check in, but I'll wait to see how I'm feeling then. What I know right now is that the jeans I wore here are uncomfortably too BIG, and that feels good :)

I had a mini *aha* moment today when a bunch of us stay-overs were gabbing after lunch and they were talking about what they liked to do... and one of them asked me "so what are you into? what do you like to do?" And for the life of me, I couldn't think of anything!! Isn't that crazy?! And it's true.... I think I've just made my kids my life these last 6 years and I don't do anything just for me. Unless you consider flaking out in front of the TV after the kids have gone to bed something I'm *into*, and truthfully that IS what I do, under the pretense of NEEDING the downtime because my day was so emotionally draining.... and I'll be the first to admit that there have been periods in my life that I DID need that time for myself to feel recharged, but it's REALLY not necessary any more! First off, I am no longer emotionally drained everyday - I'm no longer caring for 3 *babies*.... and secondly, I know now that I've been using this excuse as way to rationalize not paying attention to me. It's become a bad habit and I am going to change it when I get home. Not that I won't tune into my favorite reality trash TV, because that would be just crazy! but I don't need to do it for 4 hours every night. So one of my goals here will be to come up with some activities and things that I like to do during my free time.... I obviously need a hobby!

I just want to thank all of you who have sent me messages and emails and left comments - pretty much every time I come back to my room I have a message of some sort that tells me how great I'm doing, and it's such a motivation and really does give me wings. For those who read but don't comment or send messages, I KNOW that you are also cheering me on and please don't ever feel like you have to comment! My point is, thank you if you do, and thank you if you don't.... it's just wonderful to know there's so many people out there supporting me!!!

OK - gotta go and organize myself for tomorrow and think about some goals I want to achieve. Tomorrow's assessment hike will be interesting - I wonder what van I'll be put into!!

Sorry - no pictures today!

Leslie xo

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Day 6

Saturday..... and a half day off!!

Today was a great day. Started with a nice, easy hike where my friend, Barbara, and I sort of slacked off.... but that's ok... we pushed ourselves FAR yesterday and we were just enjoying the gorgeous weather and chatting. The crazy storm that went through here yesterday was over by morning and we had a beautiful sunny hike. Started raining again this afternoon, though, and we had a thunderstorm.... bummer! But whatever. Still had a fun day chatting with friends over a long lunch and then seeing M and the kids via webcam, and doing laundry - exciting!!!

It was the first time I've SEEN the kids since I've been gone.... I think I was avoiding the webcam in case it was too hard to see them and in case it would make me sad or distracted (plus with the time difference, it was hard to schedule a time to see them all). But seeing them today just made me happy.... nothing's changed without me - they're all still the same. And happy. So I feel ok continuing on with this journey knowing they're safe and content with their Dad for the next 3 weeks :) Here's a picture of my little bugs.... come on, they're adorable!

Tonight we had graduation for those that are leaving, and they showed a DVD of both video and still shots taken this past week ..... they have a videographer/photographer on staff who go on the hikes and go to classes and the gym to document the week ... it was fun to see what they'd captured and I seemed to be in a LOT of them (I'm sure everyone thought this about themselves!) and it was really hard to look at myself in the pictures and videos - sometimes I can't believe that's what I look like. Then they passed the microphone around so we could share a triumph or thought or experience with the group. Mine was that I had had a fabulous week and was thrilled to be able to stay for 3 more, and that I couldn't wait to see what I looked like in my 4th DVD on MY graduation! Hopefully there will be less cringing - especially those pool shots - ACK!

As people were sharing their achievements - some teary - I noticed that I was comparing myself. Argggg.... silly thoughts started entering my brain about how I didn't push myself hard enough, that I should have pushed more, should have done more in the gym, I obviously didn't do as much as everyone else. WHY do I do this? I know it's not true and that I need to give myself the credit I know I deserve. I'm also really trying not to focus on anyone else's journey or be influenced by others' experiences. Not everyone has been happy here, and it's hard to hear the complaining and bitching, but I'm really trying not to let that impact MY experience. I am here for me, and me only. I know that, but my internal negative programming sometimes switches on. At least I am noticing it and try to switch it off right away. Although I've met tons of great people here, not everyone (understandably) is in the same place or mindset as me, so I just try to surround myself with positive and supportive people. It's pretty easy to do - and hopefully I'll meet more this next week!

