Escape from Family Fat Camp by Sara Karim

Abhyan-Gar is your “Haven of Life” on the Gulf of Thailand. Abhyan-Gar is about learning to live, enjoy and appreciate every moment, and in doing so, creating a personal path to a family’s health and wellness.”[1]

July 1st: Lea

Today was the first day of our family vacation to the Abhyan-Gar fitness and health resort. If this luxurious start is the prelude to the next ten days, it’s going to be fantastic! We arrived in the early hours of the morning, and after stepping out of our plane, we were greeted with stark grey humidity and coconut water. The bowing and beaming ladies (most of them were curiously named Boy or its derivatives) in ankle-length, floral-print royal blue pencil skirts and white spaghetti strap tops ushered us into big “Abhyan-Gar” buses. I couldn’t really distinguish any of the sights of ancient temples and weaving willow-type trees Boy was describing, with all the storm clouds and the morning haze, but I took her word for it. We finally arrived to our destination and the concierge quickly instructed us to attend the noon welcome session for all of the arriving guests, to which we were already running late.

12.47 PM LeaCat: heyy gurl xx arrived at the stupid resort, and now they put me in a freaking lecture. It’s like I can’t escape school!

1.20 AM Mallory_J: hey Lea! LOL ikr parents & school suck

1.21 AM LeaCat: you get me Mal xx

The older woman with a black bob and choppy bangs blabbered on for hours, but the main takeaway was that we all have to write in these cheap, see-through paper diaries about our feelings (barf), our day and our fitness. I know mom will stop reading by now, but she will check that I wrote more than one page, so I just write nonsense. Actually, I’ll write about twiggy straws at my school, like Jazzy or Spenser. The way their bones stick out like BBQ chicken wings when I snap them, the way they wear those shapeless dresses to accentuate their ability to wear shapeless clothing and still look skinny, even the way the walk into the classroom all frail and feathers, all of it makes my heart beat with rage and my stomach turn in disgust. Mallory gets me. Those twigs are too skinny for their own good! I consider it charitable to shove fries in their mouths at lunch time.

After the orientation, we decided to settle in to our rooms, overlooking the beach and the sea. It is not prime time for swimming as yesterday marked the coming of the jelly-fish, but at least we get to wake up to a picturesque view (if it’s not hazy, of course)!

July 1st: Addison

It’s long overdue for our family’s physical and mental health to vacation at a resort that will push us out of our comfort zones (for Lea, off her phone and for Logan, off of the couch). Thank goodness we listened to the Millers and the Pattersons rave about their experience here. Maybe this will get Lea invited to all the neighborhood summer pool parties. Most importantly, though, she needs to become more fit in her body and more sound in her mind to thrive for the next four years. I remember how hard it was to start school with the big kids, but I don’t doubt her. She can do it because she is a little angel with so much love to give, in need of a little confidence boost.

Logan, however, needs this because he is definitely keeping something away from me. Maybe it’s got to do with his recent promotion. It’s almost been a year of him becoming partner at his law firm, and I’m certain the feels the pressure. If he would just let me in on his worries, I would be able to help him! He needs to share, or he will explode!!! This diary is a great opportunity to do that, actually. That reminds me, I have to check Lea’s diary too. In case she doesn’t like something. The great girl, she never complains!

02.46 AM email from Clive Owens [[email protected]]

Dear Addison!

I hope all is well with you & your family landed safely in Thailand. I’m really sorry you have been too sick to attend meetings for the past year and I hope that this time with your family will restore your health. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but your one -year membership is being revoked. The team has decided it would be the best move in your case, because you only attended the first four of meetings last July, gained thirty pounds in the process and have been in and out of physical therapy for the surge of your chronic illness ever since. Don’t be discouraged! If you would like to apply for a year-long membership again, that is absolutely acceptable and we would welcome you with open arms. However, if you decide to join, please note that all meetings must be attended for maximum achievement.

Best regards to you & the family,

Clive Owens

04.31 email from Addison Danes [[email protected]] Dear Clive,

Thank you for informing me. Although I did not succeed in your program last July, I was truly hoping to come back and thrive, but was held back by my chronic spleen pain. It is a very serious disease which I treated with utmost importance, so had to compromise the attendance of some meetings in the process.

I don’t want to be the one to hate the messenger, I’m just not that kind of woman, but I consider it very rude to disclose my change of weight online. I think this is very disrespectful, unprofessional and quite simply put, wrong, Clive. It’s just wrong. Due to this, I will not apply for another membership and will not recommend you to any of my friends.

I’ll get back to you after I talk this matter over with my lawyer. Addison Danes

July 2nd: Logan

This is just stupid. Like all of Addy’s ideas. We should have went on the Mediterranean cruise that was ALL INCLUSIVE instead of coming to this dump, when it’s not even the season to come here. And the food is just horrific: no salt, no butter, no joy! These healthy bastards, it’s like a cult. I need my bacon in the morning, and my cheese fritters before bed, otherwise the sleep apnea kicks in and Addy kicks me out of the bed.

July 5th: Logan

I can’t go on lying like this to my family, I just can’t! Today, Addy asked me what I was lying about, out of nowhere at lunch, and I bit into my water glass so hard, I broke it! A sane person can’t hold that much strength in his teeth, right? Thank goodness my mouth didn’t bleed, but what the heck? I can’t even drink from glasses anymore? I have to tell them.

