I came upon The Body Retreat in a period of desperation. My relationship had ended because I’d put on weight or so I believed then – he’d always said he didn’t “do fat”!! Neither did I but I couldn’t seem to lose it and I was in a bad place.
I’d taken part in the Brighton Marathon earlier that year, completed in 6 hours, 37 minutes but I hadn’t kept up with the fitness regime. I’d moved out of his and couldn’t be bothered – or should I say, didn’t have time.
By August 2011, I decided I needed a personal trainer to motivate me so Googled just that. Up came Jules camp and, at the very last minute, I phoned Julie Brealy and asked if I could join the week long camp, taking place in a couple of days time. I needed to get away and take time out. This might do the trick. It might not be restful but it would take me out of myself. She said yes and I turned up, nervously brave.
I was amazed how much we were all taken care of. Every waking moment seemed to be accommodated. Get up now, drink this, eat that, run now, box here, wipe the sweat off and keep going. Daily hikes/jogs of between 4 and 10 miles, sometimes wearing a 1 Stone weighted jacket showed us what it was like to carry more weight than we needed. So heavy to lift and wear and yet so wonderful to take off, it showed me what effect some of this excess weight had on my general life and effort in walking or running for the bus.
There was a nutritionist telling us how to eat and, more importantly why – it all seemed to make sense. We had a hypnotherapist and a behavioural therapist talking about our personalities and lifestyle issues. Every element of our lives seemed to be addressed, emotional, physical, practical – totally holistic. All this and laughter too, it was so much fun, surprisingly.
Julie was very supportive, cheerfully motivating us and totally caring. I don’t know how she did it. We were all individuals and not just numbers. I felt I’d made friends for life during that week. There was a common bond between us. No-one was more glamorous, thinner, lovelier – we were all the same – all needing something and all receiving it.
The meals were amazing, small but enough. Given all the exercise, sometimes 10 hour’s worth a day, it seemed to me, I was never hungry. How did that work? The mantra was – Eat slow, smell it, enjoy it, stop when you’re satisfied and leave something on the plate. It worked for me. I ate everything put in front of me and in spite of the fact that I am rather food phobic and frightened of certain things, it was a revelation that actually, all those “horrid” things like olives, capers, tomatoes etc were actually really lovely.
By the end of the week, blisters aside, I felt fantastic. The linen casual trousers I had arrived in were now huge. I triumphantly stuck both arms down the front of them, past the elbows and showed off. The grand weigh in revealed I had lost 8 lbs and lots of inches. I felt amazing. I was suffering from a stress psoriasis when I arrived, yet it had all but healed up totally by the time I left. This busy, physically demanding week was totally stress free and better than a holiday. Actually it was a holiday. My friends were bored of me constantly going on about it – pleased bored, but bored…
I left and was so happy. I visited a supermarket and bought different foods, determined to start again and keep up the good work.
I’ve now taken part in 3 other retreats and I love them. I’m a real advocate because its worked for me. The good eating habits continued (yes the fitness needs working on) and I have just reached a total loss of 2 stone. I’m lighter and more compact than I’ve been in 10 years. I’ve reached a size 12 bottom half and size 14 top half – from sizes 16/18. Its cost me a small fortune to buy a new wardrobe, but I’m so happy. I feel invigorated and my friends and family think I look good and so smiley. I really should ask Julie for a 2 stone weighted jacket and then I’d see where I’d come from.
The troubled start of the year has done me a huge favour – it motivated me to look at myself and do something about those things I didn’t like. Julie Brealy and her camp has enabled me to find myself again – so important because I was well and truly lost before I met her.