The hike we went to today was at Paramount Ranch... there's an old western town at the start of the trail and it's where they used to film Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and a bunch of movies like City Slickers.. it was really cute! Unfortunately I don't have any good pictures of it as I thought I'd take some on our way out, but my camera battery died. I'm sure I'll be back there though, as it was a great Saturday morning hike, plus, on the way there and back we passed the Bachelor House - where the show is taped.... ooooooooh - exciting, eh!? Oh, and we also saw Charlie Sheen's house and the church that Mel Gibson built? huh.

OK, well I'm going to go and watch a movie on my computer (the storm last night took out the resort's satellite dish - so no TV) and then hit the sack.... exciting stuff, right?!


Friday, February 18, 2011

Day 5 - TGIF!

As I'm writing this rain is pelting away at my cabin.... we are in the middle of a massive wind and rain storm here - and the city seems in a panic! They're not used to getting this much precipitation, and really, it's NOT fun.... it was only 9 degrees here today and it was 11 in Ottawa!!!  My pool class was in the pouring rain and only 3 of us went... no one's very happy, and I doubt we'll be hiking tomorrow as the trails get too muddy. Which means we may have to spend 2 1/2 hours in the gym - big yuck. I'm just hoping it helps lull me to sleep! 

Luckily, the rain held off until just after our hike today. My group hiked the Zuma Ridge.... a 2.7 mile hike STRAIGHT UP a mountain on a fire road and our elevation gain was approximately 1200 feet. Took about an hour and then we got to hike back down the same way... which ironically I find almost harder!! Hurts the muscles and the feet more.

The rest of the day was spent doing the usual.... class, lunch and then 3 more classes. Everyone was feeling tired today and glad it's Friday! Tomorrow we have hike or gym in the morning and then the afternoon off - phew!!

Tomorrow will be a bit sad as I'll be saying goodbye to a bunch of people I've really enjoyed eating with and working out with. And then about 50 people are arriving on Sunday... should be fun to see all the newbies all nervous and excited - seems a lot longer than a week that I was feeling that way!

A few pics from my hike today below....


Day 4.....hanging in!

Today I felt looooow energy! I haven't been sleeping great so maybe that's it, or maybe it's because everything I'm putting my body through has started to catch up to me!! Regardless, I still pushed myself... we had an awesome hike - started with a 30 minute STEEEEEP climb up a mountain, and then a walk around a ridge with amazing views of the ocean (see pics below)! Hiked DOWN the mountain to explore a famous burned out house, and then the guides snuck in ANOTHER very steep climb. SO hard!! But I did it... and enjoyed it. We sign up for our hike on Saturday (usually we dont have a choice), and I'll sign up for that one again if it's possible. The forecast is for more rain tomorrow and Saturday so they're not sure what will be hikeable.... if we can't hike, we have to spend the 2 1/2 hours in the gym - I'd rather hike!!!

Today was a hard day also because it's the first day I felt hungry. Both lunch and dinner were so good and I just wanted more. But I'm trying to discern between wanting more because I am hungry or just that I want more because it tastes good. I don't think I was hungry - there's no way after eating such filling meals!! But all day I felt the familiar pangs of wanting  food..... sweet food, salty food, JUNK food.... anything. They are familiar feelings because I felt them ALLL the time at home... and usually acted on them in whatever was convenient. Here - that's not possible. The only extra food I can have at my meals is a salad. So I had a small one of those at both lunch and dinner after my meal to at least ensure I wasn't HUNGRY. Since I'm burning so many calories everyday - anywhere between 8000 and 10,000 I know that 1300 calories isn't a lot to be consuming, so perhaps my body really IS more hungry today. I did come back to my room and chew a bunch of sugarless gum. Maybe not the best thing to do, but it satisfied that sweet craving and made me feel less deprived.

