Sunday, January 10, 2010

Fat Camp

Ok, wasn't exactly fat camp, but that is how I jokingly referred to it among my friends. I'll explain, but first, let me back up and give you a little history.

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 When I googled "Fat camp" I quickly discovered that that expression was a bit outdated and mainly catered to children (I always did want to go to fat camp as a kid).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 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!


  1. Mandisaaaaa!!!

    I MISSED YOU SO MUCH! I was thinking about you all week and praying for you. I'm so happy you had such a good experience.

    I fell out of touch over the holiday's, too. I've kicked myself back into gear by tracking what I am eating on . I love it!

    I would love to do something similar, if I could afford it. Maybe one day :)

    I love you girl and I am so thankful for you!

  2. Way to go! You conquered that week and your holiday pounds with the aid of the One who knows our struggles.
    Keep running to Him!
    love ya.

  3. Disaaa! i don't think you understand how excited i am that you're back, i have missed you SO much, but i am so happy that you got to go to this retreat! sounds like an awesome place to get back on track! and 12.5 lbs, in less than a week?! you go girl!

    i plan to get back on track tomorrow! at my work (a hospital) they're having a weight loss contest thing for the next 7 weeks, all we had to do was get a group of 5 people, choose a team name (i came up with transporkers because we are transporters, lol) and it's only $3 a person! plus, the chance to win money at the end! i can be pretty competitive, so hopefully this will drive me to get healthier! & i plan to start using the daily plate again, and my dad finally set up the ellipitical in our basement, so i hope to use that everyday! i'm excited!

    well anyway, so glad you're back, and thank you for the blog, you're always so encouraging and inspirational, and i am so thankful for you! i love you!

    p.s. when you get a chance, could you write a blog on scriptures that have helped you through the hard times, especially in your journey to 100?!

  4. Girl, this sounds like a place that I definitely need to go to! However, time and money won't allow me to do it at this time, but I believe that God can strengthen me to discipline my flesh and get my weight under control right here in Chicago:-)! Thanks for the motivation!

  5. 12.5 lbs! that is amazing!! good for you. Isn't it amazing what God can do through us when we allow him to? Your story is an example and encouragement to others. :)

  6. WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWOWZA! 12.5 lbs!!! That's awesome.... but what's even more awesome is how we can be restored in the Lord!

    Praise the Name of Jesus!


  7. WAY TO GO MANDISA!! 12.5 lbs!!! Thats amazing!! Im so happy to hear that you had a very productive time and all is well! I love ya and Im praying for you!!

    Traci :)

  8. Well Amen you made it. Okay you convinced me I'm gonna do a Zumba class next week. The resort will have to wait!!! LOL. You go girl. So glad you did what you needed to do. God is always faithful!!!


  9. I am so proud of you...... You did amazing.... We back you up all the way..... I am training to walk a 1/2 marathon on feb 21st in Florida. Raising money for Breast Cancer.... Lets keep each other encouraged..... and pray for each other.... I love you disa,

  10. I am so proud of you! Keep up the good work and maybe next time you are in Florida you can come by BSBC and visit. You know we would love to have you!

  11. Namaste, Mahaveer from India here i am a yogi too i own a yoga retreat in yelneer India its a place surrounded by 7 waterfalls .Lets be friends .Jai Ho.Jai Jinendra-Live and Let Live.
    I also own a tour company , i also organise spiritual tours. Yelneer YoGa Retreat -INDIA

    (Surrounded by 7 waterfalls and spiritual places on all 4 directions also places where gods once lived)
    I also lead a charity Live and Let Live /Saraswathi Education Fund where we help poor children get education.

    Would like to see you in India.My skype im is mahaveershete

    when groups come in we have daily trips to spiritual places , also places where gods once lived , yoga , meditation , massages , trekking , poojas , bhajans , indian dance , indian musicals events , indian food , island visit , beach visit , visit to waterfalls , charity events , planting a tree for future breath and alots more.

  12. You have given me a glimmer of inspiration. All that you accomplished here in Florida in one week; I can't seem to accomplish and I live here. Funny huh! Thank you for the renewed inspiration to revitalize my health (weight lose) and relationship with Christ (strengthen it).

  13. Mandisa,
    You probably won't get this but, if you do, I'd love to be friends with you on FB (I already follow you on twitter). It sounds (from this post and your tweets) that we deal with a lot of the same issues. It would be so awesome and refreshing to be able to encourage each other. I'm praying for you - because, for a lot of things, I know how you feel. If we're meant to become friends and support each other in our walks (lives), I know Jesus will have it come about.
    God bless,
    Megan Joy Burdzy

  14. I would love for you to check out HHCG(Homeopathic Human chorionic gonadotropin). It has seriously changed my life. I have had a weight problem for several years and have lost 35 pounds over the last 2 months, gone FOREVER! Just google it and check it out for yourself. I wish I had discovered it a long time ago. The best place to hear about it is on youtube. Just search HCG diet. There's a huge support group through yahoo and youtube and even on facebook. The best thing about HCG is that it actually burns your stored fat, the BAD abnormal fat without comprimising your muscle and good fat. Just check it out and you will be so glad you did. :)

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