thanks for the memories

I just realized that it was exactly one year ago last week that the Russian Princess and I visited The Biggest Loser Resort, Fitness Ridge in Malibu. This trip changed my life in so many beautiful ways, perhaps more than I even realize. One year later, I am still so grateful for the experience, so it is probably time to take a trip down memory lane.

If you are new to My Year of Sweat, you might want to read this post to quickly get up to speed on how a spur-of-the-moment decision to purchase a Groupon Getaway impacted my life so profoundly.

I’m not sure I’ve every shared what the days leading up to our check-in at Fitness Ridge looked like. Let’s just say our behaviour wasn’t necessarily conducive to health and weight-loss.


Source: My Year of Sweat

Prior to booking our stay at Fitness Ridge, the Russian Princess and I had been planning a girls’ weekend at my place in Vegas, along with another friend, also named Nancy.

We decided to kill two birds with one stone, take advantage of one airfare, and planned to have our girls’ getaway from Thursday to Sunday morning, at which point Nancy would fly back to Toronto, and Irina (the RP) and I would begin our drive to fat camp in Malibu.

Irina wasn’t arriving until Thursday night, so Nancy and I decided to do something remotely healthy, and headed to Mount Charleston for a hike of Cathedral Rock, a really tough and steep hike, with a high point of ~9,000′. Thank goodness for that one bit of physicality, because it was all downhill from there.

After picking up Irina at the airport, we had a quiet dinner and then chilled out at the condo. Wine was involved. This will be a running theme through the rest of the story.

The original neon sign from the '60's.

Source: My Year of Sweat

Friday brought a lot of loafing, some eating and then a planned dinner at one of the oldest steakhouses in Vegas, The Flame at El Cortez. We finished a bottle of wine at the condo before heading out to said dinner.

At dinner we had pre-steak cocktails, then a bottle of wine with dinner, and then shots of tequila for dessert.

Then we had more cocktails as we strolled Fremont to giggle at the drunken tourists. Yes, the irony was lost on us. But at least there was walking involved, so there’s that.

Nancy, being the lightweight of the group as it relates to handling booze, passed out in the cab on the way home, so it was straight to bed for her. Not so, Irina and I.

We decided to open another bottle of wine and chat. Because, you know, it’s not like we’d had enough to drink up to that point.

Saturday morning was fuzzy for all of us, but especially Irina. She was curled up in the fetal position most of the day, but Nancy and I decided to brave a 5km walk to Einstein Bros bagels, and then strolled the outdoor ArtWalk set up around the strip mall that weekend. The walk actually helped with the hangover, so once again YAY for exercise. Even if it’s just a slow walk.


At some point we must have ended up at Wahoo’s for fish tacos. And Corona-Ritas. Because you can’t go to Wahoo’s and not have a Corona-Rita.

That evening we had planned a nice dinner not too far from my home at a lovely French restaurant/wine market called Marche Bacchus. The setup is essentially a wine shop out front, and the restaurant set up on a man-made lake in the back. It really is a pretty spot. And how could you not drink wine at a French restaurant, especially one with an entire wine store on premises?

The wine shop at Marche Bacchus

Source: Marche Bacchus

The answer is you cannot not drink wine.

So we did. Right after we had our cocktails.

And since this was our ‘last meal’, Irina and I decided we really needed to prepare ourselves by having as much fatty, high-calorie foods as possible.

Our logic was that our situation was kind of like when contestants go on the TV show Survivor. They know they’re not going to get much to eat, and may become emaciated over the weeks they are there, so they ‘fatten up’ before heading over.

The main problem with this approach was that we were only going for a week. And our actual goal was to lose weight.

So, our logic was faulty, to say the least.

But, in our defense, we were pretty drunk while these decisions were being made.

We ordered escargot and foie gras. And we dipped our bread. God almighty, did we dip our bread, sopping up all that garlicky buttery goodness left behind once the escargot had been eaten. Not an ounce of guilt was felt.

Wine is good like that.

Breakfast of champions, pre Fat Camp.

Breakfast of champions, pre Fat Camp.

The next morning we set out for our adventure. Nervous, excited, scared. And a wee bit hungover. But totally happy and open to the experience.

Little did I know that this place would break me.

And I certainly didn’t realize that I deserved to be broken like that. That I needed it. That without the cold, harsh reality of being broken I would be unable to take stock of all my parts, rebuild, and then – eventually – grow and flourish.

As cliché as it may sound, Sunday November 4, 2012 was the first day of the rest of my life.

Get moving!

xoxo nancy

33 thoughts on “thanks for the memories

  1. We’re never too old for a fun girl’s weekend. My mouth is still watering from the description of escargot and bread. Congrats for keeping up on the program 🙂

    • Oh it was decadent, that’s for sure. Between the wine and the food we each gained 3 pounds in the 3 days prior to arriving at the resort. We almost cried when they weighed and measured us. 🙂

  2. 🙂 I was thinking about our week at BLR also! 1 year ago…..some of the things I learned have changed my approach to eating, weights and the scale 🙂 Cara and I are headed back in 32 days for a holiday refresher !!

  3. After reading the Biggest Loser post, I can see how a week there could break a person. Wow. Talk about intense. I would worry people would sustain injuries with such sudden and excessive exercise. But kudos to you for surviving it.

