The Body Retreat

The Body Retreat

Women Only Weight Loss & Wellbeing Retreats

Weight Loss Transformation Before and After Pictures

Why no Before and After Pictures at The Body Retreat?

Weight loss transformation Before and After Pictures…how I hate them!!

You cannot escape them, If you have been on social media or been looking around for a residential weight loss programme then I’ll bet that you are very familiar with the “Before and After” pictures.

We see weight transformations all over our magazine covers, internet pages and television screens.  

These pictures are also (unfortunately) an incredibly powerful marketing tool, so you’ll also continue to see them in magazines and on TV and on social media feeds, as long as there’s a diet industry trying to make money from other peoples misery.

Now this might seem an odd and conflicting blog to be writing…after all…don’t we run a Weight Loss Retreat!!!

We do indeed, for ten years now we have been running Women Only Weight Loss Retreats and yet you will never see a “Before and After” picture used to market our Retreats EVER!!

Why is that ?

Well we don’t buy into the myth that health, wellbeing, happiness is defined by what a woman looks like… but rather what a woman feels like.  

The truth about before and after weight loss pictures is that they’re a fleeting moment in time, and never communicate the whole story. 

They are just a snapshot in time, they cannot tell you the full story, so they try to convey in a single picture a message that’s something along the following lines:

Large body =  bad, gross, lazy, unlovable, ugly, unhealthy, tired, messy, etc

Small body= happy, healthy, pretty, loved, energized, got their shit together, etc

The comments that support these images will be congratulatory, celebratory #goals.  They make you feel that you “Should” want to look like the after picture.

I doubt that those using these “Before and After” pictures give any thought or perhaps even care about how incredibly harmful these pictures are. The truth about weight loss before and after pictures is that they’re hurtful, shaming, and quite frankly, don’t tell you a damn thing.

They don’t tell you how the person really feels, how healthy they truly are. Not everyone is happy and healthy in an after picture. 

Sometimes dieting has become almost a full time job, robbing them of the physical and mental energy to do things that can really bring them joy. 

Sometimes they have fought injury and illness as they have overworked their body in the quest to change it.

Sometimes they’re practically starving their body, doing serious harm to it in the process, so they are hungry all the time and think about food constantly.

Sometimes they’re lonely, because they have become very good at saying no to going out joining friends or family as they worry about what they are going to eat.

Sometimes their smile is forced because they’re really actually quite unhappy and anxious

Because the truth is that Thin doesn’t = Happiness!

After isn’t really After. It’s just now. 

Research shows that after 5 years most dieters will regain the weight they lost, and for about two thirds of those people, they’ll end up gaining even more. So what you’re seeing in that after picture isn’t a permanent state of being, but rather a fleeting moment in time

Before and After pictures can leave you feeling inadequate, they feed into anxiety and depression, they may promote Thinness but they do not promote Health.

That is what we want to promote here at The Body Retreat …HEALTH!

On our Weight Loss Retreat we focus on what you gain …not just what you lose. Do you shed pounds and inches on our Weight Loss Retreats…yes of course you do… but it’s not the be all and end all.  

We want to you to look and feel and be strong, fit, health, attractive at the shape and size and weight that feels right for you. That doesn’t look just one way.

For us its about cultivating a Mindset of Health and Wellbeing that leads you to behave in ways that respect and protect your body and your health.  

It’s how you think, how you feel and how you behave… its not only how you look… so not photograph would ever do that justice.

What about you?  What do you think about Before and Afters?

Celebrating 10 Years Retreating at The Body Retreats

The Body Retreat is 10 Years old today.

Some of you may already be familiar with how The Body Retreat was started.

Like all good stories we will start with once upon a time….

There was an overweight, unhealthy corporate HR executive who was spending her days coping. Until the day she wasn’t… Acute Adrenal Fatigue or Burnout as its called saw co-founder Juls spending 3 months in a private psychiatric hospital.

It seemed the time to turn my back on my corporate career and while I was figuring out what my next steps would be I went on holiday where I met Julie Brealy who was the designer and manager of one of the UK’s first Weight Loss Bootcamps.  

Julie was disillusioned with her current role, the owners of her Bootcamp were only interested in bums in beds.  She was running a mixed camp with 20-30 people attending each week.  Julie wanted to do more, give more after care, to work with smaller groups, to work more with women and to be able to tailor the service she offered.  

