The Body Retreat

The Body Retreat

Women Only Weight Loss & Wellbeing Retreats

Do You Ever Feel Like You Are Stuck On A Hamster Wheel?

Millions of women are silently suffering under the weight of deadlines and to-do lists.

Being a mother, wife, daughter, sister, boss, employee the list of hats that modern women wear seem endless.

Work deadlines, never-ending kid’s activities, family commitments, long commutes, broken water pipes, mountains of washing, looming bills all mounting the pressure and stress.  

You might be one of them.  

It’s like you stepped onto a Hamster Wheel and it isn’t stopping!  

Soon you begin to feel overwhelmed and sick.  

You may feel that its all somehow beyond your control, you wish things would be different but somehow they never seem to get significantly better.  

You take a holiday and you relish those few days of calm but only a matter of hours after your return the pressure begins to mount again. Very soon it feels as though you have never had a break at all.  

In my research, I’ve learned one very important thing.  

Stress is an equation and you can control the inputs.  

One side of the equation are the demands that we feel from our employers, family and friends.   Demands that seem to require us to work longer hours at work and at home with fewer resources, often at the expense of our health and wellbeing.   We also live in stressful times, you need only switch on the television or radio and you hear the most awful things happening around the word and right here on our doorstep.   It can easy to focus on the external stressors and the impact that they have on us.   But the other side of the stress equation is us.   There is so much that you can do to support your body and your mind.   Yes, I know your boss, commute, significant other, kids, bills or mile-long to do lists are a huge part of your stress.  

But you only escape stress when you stop looking outside for all the answers.  

I’m not saying external stuff doesn’t cause or exacerbate stress. What I’m saying is that there is so much we can do to support our body and mind to be resilient in the face of the stressors.  

When I suffered from Burnout 6 years ago I was very firmly stuck on the Hamster Wheel. I ignored all the signs that my body and mind where sending me that my health was suffering.   I kept on coping, kept myself on the Hamster Wheel.   Then quite simply I wasn’t!  

I suffered Burnout and spent three months in a private clinic working my way back to health. I then spent the last 6 years studying, training, working with experts in various fields to gain a real understanding of how stress impacts women’s health.   Now we get to share this knowledge and expertise with you on our Stress Reset Retreat.  

Know the Signs  

  • If you are feeling wired but tired all the time.
  • If you are suffering repeat infections, colds or fungal infections.
  • If you cant remember the last time you had a good nights sleep.
  • If your moods and emotions seem out of control.
  • If you have a pocket of fat around the middle that just wont shift.  

Your body is sending you signals that you are no longer coping.   Do not ignore these signs.  

If you recognize or suspect that your health may be compromised by stress then take action right now. Speak to your GP or other health care professional.  

It may be time to step off the Hamster Wheel and reset before you fall off due to ill health and exhaustion.    

What Successful Women Are Missing In Their Day

Imagine the scene if you will….  Its a quiet Wednesday afternoon and having decided to follow our own guidance on making time for R&R have taken myself off to my local spa for a spot of pampering.  As I sat sipping my green mint tea flicking through the pages of a glossy magazine a headline caught my eye.  “What Successful Women Are Doing Every Day”.  I had a feeling that number one on the list wasn’t going to be read magazines and drink tea, but as a business owner I was intrigued to read on.  Perhaps I would discover some hither too unknown wisdom that would help and inspire me to take The Body Retreat to the next level.

Despite the glossy pictures and enticing stories of being whisked around central London on the back of a motorbike, having a PA to book last minute flights to NYC, the glamour of the gorgeous clothes they wore and the effortless style with which they wore them….. there was a dark undercurrent that gave me a chill even wrapped up in my fluffy towelling robe.

The Dark Side of Success For Women

You see I recognised the tales of the long hours (obligatory if you want to get to the top and stay there), the climate of always being “on” (checking emails at every opportunity and making time at midnight to play catch up on the non urgent stuff) the cold hard reality of running on your adrenaline to keep up (if you stop it takes far too much energy to get momentum again).

The successful women being shadowed for a day in this article where also mothers, wives, daughters, sisters and friends…. but there was only a cursory mention of the successful multitasking of watching breakfast news in bed with hubby before sharing a car ride to school with the children.  Otherwise the full day was all work.  I was disappointed as I was hoping that in 2015 there would be something more of” life” in these successful women’s work/life equation.

