The Body Retreat

The Body Retreat

Women Only Weight Loss & Wellbeing Retreats

Food Glorious Food …do you love food too much?

“I just love food”

“Life is too short to eat boring, bland food”

“I hate diet food”

Does this sound familiar to you?  Us too!!

Diet Mentality

It never ceases to amaze me how many women who join us here at The Body Retreat are surprised to hear that they don’t have to stop eating real food in order to be able to shed the weight that is unnecessary for them.  They love food but they feel that is shameful to admit it.  It’s wrong to love food.  Food is just fuel right??

The diet industry has convinced us that we need to starve ourselves, make great sacrifices, deprive ourselves of our favourite foods in order to shed the pounds and inches.

Just recently I was reading an introduction to a diet book that recommended that us girls ( ….yes this was a diet book aimed solely at women …for the record I read these things to keep abreast of the nonsense still being shared out there!!)…anyway I digress… this introduction advised us girls to prepare ourselves to battle against our food demons, to fortify ourselves for the struggles to come over the next couple of weeks…but the promise of shedding pounds and inches was so real that these sacrifices would be all worth it.  It read like they expect the reader was preparing for war!!!

Do you really want to do battle with your body?

Do you really want to spend the rest of your life denying yourself?

Do you want to be in a permeant state of denial, deprivation and dieting?

No me neither!!

The Key to Weight Loss

But that’s the only way to shed weight right???  You have to diet and dieting means giving up on nice food. You cant be on a diet and love food at the same time.

Except that it really doesn’t.

Shedding the weight that is unnecessary for you, achieving and maintaining the body, health and wellness you want and deserve isn not about dieting, willpower and deprivation.

It does mean creating a new positive relaionship with real food.  It does mean eating in a way that nourishes your body and your brain.

That is what is so different about our approach to eating here at The Body Retreat.  It is why mindset change is at the heart of what we do.

But you can’t simply think your way thin… sorry I’ve read that book too 🙂

You need to start to eat in a way that supports your brain chemistry and your hormones so that it genuinely starts to feel easier to make positive choices about food.

Eat Real Food

Let me show you some of the food that we eat on retreat to illustrate my point



Real food right?

Yes of course some of the food we serve regularly on retreat you may not have tried yet…but thats great as you get to experience new foods in a way that you don’t have to worry about how to make it, store it  etc

On our retreats no whole food group is excluded, so this means that you eat bread, potatoes, cheese, pancakes etc etc. Like I say real food, for real results.

We focus on nutritional density, eating foods that are rich in protein, with good quality fats and high in fibre..because these foods are nourishing your body and your brain, they click the satiety switch in the brain meaning that you don’t need to eat so much, they tell your hormones how to act.

Once we have built this base we then get to work on changing how you feel about food, letting go of old unhelpful habits, recognising emotion eating patterns and building up positive resources to help you want to make positive choices about food.

Does that mean that you simply want to diet!!!  No way… we are all about balance.  The Body Retreat is about eating for life and so enjoying a little indulgence is an important and wonderful part of life.  Life is too short to not enjoy a little sweetness right??

What to do?

So if you want to continue to love food, if you want to eat exciting tasty food at every meal, if you want to feel able to enjoy a little indulgence and not feel guilty then it is time to ditch the diets and start to build better behaviours instead.


“I honestly cant believe how easy it has felt to make good food choices.  I’m down 9.5kg since I joined you on retreat.”  DT. Oxford

“I’ve really enjoyed making your recipes at home, it has made healthy eating so easy” JG. London

“I still cant quite believe that I get to eat all my favourite foods and I’m still losing weight…slowly but surely. What a result” PT. Glasgow

Get out of the Diet Trap

You don’t need to give up on food in order to shed weight.  That is the very thinking that is keeping you stuck in the diet trap.

If you are looking for food inspiration then why not check out our Conscious Cooking Blog,we post a brand new recipe there every Friday.

We would love to have you try out some of our recipes and see for yourself how easy it is to make healthy and delicious meals.  If you do try out any of the recipes then do please leave us a comment or question not the blog and we will come back to you.