Anyway, I'm trying to separate real hunger from emotional hunger and overeating for the sake of overeating.... they call it *intuitive eating* here - where you develop a healthy relationship with food and eat when hungry and stop before you're really full.... it's something I really hope to learn. Coming here I was every OTHER type of eater they describe here, I was a CHAOTIC, UNCONSCIOUS, EMOTIONAL, WASTE-NOT, REFUSE-NOT and a RESTRICTIVE eater. None of these are healthy...... and it seems like a lot of labels to overcome!!  But that's why I'm here... to change my relationship with food and to trust myself around it, and I've already learned a lot.

Well it's 9:15 and already waaay past my bedtime!!! See you tomorrow :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day 3.......

......aka what they call here *the hardest day*.... and it was hard, but fun too!!!

Our hike was really great, although it would have been even better if we weren't hiking in muck!! It was pouring for most of it, so that was interesting.... I didn't take my camera as I was worried about getting it wet, so no hike pics today... but I took a few more pictures of my surroundings - see below. You'll also see my schedule for today which I carry around my neck on a lanyard with my room key and name tag... there's not a lot of downtime, which is I'm sure on purpose, as once you're in your room after a pool class, it's hard to strip down, dry off and get a new outfit on in just 8 or 9 minutes... if I had more time in there to relax, I'm sure it would be easy to talk myself into skipping the next class!

Did I mention that housekeeping visits everyday - makes my bed and cleans my bathroom.. can you say HEAVEN!! It's weird not to have to think about cleaning and making meals, and who should be doing what.... it's weird but definitely nice - I'm not complaining!

OK, sorry - not a lot to say today... am really tired. I should have more time next week since I wont have lectures after lunch and dinner. I want to spend some time processing what I'm going through here and write about it ...

Leslie xo

Day 2!

Well, I survived! It was definitely harder today as every muscle in my body seemed to rebel against the simple act of MOVING, but the 6am stretch class really helped that.

The hike we did today was the beach hike and it was a great 2nd day hike, as there wasn't a ton of incline. It was only about 3 miles, but it was in the SAND.... and it was damn hard. It got easier though, once all those sand-walking muscles realized there was no way around it, and they kicked in - and I found the incline (although small, STEEP!) - easier today. Trick I use is to start controlling my breathing before I start going up and then just concentrate on that... works for me so far! I was proud of myself today, too, as most people chose to walk back to the van on the road, but I walked back in the was hard, but hey, I'm here to do some hard stuff!

So today I am tired with a capital T.... it's been go go go and today seemed way longer than yesterday, and I have to admit, my smile wasn't AS big :) But I'm enjoying everything and plan to attend every class and work this program until it works on me... today I did the hike for just over 2 hours, learned how to use free weights, spent 45 minutes in the pool, 45 minutes doing interval training and 45 minutes doing a total body toning class.... plus 2 lectures. By 7pm you really are exhausted, but it's a good exhausted... feels great being physically tired instead of just emotionally/ mentally tired AND tired just because you're so out of shape.. you know? I wore my heart rate monitor today and according to it I burned over 10,000 calories!! That's CRAZY!!!

It started raining last night and it was misty and foggy all day today... supposed to be the same for the next couple of days, which sort of sucks, but really I don't mind...I find it easier to hike when it's a bit cooler and found the mist refreshing!! The pool here is outdoor, but heated, so even when the weather isn't warm, the water feels great. If I was only here for a week, I'd probably be a bit more disappointed about the rain, but I'm sure I'll see a lot more sunny days :)

Last thing before I head to bed... the food has been AMAZING!! I am seriously so full after each meal and cant believe we only consume approx 1300 calories a day (meals plus snack on the hike)... truly. The AMOUNT of food on your plate in unbelievable and because it's so high fiber and dense nutritionally, you feel really full...haven't felt hungry yet!!! I've included a few pictures in the slideshow below to give you an idea.

OK off to bed.... see you tomorrow!

PS - I cant believe there have been over 1300 views of my blog!!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 1

Wow!!!! What a crazy day.... But it really was fantastic. Today I.....