This conversation stayed with me during the holiday, it sparked something in me.  

A question…”what if….”  

When we returned home from the holiday I sent Julie a proposal outlining a small bespoke women only heath retreat that would bring together our combined skills and experience 

I wrote “War and Peace”, my manifesto for a health retreat run by women for women that really focused on factors that impact women’s health.  It took Julie over a week to reply, so I thought I had blown it. 

Her tentative and brief reply suggested that we meet for a coffee and a chat.  

The rest as they say is history.

The story of how The Body Retreat came about perfectly describes myself and Julie as individuals and business partners.  I am quick, sharp, emotional and if I’m honest verbose.  Julie by contrast is quiet, considered, measured and methodical.  

We literally are the Ying and Yang of women’s health.  

From our knowledge, experience, skills and areas of expertise to our personalities and demeanour.  We have worked together almost daily for 10 years now and we still make each other laugh, we know when to back down, know when to step up and take charge.  The partnership is a huge part of what makes The Body Retreat successful.

We are women on a mission to provide a safe space for busy women to reclaim their health their way.  To bebunk the health myths and societal dictates that tell women how they should look, feel and be.  Our aim is to empower women to enjoy the body, health and wellbeing they want and deserve.

Here’s to the next 10 years…..

Nut Butter 3 Ways

Our afternoon snack at the body retreat regularly includes nut butter. This weeks recipe is 3 simple ways to enjoy nut butter to make a satisfying and fulfilling snack. These can all be made in a hurry and a great boost if you’re feeling low energy.

Nut butters are a high source of protein, fibre and fats. There are now a whole range of nut butters available aside from peanut butter, almond and cashew are more regularly available as well as hazelnut and seed butters in specialist shops. Try and buy organic nut butter or make check the ingredients for no added sugar or hidden ingredients.

There are lots ways to enjoy nut butter, use instead of hummus with crudites, mix with soy sauce and rice wine vinegar to make a satay or my favourite on oat cakes with yeast extract spread. We love to use it in our recipes at the body retreat, it’s delicious in vegan biscuits, smoothies and bircher muesli.

Serves 1

1 tbsp nut butter

1/2 apple (cut into slices) / 2 oat cakes / 1 stick celery

Just spread the nut butter on the celery/apple/oat cakes and enjoy!

There’s lots of different ways to eat nut butters, not just on toast! What is your favourite?

What does it take to make Change Happen?

Make Change Happen

These last few months have been all about change haven’t they. Some changes have been thrust upon us and for some of us we have been figuring out how to make change happen.

You’ll remember that in the absence of our residential retreats we have been all about Retreat@Home here at The Body Retreat HQ.

There is nothing like being forced outside your comfort zone to create change… you know the olde saying that ‘necessity is the master of invention”!!

I dare say that if it hadn’t been for Covid-19 and the current Lockdown we would not have launched Retreat@Home in 2020.

The truth is that we wanted to create a non residential retreat offer for many years. 

However it is also a truth that I (Juls) am not very comfortable with technology, I really have to psych myself up to engage with technology in all it’s forms.  So I was quite comfortable in our face to face residential space…I’m a great talker and I love to talk about Women’s Wellness, but ask me to write a blog, or material to published and I feel uneasy and even a little bit queasy..

There was also the convenient truth that we are very busy at The Body Retreat…prior to lockdown we ran 28 residential retreats each year.  We you then factor in the time to run the business, complete our annual CPD studies and maybe squeeze in the old holiday there really felt like very little time to devote to creating a new product.

Now if I’m being very honest id say that i was looking for excuses not to spend the time to create the new product… of course i can rationalise it and say that I was very genuinely a busy women.

Heres the real truth of the matter…

You make time for what is important to you.

For me it was the discomfort of carving out chunks of time to research, design and test a non-residential product meant that i was never going to make the time for it.

Of course Lockdown changed all my priorities literally overnight.

It was no longer a “nice to do” project but very much a “need to do” priority.

Priorities….this is the heart of all change.

When we launched Retreat@Home I received a number of calls and emails asking about how much time was needed to participate on the programmes.  

