The Body Retreat

The Body Retreat

Women Only Weight Loss & Wellbeing Retreats

Is Weight On Your Mind?

Do you ever find yourself catching sight of yourself in a shop window or a mirror and find the reflection looking back at you isn’t how you think you look?

The question you may ask yourself is how did I put this weight on? Or at what point did my body change? Did it creep up gently or have you always been uncomfortable with your size and shape?  Have you felt out of control recently? Maybe your weight is now affecting your self-esteem. Or you are worried that your weight is impacting your health?

You are not alone.

There are lots of women out there thinking the exact same questions as you are. Struggling with weight is not new, it is something most of us struggle with at some point in our life.

The media surrounds us with messages and images of being thin and the need to be smaller so that we can be normal, attractive and accepted.  Women in particular tend to correlate weight with self-esteem, and we tend to feel better about ourselves when we are close to our weight target.

We are bombarded by the “Fact” that the way to lose unwanted weight is by eating less and moving more. It sounds so easy, right?  – So why do the majority of us struggle to achieve this?

The answer is that losing weight is a complex psychological process. The process combines your behaviours, thoughts and experiences. No diet in the world will help you to lose weight if you are not in the correct state of mind and have barriers blocking the way.

Food is not just a source of energy – we tend to use it to reward or even punish ourselves. Food is associated with being sociable and food can be used to feel in control. It is not just fuel! With the exception of Sugar most food is not addictive, although at times the cravings you have can feel very much like addiction.  Indeed the feelings we get from food certainly can really  be addictive in nature. Some people find they feel good about themselves if they eat chocolate or some of us like to have a glass of wine when we get home. Or if we have had a bad day at work we treat ourselves to a comforting stodgy ready meal or just raid the bread bin.

The psychological factors will vary from person to person, when it comes to weight loss there is no one size fits all. Maybe you have an idea of what barriers are standing in your way. Or perhaps you feel overwhelmed and confused by what is the right path for you?

The Body Retreat’s unique approach to weight loss can help you change how you connect to food and ensure that when you return home you have all the tools and resources to support yourself to maintaining the weight loss and to continue until you achieve the body, health and wellbeing you want and deserve.

So what are you waiting for? Just email us at Info@thebodyretreat.co.uk and we will set up a time to chat through what your concerns are right now and how we might be able to help you to achieve your goal.

Is Dieting Adding to Your Stress Levels?

Stress and food & drink have always been linked.

Wether that be comfort eating, drinking to forget or even feeling so sick with worry that you can’t stomach a thing.

We now know that certain foods and drinks can aggravate stress.  Coffee, sugar and processed foods all interfere with our bodies natural ability to deal with stress.

Did you know that how you eat can aggravate your stress levels too?

Most people think of “stress” as emotional stress like anger or anxiety, but really stress has a much broader definition. Anything that raises stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol can be thought of as stress.

The body loves to be in balance, in fact it is always trying to regain this balance at all times, you shiver when you are cold telling you to put a sweater on, your mouth feels dry when you are dehydrated telling you to drink water and when your body needs energy it sends you a clear message through your hunger pangs to eat.

The body needs fuel to perform its basic metabolic functions. When there is no answer to its call for energy the brain starts to reduce the energy you expend, so you start to feel a bit tired and weary.  While at the same time it is looking for back up energy sources and can start to release stress hormones to give the “Umph” you need to go out there and score some calories.

The brain really doesn’t like diets.  It views restrictive diets, those that recommend the regular intake of less than 1200 calls for a woman, as being the signs of imminent famine.  Survival mechanism kicks and and slows down your metabolism so that you do not use all the energy you take in, then when it detects a feast, for example when someone falls off the diet cycle and has a blow out, the body in its infinite wisdom lays down these extra calories as fat for your future survival.

At the same time being on a diet can be an emotional roller coaster, lots of Must Do’s, Should Nots and Can’t Haves to cope with.  The guilt and the shame of what’s allowed and what isn’t and  the pressure of breaking the diet add yet another negative emotion for your brain to process.

