At the end of 2017 I had traveled to eight countries over eights weeks, finding myself eating and drinking far too much. Whether it was during lunch, cocktails, dinner, or after dinner, every time I turned around someone was offering me something to eat or drink that was outside my usual diet.
My saving grace was that during the last week of January, I planned to spend a week at the highly acclaimed The Ranch in Malibu. This was my fourth rewarding visit and it always provides the most transformational experience. In my case I always knew that I had this week to reset my buttons, make new goals and be a better version of the Colin who had checked in a week before.
Every morning you are woken up to the sound of the daily guide walking on crushed gravel, ringing Tibetan bells outside your door, and greeting you by name. A gentle ease into the day, and although I knew I was going to challenge myself, I was also aware that I could pull on all of my resources to support me. The week is anchored around challenging and stunningly beautiful hikes, which start in the morning and are completed by noon. You push yourself as hard as you want, and the guides create the course accordingly.
I was clocking at least 12 miles a day, although you can choose to do whatever makes you comfortable. After a delicious and rewarding lunch, the afternoon offers a core class and strength session up in the Romp Room, complete with the most engaging trainers. Each day you are rewarded with a well-earned massage in Massage Village followed by an hour of candlelit stretch yoga.
The food program is made up of a plant-based diet (~1,400 calories per day) where each dish is delicious, beautifully presented, and most importantly fulfilling. The dining room is command central where each meal is served however, sometimes lunch is served on the beach if your hike leads you there.
Tasty dishes like avocado toast, lettuce-wrapped burritos, seed-based pizza and filling salads and salsas were some of the best meals. I have to admit, I never felt hungry in between the well-balanced meals and snacks of fruit and nuts. If I did find myself hungry, the staff could always provide additional food. Each person goes to the ranch with his or her own goals — mine was not to lose weight, but to get back on track.
The hospitality services throughout the retreat are unrivaled. If you want your cholesterol checked, need a chiropractor, or would like acupuncture, specialists come to The Ranch in the afternoon on an appointment basis.
I can some it up this way: I arrived like a piece of dirty laundry. Days one and two were spent in the wash, by Thursday I was in the spinner and by Friday, I felt like a crisp white-ironed linen shirt! The feeling has stayed with me since. Mission accomplished, and I am back on the routines that serve me well. Oh… and needless to say, I am already signed back up for next year.