Or if you feel that you are done with feeling stuck in the diet trap and want to do something different then check out our Weight Loss Retreats every year we help hundred of women break the vicious cycle and achieve and maintain he body, health and wellbeing they want and deserve.

Till next time… happy eating xxx

Are you intoxicated by Carbohydrates?

Are you addicted to carbohydrates?


Take this short quiz to find out.


Do you often feel hungry very soon after you have eaten?

Do you feel that a meal is not really complete unless you have some form of starch included (bread, pasta, rice, potato, qunioa etc)

Do you sometimes feel sluggish after you finish a meal?

Do you find it difficult to say no to starchy or sugary foods?

Do you struggle with energy levels?

Do you need to snack between meals, especially mid afternoon?

Do you crave starch or sugar?

Do you find your concentration improves quickly after you have eaten starch or sugar?

Do you find it difficult if not impossible to stop eating certain foods until they are all gone?

Do you snack or graze daily?


Now.. count up your Yes answers


0 – 2  You are probably not addicted to carbohydrates

3 – 5 You appear to have a mild carb addiction which, at times, you may be able to control and with some difficulty.

6-8 Your score indicates that you are moderately addicted to carbohydrates. At times you may be able to control your eating but you may find that stress, premenstrual changes, tiredness, boredom, unexpressed anger or pressure may increase your carbohydrate cravings.

9-10 You have scored in the severe carbohydrate addiction range. You may be struggling to control your eating without realizing that your body has been fighting you, literally driving you to eat and then storing the excess food energy as fat.

You may not be surprised by your score or you may think that surely everyone is in some way a little addicted to carbs in some form.

Perhaps you know that you have a problem with carbs in whatever form that takes but you cannot seem to break the cycle of eating.

Hands up here….I am a total Carbohydrate addict!!!

I thought I was just greedy or that I didn’t have enough willpower to resist the sugary or starchy delights.

I was wrong…. Being a carb addict is not about greed, hunger or willpower.

Let me explain.


It all starts in childhood.

I was brought up in the 1070’s by an Irish grandmother.. It was the beginning of the snack era. I can still remember the adverts for Milky way Chocolate bars..”the treat you can eat between meals and not ruin your appetite”.  I could eat about a dozen of those little morsels, then there was the lemonade van that came door to door every Wednesday I was allowed two bottles for the week of whatever garishly coloured highly sweetened beverage I liked.  But its wasn’t only the treats that were changing, the food we eat regularly at home changes too, the bread became more processed, in addition to meat and two veg there was now exotic dishes like pasta or curry and rice…  add into the mix that an Irish grandmother is also a big fan of having a pudding after supper EVERY EVENING and you can see where the trouble began.

My sweet tooth was almost insatiable.

Next comes college.. living on cheep student fodder of pasta, pizza, cheesy chips, pot noodles ( no judgement pls) choosing to fill myself up on cheep stodgy foods actually felt like I was nourishing myself. But basically when you add in the alcohol consumption as well the college years are just one long carb feast!!

Then there are the corporate years.  For me that meant years of working in hospitality, so shift work and availability of restaurant food meant that I was often eating rich indulgent foods at all times of the day and night…oh and then add in the social life. More eating out, more alcohol…more sugar , more starch, more carbs!!!

Does any of this sound familiar to you?

This is the story of how I became addicted to carbs.  Your story may be slightly different but it probably follows a similar pattern.

Year after year, decade after decade you have eaten progressively more and more carbs.

You began to change your taste buds, you changed your glucose tolerance threshold, you change how your brain reacts to sugar and starch… slowly but surely you become more addicted.  Need just a little more sugar, a little more starch, more carbs to just feel normal. Its feels difficult to function properly if you don’t have enough “fuel” and for you fuel need to be fast acting…fuel needs to be carbs!

The diet industry doesn’t help…for years we were told to eat less fat…fat makes you fat!!  Of course the problem was that what we were left with was CARBS… and when you take the fat out of a dish or product you have to replace it with something that adds in not only flavour but also texture… enter in sugar, starch and artificial sweeteners.

