How I ended up at Fat Camp.

I started this post a few days ago – I was feeling a little nostalgic for Pennsylvania air and then we got the news that one of the guys from the resort had passed suddenly.  Isn’t it strange the things that pop into your head at just the right time?

Fat camp is a little difficult to explain to anyone who hasn’t been there.

Like 8 or 9 years ago, my friend Morgan, this absolute party of a woman, and I were watching MTV, and we fixated on something called Fat Camp.  The series was followed up like a summer later with MTV’s Return to Fat Camp.  The place seemed magical to me, and something about the concept of this tucked-away place where kids went was incredible to me.

We had Adisa, throwing a birthday party in the rec hall and being monstrous to the other girls during color war.  We had Dan and the play.  We had the chick with head lice.  We had some camp romance.  It all looked amazing.

So, I applied, and I’m not sure how this happened, but one October day, I ended up on the phone with Tony Sparber, the boss-man at camp.  I knew it was Tony, one, because he told me it was him, and two, because I recognized his voice.  Which I’d heard in the documentary, because when you were in trouble, you got the bossin’ from Tony in his office.  So anyways, I ended up on the phone with him one day in October after I’d applied.  He interviewed me, and he told me right then and there that he would give me a shot.

The following June, I woke up early, and on a beautiful day, I drove my old Taurus up the east coast, and stopped only with enough time to visit my family in New Jersey.  I had no money.  And off to camp I went!

When I pulled up, the place was straight out of the movies.  MTV had not misrepresented it in any way.  And it actually was a little more beautiful than I’d imagined.  I met someone from the resort, who directed me to the cabin where I’d be living with the other counselors for the next week or so.  And when I pulled around to the cabin, I was greeted by this absolutely wondrous sight – the sun getting ready to set over the trees, over the lake, and over the two pools.  My mouth was hanging open.

“Have you never been here before?”

I shook my head no.

The first night there, it rained, and I quietly cried into my pillow.  I think I was homesick.  But as the days went on, and training wrapped up, camp became my home.  The kids arrived.  I taught classes.  And as I slowly, slowly peeled off the pounds I’d put on while in a bad relationship over the years, a new me emerged.  I was happy.  I wasn’t anxious.  I had friends!

I settled into a beautiful routine.  Color War Broke.  The weather started to cool.  And almost as quickly as the magic had started, it was over.

I got into my Taurus.  Wove my way back down the east coast.  And went back to my old life.  Except this time, I was a new me!  In the following years I ran.  I ran.   I ran some more.  I ran a marathon.  Taught many classes.  Branched out and taught Toning, Cycling, Body Pump, Pole Dancing.  Won the ever-waging war on anxiety.

I wasn’t a camper at fat camp.  I was just a counselor.  The fitness girl.  And yet, I gained so much that summer.  To to the summer of 2010, I owe so much.

via CPT
via CPT

I Can’t Wait for Summer Because…

So today is the first day of spring.


Let me tell you this right now, and then I will stop rantin’ and ravin’.  However  I am tall and thin and very cold-blooded (I forgot what they call that body type, but my yoga friend calls me watery), and I have been cold on a consistent basis since November, and I find that highly ridiculous.  So I’m protesting, and I’m liking up with Helene from Helene in Between to bring you….

Helene In Between
This amazing link-up.
Plus Helene, if you’re reading this, I really think we could be blogger besties, and you should really think about forging a friendship with me.  But that’s really just a suggestion, do with it what you’d like.
+Camp.  Seriously  camp.  I’ve talked nonstop about camp here, and I’ll talk about it more.  But Camp Pocono Trails, a camp where I’ve been working since 2010, is literally one of the happiest places on earth.  I will dedicate an entire post to all the amazingness of camp, but rest assured, you will hear all friggin about how amazing camp is.  These girls are my camp children.
+Jorts + crop tops.  I live for weather warm enough to rock this delicious combo.
28795aaec46830528e480c69669d40a0+Summer nights going to concerts and sitting outside while you eat.  Can you sit outside while an ice storm is raging?  Yeah maybe, but you will be very cold.  Very cold and very icy.
+We got engaged on a beautiful summer night.  And therefore, summer reminds me of love.
+Bikinis!  I love them, and there’s nothing better than sitting out in one on the 4th of July.  Speaking of, I need some new cute ones.
+Iced coffee.  It’s fine in the winter.  Makes me DIE in the summer time.
+Summer storms.  I love thunderstorms.  I always have.  My poor roomie, Mackenzie Coconuts does not feel the same way, and used to crawl into bed with me when it stormed in college, fun fact.
Link up!  And what are your favorite things about summer?  What can’t you wait for? 

