Amy, Yolanda, and Kerri are reclining in fluffy robes on wooden chaise lounges. After their 6 A.M. workout, the women enjoyed hot stone massages in Bacara's spa—Bob's treat—and now they're relaxing by a crackling fire. Amy reaches into the pocket of her robe and pulls out three matching necklaces made of thread, each with a tiny silver charm in the shape of a key.
"I really want us to keep the promises we've made to ourselves over the past few days," she tells the others, "so I bought us a little reminder. When you tie the thread around your neck, you make a wish. And when the thread eventually breaks, your wish will come true." The three friends agree that the key charm is the perfect symbol for what they've vowed to do: unlock their potential to live better, healthier lives.
Later that day, the women go off on a mission. Ann has asked them to spend some time hunting for two objects—one that represents who they were when they arrived four days ago, and one that represents where they are headed.
At sunset the boot campers meet Bob, Ann, Angela, and Janis on a terrace overlooking the ocean. Below, waves roll onto the beach, pelicans swoop over the silvery water, and pink clouds streak the sky above the horizon.
Kerri has brought two lemons—one green, the other yellow. "When I got here I had already begun to blossom a little," she says. "After this experience, I can become the ripe fruit and finish what I started."
Amy holds up a Y-shaped stick. At the end of one branch, a handful of twigs shoot off in various directions. "In the past, I was always trying fad diets and buying 'miracle' exercise equipment from infomercials." She breaks off the branch so she's left with a straight stick. "Now I'm going down one path."
Yolanda holds up a black stone she found on the beach. "I was in darkness a few days ago. I was hard-core ready to be healthy, but I didn't know how." Then she holds up a lighter, gray rock. "The color of this one represents a new, purer, clearer vision of my life."
By now the stars have come out and the group sits down to a farewell dinner. They already have something to celebrate: Amy has lost three pounds. The campers present Bob's team with letters of thanks, and after a round of goodbye embraces, the women make their way back to their rooms. Tomorrow morning, they'll head home to begin realizing the life-altering intentions they've created here at the edge of the Pacific.
Check back next month to follow Kerri, Yolanda, and Amy as they pursue their weight loss goals. We'll be running updates on their progress throughout the summer.
Kate Hahn is a Los Angeles–based freelance journalist and author.