This is why diets fail.

Going on a diet changes how your body responds to the fuel it receives, how the hormones responsible for all your basic metabolic functions work and may even change the way that your brain reacts to stress, changing both how you express stress and whether you start eating more because of it.

Signs of Being Caught in The Vicious Diet Stress Cycle










Here are a few common warning signs that your stress hormone levels are out of balance:

  • Tired all the time.
  • Digestive Problems, like IBS, yeast infections, food intolerance etc
  • Little aches and pains that have no real source
  • Constant colds and bugs.
  • Low sex drive
  • Brain Fog.
  • Poor Sleep
  • Craving carbs and high sugar foods
  • A tyre of fat around your middle that never seems to shift

If you have more than one of these symptoms for any length of time its your body’s way of telling you something isn’t working for you.

Breaking Free from The Diet Stress Cycle

Ditch the Diet

Ditch The Diet!

Let’s be honest: life is stressful enough without us worrying over every bite we eat.  Yes it is prudent to watch what you eat, to choose clean healthy foods most of the time to provide your body with the energy and nutrition it needs and yes if you are looking to shed some unnecessary weight then you will want to look at what you have been eating and may need to make some changes to support your goal.  But following a rigid and restrictive diet is not the answer, listening to your body and looking at your current behaviours from a holistic health and wellbeing approach is key.


Take time to Relax.

When was the last time you really relaxed?  I don’t just meant sat and mindless watched TV.  I mean really took time out, slowed down and had some time when you were able to switch off and allow your body and your brain to rest.  Many women we see at The Body Retreat have become very good at putting their own needs to the bottom of the To Do List.  There is always something or someone with a prior claim on their time.  But you can be stretched too thin, just like pulling an elastic band… there may seem like a lot of give but eventually there will be a snap!  So commit to yourself that you will no long wait to find the time to relax but that you will make the time to relax.  It really doesn’t take long, we recommend you start with a simple 3 minute mindfulness exercise…. 3 short minutes out of 24 hours really can make a huge differnece.

The Body Retreat Answer 

Stress can be a major trigger for weight gain, emotional eating and ill health.

The answer to breaking this vicious diet stress cycle is a very personal one.

At The Body Retreat we discuss each guests personal situation and their requirements to make sure that they get the result they want and need. For some that might be attending our Weight Loss Retreat but for many others we are now recommending that they join us at the Stress Reset Retreat in order to balance their mind and body before beginning their weight loss journey.

While the Stress Reset Retreat is aimed at rebalancing body and mind and providing you with new resources to support you in your day to day life as a bonus on this retreat , you can lose up to 7 lbs in just 5 days as well see your mood, skin and muscle tone improve.

If  you would like to discover more about how your diet may be contributing to your stress levels and feel that it may be time to take some action, then give us a call.

What to expect at a Women Only Weight Loss Retreat

If you are thinking about attending a women’s weight loss retreat (not just a Body Retreat one… although of course we think we are the best), you will probably have a few questions as to whether it will be suitable for you,  There a lot of options out there, from weight loss bootcamp to weight loss holiday the choice seems vast so the following information may help you make your decision.

First of all, note that a “women’s weight loss retreat will mean different things to different people, no matter whether they are running the retreat or attending it! We all have different ideas and expectations, so, you will need to do your research first to ensure you find the retreat that is most suitable for you.