You can find yourself on a starchy sugary carb fuelled rollercoaster.  Needing more each day to get through the day.

We meet so many women week after week at The Body Retreat who are are struggling to regain control from addiction to carbohydrates they try to quit the habit at home but find it too difficult…if not impossible to get through those first few days.

The problem with many at home plans is that they focus too much on what you need to tae out of our daily eating…this void leave you at the mercy of cravings.   Which is why on our retreats we focus equally on what you put into your daily diet alongside those foods you are looking to remove or reduce.

Rather than building your diet around carbs we focus on increasing the amount of protein, fat and fibre.. which help to keep you feeling satisfied and not at the mercy of blood sugar cravings.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to starch, sugar and carbohydrates?  Do you think of yourself as being addicted to carbohyrdates? Let me know in the comments below.



Five Reasons to Start Meal Prep This Weekend

Top 5 Reasons to Meal Prep

If you’re like most of the women who join us here at The Body Retreat, you’re super busy!

There just never seems to be enough time in the day to accomplish everything on your to-do list. Striving to live a healthier lifestyle becomes more of a distant memory, rather than something achievable.

However, by planning and preparing, you’ll be more successful in achieving your health goals. It’s the same principles that you would apply to becoming a successful business professional or entrepreneur.

In order to be successful you have to plan, prepare and practice.

Although you may argue that you try to make it to the gym and that’s enough, it’s not. What you put in your mouth is much more important, you cannot out train a bad diet.

Now don’t get too carried away and cancel your gym membership or cancel your personal trainer; fitness still plays an important roll in your health and wellbeing.

To get started, pick a day (typically Saturday or Sunday) and meal prep for the week.

Doing this will help you reduce stress and overwhelm.


Here are 5 reasons to get you on board with meal prepping.

  1. Ingredient Control. When you purchase packaged foods and or eat out, you expose your body to a host of food additives that are toxic. These additives can disrupt your hormones, and promote inflammation; some have even been deemed as carcinogens. Choosing quality foods and spending time in the kitchen, can help reduce the toxic load in your body.
  2. Peace of Mind. The one thing we all strive for is peace of mind. I’ve never met anyone who jumps for joy because they enjoy chaos and frustration. You have a hectic life as is, take the load off by meal prepping. Just imagine getting home from work and realizing you don’t have to cook from scratch but still enjoy a delicious nutritious meal! Just the thought of one area of your life being organized, brings peace of mind. Why? One less thing to think 
  3. Save Money. Do you know how much money you are spending by purchasing “convenience foods.” If you took the time to add up the cost of purchasing and preparing your own food vs. buying food on the go, you’ll realize that you save a money by home cooking.
  4. Slimmer Waistline.. Prepping your meals gives you the opportunity to control portion sizes, and helps you keep track of what you are putting in your body.
  5. Quality Time. Busy schedules leave you limited time for family, friends, relationships or other personal desires. Not having to think about cooking food from scratch every night when you get home will be a sigh of relief. All you have to do is grab your food, heat it up, and you’re good to go.


If you want to conquer anything in life, it starts with a mindset shift.

Don’t convince yourself that you don’t have time to meal prep. I promise you that once you get into a routine, it’ll become second nature. Start by researching some new healthy recipes, then make a list of ingredients, head to the supermarket and when you return home, put the radio on and enjoy spending some time cooking / prepping. An hour well spent on the weekend brings a week of content.

If you lack inspiration for healthy meals then check out our Conscious Cooking Blog or even check out our Conscious Cooking Book on Amazon. These recipes are simple, quick, easy to make. You’ll spend less time in the kitchen while you lose weight, have more energy, less food cravings and more mental clarity.


It’s Time to Stop Eating Less & Moving More!

 Eat Less and Move More!

You’ll have heard it said many times before…if you eat less and move more you will lose weight. It’s simple mathematics.

The old Energy Balance Equation.

Energy In (Calories) – Energy Out (Exercise) = Weight Loss.

Except that it doesn’t work…

Well, let me be very honest… it does work …to a point.

Usually a very short lived point.