On weight loss.

This is that time of year where Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, and Hydroxycut commercials are hitting hard and heavy.  And that’s certainly not to say that all of these things are bad, I personally think that Weight Watchers is one of the best programs out there.  But with everything that’s out there, I’m sure that’s it’s really tempting to try a pill or a chew or something that you sprinkle on your food to help you out to reach your weight loss goals.  But truthfully, as someone who lamented over her weight for a looooooong time, rest assured that none of those things will work.

This was me in the spring of 2010, and I think I weighed approximately 160 at my heaviest.

Then here’s me again.

This is me in 2011 at about 128.

So currently, I rest comfortably around 129 lbs or so, and here’s how I did it.  There were no powders, or magic fixes.

  1. I got rid of dead weight.  Literally, and figuratively.  I started hanging out with people who were like-minded.  Instead of spending time at the bar, I started spending more time in the gym and in my bed.  Did wonders for the bod.
  2. I did a stint at fat camp.  Sorta.  I worked at Camp Pocono Trails as a fitness instructor, more specifically a Zumba instructor, and instead of sneaking my own food and going off the plan, I followed the same plan that the kids were on.  As a fitness instructor, I really would never make my clients do anything that I wouldn’t do myself, and the same went for food.
  3. I stopped counting teaching a class as a workout…
  4. And put a priority on doing my own workout in addition. 
  5. I started using measuring cups to measure my food.  Which sounds insane, but if you’re on any kind of plan like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig, they’ll tell you the same.
  6. I started logging all my food in an app on my phone/iPod so I could make sure I was in a caloric deficit on most, not all days. 
  7. Annnnd, as I got more into the fitness aspect, I started adding a variety of fitness classes.  Yoga, lifting, I tried Barre, swimming.  

With all of this said, I can honestly say right now, since I’m not really trying to lose weight, I have pulled back a little bit on logging every morsel that goes into my mouth, with the idea that I simply want to nourish my body, rather than lose part of it.

But my gift to you?  If you want it, of course.

For the next week, I will log every morsel and every workout, and bring it to you this time next week.  I’ll critique it, cause I’m definitely not perfect, point out the good stuff, and add a few tips for those of you looking to shed a few pounds.  Who’s in?  





Okay, for all of you guys who are whining and moaning about how excited I am about the royal baby…

You can literally have a seat. Like. If you’re one of those people who’s an Oscar-the-Grouch, and you’re like “Oh why should I care about this again??” with your condescending tone, seriously, as the great philosophers Posh, Scary, Baby, and Ginger once said, “Spice up ya life.” Babies are fun. The royal family is a fun figurehead. And it’s so fun to get riled up about something when there’s so much bad stuff going on in the world. Calm down. I don’t make fun of you for caring about things like Nascar, and WWF, so cut us fun chickadees some slack.

Onto the good stuff!

My Heart
My Heart, my K-2 Zoo girls!

I left my heart in the Poconos this morning. For those of you who’ve been following along, my posts have been a little further and fewer between this week, as I’ve been blogging from the (dis)comfort of my iPhone all week from Camp Pocono Trails, a weight-loss camp in the Pocono Mountains. Seriously, if you’ve ever blogged from an iPhone, ouch, right? Anyhoo, camp was a blast. I taught Zumba, and played full-on role of counselor this week. And I loved it. Sure, I decided to come (unbeknownst to me,) in the thick of a stifling heat wave, and I literally had to change clothes 3 times a day because of how soaked I was from the workouts, and I looked like a wilted flower the entire time, but it was all in good fun.