Questions to Consider when choosing a Weight Loss Retreat:

  • What sort of events / activities will you be taking part in? Are they a mix of cardio, plus high and low impact exercise to not only burn those calories off, but shape and tone your body too? A variety of exercises and activities will help keep you engaged in what you are doing, so you (should!) enjoy them more;
  • How big are the groups at each retreat? Obviously, the smaller the groups, the more personalised and individual attention you will get – helping you to achieve your goals that much quicker and prevent the likelihood of injury;
  • Also who else is attending the retreat?  Often the staff on Women Only Retreats are male and its not unheard of for advertised women only to take men, so ask the question.  Is it a mixed retreat, could you be the only female in the group?  Will you be in good company that can help and support you or is the environment competitive and strict?
  • What sort of diet will you be on? Some retreats will severely restrict your calories or put you on to a liquid only diet. Others, such as ourselves, provide tasty and nutritionally sound meals that provide the foundations to helping you shed the unnecessary weight – and maintain that weight loss;
  • Is the focus purely on losing weight, or does the retreat programme include looking at all areas of your health and well-being? For example, our weight loss retreats are designed to help you think about the relationship between your lifestyle, weight, nutrition and health – and creating a balance.
  • What is the age range on the retreat? Not only of the clients but also the instructors and experts.  You will want to feel comfortable and have common ground with those around you.
  • And last but by no means least, what results can you expect to gain and maintain?  This is an important question because the truth is that when you eat less and move more you will lose weight, but will you continue to lose or maintain the weight loss?  Read the testimonials, ask to speak to a past client so you can find out for yourself what the post programme support helped them to achieve.

What happens at The Body Retreat Weight Loss Retreat?


There are a few things that make our retreats different to some others – our groups are small for a personalised service and we have an online support community after the event where you can talk to other women who have been, or are going on, the same life changing journey as you.

Ours is a holistic approach, and all our retreats are based on our 4 Pillars of Wellbeing, they are Behaviour, Nutrition, Exercise and R&R so our days are balanced to ensure that you have the time you need to not only make change but to really embed it so that it becomes habitual.

The experts we have chosen to support us on our retreat are women who have studied female health and wellbeing extensively, they have years of experience and more than that as all our team are women they understand the nuances of the journey each women makes to achieving the body and fitness she wants and deserves.  You can be confident that you are always in the very best care.

And last but by no means least The Body Retreat venues offer you every comfort and luxury you would expect at a spa retreat, from the spa facilities,  power showers and deep bath tubs, fluffy bathrobes and towels through to beautiful healthy food that not only is a delight for your eyes and tastebuds.  We have designed a unique retreat experience that is based on results but hasn’t neglected pleasure and relaxation.

What is a typical day like on Weight Loss Retreat?

Depending on the type of weight loss retreat you are attending, a typical day may consist of around 8 hours of different activities – for example, a variety of toning and cardio activities such as circuits, Nordic walking, kettlebells, pilates, yoga, and boxing etc as well as health, nutrition and well- being workshops. Most retreats will have an early start with exercise before breakfast, we start our days with our Wake Up Workout, a short and snappy workout deigned to wake your metabolism and get you into fat burning straight away.

On some retreats you will be exercising outside all day.  We try to get outdoors as much as possible (weather permitting) and show you how you can exercise and get fit without the need for lots of equipment or gym memberships. We are also lucky to have indoor exercise areas so that if…or should that be when the good old British weather lets us down we can still follow a full programme dry and safe from the elements.


Our  venues have a pool and most have sauna, hot tub and steam room, so as well as take part in aqua aerobics sessions or pool workouts  you can also have a leisurely swim and relax those muscles at the end of the day.

R&R is a very important part of making change stick, you will work hard on a Weight Loss Retreat and there will be challenges and change to overcome, so having time every day to relax, enjoy a complimentary massage treatment, have time to reflect on your decision to join the retreat, just have time for you …when was the last time you had time just for you?

While the other ladies at the weight loss retreat will be people just like you, you don’t have to worry about needing your own space. It is up to you as to how sociable you are during your free time. Some of our ladies will go off to their room for a hot bath and to watch the TV while others may sit together and chat over a herbal tea – it’s your choice!


At The Body Retreat, we don’t advocate any diet, diets do not work!  What does work is making a healthy conscious choice that is just right for you and your body.  Making a positive healthy choice because you want to, because you care about your body. And anyway, life is too short to spend it worrying about what to eat and not eat…or worse eating bland tasteless food in the quest for weight loss.  When I hear of the latest Diet trend I’m always reminded of a great quote by Dolly Parton


I tried every diet in the book. I tried some that weren’t in the book.