Went to a stretch class at 6am
Hiked for 2 1/5 hours - 7  miles!!!
Was in the pool twice (45 minutes each) for intervals/strength training
Did a 45 minute circuit training class
Did a 45 minute core training class
Attended 2 lectures

......and I survived! Actually I did more than that, I really really enjoyed it. I had a smile on my face all day and was just amazed at what I was able to do. I've always known I was physically strong, but I convinced myself that I was a weak person I think, incapable or unworthy of pushing my boundaries. I was out of my comfort zone so many times today I can't even count and even had a little cry after SPRINTING for 2 30 second intervals. I don't remember the last time I sprinted. I've aways felt SO uncomfortable running and have been afraid of the physical impact it would have being so overweight, but today it really was fantastic. It was only for 60 seconds mind you, but just doing that while the instructor yelled *you will be amazed at what your body can do - push yourself!*, felt like a real breakthrough for me.

I know my body wants to lose weight - I could feel it today as I pushed it to walk 7 MILES up and down about 4 canyons, and I could feel it when I was able to keep going during a killer core training class when I kept thinking *I cant - it hurts too much!* A lot of people here say *don't think about it - just do it.... if you think, you only think about how you can't do it* - and that worked for me today!

I've met tons of great people - each with their own story and reasons for being here - last night at our first supper, everyone introduced themselves and the stayover guests gave advice... it was really inspirational to hear what they said. Everyone is here to change, and it's neat to hear and see it actually happening to real people!

I know the hike tomorrow will be a LOT harder after everything I put my body through today, but I'm still looking forward to it and hope I'll be able to push even further.

I've included a few pictures tomorrow from today's hike and of my little cabin..... it goes fast, so pause it and click on arrows manually, and if you click on the slideshow itself it will take you to my web album where the pictures will be bigger and easier to see.

Thank you all SO much for all your emails and messages - I was hoping to get to them today, but well, it's 8:30pm and time for bed - imagine!!!


Sunday, February 13, 2011

OH MY GOD - I'm here!!!

OK, this will be quick because I NEED to get to bed.... there's a long day of physical agony tomorrow starting at 6am :)

First of all, sorry for being so absent here all week.... as I'm sure you can imagine it was a crazy time for me as I prepared for leaving..... I wanted the house to be clean (silly, I know - but will Marius REALLY clean the sheets and dust? He says he will, but REALLY?!), I wanted all loose ends tied up for my volunteer work, I needed to pack, and I needed to make myself feel better for leaving my kids by making sure they had lots of stuff to *replace me* :) Not sure crafts and toys will do that, but it makes ME feel better that Marius is *armed* with fun stuff for them to do and play with!

Saying goodbye to the kids last night was VERY hard.... Matthew was sad, but in the next instant was being his silly self and Evan doesnt really have a clue, so he was easy... it was Maya who I was dreading saying goodbye to as she actually KNOWS what a month is!!! She cried and clung to me and it was SO hard!!! But I KNOW she, and the boys, will be fine.... this will be a great thing for Marius too.... he gets to relax and just be a Dad for 4 weeks.... it will be a new adventure for him, and I'm sure he'll enjoy it.

So I was up at 5am and got here at 1:15ish.... 4:15ish Ottawa time, so I was travelling for almost 10 hours - yuck! Because I went with Westjet, I had to transfer in Calgary, so I'm sure it added a couple of hours to my trip..... but I made it!! And thankfully there was another woman on my shuttle going to the Ridge too, so I arrived with a friend :) Which was great, because I was SOOO nervous on those planes... going back and forth between *what am I DOING?* and *I'm so excited!* there is a friend here who I'd already *met* on the Ridge's Facebook Group, so it was great to meet her in person. She's been emailing me all week with what to bring, what not to bring, how it's going, etc (thanks Shelli!).... so my first couple of hours have been great!

This place is FABULOUS... with a capital F people..... I can already tell that I'm going to have the time of my life and learn so much.... mostly about myself and what I'm capable of. Everything I've experienced so far just adds to my excitement and I feel SOOOO blessed to be here. My room is the cutest thing you've ever seen -  I'll take pictures soon so you can see where I'm *living* for the month.

