06 May 09: I went to the gym this afternoon to do my cardio. I came home, ate some dinner, and started sorting and organizing. I recycled a bunch of newspapers and magazines tonight, which felt good to get rid of. I got a ride up to the retreat this weekend, so I will be leaving Friday afternoon. I am very excited to get out of town and be in the woods. It's supposed to be a nice weekend, too! I hope that your week is going well. 07 May 09: I had a good workout with Billy today. He changed up the entire Thursday exercises. It was challenging, but I did not run of the gym screaming. I am still a bit nervous about the upcoming retreat. It will be the first time I will be away from home since I started the program with you. The food will be prepared by the retreat staff. I know that it will be vegetarian. A friend has offered support for me during the meals. I thought that was great, and I will be sitting with him. I will not be alone up there! The food this week has been OK. I am going to ask if the people I am riding with would mind stopping at the grocery store on the way to the retreat center. It's an upscale market in Novato. I will have a pad and pen with me during the meals so that I can keep track of what I am eating and then I can report back on the website when I return. I will not be near a computer as well, so I will send you a report on Sunday afternoon of my experience up at Walker Creek Ranch in Petaluma.

8-11 May 09: I'm sorry that I did not get a chance to email you last night when I came home from the retreat. It was an amazing experience! I learned a lot and was able to do some yoga, a small hike, lots of walking and being in nature. The weather was perfect. I did get a bit emotional in the middle of it, and chose not to eat around it and feel it instead. However, the food was a challenge. On the way up we stopped at In-N-Out Burger in Marin. I ordered the french fries, with a Diet Coke. I had not had them in a long time. The meals were vegetarian. For every meal, I had one plate of food. I made sure that the portions were small for things that might be higher in calories, and larger ones that I knew were safe (such as vegetables and garden salads) I used vinegar on my salads, and did not get back in line for seconds. I passed on all of the sugary desserts, and had fruit instead. I was not craving anything between meals, (except for a Diet Pepsi, which they sold at the Gift Shop) and felt nourished. I did not keep track of the food I was eating, but I felt I did not go too far off what I would have eaten at home.

On the way home, since we did not eat at the retreat center, the person driving wanted to go back to In-N-Out. I chose to have one hamburger (no cheese) and fries with a Diet Coke. I have not had any fast food since January. When I came home from the retreat, I had 7 ounces of chicken breast, (no skin) along with Baby Spinach salad with green onions. I had an apple for dessert. I know that I could have done a better job of recording my meals. But I was supported not to overeat and I had a buddy there who I checked in with during the weekend about food. I found that having someone to talk to was helpful. I am a bit concerned about the weigh in this week. Because of the weekend activities. But I found myself right back where I started food wise today. I kept track of everything, and it is entered online in your system. I was craving bread at dinner, but since I had leftover pasta in the fridge, I passed on it. My workout today was kinda on the light side. I got to the gym late, and since I had mentioned to Billy that I had done some yoga, we did stretches and also did a couple of postures. I am looking forward to our meeting this week, and thank you for your love and support.

Author: Kevin Johnson, Commit to Fit Winner 2009