I love the holidays. Family, friends, and FOOD!!! Well needless to say, the food did me in. I gained so much weight during November and December it was ridiculous! I didn't weigh myself but knew that I packed on at least 15lbs. With the Grammy's coming up January 31 I was desperate to shed them. But there was something else. I felt out of balance. Distant from the Lord. No desire to spend time in His word or to pray. I needed to refocus my priorities and get away.
I called The Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge...booked til June! I figured surely there were other places like this elsewhere so I took to my trusty friend google. When I googled "Fat camp" I quickly discovered that that expression was a bit outdated and mainly catered to children (I always did want to go to fat camp as a kid). I searched instead for "Fitness retreat" and several websites appeared. Utah, Texas, Florida...hmmmm Florida..in January...SIGN ME UP!
Vita Vie Retreat appeared to be just what I was looking for. Beach environment, tasty menu, vigorous exercise, and ZUMBA!!! I was sold. I made my reservation online, booked my flight, and was headed to Florida.
I landed in Palm Beach sluggish from my extra pounds but excited about the step I was taking to shed them. I was also looking forward to shutting out the world for 6 days and spending concentrated time with Jesus. No twitter, no email, no television.
After checking in to the Marriott Monday I made my way down to the workout room for our first session. There I met Margot and Mark (the retreat directors), and my fellow sojourners Shannon and Kimberly. (The next day we met Noreen who had been there a week already.) Our first session was right up my alley. I know I'm a big girl but I know my way around an elliptical and a treadmill. Still what Mark brought was out of my box so I knew it would be a challenging week. I had no idea....
For the next 5 days I heaved, grunted, and sweat my way through line drills, Pilate's (yuck), looooong walks on the beach sand (which is no easy task for a girl my size) for a total of 5 hours per day. These were Biggest Loser style workouts. The only thing missing was a cussing Jillian yelling in my face!
After the first day I called a couple of my friends and asked "What have I gotten myself into?" I didn't think I was gonna make it. I even proclaimed a few times during my beach workouts that Mark was trying to kill me. I told him that all of the people out on the beach were gonna get him because there would soon be a pile of Black Woman lying in the sand. He didn't seem to believe me...and I survived...barely!
With all of my sore muscles, defeated attitude, and raging hormones, I was desperate for the Lord. That certainly made reconnecting with him in the evenings a little easier. I begged Him to help me get through this week. Pleaded to help me return to the first love we shared when we first met. And eventually, I started to recognize His voice again. He even blessed me during my last full day of workouts. On Friday night I didn't know how I was going to get through a 2-hour beach hike the next morning. And I certainly could not imagine repeating the 1-hour Sports Conditioning on the beach again. The thought of that made me want to call the airline and change my flight to leave early. But as I shared my concerns with my Father Friday I felt a sense of peace that whatever happened the next and final day of my retreat, I would be able to endure it. I woke up the next morning, open my curtains, I beheld the loveliest sight these brown eyes have ever seen.....RAIN!!! He is faithful!!!
Margot and Mark knew I would be so happy to learn that the schedule had been changed. Don't get me wrong. It wasn't easy. But I could handle it. And I did!
As I type this blog, I am in the Palm Beach airport on my way back home. I have joy, peace, a healthy relationship with my Lord, and am 12.5lbs healthier than I was Monday!
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength! Philippians 4:13
P.S. If your are looking for a similar get away, I HIGHLY recommend Vita Vie. For more information click here. Tell them I sent ya!