It’s not like I have a mistress or like I gambled away Lea’s college fund, I just didn’t make partner when I said I did…or at all. But Addy had already plastered the “My Husband Made Partner” bumper sticker by the time they announced Jonny partner. To hell with those busty secretaries and their misleading whispers.

04.56 AM email from Jonathan Vonne [[email protected]]

What the hell? Why am I still covering for you after a year? Your wife just texted me about throwing you a one-year anniversary party for you making partner. I thought you told your family that you never made partner @ CDL. Why are you still lying??? Tell her asap before it creates a bigger problem for the firm.

July 7th: Lea

I can’t deal with idiots in my life anymore. First this concentration camp for fat people and now Jazzy told. Can’t trust those twigs to do crap. I’m definitely losing my rep in the family.

Whatever, mom and dad are keeping bigger secrets. They should really check out their Deleted Items folder, or not have their password be password.

03.39 AM email from Elizabeth Meyers [[email protected]] Dear Mr. and Mrs. Danes,

I hope all is well with you. My sincere apologies for bothering you during your vacation, but the information the Washington High School Dean’s Office received from two parents caused us to contact you immediately.

Two parents, who shall be nameless as per their request, have informed me and Principle Clarke that Lea has been bullying two girls from her class for the past year. According to the parents Lea has been verbally and physically abusing the girls for their appearance and at lunch time in the janitor’ closet, force-feeding the girls junk food from the cafeteria until they vomited. As these accusations are absolutely atrocious, we decided to check with the security cameras (we attached various videos from the year for your confirmation) and have fired the janitor for not informing us earlier. The results of Lea’s unfortunate actions have caused one of the girls to acquire an eating disorder (anorexia nervosa, for your information) and only when her medical issue was addressed by a psychiatrist, did her parents find out how Lea had been involved. As you know, Washington High School has a zero-tolerance policy for any bullying and in Lea’s case, the authorities must be involved for the use of physical force. Please call me at 202.347.5599 as soon as you can.

Thank you,


July 7th: Addison

What irritates me the most about the stupid minibar in this hell hole is that the pruned cookies have chocolate covered raisins in them. At first I was like, sure, it’s a great compromise, but then I realized that the chocolate is not the milk kind that I like. It’s 90% cocoa an 10% devil’s saliva! They are literally trying to kill us here!

12.10 AM email from Amazon [[email protected]]

Addison Danes,

This is a confirmation for your purchase of                 12 Chocolate Chip Cookie Boxes (pack of 20).

Best regards,

The Amazon Team

July 10th: Voicemail from Logan Danes left at 23.02

“Hello, Elizabeth. Logan speaking here. I… I don’t even know how to process your email about Lea. She’s a darling little angel, she literally wouldn’t even hurt a fly, I mean did you know she left food for the flies to eat when she was five? That girl has not a smudge on her heart.

Actually, I can’t even believe you decided to accuse my little girl of belligerent behavior! How can you even trust those girls? How could you know what went on in the Janitor’s closet? For all you know, they could just have been sharing secrets or something! And you made Juan suffer from your assumptions. Did you feel good knowing that he had five mouths to feed from that job? Did you? Let the guilt seep in, because you made my daughter bawl from your aggressive email, and she BAKED BROWNIES FOR THE WHOLE DEAN’S OFFICE EVERY MONTH! How dare you upset my daughter like that? Let me remind you that I am a lawyer and a strong believer of innocence until proven guilty! Let this case stand in front of a jury and the anorexic pre-teen’s confession will mean nothing! Nothing, I tell you!

July 10th: Voicemail from Logan Danes left at 23.17

Clive, you must have to go to the bathroom a lot, because you are full of shit! Your mother should be ashamed! My wife is suffering from chronic spleen pain for a year and you comment on her weight? It’s an underestimated killer of over three percent of middle-aged women every year! Our family is trying to struggle through her serious disease, and you bring up the triviality of appearance? Believe me, she will never come to your establishment again, much less pay a dime and we will never, ever recommend you to our friends! Rich, pudgy friends with lots of free time!


According to security camera footage, the DANES family, that is Logan, Addison, and Lea Danes broke out of the West gate at 23.55 July 10th 2015, which was the tenth day of their stay at the Abhyan-Gar resort. The video demonstrates Logan kicking the gate open and letting his wife and daughter out. The three guests proceed to the 7-eleven store located outside of the West gate. The store was closed and empty. Logan uses a credit card to open the door to the store and succeeds. The three exchange high-fives and get inside.

(CUT-TO CCTV footage retrieved 07/10/2021)

Logan proceeds to shove twelve twinkies into the pockets of his hoodie. Addison uses her maxi-skirt to hold up the doughnuts, which she slides over from the top three shelves of Aisle 2. Lea sits on the cashier counter and is holding four corndogs in her hands, biting the “bouquet” all at once. A passer-by from the neighboring resort had filmed the group in the store, uploaded the video to YouTube and other social media (under the title “A-salt and Butter-y”, unfortunately adding the location of our resort, thus involving the resort in the situation). The video has gone viral and has over two million hits.

After twenty minutes of the aforementioned eating and shoving, the PPD (Phuket Police Department) arrested the two adults on the grounds of breaking and entering, as well as robbery, and Child Protective Services took custody of their teenage daughter. The Embassy of the United States in Thailand has been informed.

[1] Adapted from

Sara is a rising Junior in high school in Washington DC, but is originally from Astana, Kazakhstan. This is her third published work.