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Day Four

Katie: When I wake up, the previous night's serenity is gone. I'm in a foul mood. The happiness you've been feeling is just a vacation-induced mirage! At home, you'll go back to how you were! (It seems even happiness makes me anxious.) The concierge calls to ask if I'll be joining Ms. Bryan for yoga. "No," I growl. Point proven: You'll never change.

But then I meet Jorge at the gym for a one-on-one session. I reach for a mat, but he says, "Let's talk." He tells me about a rough time in his life. He gets choked up. "I'm not your trainer in this moment," he says. "We are just friends. You and Meredith are just two girls who want to feel better."

Now I'm getting choked up.

"You are strong," Jorge says. "I watch you."

He doesn't say that everything is going to be okay—he says everything is okay. I give the workout my full energy. When it's over, the foul mood is gone. I have my peace back. I finally grasp that keeping it isn't effortless: I have to work for it. And I want to.

Meredith: At yoga, it feels like my muscles are lined with razor blades. Later, during my hour with Mauricio, I notice the bags under my eyes. I haven't slept much in Mexico; I've been unable to quiet my brain's endless recriminations. "Did I pay my credit card bills? Did I e-mail that writer? Why'd I eat so many cashews?" Jorge stops by; I tell him and Mauricio that Katie and I are going horseback riding. They manage worried smiles.

"What?" I ask. Jorge tells me, with touching candor, to stop trying so hard—that wellness isn't just about mileage or number of reps. It hits me that my whole life, I've responded to feelings of inadequacy by running faster, pushing harder, staying up later. That attitude may build muscle and get me promoted, but it is not wellness.

I skip the ride and lie facedown on my terrace's daybed. Later, I click past American Beauty to a soothingly idiotic Amanda Bynes movie. I eat a few cashews—just a few. When I meet up with Katie, she says, "You look relaxed." For the first time in months, I am.

Katie: It's fitting that our last workout is a laid-back salsa lesson, because despite our different fitness backgrounds, we've arrived at the same conclusion: Yes, there's toning to be done, but we also need to have more fun. "When you are a child," Mauricio says, "you use your body all the time. You play! You have forgotten how." We show up to dance class ready to remember. As Meredith and I mimic our trainers' moves, we giggle and joke (and regret wearing skirts, since every spin turns us into subway-grate Marilyns).

Weeks later—when we're e-mailing at 3 P.M. to suggest coffee-free walks around the block—I'll smile when I remember bouncing in that murky saltwater, and Meredith yelping at the sight of a two-foot iguana, and the moment during salsa class when I realized we were both perfectly on beat, moving in unison with our trainers, no longer caring how we looked or who was watching.

For more information about the Destination Wellness program at El Dorado Spa Resorts & Hotels, visit karismahotels.com/destinationwellness.

Next: 4 more resorts that will help you kick-start a fitness regimen

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