I tried eating the book. It tasted better than most of the diets.”


Our retreat workshops will help you identify just what aspects of your life are influencing your weight and fitness choices. Lifestyle is a generic concept that encompasses a range of factors, all of which are important to understand and take control of if you are to start to improve your body and the way you feel about it.

There is more to a Weight Loss Retreat than “Eat Less & Move More”

So,  you see a Weight Loss Retreat is more than simply doing exercises and learning about eating the right sort of foodstuffs. It is about establishing mechanisms to empower you to start having more self-confidence and to do things differently in terms of your overall lifestyle.

If this all sounds a little theoretical, then be reassured that at our retreats there’s lots of emphasis on fun and practicality! This is about groups of women coming together to participate in sessions that have been designed by women and for women, with the ultimate objective of helping you achieve your goals.

Whatever your age or fitness level ,or long term goal you are likely to find the approach here at The Body Retreat to be thorough, practical and above all enjoyable!

I hope you found this article helpful to support you in asking the right questions and making the right choice for a Weight Loss Retreat that works for you.

And if you ave any questions about our women only weight loss retreat, don’t hesitate to ask 🙂

 Good Luck

Ditch the Diets…7 Healthy Ways to Eat Less

We hate Diets at The Body Retreat!

Now both in our 40’s and like a lot of the ladies who join us now on our Weight Loss Retreats we have both been through the gambit of almost every Diet going, The F-Plan, The Cabbage Soup Diet, Weight Watchers, Atkins, The South Beach Diet, The Dukan Diet, The 5:2 plan…… the list goes on and on and on.  We are yet to meet a happy Dieter.  The idea that excluding whole food groups or by meticulously weighting and measuring every mouthful is going to make you healthy let alone happy is really quite ridiculous to us.

What diets do is set individuals up for disappointment and dysfunctional relationship with food and yet it is almost a national pastime.  Every new Diet fad to hit the shelves brings with it a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe this will be the one.

The problem is that chronic dieting can actually lead to weight gain in the long term, as metabolism and hormones are thrown out of balance.   So, women have been left feeling unhappy about their weight and their bodies.  They are confused about what they can and cannot eat and when they should eat it.  Should  they fast, or graze, or stick to three square meals a day?  Is fat the enemy or is it now sugar?  Many see the plethora of Diet foods available in he supermarkets as the answer, after all its all weighed and measured for you, surely those who produce the meals will know what is good.  Yet the unwanted and unnecessary weight stays put.  Diets don’t work in the long term, they are not deigned to be a way of life.

Dear Diet…Its Over!

At The Body Retreat no real whole food is off limits.  Following the 80/20 principle we advocate that you cut the CRAP from your diet.  80% of the time you eat clean and  as close to nature as possible. Choosing meals based on meat, fish, grains, pulses, fruit and veggies with small amounts of diary and good fats.  Then 20% of the time you enjoy eating whatever you like…literally.  No points, no syns and most importantly no guilt!!

You can read more about the 80/20% Principle for Weight Loss here.

On our Weight Loss Retreats we look to empower women to regain control of their health first.  Making conscious choices that respect and protect their body, learning to listen to what the body really wants and needs. When you put health first, weight loss will follow.

Our 7 Healthy Ways to Eat Less is a great place to start to build a better relationship with food while at the same time supporting your body to shed the weight that is unnecessary for it.

1. Only Eat When You are Truly Hungry.

How often have you confused hunger with thirst or emotion.  Very often we eat when we are not really hungry and so it is difficult to hear the “I’m satisfied” signal from your tummy.  This can easily lead to overeating and weight gain.  Learn to listen to your body and only eat when you are truly hungry.

