I’m recapping my late January visit to The Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge in Ivins, Utah. Click on over to my first installments, if you haven’t read about my check-in and weigh-in, followed by Days 1 to 3 and Days 4 to 6 — it’ll make more sense if you read this series in order!
I say I really didn’t have expectations regarding pounds lost or inches lost or body fat decreased during my week-long stay at The Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge. However… before I left on my trip, I did read a 2011 account of a NY Times reporter — “My Week at the Biggest Loser Fat Camp” — and she lost 5 lbs during her week stint. Her roommate lost 4 lbs.
So, yeah, I was thinking, “If those middle-aged women could do that… why wouldn’t I?”
I woke up Sunday morning figuring I’d be down at least 4 lbs after a week where I’d hiked 33 miles, took more than 20 cardio/strength/stretch classes and ate 1500 calories daily. My fitness assessment was scheduled for 7 a.m. — before breakfast. And I wore the same exactly clothes I’d worn when I’d weighed in the Sunday prior (albeit, at 4 p.m. after a couple meals and snacks).
The results? I lost a whopping 2.2 lbs.
Well, truthfully, the InBody 520 Body Composition Analyzer reported that I’d lost a total of 2.7 lbs of fat, but gained .5 lbs of lean tissue mass (muscle). That sounded better to me.
And my body fat percentage went down 1.3%. — out of the “Over” range and into the “Normal” range for a woman my age and height.
Most significantly, my three body measurements went down, some significantly. My chest (bust) decreased 2.25 inches, my belly (at the belly button) decreased 2 inches and my hips decreased .75 inches.
Was I happy with the results? Sure. (Though it would have been nice to lose the 2.25 inches off my hips, not my boobs.)
But, really, the numbers didn’t mean that much to me.
What mattered most was that I felt good. So good.
My body was tighter and leaner and full of life. Though some muscles were a bit sore, I felt more energetic than I had in months.
I pushed myself physically — on the hiking trail and in the gym — more than I had in years. Sure, I’ll go on occasional long hikes with my husband (a 8.5 mile backpacking trek to Colorado hot springs comes to mind), and I’ve completed three sprint-distance triathlons in my adult life, but daily vigorous activity… that much sweat… I really hadn’t done that much exercise in a concentrated period of time ever.
I’d dug deep and I realized capabilities I didn’t know I had (or forgot I had).
During one of the 10 stretch classes I took — oh yes, they were that good — the instructor played the song, “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength,” from Whitney Houston’s 2009 album I Look to You. I’ve since downloaded it to my iPod; I listen to it all the time at home, in the car, on my walks and hikes here in Colorado.
I sing along to these lyrics:
Found hope in my heart
I found the light to life my way out of the dark
Found all that I need here inside of me
Oh, I thought I’d never find my way
I thought I’d never lift that weight
I thought I would break
I didn’t know my own strength
And I crashed down and I tumbled,
but I did not crumble
I got through all the pain
I didn’t know my own strength
Here’s an audio version of the ballad on YouTube. It’s good. I encourage you to take a listen if you don’t know this song and need some inspiration.
Before I left for Utah, I wasn’t nearly as broken as the gal Whitney Houston seems to be singing about. Trust me, my life is good. I know it’s good. Really good. But when I went to Fitness Ridge, I was tired. I was feeling low. I was discouraged. I was sluggish.
When I left Fitness Ridge, I was happy. I was eager to get back to my “real life.” I couldn’t wait to hug my husband and thank him for giving me such a beautiful gift — supporting my decision to spend a bunch of money and to be by myself for a week. I was excited to see my children again and dig into life as their mom and all it entails. I was looking forward to integrating things I’ve learned at the resort into my life at home.
Indeed, in the past two weeks since I’ve left the resort, I’ve made some strides:
- I tossed the sugar-free syrup, “I can’t believe it’s not butter” spray bottle and other assorted processed stuff I had in my cupboard and refrigerator.
- I no longer drink Diet Coke (the last one I consumed was in Cedar City, Utah, before I checked-in to Fitness Ridge). We don’t have Crystal Light in the house either.
- I haven’t eaten one lick of late-night ice cream — or any ice cream for that matter. Instead, I make the Dessert Parfait (Mori-Nu all natural chocolate pudding mix and Greek yogurt) from Chef Cam’s cookbook and eat that when I need a sweet treat.
- From Chef Cam’s recipes, I’ve also made White Bean Hummus, Butternut Squash Soup, Roasted Red Pepper Soup, Pulled Chicken Tacos, Ground Turkey Sloppy Joes and Quinoa & Turkey Lettuce Wraps. (Family fave was definitely the tacos — we all loved loved them!)
- I have kept my vow to make protein-filled breakfasts for my children. Indeed, at least three times on weekdays they’ll have eggs and toast or a bagel, and not just cereal, toast or waffles. If I’m making eggs for the kids, I’ll eat them too — instead of my beloved bowl (or two) of Cheerios.
- I dusted off my P90x videos to add some variety to my workouts; my daughter and I have kept up twice-weekly yoga classes; I found myself hula hooping just for kicks the other day.
Now, I’m not leading the spartan life of a Biggest Loser Resort guest, that’s for sure. I’m writing this after eating a couple pieces of pizza and drinking two glasses of wine with friends. Totally awesome.
I’m deeply madly in love with the all-natural peanut butter we now have in the house (instead of regular Jif). In fact, I might love it too much. I have had at least a spoonful (if not two or three) every single day for the past two weeks. It’s phenomenal — a peanut butter whose ingredient list is “roasted peanuts and salt” is way yummier than any peanut butter that has sugar in it.
I’m pushing myself on the exercise front, making more of an effort at twice-weekly step/strength classes. But today, for example, the only exercise I got was some deep housecleaning. Yesterday it was skiing with my children.
Progress not perfection. That was a theme we heard often at the resort. And that’s what I’m working toward. Eating intuitively, moving my body frequently (and with vigor), reading ingredient labels, setting a good example of healthy eating and regular exercise for my children… those are my wellness goals.
I know I can do it.
Before/after photos taken by Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge staff and emailed to me about a week after I returned home.
Note: As a travel writer I sometimes receive discounts or complimentary stays at spas and resorts. I did not receive any media courtesies at Fitness Ridge. My bank account can testify to that.