Welcome to the first of our Q&A series, which features guests who have visited Mountain Trek. Each came to our fitness retreat for their own reasons and they all had different experiences. In this inaugural piece we speak with Debra Fordham, a television writer living in Los Angeles, California, who visited Mountain Trek for a week in May 2012. Since that time she has lost almost 70 pounds and is training to run a half-marathon again. This is Debra’s story.
Debra Fordham (second from left) on her visit to Mountain Trek.
Hi Debra. Thank you so much for agreeing to speak with us. Firstly, how did you find out about Mountain Trek?
I was feeling low one day and sitting at the computer googling generic topics like “fitness retreats” and “weight loss” when the Mountain Trek link popped up. I checked out the Trip Advisor comments and most of them included the words “life changing.” It struck me as a bit expensive so I called my friend to ask advice. She said, “How much would you spend to change your life?” I booked the next day.
Tell us about your expectations?
Well, I went in 80 pounds overweight and out of shape. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting it to be as hard as it was. I knew we’d get good food and go on hikes but I was surprised by the raw physical challenge and the evening lessons regarding healthy living. That said, the experience literally did change my life. After six days of eating healthy foods, exercising and detoxing my entire physiology changed. When I got home I no longer craved soda or Oreos.
What was the highlight of your experience at Mountain Trek?
I wanted to buy a house in the Kootenay region. It’s just so beautiful there. I also really enjoyed Kirkland’s lectures in the evening – they gave me not only an understanding of what I was going through in terms of physiology but I was also given tools to use when I returned home.
What was the low-light of your experience at Mountain Trek?
I wanted to physically give up at one point. I was thinking of myself as this fat girl who doesn’t exercise and it was all too much but the wonderful thing is the staff wouldn’t let me give up – they just inspired me to keep going. I was amazed at how motivated I was around the guides, most especially Kirkland, Cathy and Krista.
Debra, over 50 pounds lighter
What was it like when you returned home?
When I got home I craved healthy foods. I also craved exercise and I continued hiking around my area. And I acted on Kirk’s lectures – I started cooking for myself. I made bliss balls and Mt Trek soups and I stopped eating processed food.
What were some of the challenges you faced when you returned home?
I was doing really well until the holidays when I got together with my family. We have such a wacked idea of food – we eat like crazy. I had people at my house at Christmas and so we started baking and because of the family dynamics – well, you just don’t want to eat tofu salad while someone you love is eating something unhealthy. It’s kind of a social statement not joining in.
How did you overcome those challenges?
Mountain Trek staff kept stressing “Have more good days than bad” and that really is the key. Sometimes you just have to eat the snacks on the airplane and it’s important you not beat yourself up about it. I don’t let it derail me. I’ll enjoy a “no limits” great meal but the next morning I’m back on the pony eating foods from the local farmer’s market.
What would be your advice to someone who is thinking about coming to Mountain Trek?
Go!!!! With five exclamation points! For some people it may seem expensive but like my friend says, “How much would you pay to change your life?” You have to take it seriously – you’ll be challenged but it really will be the launching pad to changing your life.
Anything else you want to tell our readers about your experience?
I can’t wait to come back! I’m coordinating with someone who I met there last May and we’re going to return together. That was another benefit of the experience – the alumni are an amazing resource and they become your friends.