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.
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.
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 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.
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.