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I've seen Fire and I've seen Rain

Bryan lets his inner warrior, Ethel, speak for him this week (and she's got a lot to say).

Dear friends,

I really wanted to write this week's blog, however Jackie decided to introduce us to our inner warriors on Monday, and my inner warrior, Ethel, felt compelled to write this week's entry, so please do not hold me accountable for her words. Love, Bryan

"I've seen Fire and I've seen Rain." By Ethel (Bryan's Inner Warrior)

This week was like visiting the island of the misfit toys, and as much as Jackie is trying to play Santa, something is NOT quite working. Nikki refused to run in the rain and got an umbrella, Joe's foot gave out, Shay busted her knee, Jeana forgot that Jackie is always watching, Stacy missed a fieldtrip, and last but not least, there was Bryan and his dramatic episode at the fire station. Embarrassment, party of 6, your table is ready. 

This week's basic training, which normally happens in the gym, was held outside. I love a good challenge and a three-mile jog is what I eat for breakfast. It's child's play. So, suck it up everyone, including you Bryan! You are all lucky enough to live in Los Angeles where the weather is beautiful 99.9% of the time so excuse Mother Nature if she feels like having a day off, she is allowed, but unfortunately you are not! Quit complaining! I agree that being fat and running in the rain is not fun. I was surprised Hayden Panettiere didn't show up and try to roll one of you whiney sea creatures back into the ocean. It also seems that some of the natives are starting to get annoyed with Nikki during the workouts, but Bryan finds it amusing that she quits whenever she feels like it. Jeana, on the other hand, was killing me with her HILARIOUS outdoor mall-walking routine. I'm guessing Jeana's inner warrior got stuck window-shopping at Neiman's. Nikki and Bryan got a much-needed massage after the workout, Bryan for pain and recovery, Nikki I think was just killing time before happy hour. They laughed quite a bit and god bless those poor massage therapists, because Bryan and Nikki are a handful (literally and figuratively).

The grocery excursion the next day was interesting. It was like watching a group of children run around a candy store. Of course Bryan knew that putting fruits and vegetables and protein in his basket was the smart, healthy way to go. It doesn't take a genius to figure that out. The group has been doing the program for four weeks now, so one has to be slightly off to think that sweet potato fries are a smart choice (Not naming names, but one of you is enrolled in college. Please use your noggin next time). Yet, even I, Ethel, will admit to being surprised at a few things in the grocery store that I always assumed were healthy, like yogurt. I never realized how much sugar it contained. Take that off Bryan's list. Nikki and Bryan had fun trying to plant terrible choices in other peoples baskets while their backs were turned. It was pretty funny. Also, for those who care to know, the itching has finally stopped, thanks for asking. Bryan seemed highly uncomfortable putting Vagisil in his basket, (that came out wrong) but it really was for me. 

The fireman workout was intensely HOT in so many ways. First there were actual flames that needed to be put out…and I'm not talking about Craig or Bryan. Then we had some very attractive men dressed in fireman gear, which was the WHOLE reason I made Bryan fake that injury, I mean, HELLO?? Needless to say, I am the smartest inner warrior of the bunch (I know Bryan has a beautiful partner, blah blah blah, but a warrior still has her needs). Actually, here is what happened. During one of the exercises, Bryan felt an incredibly sharp pain in his chest. Even I could feel it and I made him step away for a second, to regain his composure, which was a BIG mistake. Lesson number one, NEVER, NEVER mention the words "Ouch," "My Chest," or "It Hurts" unless the lights are out and it's prom night. Everyone but Stacy's grandma came rushing out of the woodwork, hooking Bryan up to all sorts of machines with wires and oxygen masks. An ambulance was called, paramedics dispatched, and obviously there were fire trucks -- it was like a circus and Bryan was the main attraction. Now I know how Lindsay must feel, except Bryan doesn't have to wear an ankle bracelet or pee in a cup every week. I should introduce Lindsay to my warrior cousin Bertha. She'd whip her into shape, all right. Got to jot that down somewhere. 

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yeah, all of that chaos for a tiny little sharp pain. Now sure, I was concerned and a little scared, as was Bryan, but after a while, the pain subsided. I'm sure Bryan appreciated all the concern and attention he was receiving from all those men, I know I was, but after 10 minutes of recovery he and I were back in the saddle and ready to finish the workout, however NO ONE was going to allow that to happen. Needless to say I WAS pissed! I was really bummed because I knew that Bryan would have won the challenge that day and that I would have finally been able to get my hands all over some fireman's hose. Ok, that went to far, I'll admit it. It's been a very long time. I'm sorry. Anyway, Bryan and I got kicked out of the workout and one of the producers drove us home. As soon as she dropped us off, we wished her farewell, spoke to Miguel on the phone, and then we headed out the door. We literally ran to the gym and finished our workout. Although, I will admit that some of the bigwigs did call Bryan and begged him not to workout. Sorry, you can blame me for that one. Ethel is a no nonsense, hardcore, fighting warrior.

Bryan decided to bring me along to therapy this week. It was crazy town. From out of the blue Joe attacked Nikki, (I just wish those two would do it already and get it over with) and then Stacy lashed out at Jeana. The heat between Stacy and Jeana brought me right back to the fire station. So glad Bryan gets to sit in between them during therapy. It's delicious. Just wish I had some Raisinettes and a tub of popcorn. No I don't…yes, I do. Well, no. I mean, yes. Maybe. Anyway, while all this was happening, sweet Mandy just sat there and smiled. I'm dying to know what is happening in everyone's head during therapy. Sometimes, inner warriors like to play a game and go around the room and just drop into someone else's head. While Bryan babbled on in therapy, I decided to hop on over to Mandy's. All I could hear was Disney music and birds chirping. It was extremely bright and colorful and all of the animals had names and could communicate in English. I could have stayed there all day. It's very soothing and calming. 