    As for “escargot and foie gras”? I think that would have KEPT me from eating. 😉

    • It wasn’t so much the physicality that broke me as it was my reaction to the situation. Up until that point I had lead a very controlled life. I had excelled in virtually anything I had set my mind to. To be smacked in the face with a challenge I couldn’t be best at was beyond humbling. The fact that I refused to ask for help or acknowledge my struggle spoke to my unhealthy mindset. Never let ’em see you sweat was my mantra my whole life. When I say this place broke me, I mean it rattled me to my core. I have never cried so much in my life as I did during that one week. But always behind closed doors. Always alone. I wrote some more posts exploring this. I believe the one that delves deepest into it may be this one: There were several where I finally decided to explore what really went on in my head that week. I think I’m still discovering what was really going on. Clues reveal themselves randomly as I go through this journey.

      And re: no escargot or foie gras, let me guess, sushi and raw oysters are also off the menu for you? 😉

      • Yes, they are most certainly off the menu…

        I fear I would have had the same reaction as you. I don’t like to ask for help, and any struggling I did would have been behind closed doors. Suppose that doesn’t bode well for my mindset either.

      • Well, for me, breaking down that old mindset has opened me up to be more transparent with others. Always having a guard up isn’t the best way to make deep connections with others.

        Asking for help is still very, very hard for me, but it’s something I continue to work on. It’s a process… a journey.

  4. There are few better times to be had than ones that include tequila shots for dessert 🙂 — and any story that also includes the following phrase: “you cannot not drink wine.” – is my kind of story. Love, love, love great times with good friends like this. BTW – I’d say foie gras and escargot are among nature’s most perfect foods! How I miss ’em both 😦 — but really much happier to be getting healthy right now.

    • Oh Mike, don’t kiss escargot and foie gras goodbye forever! Life is too short, mon ami. Moderation is the name of the game, especially if you move your ass every day. And since I know you’re working to recapture your formerly Springsteen-worthy butt, you are a member of my Get Moving posse. 🙂

      • Oh TOTALLY agree – they will def return to my menu once I get into weight maintenance mode. Still have about 8 pounds to go to get to my original goal weight… but starting to think I should go for the really real goal since things are going so well – and hold on for another 5 after that. Then I’ll stop being quite so militant with myself and allow some fun food and the occasional 10 pints or so back into my weekends 🙂 I am so happy to be a member of the Get Moving posse! Cheers.

      • You are killing it. I’m down 20. Would like to get down 10 more, but I’ve hit a plateau. I refuse to “diet”, so we’re at a standoff, my body and I. I keep sweating and it keeps refusing to drop pounds. 🙂

      • Oh yeah — those plateaus SUCK. They are big-time motivation drainers — but you’re so right – just keep doing the right things and it’ll start dropping off again… eventually. You’re so right not to “diet” too — I just can’t help myself on that front. But honestly I’m not going crazy with it like I have in the past – really, really trying to think of it as a more long-term overall lifestyle change. I think the daily cardio is having the biggest impact – and hopefully now that I’m determined to get in a minimum of three days of weight-training too – that should really help once in maintenance mode. And man, the support here on WordPress is tremendous — that really helps a ton too I’m finding 🙂

      • That’s the key: lifestyle change. Totally get the dieting you’re doing until you hit goal — for me I’m just trying to prove that you can eat what you want, within reason, as long as you burn more than you consume. I’m doing that – as evidenced by my maintaining the 20 lb loss for months. But I need to burn a bunch more if I want to lose. I may need to go back to the 2+ hours of exercise per day that I was practicing at the beginning of the year. As much as I am resisting it. 🙂

  5. You forgot the booze absorption of the In and out Burger to cure me on Saturday… and then the In and out Burger on the way to the BLR… good times!! I would not have done it without you woman!

    • Yes, and in our case the end brought with it a week of 6 hours of exercise per day, and a diet of 1,500 calories per day. Oh, and zero booze or caffeine. Quite the reality check. 🙂

  6. That sounds like such a fun weekend before the cleanse…favorite line: “And we dipped our bread. God almighty, did we dip our bread…” Lol! You are my type of friend with all the wine 🙂

  7. Gosh, I can totally relate to spur of the moment decisions turning into life-changing ones! It’s so nice to read all of this from a “one year later” perspective. You have a great story.

  8. Pingback: happy anniversary, RP | my year of sweat!

  9. If you ever want to do another retreat-like fitness thing, please let me know. I would love to be a girlfriend and go hiking and such with some like-minded girlies.

    And, unrelated. But your mayor. Is he part American? I have been following his activities. It sounds like something that would happen here.

    • You are so on, Andra!! I’m exploring options right in the Vegas area so that accomodations are free (ie I have a condo there that sleeps 6), and so much great hiking within an hour’s drive. Last piece is just the gym/structured workout stuff — but I have just discovered that Canyon Ranch Spa at the Venetian does day passes to their fitness facility — unlimited use of equipment and group classes. Can’t wait to check into it further when I’m back at the end of the month.

      And, re: Mayor Ford. Oh for fuck’s sake. Seriously?? Have you heard the latest sound bite from the interview he did yesterday morning? You know, the one where, in a crazy stream of consciousness moment he literally went from suing people for liable, to talking smack about a football game, to oral sex — in the span of 30 seconds. You couldn’t make this shit up.

  10. Pingback: a grateful nancy is a happy nancy | my year of sweat!

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