2. Eat Real Food.

If you can pick it, plant it or catch it then eat it.  If the ingredients sound like a school chemistry experiment then stay well clear.  I know that many of you will say “but I don’t have time to prepare and cook real food”  but healthy food doesn’t  have to be long winded.  Scramble some eggs, grill a piece of fish or throw a potato in the oven.  Yes it will take some time to get used to a new way of preparing food, but it is change that is well worth making the effort in the first instance.

3.  Eat Protein with Every Main Meal.

Protein is more satisfying than carbohydrates. Getting enough protein helps preserve muscle mass and encourages fat burning while keeping you feeling full. So be sure to include healthy protein sources, like good organic meat, fish or dairy, nuts, or beans at meals.

4. Use a Smaller Plate.

Did you know that the average dinner plate has grown from 9 inches to 14-16 inches?  Not to mention those lovely bistro bowls that are so popular now, you know there really deep ones so you can get all your delicious sauce to stay put.  In their infinite wisdom some marketing chap decided that they can make more money selling us bigger plates and so the average dinner plate has evolved into something quite huge.  The trouble is, is that your tummy hasn’t evolved to keep up, our stomach is the size of our own clenched fist.  So in any one sitting you should not eat more than what would fill your clenched fist.  Choosing to eat from a smaller plate helps your brian to become accustomed to less food without feeling deprived as a full plate sends a signal to the brain that you are having a full meal.

5. Sit Down & Pay Attention.

When you do eat you want to eat mindful of the healthy nutritious foods you have chosen.  You want your body to have the time it needs to properly digest the foods so that you get the maximum energy and nutrition from every bite.  So don’t eat on the go, sit down, even if its only for 5-10 minutes.  Pay attention to the food on your plate and most importantly when its in your mouth.  Chew slowly, really savour every mouthful.

6. Put Your Cutlery Down Between Each Mouthful.

This is one of the healthy habits we adopt on all our Body Retreats.  Putting your cutlery down between each mouthful slows down your eating by about 25% therefore giving you time to properly digest the food and very importantly allowing time for the “I’m Satisfied” signal to reach your brain telling you to stop eating.

7. No Water While You Eat

Back in the day I can remember specifically being told that drinking lots of water with every meal made you feel full up faster and so you didn’t eat as much.  True..BUT..and its a big BUT here.. the water you drink is absorbed in about 15 minutes and so you are left feeling unsatisfied and more likely to snack on fattening foods later in the day.  Also drinking water at meal times dilutes your digestive enzymes and so your body is not able to get the maximum nutrition form the foods you have chosen, so it is kind of a lose, lose situation.  Drink right up until you start eating and stop until about 15/20 mins after you have finished your meal.

Follow these simple 7 Healthy Steps to Eat Less and you will soon notice a huge difference in not only your waist line, but in your energy levels and digestive health too.

It really is time to ditch the diets and instead focus on making healthy choices about what we put into our body, because we care about our body, because we care about ourselves.

Ditch the Diet

Ditch the Diet

What do you think?  I’d love to hear your experience of dieting or even better how you quit dieting and started losing weight.  Please leave me a comment in the box at the bottom and if you know a serial dieter who would benefit form reading this blog then please do share it with them…a ll you need to do is click the social media button and woos its done.

Our top 3 tips to Enjoy rather than Endure Exercise

When you hear the words exercise or work out do they fill you with a sense of dread? Is exercise always on your “to do list” but some how it never makes it to the top of the list?

You are not alone.

We often meet women, either on our retreats or in private practice, who tell us that they just don’t have enough time to exercise, or that they just flat out don’t want to. Some women tell us that in the past they had managed to lose weight by following a diet alone not be exercising, they counted calories, or grams of fat, it worked then, but since then it never seems to get the same result. They approach us at The Body Retreat hoping to find a new diet that will allow them to lose weight and not need to exercise. Thats not what we are about at The Body Retreat. All our events are based on 4 elements, Behaviour, Nutrition, Exercise and R&R and a balance in all four areas is needed to optimise health for life. We are not about quick fix weight loss at The Body Retreat, so there is no miracle diet here.