So I had better go and unpack and lay out all I need tomorrow.... an outfit for the hike, a bathing suit and another workout outfit for the afternoon..... laundry here should be interesting!

Thank you everyone for all your emails and Facebook messages and comments - I feel all that love supporting me as I go about this internal transformation!!

Love you all :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

So I broke the news.....

... to my kids!

We were snuggled up on my bed watching a movie together on Saturday morning, and I told them I was going to be going away.......

It went something like this....and keep in mind I was dreading upsetting them :)

Me: I have something to tell you guys and I'm not sure you're going to like it.

Maya: Just tell us Mommy (translation: stop being so dramatic Mother).

Me: I am going to be going away for a little while..... for a month.

Matthew: a MONTH!! Is that FOREVER??

Me: No it's not forever, it's only for 4 weeks.

Maya: Oh OK...... {pause} I thought you were going to tell us that you were going to be dead.

Me: Uh no, I'm just going away.


Evan: VeeVee Abbey! (translation: *TV Mommy* - Evan calls me Abbey!)

.....aaaaand we're back to watching the movie.

Huh. Although I definitely didn't expect them to fall to pieces at the news, and I'm VERY glad that my kids are easy going and feel secure and safe with either parent, I THOUGHT there may have been more concern, and secretly I have to say I was a little disappointed!

Just goes to prove that I will miss them waaaaaay more than they will miss me.

PS - the whole death thing wasn't out of the blue - Maya's been VERY interested in death and dying lately... always asking when she or I am going to die. Leads to some interesting conversations!!

More Press.....

And here's ANOTHER article on the Ridge...... I really like this one :)


Only 6 more days!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

See it here!

On the heels of yesterday's post, it was a bit serendipitous to see this article by USA Today online this morning!

I've embedded the video they took here as it's the best part (albeit a bit hokey in parts). It gives a good glimpse into life at the Ridge and talks about their philosophy toward food and behaviour modification.


Thursday, February 3, 2011


Oh food.....*SIGH*.... if I were to write EVERYTHING I need to express about food and my disordered relationship with it, we'd be here all day – so for this post I'm just going to talk about what I'm GOING to be eating while I'm away and why I think it will help me.

The food at the Ridge is plunked in front of you 3 times a day (no prep or clean up for me!). It's portion-controlled and I'll be eating approximately 1200 calories/day. This is the ONLY thing I have an issue with.... since a larger person needs more calories to just sustain life than a smaller person, it would make more sense to me that the calorie limit would be adjusted based on a person's weight instead of being the same for everyone, but I can see where that would be a logistical nightmare.... so, oh well – it also makes sense that someone who has a lot to lose will lose weight faster on this many calories a day than a smaller person, so I guess it will work to my advantage. :)

But I digress......the meal plan is based on nutritionally dense high-fibre whole foods, with a balance of complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and lean proteins. Foods will be high volume but low in calories - like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, limited dairy, and lean proteins (chicken and fish). We are also given optional snacks for the hikes, and the option of additional side dishes from a salad bar and fruit baskets. From what I've read of others' experiences, the first couple of days the food portions seem small, but by the end of the first week, most people find it enough and very filling... and by all accounts, the food is delish!

So.... no red meat or pork, caffeine, pop, sugar, white anything, processed anything, artificial sweeteners, preservatives or alcohol and very little salt. It's going to be like food rehab. And although that might sound amusing, it's actually true. If I were an alcoholic or a drug addict, I could go to a rehab treatment facility, where they'd deny me whatever substance is ruining my life, and I would be able to PHYSICALLY get off of the drug. Hopefully at the same time, I would receive therapy to help me confront the reasons why I started self-medicating in the first place and to give me tools to stay sober, so that when I left that controlled environment, I would be able to deal with stress and adversity without turning to drugs or alcohol. This really is what I'm hoping the Ridge will do for me. To be in a controlled environment, where I am making NO decisions about food – my drug of choice. Where food will cease to dominate my thoughts because I will have no control over it, and where I will hopefully get the time and space I need to experience clarity and be able to change how I perceive and think about food and eating.