Ive deliberately not used the term work life balance here as I feel that it is such an over worked phrase.  What we are really looking at are work life choices.  Many women will cry out that they have no choice but to work every hour that they can, in these precarious times when job security is low and the cost of living is high the pressure is on to keep afloat.  There is no denying that.  But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have a choice.

Do You Know How She Does It?

Do you remember the comedy “I don’t know how she does it” back in 2011.

The main character had become a victim of not making choices about her work life equation.  A Wife, Mother and Business Woman she found herself buffeted and bruised by guilt, shame, ill health, lack of sleep, lack of sex until eventually it wears her down.  Oh how we laughed at the tails and tribulations of her day to day life.  Except that for many women this is a tale that is dangerously close to the mark.

There is a growing body of evidence that prioritising work over everything else is bad for your health both mentally and psychically. More and more women are being diagnosed with health conditions ranging from anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, heart disease, pre-diabetes……every year the list seems to grow longer as the impact that negative stress has on health becomes clearer.

Whats R&R Got To Do With It?

The Body Retreat is built on 4 Pillars of Wellbeing, namely Behaviour, Nutrition, Exercise and R & R. Every week on retreat we discuss with our ladies the importance of balance across all four areas for their lives. The area that is always at the bottom of the list for them is R & R. Taking time out to rebalance, to have a massage, take a yoga class, read a good book in the bath…all of these actives are on the wish list but somehow never make it to the top of the priorities list for many busy women.

Most women are vey good at putting everyone and everything else higher up the priorities list than their own health and wellbeing, the women in the article certainly seemed to.

Its a little sad that roles models for what female business success looks like are still these “super women” who put life and health at the bottom of the priority list.

Thankfully the tide seems to be turning. Just last year Ariana Huffington published her book Thrive and has been championing sleep as a vitally important part of the health equation. Likewise at The Body Retreat we are seeing a shift in what women want from retreat and our Stress Reset Retreat is increasing in popularity.  We are advocates that all women should be including R&R in their lives not as a matter of “nice to have” but rather prioritise it as “Need To Have”.  Making time for themselves to rebalance and recuperate and in so doing make them stronger and healthier for life and buisness.

I know from personal experience that when you don’t have your health you don’t have anything.  So I for one shall continue to make time to enjoy the occasional spa day without guilt of the spectre of the super business women who is jetting off building her super empire while I lounge and sip my tea.  We all have to make and own our choices…I’m happy with mine.

What about you?  Where does R&R come on your list?

Please leave me a comment in the box below and if you know a Super Busywoman then please share the article using the buttons along the side….sharing is caring after all x


Are You Resolving to Resolve this New Year?

Its New Years Day and around the country people are sharing their new years resolutions.

Are you one of them?

There is no law that says you need to make new years resolutions, yet there is something about a new year brings that makes it  natural to think about the year ahead and what you want it to be like, or should that be how you want it to be different for the year just past. Fresh starts, new opportunities and all that.

Its probably no surprise that the number one resolution is to lose weight particular after the recent period of festive indulgence over Christmas.  Its probably also not too much of a surprise that around 92% of new year resolutions fail within the the first 6 weeks.    When you look at statistics like that it makes you wonder why you would bother with resolutions …. I mean why deliberately set yourself up for failure.  That’s not an optimistic start to a new year.

What is it about resolutions that makes them so hard to stick to?  Well, most resolutions that are about what people feel they SHOULD DO and not so much about what they WANT TO DO.  They always seem to be around something you want to give up, smoking, drinking, eating chocolate, snacking, … the list goes on.  And of course the other reason they are difficult to achieve is that people go cold turkey, they go all out to and try to do too much too soon.  Then they quickly feel overwhelmed and soon the cracks begin to appear.

If you feel that a New Year deserves some new resolutions then can we suggest our Alternative Resolutions For 2015.  Choose those that feel right for you right now, those are the ones you will be most likely to enjoy and so it will feel natural and easy to incorporate into your life.

The Body Retreat’s Alternative Resolutions For 2015

1. Fall in Love with Yourself.  Start by beginning to Like Yourself.  Pick just one thing that you do like about yourself and begin your love affair from this single attribute.

