Continued from Post #1:
As I sat in that van on my way to Premier Fitness Camp, my head was in a million different places. Part of me wanted to run far, far away – But the other part knew I wasn’t gonna run anywhere and that was the problem! The two hour drive took closer to five with traffic and I got a lot of time to think about the decision I’d just made. I asked a LOT of questions. My driver Tony, who was also a seasoned trainer at the camp, was gracious, kind and forever reassuring. He spent the entire trip answering the same questions I was asking, then rephrasing, then asking over and over again. “Where am I going? What does the routine look like? Are there other people there MY size?” I felt like I was being shipped off to one of those childhood fat camps and I imagined all sorts of horrible things that would happen there, just short of a full lobotomy.
By the time we arrived it was well past 9pm and Tony, who I learned also lost a staggering 150+lbs, helped check me in for the evening. (Shameless plug: https://www.instagram.com/mindfulandfitcoach/) I firmly believe it was his passion and encouragement that got me through those first few hours. I recorded a video that night to mark the beginning of my journey, because as terrified as I was, I knew it was the start of something HUGE. Now, I haven’t had the bravery to ever watch it again, but I do remember I cried harder than I had in recent memory. (If I figure out how to edit a bit and find the willpower to watch and share that initial breakdown, I’ll be sure I share it here first!) I’d never felt so confused, excited and scared all at the same time. I was utterly lost and didn’t know what to expect from moment to moment. This was the first of many long and lonely nights.
The next morning was a Friday and I joined the group at 8am for breakfast. Newcomers always come in on Mondays, so I stuck out even more than I had anticipated. People were kind, but I could feel the stares. You’d think I’d have been used to that sort of response to my presence, because after all, people over 500lbs don’t typically go unnoticed when they enter any room. I snuck in quietly, found a mostly empty table and ate my first of many meals in the dining room. I was relieved to find breakfast was palatable, but how could anyone possible live on this little amount of food? I was deeply saddened and worried how long I could possible last in a place like this. Food was my go-to. I always said that if there was an emotion, there was a food to feed to it – And I had plenty of emotions to go around.
I realized quickly how unprepared I was for this journey. Someone of my size doesn’t typically own a lot of clothes, let alone workout gear. I meandered through my first four days eating meals only and not partaking in exercise activities, simply because I owned absolutely nothing that was appropriate for exercise and was flat broke. Here I am, I thought, stuck in a gorgeous five-star resort in Southern California, surrounded by primarily extremely wealthy people and I’m walking my first mile in worn-out ballet flats because that’s all I owned. (Notice the shoes in the picture above?) To my surprise, The Doctors show graciously stepped in and offered to by me my first real pair of tennis shoes, professionally sized and everything! It was from here, I no longer had an excuse not to participate. The next day I officially began the hardest and longest battle I’ve ever had to face.
To say that I remember my first full day of workouts would be a lie. What I can tell you for certain, is that I’d never hurt in so many places and for so many days in a row ever in my life. I hurt in places I didn’t even know had the ability to hurt. I spent much of the first month taking the edge off with nightly doses of Epsom salt and ibuprofen. This wasn’t the “Biggest Loser” mentality, by any means. Trainers were patient and extremely kind. They modified nearly every workout to fit the limited capabilities of my frame. These were world class people who I would soon find out would be some of my biggest supporters! People ask me pretty often if the camp or the show ever put limits or requirements on my weight loss in order to continue my stay. The answer is a resounding no! In the beginning, even I had asked what was expected of me to lose. The answer was always the same: This will NEVER be about changing a number on the scale, but how you feel inside your own body and mind. I can tell you now that it took a very long time for that lesson to sink in and I’m consistently reminding myself of that very valuable little tidbit, but I’m so proud to say that I’m a little closer to understanding that a little more every day.
Stay tuned everyone for more on my early adventures at PFC! Also, give me a shout out on Instagram and let me know what parts of my journey you’d like to hear about next!