An alcoholic can choose not to pour a drink or can remove all the liquor from his/her home, whereas the food addict can not simply remove food from her life to eliminate temptation. Especially when the food addict has 3 children who rely on her to feed them 3 times a day (5, when you include snacks). Now I know Marius is thinking *Hey! It's not all you – I feed them too!*, but for the most part I am THERE. I am IN that kitchen, I am opening the fridge 20 times a day, I am looking at, smelling, tasting, making decisions about, FOOD. At least a hundred decisions a day, but probably more on *bad* days. And it's exhausting! And it takes up a lot of time, energy and a lot of space in my mind and my LIFE..... and I'm hoping by taking the decisions away, even for that short time, that I'll have more time/energy/space to focus on me and be able to reconnect with the person inside who at one time didn't feel she needed food to comfort her and make her feel *full*.

I'm sure many people who hear what I'm doing may think it's an unrealistic thing to do – eat in a controlled environment – because, obviously I do have to come back to my life. And the food. And the decisions. But I'm hoping that by having a month to really figure out WHY I use food, and to also give my body a chance to detox and feel the impact of exercise with a healthfully fueled body, that I will come back feeling empowered to make new and healthier choices.

What I also like about the food I will be *served*, is that it's not some unreasonable diet based on extremes... like really high protein, or NO carbs or fruit, or very low fat. It's a healthy sustainable food plan that I can easily follow when I'm home. It's the *clean* way of eating that I want for myself and my family. And actually, we are already close to eating this way (well, maybe except for the red meat!) as it has always been a huge priority for me that our kids eat really healthy. And this makes me happy and hopeful - because even if it seems I don't currently consider myself worthy of a healthy clean diet, it at least shows that I really do know WHAT to eat, it's just that I sabotage MY own efforts to do it.

If I ate what and how my kids eat, I wouldn't be overweight. However, it's not what I eat out in the open WITH my family that's the problem.

But THAT is a looooong post for another day :)

10 days to go

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Following Along

In case you've never *followed* a blog before (I forget sometimes that not everyone is as geeky as me!), I've added a link on the yellow bar above that explains how to keep track of my new posts. There's also a few tips on commenting and some general blog tips.

Hope it helps - and thanks for following me :)


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A day in the life.....

Wondering what I'll be doing way down there in sunny Malibu? Well, I won't be lying around getting a tan, I tell ya!

This is what I've gleaned from other blogs to be a typical day:

6am  -  stretch and core strengthening
7am  -  breakfast
8am  -  leave for hike
11     -  back from hike and into a stretch class
noon -  lunch
1pm  - 1st week lecture (weeks 2-4 it will be a cardio class, or perhaps a rest/nap!)
2:30  -  pool class
3:30  -  circuit/interval training
4:30  -  pool class (yes, again!) or a cardio class
5:30  -  dinner
6:15  - 1st week lecture (weeks 2-4, time to relax)
8:30  -  bed!

Sounds exhausting, right?! But I bet it will be hard to be think I'm not capable or not strong enough after accomplishing all that in one day :)

They try to mix up the torture, so there are lots of different classes offered, from kickboxing to step to zumba (dance) to kettlebells – a variety of methods to reduce us to a sweaty hot mess – how nice of them!

You only have about 10-15 minutes between classes to change... our cabins are right there by the pool and gym so there isn't a long walk, but I definitely won't have a lot of free time during the day.

Saturday there is a hike in the morning and then you're free to do whatever you want in the afternoon (some people workout, but you can leave to go sightseeing or see a movie or shop, etc....) and then a graduation in the evening for the people leaving the next day.

Sunday is a day of rest (phew!) with guests leaving and new guests arriving.

My blog posts, emails, phone calls etc will be mostly done in the evening, which works well with the 3-hour time difference. The first week, things might be a bit scarce and brief here in blogland as I'm thinking I may be choosing crying into my pillow sleep over communication with the outside world :)