Next I hopped on over to Jeana's head -– where Yanni or John Tesh (I can't tell the difference) was playing on constant loop, over and over. It was maddening. It's like being stuck in an elevator for hours. I tried not to overstay my welcome. I next popped into Stacy's head, and it was the exact opposite. It was extremely deafening. Like being in a noisy stadium with voices everywhere. Eventually I noticed that all the voices started to sound the same. Upon further inspection, I realized it was just Stacy's voice, talking over and over again, in a round. Like row, row, row your boat but somehow much more frightening. Occasionally I would hear crying, but mostly it was Stacy having conversations with herself, about herself. Kind of like Sybil, but without being tied to the piano and all. 

I quickly dropped in on Shay, who was like, at the mall and like, talking, on like, her cell phone and standing in line at Cold Stone Creamery in the food court and was like, "Hurry up and whateverrrrrrrrrrr and like, I want in a waffle cone with only three add ins, I mean, like, hello" I quietly and quickly bolted out of her head, and then I jumped into Joe's head -- where he was trying to formulate something pleasant to say about somebody, somewhere, somehow, someday but instead the Nine Inch Nails were turned up way so loud that he got distracted and went back to torturing a box of kittens. 

So I then slipped across the couch and tried to get into Nikki's head, but of course there was a doorman with a list and the line was extremely long. Eventually I got in. There was club music pumping and it was very dark with a faint glow from some lollipop sucking, shirtless guy's neon necklace and the occasional strobe light flickering on and off. Someone was also having a field day with a smoke machine and you could barely see a foot in front of you. It smelled like vomit, gin and an ashtray inside that head. I looked for the nearest emergency exit and ran out the door. 

Next stop Jackie's head where it smelled like patchouli oil and was incredibly damp, like being in a bikram yoga ashram for hours on end with no windows and all that can be heard was the continuous sound of Jackie counting out reps, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Mayday, Mayday, Mayday! No thanks, I'll pass. 

Last stop, Dr. Ramani's head where Pachelbel's Canon in D major was playing and she was very busy organizing her grocery list. About ten minutes into my game, I heard my name being mentioned by Dr. Ramani asking Bryan how his inner warrior, Ethel (hey that's me) helped him get through this week's workout. I felt the need to be present and listen to what he had to say. He was slightly dismissive for some odd reason. Ingrate! 

Weigh in this week wasn't very good. It was clear that Jackie was getting just as frustrated as I. Bryan was upset with himself that he only lost three pounds. I felt like it was better then none, but he was comparing his numbers from the first two weeks where it seemed like all the work he was putting in was paying off. This week he worked just as hard but didn't get the results he would have liked. Oh well, next week I am stepping up my game. More Ethel! As for everyone else, it seems somewhat clear. Jeana and Nikki, well that one is pretty obvious -- lay off the fried food and the hooch and work out to intensity. Not sure what is up with Joe. I guess his foot is holding him back, but he does look great. Shay has a busted knee, so she seems like she is out for a while. Stacy is busting her ass but that gnarly PCOS is giving her a run for her money, poor thing. Then we have the sweetest woman in the world, Mandy, who is killing it. She looks AMAZING already. I'd be interested to meet her inner warrior. Just for coffee, really. Inner warriors never date. It's just a thing in our community.

I personally learned a lot of valuable tools this week, as did Bryan. Each of these participants really have an inner warrior inside. Finding it at times is challenging and uncomfortable.  But the words comfort and change are rarely used in the same sentence. If you really want to reclaim the best life possible, you have to do the work, both inside and out. It is never easy and there will always be stumbling blocks. Whether it is you holding yourself back or not receiving support from those around you, the trick is to keep on fighting! At the end of the day, no one in this group can turn and say Jackie failed them, because they are only failing themselves. You must show up and do the work. Jackie and Craig are giving everyone the tools, now they just have to continue to put them to use. Making smart food choices and really working out to intensity, that's what it's going to take. Here is some helpful advice; it only takes an hour a day. I have to keep reminding Bryan that, just one hour a day. Get off the couch and go for a walk. Get your heart rate moving. Something. But don't be unrealistic and set yourself up for failure. For instance, if you have been sedentary for the past 12 months don't start training for a marathon tomorrow. Baby steps!

Something else that I found incredibly interesting this week was when Joe called Jackie out for giving Nikki extra attention. I wanted to say to Joe, if you're doing your work, what does it really matter? (But I'm just an inner warrior and can't really speak) Nikki obviously needs the extra help. Losing weight is tough work. It's not just about getting on a treadmill and eating steamed broccoli and chicken 24/7. It's about flipping a switch in your mind. Not everyone is wired the same way and with some it takes a little more work. I commend Jackie for really sticking to her convictions and trying to break through to Nikki. But when all is said and done, Nikki has to really want this for herself. They all have to want it for themselves. It sometimes feels like a never-ending road to travel, but if they can continue to not look back and get caught up in their old destructive behaviors, they might just stand a chance. My motivation from here on in is to show up with Bryan each week, do the work and see the results. He's down 20 pounds and has 40 more to go, which seems almost impossible, but he's lucky to have me along for the ride and we are going to keep on fighting. One hour a day, one step at a time!

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