I learned something while I was there, which is cool, because after like, three years at weight-loss camp, you think all your learning is done. I learned, during one of the evening activities, to establish a goal everyday. So I’ll be gosh-darned, I am going to try that. I’m training for a marathon, planning my wedding, moving apartments, among other insanity, and you know how I’m gonna get through it? I’m gonna wake up with a goal in mind every day. Sometimes I’ll share, sometimes I won’t, lest I tmi you with the minutiae of the upkeep it takes to be a girl, but today’s goal, as I wound my way down through the Delaware Water Gap? Blog for you guys, and run. Done, and done 🙂

Return to Fat Camp

I blog to you from the (dis)comfort of my iPhone. I wish I could whip out the ol’ laptop, but I’m at camp, and using the laptop is a little tricky. So let’s go over my return to fat camp.

So fun fact, as a fitness instructor, we’re actually tested on what we know, in order to keep you guys, our participants, safe in our class. So every cheesy, annoying step-touch, every step and pull, and every cat stretch that reminds you of the 80s is necessary. So Saturday, I renewed my AFAA Group Exercise certification, which meant a lot of review, plus a test at the end. Gross. But I got it done, then hit the road to camp.

First stop. I got pulled over for “incorrectly wearing my seatbelt” (I wasn’t, I’m just thin.) Truthfully I think the cop got bored because he pulled me over for like two seconds, then let me go. Thanks sir.

But first stop?


Lake Anna in VA to sleep and visit family.


So I continued my trek, and met this lady at the rest stop in Delaware.


Fun fact. I drink so much water, I have to stop at least every three hours. Preferably, at a Starbucks. Also, that’s a Teacup Yorkie. Where can I adopt one? I’m obsessed with her!


And finally, I rolled into Camp Pocono Trails this morning. It’s just as beautiful as I left it. The campers were so excited to see me, and literally poured sweat for 3 hours with me at the helm. I’m sweaty, and a little exhausted, but I’m here, and I can’t wait to work them out this week.

Camp Daze.

So, in a few days, I will be headed up to New Jersey to see my grandmother, and to visit other family. While I’m there, I’m going to head to the best place on earth, Camp Pocono Trails.

So a few years ago, me, and my beautiful friend, Morgan, were watching MTV, a documentary presented by MTV. We both were fascinated.

Morgan, please don't kill me for posting this old photo!
Morgan, please don’t kill me for posting this old photo!  Mo’s in the middle.  She’s a beautiful spirit, and we bonded from the moment we met.  

The footage wasn’t particularly sharp. But it was what you’d think, when you thought of a documentary filmed at a camp. The lighting wasn’t great. It was natural. The sunlight. The lights in the gym. The dusky glow across the fields at night. And I was fascinated by the fact that kids, that were sent to this camp to lose weight, were having so much fun. Color wars. First kisses. Camp songs. Lice (remember that?) It seemed like a magical place. And finally, after a month at grad school, years after we’d watched the footage, I got up the courage to apply to work at weight-loss camp, as a fitness specialist. And the cards all fell into place! I was hired.


I remember pulling up to camp. And being like “holy shit”. I mean, pardon me, but it was one of those moments. It was the place where time had stood still in the years since I’d seen the documentary. Except it was more beautiful. Waaay more beautiful. And thus, my employment at the most beautiful place on earth began.

The first night, it rained, and I cried in my little twin bunk like a homesick little kid. I missed home. I missed my family. And I was coming out of a nasty breakup. The escape to heaven on earth (Camp Pocono Trails), however, proved to change my life. I made friends. Incredible, lifelong friends. I lost a little weight. I became a better teacher. I became confident. I taught girls to be confident. I sat out at night and watched a still lake. I fell in love (with myself). I became a little more Jewish. I got a name change (the girls called me Shakira, instead of Cheri). And I’m going back to the slice of heaven where time stands still next week. I can’t wait to show you guys the place that made me, me!

These were the summer loves of my life.  I lived in a cabin with these girls for a whole summer!
These were the summer loves of my life. I lived in a cabin with these girls for a whole summer!

I’m in love with camp 🙂