That first couple of weeks on your new diet, when you are watching what you eat like a hawk, weighing out tiny portions of food, hitting the gym like a demon or working out in morning bootcamp every damn day… the scales move in the right direction and you think HURRAH!!!

Diets work, I am eating less and moving move…it is working. It was me all along. I was too lazy, too greedy, too relaxed, too slow, too generous.

But then… the weight loss slows down or even stops. You eat a little bit less, you go to an extra class, your Fitbit is sending you messages about how you have climbed Kilimanjaro and Mount Fuji you are walking so many extra steps….still, the scales don’t budge.

You are exhausted … you are hungry… you are off the diet!!

Sound familiar???

We hear this story time and time again on retreat.

Just like you, these are smart, intelligent, educated women who have run companies, raised families, held down important jobs, become experts in their own field… all beating their heads against the diet brick wall.

Why doesn’t it work… it makes sense.

It’s logical.

Calories In minus Calories Out and you lose weight. Everybody knows that!!

“What the hell is wrong with me that it doesn’t work for me!!!!”

They feel that they have failed at something that had such a simple set of instructions, Eat Less and Move More.

But here’s the thing…they didn’t fail the diet ..the diet failed them.


The Real Energy Balance Equation


If we were going to use an equation to lose weight it would look a bit more like this

Energy In

(the real amount of food eaten & the actual calories consumed – the food not absorbed)


Energy Out

(your resting metabolic rate, + the thermic effect of eating + exercise & movement energy use + non exercise thermic energy use)


Many parts of this equation you’d need a week in a lab with men in white coats testing to even come close to your actual numbers.

The reality is that how much weight you lose is determined by your metabolism, your age, your sex, your genetic make up, your stress levels, your water intake, your sleep pattern, your gut microbiome…to name those factors we now understand better.


Eating Better & Moving Smarter

For us here at The Body Retreat we prefer to focus on Eating Better and Moving Smarter.

Yes, you do need to watch not only what you eat, but how and when you eat it…you cant just live on coffee all day and then wolf down a pringle pizza for supper. Likewise, you can’t simply hit the gym and attain your calorie number on the treadmill or your step number on your Fitbit.

It’s a much more subtle ‘equation’ than just eat less and move more. It’s not one size fits all…but then let’s be honest … you have probably already figured out that that isn’t working for you.


Three Top Tips to help you start to make a shift today away from Eat Less and Move More

Eating Better

  1. Focus on good quality Protein at every main meal. Enjoy meat, fish, seafood, eggs, tofu, beans and pulses, nuts and seeds.
  2. Eat the rainbow. When you look at your plate you want to see more than three colours
  3. Eat your main meals sitting down. Even if its only for 5 minutes, this will improve your digestion and absorption.


Moving Smarter

  1. Move your body every day. Even if your day job is sedentary make it a habit to move your body regularly through the day.
  2. Find something you love and commit to doing it every week, it might be swimming, dancing, spinning etc. It doesn’t matter so long as you are having a blast while you do it. This means you are less likely to get bored and just stop.
  3. You are going to have to sweat. If you want to change your body shape and size and improve your fitness then you need to be sweating every exercise session….not just glowing. It doesn’t have to be for long, but you need to be sweaty at the end.


Can You Spoil Yourself Without Spoiling Yourself?

Do you have a healthy food relationship? Do you enjoy your food?  Do you enjoy eating out?  Do you like to “treat” yourself with foodie treats?

Almost all the women who join us on retreat enjoy their food, in part its often one of the reasons why they choose to join us here at The Body Retreat.  Food is such an important part of every Body Retreat that one of our pillars of wellbeing is Menu.   For us Menu is about choice and variety of food as this is very important part of health…no tired lettuce leaves…no tasteless clear soups…. no eating the same thing day in day out here at The Body Retreat.

Welcome Foodies!

We welcome foodies on every retreat and we strive to make sure that our menus have something to surprise and delight every guest.