I would explain that for example that our Signature Retreat has 2 daily workouts, one early morning and one other at a time to suit the individual.  There is also a recommend daily walk of 15/20 minutes.
There is also a daily Behaviour tutorial at lunchtime about 20 minutes.  
Then throughout the week there are live catch up sessions.
Of course there is also meal preparation and while we keep our recipes simple and quick they do still take more time that just throwing something in the microwave.
In total …if you were to participate in every activity every day then you want to allocate 90 mins – 2 hrs every day.

Half of those whom I messaged back didn’t book on.  Some came back to tell me that they couldn’t find the time alongside their other commitments.

It comes back to Priorities once again.

Retreat@Home is a weekend or a week long, it is designed to be an immersive experience.  It is designed to force you outside your comfort zone.  It is obviously not designed to be how you live for ever.  It’s a kick start, a reboot, a reframe. 

What is unique about our Retreat@Home programmes are the focus on “What Next” … now that you have begun to feel the benefits of the positive change you have created…how do you take that forward?  What is going to work in your every day life to support you to continue? What do you leave behind?  It is all about giving you the time and the resources to figure out what and how to prioritise your health. How do you make change happen?

Just think for a moment or two…what are your top three priorities for this week? 

How much time are you planning to give to each of these? 

Now …the killer question…. are these priorities for your benefit or for others?

It can be so easy to become the woman who is so used to putting the priorities of others above herself that to change that it seems selfish, self centred …maybe even greedy.

The bottom line is that change takes time.

As busy women you are never ever going to FIND the Time… you are going to have to MAKE the time.

Of course we Make time for what is important to us…what we prioritise.

If and when achieving and maintaining the body, health and well-being you want and deserve is genuinely your priority and you feel ready to make change happen then any of our retreats, be that our Residential Women’s Wellness Retreats or Retreat@Home are for you. 

If you are just hoping to find a quick fix, that fits around an unhealthy lifestyle and still gives you sustainable results…… well …the truth is that we are not the right fit.

I didn’t mean that to sound as  “tough love” as it may have come across… i think that honesty is important. 

Can you make change happen if it’s not your priority?

Change isn’t comfortable ..unfortunately.  I wasn’t at all comfortable glued to my laptop these last few months.  It has become easier to spend a few hours every day now fleshing out the ideas and plans for the level to Retreat@Home.

Covid-19 Retreat Opening Measures

Covid-19 Retreat Safety Protocol

Our mission here at The Body Retreat has always been to support women improve their health and wellness.  Now more than ever as we start our journey to Post Covid-19 retreat life 

Keeping our retreaters and team safe and healthy while on retreat is of paramount importance to us as we begin to plan a cautious re-opening of The Body Retreat.  

We have been planning measures to safeguard your health and wellbeing by adhering to the highest standards of  protective measures that will re-inforce not detract from your retreat experience.

We are introducing a series of special measures on Retreat to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19

  • Retreat occupancy has been reduced to a maximum of 5 retreaters per retreat.
  • Retreaters and team members will be asked to confirm that they have no symptoms of Covid-19 nor have they come into contact with anyone who has experienced symptoms.   Retreaters will be asked to complete a Covid -19 screening questionnaire before we will confirm bookings.
  • Any Retreater or team member who has experienced symptoms at any stage of the pandemic or who has worked in frontline key roles in must provide a PCR / IgM test prior to arrival.
  • We will request that where possible retreaters arrive at The Body Retreat by private transport only. 
  • We have heat sensitive thermometer to detect temperature for both retreater and team arrivals.
  • Every Retreater will be issued with both a personal Health Kit of face mask and disinfectant hand sanitiser and a Equipment Kit of dumbbells, yoga mat, boxing gloves etc which will be sole use during the retreat.
  • Disinfectant hand gel will be available in all communal areas.
  • Enhanced hygiene and cleaning procedures, which will include daily disinfecting of possible infection sources like door handles, light switch, banister, chairs etc 
  • We will introduce a social distancing protocol for both retreaters and team members, this will include rotation of movement and shifts for meal service and certain activities. 
  • We will endeavour to offer only outdoor exercise where appropriate.
  • We will be restricting our current spa treatment menu to reduce contact time with therapists.  Furthermore all therapist will have completed Covid-19 training and wear PPE during treatments.