2. Respect & Protect Your Body.  No dieting, no deprivation but equally no binging, no relying on convenience foods but rather when you choose to eat make sure that your choice is something that respects and protects your body…and yes that does mean having the odd treat too.

3. Be Kind to Yourself.  You know the old saying “treat others as you would like to be treated”  well make this the year you turn it on its head and start to treat yourself as you do others.  Be kind to yourself when you make a mistake, be gentle with yourself when learning something new and speak kindly to yourself when you slip up.

4. Make Time for Yourself Every Day. There are 24 hours in every day, so even if its only 5 minutes.  Make time for yourself to do something that is just for you.  Often we women put ourselves at the bottom of the “To do” list.  This year begin to reclaim You Time.

5. Read More, More Often.  Studies show that those who read more have a wider perspective on life and are generally less stressed.  It’s thought that loosing yourself in a good book helps you to relax.

6. Be Mindful.  Practising Mindfulness improves both you mental and physical health.  Don’t be put off by the idea that you need to find hours to begin your practice on our Stress Reset Retreat we begin by teaching a very simple 3 minute Mindfulness practice that can be done many times in the day and so build up your Mindful Muscles. When it comes to Mindfulness, small steps do begin big gains.

7. Trust Your Inner Voice.  Woman have amazing intuition, often sensing how others are feeling and thinking but some women begin to lose confidence in their own inner voice when it comes to their own needs and wants.  Often their gut feel is pitted against the logical brian thought and comes off the loser…sometimes it is the correct outcome but not always.  So begin listening to your inner voice, sensing how you feel about things not only what you think about them.

8. Be Grateful Daily.  Research has found that those who practice gratitude daily report less aches and pains and feel healthier in addition it has be linked to improvements in stress levels and sleep.  Its a good practice to write down three things you are grateful for every day..everyone can name a couple of things off the top of their heads but the third often requires more thought and so therefore is more meaningful.

9. Let Go off The Past.  Constantly looking on the rear view mirror is distracting and stops you from seeing the road ahead or appreciating the view around you.  So while its good to remember the past do not dwell on things that may have happened.

10. Let Yourself be You. Are you trying to be someone else, or live up to someone else’s ideal of what you should or should not be?  Nothing is more destructive of your confidence or self esteem.  Make this the year that you define yourself and do not allow yourself to be dictated to, whether that be your size, shape, weight, the job your do, the hobbies you have or even the clothes you wear.  Let Yourself be You …but you can take pride in being the best version of You.

So there you have it… an alternate view on new years resolutions.  No deprivation, no “Shouda, Woulda, Coulda”,  simple practices that will improve the quality of your health and well-being right from the get go.

We would love to hear what resolutions you have chosen …did any of our list make the cut for you? If there is anything on the list that you feel nervous about or feel you would like more help to explore and make right for you then why not join us at The Body Retreat.  We have helped hundred of women decide for themselves what health and wellbeing looks and feels like.

Whether you resolve or not resolve may the New Year bring you health and happiness, peace and prosperity. You will find the comments section right at the bottom of the page and if you feel that anyone you know would benefit from our Alternative New Year Resolutions then please feel free to share … the buttons are all along the side.

Happy New Year from all of us at The Body Retreat.

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.

The Cup of Tea that Reduces Your Stress Levels


We Brits love our tea.  Its estimated that in the UK we get through a staggering 165 million cups a day!

A cup of tea can be restorative, it can pick you up after a shock, it can soothe a troubled day.  Research has discovered a plethora of health benefits of drinking tea, from its antioxidant properties to its ability to hydrate.  Its little wonder it has become part of our cultural identity.

In the 1930’s there was even a famous song “Everything Stops for Tea”

“Every nation in creation has its favourite drink

France is famous for its wine, it’s beer in Germany

Turkey has its coffee and they serve it blacker than ink

Russians go for vodka and England loves its tea”

But beyond its role as a national streiotype what if I told you that taking one cup of tea each day could reduce your stress levels, make you feel less emotional and more in control, improve your working memory and give you more mental clarity.  I’m not about to expose some newly discovered berry or leaf from far off lands with super powers.  In fact it can be any cuppa of your choice and still have the same amazing effect.

I’m talking about having a Mindful Cup of Tea.