Of course our menus are based on clean eating principles but no whole food groups are excluded.  Our daily menus are balanced to suit the activity levels of the retreat as well as the individual dietary requirements of the guests.  Very few of our guests experience true physical hunger on retreat ( that is not to say that some don’t experience hunger at times but very often its a desire to eat something to feel different …not the same as hunger at all)

But one common term comes up again and again… how do you treat yourself when you are trying to eat clean.  If you spoil yourself with a foodie treat does it mean that you spoil yourself, spoil your motivation to shed the weight that is unnecessary for you?

Is That Treat Really Treating You Well?

Many of the women who join us on our Weight Loss Retreats for example will have already spent years if not decades trying all sorts of diets… Weight Watchers, Slimming World etc etc  … and these Diets all have something in common… Treats!  Often they are horrid little bars of “Frankenfoods” covered in a chocolate tasting coating .. you know the kind of thing I mean.  Of course these treats simply train you to eat sweets and when on the diet you eat the “Frankentreat” but when you stop the programme …which of course always happens… the behaviour of treating oneself remains.  Only now you move up to the real chocolate or some other non -diet treats.

Its a depressing future that doesn’t contain treats….enjoying the odd delicious bite from time to time whether that be a pudding, a snack or a whole afternoon tea is a part of life.  Rightly so.

We should all enjoy delicious foods, foods that make us smile, foods that lift our day.

I’d like to think that we can enjoy these foods regularly, after all life is too short to not take enjoyment from the foods we choose to eat.

Im a real foodie, I enjoy reading about food, watching food on tv, eating out, eating in, cooking for friends or just playing in the kitchen.  Not everyone has the time or inclination to spend as much time on food as I do…but they still want to enjoy the foods they eat.

Developing a Healthy Food Relationship One Plate at a Time

We have just finished our Conscious Cook & Tone Weekend in Somerset.  It has to be one of my favourite retreats.  Its all about developing a healthy loving relationship with food.

Over the course of the weekend we have had workshops on meal planning, shopping to develop a healthy kitchen and larder, we also had tutorials on The Anti-Sandwich Lunch (getting hands on making  non bread portable lunch options), one on Juices & Smoothies and finally Healthy Treats and Snacks.  Getting ideas, recipes and experience of how to rustle up quick and healthy food at home, food that feels as though you really are treating yourself.

The highlight of the weekend for me is our Gala Dinner…so often our retreaters fear eating out or going to celebrations as it seems that they are in conflict with the commitment to eat healthily…not so!!!  Our Gala Dinner starts with cocktails & canapés and we even enjoy some organic wines with the four course meal.  “Its such a treat…can it really be healthy?”  “Will I put on weight”?  Some of the retreaters are sceptical at first… but the great thing about this Gala Dinner is that it is our Conscious Cooking Principles in practice.

IMG_4287IMG_4291  IMG_4293 IMG_4295 IMG_4296

Learning how to enjoy food without guilt or angst.  When it comes to achieving the body and health that you deserve then having a healthy food relationship is the place to start.

Its time to ditch the diets, time to let go of the guilt and time to embrace real food.  Imagine feeling good about food, never feeling deprived, never worrying that if you eat just a little “treat” that it means that every thing is spoiled and that you may as well then just keep on eating.

Cultivate A Healthy Food Relationship

  1. Embrace the flavours and textures of real food.  When was the last time you took time to really taste your food?  When we slip into automatic eating we rarely taste what we are actually eating.  Taking time to reconnect with food.
  2. Avoid Frankenfood.  On no account think that you are treating yourself with Frankenfood.  You are actually setting yourself up for a dysfunctional ongoing relationship with food.  Much better to eat a little of real foods, regardless of the calorie, fat or sugar content ( I know you are hearing me say that) eating real food is always the better choice.
  3. Ditch the Guilt. Often we grow up with mixed messages about food, this leads to us feeling a sense of guilt when we eat certain foods that we feel we should or should not be eating.  Keep a journal, see a therapist, or talk it out with friends. It’s hard to get away from certain cultural food pressures, but you have to decide for your yourself how you want to deal with that pressure.


Regardless of what your current relationship with food is it is possible to make significant changes, our retreats prove that time and again.

So if you are a foodie who is ready to regain a loving healthy food relationship then get in touch.