Funnily enough though, the NHS refers to exercise as “the miracle cure we have always had, but neglected to take” that is because research has proven that regular exercise reduces your risk of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes by up to 50%. For women it is also important for bone health and for reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Exercise is also incredibly important for mental health as it prompts the release of dopamine, endorphins, norepinephrine and serotonin.

However, despite the evidence to support the benefits of exercise, for some women, it can still languish at the bottom of the to do list. Despite their best intentions some women just don’t want to work out, don’t want to run or join a gym. And that makes perfect sense. We naturally move towards the things we want or desire and move away from things that will cause us pain or discomfort, we are biologically designed to do this, this is how we have evolved and survived. Lets be honest, who is going to make time to do something they hate?

So, how do you get the great health benefits of exercise if you are really turned off by it? Can you really make exercise something you love to do not need to do?

Well lets start with the terminology, when you hear the word exercise or working out, what images come to mind, is it sweaty gym bunnies on spin bikes, or perhaps its beefy boys lifting weights at the gym, or maybe even lycra clad ladies on impossibly thin bicycles. If those images leave you cold then you are not alone. The important thing here is to find what fits for you, and most importantly to do something that you enjoy, something that you find a pleasure, then you will truly make time to take part rather than find time to make excuse not to.

How do you find out what you might enjoy doing? First, ask yourself some questions. Ask yourself if you want to be indoors or would you prefer to be outside, do you want to join a group or team or do you prefer to be alone. Next start by googling what’s available near you, looking for exercise classes or specialist gyms or groups. Most will be delighted to answer any questions you may have and even offer a free initial visit to see what you make of the environment, people and the event itself. You might consider attending a residential retreat where you can sample a wide range of activities for yourself. At The Body Retreat we offer a wide range of events to suit all lifestyles and activity levels. For example our Dance & Tone Weekend offers a wide range of dance classes such as Fitsetps, Zumba, Ballet Conditioning, Bokwa to name but a few mixed with walking and toning class like pilates, yoga and even kettlebelltone. In this way you can discover for yourself what you might like to take up permanently. But most importantly the muscle we exercise the most at our retreat are your facial muscles as we guarantee that you will have a great time, you will laugh, a lot.

Our TOP 3 TIPS for women to move from Enduring to Enjoying Exercise

1. Fake it Till you Make it.
If you have lead a very sedentary lifestyle in recent years then any new activity or exercise plan that you begin to follow will seem a little difficult at first, its bound to as you discover muscles that you haven’t used for a while or perhaps didn’t know even existed 🙂 But don’t give up, what you tell yourself has a tremendous influence over how you feel, so rather that tell yourself how sore you are feeling and how bad that is, turn it on its head and tell yourself instead how good it feels to have used your muscles and that how each time you use them they will get stronger and stronger. You will be amazed at how much better you will feel.

2. Go Shopping.
This may seem very superficial, but having new shiny bright trainers, a new sport bra that holds everything up and in the right position or even a new colourful t-shirt can give you the most amazing boost and make the overall experience a better one. So treat yourself to a few new items and you will lift your motivation to get out there and use them.

3. Phone a friend.
More specifically phone a friend and ask them to join you. Having a date set with a friend to go to a class or out for a jog or whatever activity you choose can mean that you are more likely to get up and go than if it is just a date in your own diary. You are doing the exercise for yourself but why not make it fun, have a catch up, support each other. While at the same time every time you go you make the habit of going stronger and stronger and before you know it… you enjoy it.. you look forward to going.

Whatever the reason to exercise, wether that be to lose weight, to shape up, to improve your health or to protect your body for life, there are numerous reasons to be more active in life. So perhaps it’s time to stop accepting the excuse of “I don’t have time to….” and instead make the time to find something you really enjoy doing. Time that could well be the best investment you can make for your health and wellbeing.

Would you like to join us at our next Dance & Tone Weekend and try a wide variety of classes and activities to see for yourself how it is possible to enjoy exercise then book now