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

I’m sure you will all be aware of Mindfulness, it has become a very popular topic in recent years selling millions of books, CD’s and Apps each year.  But Mindfulness is no fad.  Derived from ancient Buddhist meditation, in the 1970’s a scientist called Jon Kabit-Zin developed Mindful Based Stress Reduction technique based on the principle of being in the present moment, not worrying about the past or the future, but consciously connecting with the present moment.

Too often in today’s modern life the constant pressures seem to force us into an auto pilot mode.  There is so much to do, so many demands on our time, we have become quite adept at multi tasking.  Even reading this blog post you may be keeping one eye on your email inbox, compiling your shopping list, thinking about a task you need to complete later today.  We are constantly “ON”.  Over time this takes its toll on our health and wellbeing, both mentally, physically and emotionally.

Mindfulness is the perfect antidote to the pressure of modern life, it is a way of pressing the STOP button, of resetting the relaxation response. Repeated studies have shown that Mindfulness can rewire how the brian responds to stress.

Mindfulness In Practice

At The Body Retreat we have Mindfulness Based Practice built into every one of our retreats, from our Conscious Eating on our Weight Loss Retreat, Mindful Daily Routines on our Health & Fitness Holiday to daily Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction techniques on our Stress Re-Set Retreat.  Even on our Detox Retreat we have Mindful Moments every afternoon amongst other mind detox activites.

One of the great things about Mindfulness is how accessible and easy it is to practice.  You don’t need special clothing, a special room, there are no special magic words or incantations.  What you do need is an open mind, a desire to change your current coping strategies and the commitment to practice.  Because heres the thing, Mindfulness is both astonishingly simple and, for most of us who live in our heads, very difficult.  At first Mindfulness can seem elusive and down right tricksy, we are creatures driven by the desire to succeed and get stuff right.  Mindfulness isn’t a tangible and specific skill like driving a car or learning an instrument.  Rather its personal and only you can be the judge of how effective your practice is.

Mindfulness practice is immensely rewarding, as plenty of people are discovering.  I would argue that it is probably the most important life skill that any of us can learn to help us to cope with the stresses of modern living.

To help gain the Mindfulness Stress Reduction benefits it helps to have some practical techniques to help you to incorporate it into everyday life, that way you can quickly and easily see and feel the benefits.  Then you can build out from one practice to bigger and more powerful techniques.

One of the Daily Mindful Practices we adopt at The Body Retreat is The Mindful Cup of Tea.  Almost everyone takes a hot drink of some kind during their day.  This simple technique takes something mundane and transforms it to become something truly restorative and relaxing.

Mindfulness Tea for Stress Reduction


This exercise takes something that is generally done on autopilot and brings it firmly into the present moment.  Such a simple exercise but it bring benefits fast.

  1. Sit down with your tea, do not drink it on the run, standing at the kitchen counter or in the car.  You want to give your whole attention now.
  2. Take three long slow deep breaths and relax.
  3. Before you pick up the cup and rink it, really look at it. Notice the glass, cup or mug.  Notice how the light reflects off it.  Notice if there is steam rising, or ripples form having just stirred the tea.  Notice the colour, the individual tones.
  4. Now, pick up the cup and notice the tactile feel of the cup in your hands. Does it feel warm or cool to the touch, how heavy is it.  Is the cup textures or smooth.
  5. Next smell your drink.  Spend a moment allowing the smell to fill your awareness.
  6. As you now start to drink, take small sips of your tea.  Allow yourself to really taste it.  Experience the sensation on your tongue and taste buds, as you gently swallow hear the sound.
  7. As you continue to drink you tea, be fully present with your tea.  If you mind wanders off before the drink is finished, simply acknowledge that your mind has wandered, and just bring it back to the feeling, smells, tastes and sensations of drinking this cup of tea.

Once you have got used to Mindful Tea Drinking any cup of tea that you have becomes an automatic unconscious anchor to help you to remember to be mindful, to relax and be calm.

If you would like to learn more about Mindfulness and gain practical techniques to incorporate it into your everyday life to improve your health and well-being then join us on our next Stress Re-Set Retreat.

If you have found this article useful I’d really love to have your comments or questions.  You will find the comments box all the way down at the bottom of the page, look forward to hearing from you.  Please feel free to share on any of your chosen social media by using the buttons on the right.