The Body Retreat

Women Only Weight Loss & Wellbeing Retreats

Wine, Women & Weight Loss France 2015

Last week we were enjoying the good life in the Charante region in France for our Women Only Health & Fitness Holiday. This was a Body Retreat full of firsts… our first time in France, our first retreat which was full with all returners, our first time with tennis and our first time with Wine on the menu!!! How very French of us.

The Pool

One of the things we look for in our retreat locations is that they are truly representative of the region they are based in and our Manior in Charante ticked all the boxes. Stylish, impressive but very welcoming as the ladies arrived I counted 18 Wows and at least half a dozen “oh my gods”. Even after some lengthy journeys the ladies still had plenty of enthusiasm and energy to explore their base for the week. The rooms, the pool, the tennis court and gardens all got the thumbs up.

We pride ourselves on providing a full and varied programme of activities on every retreat and our Women Only Health & Fitness Holiday was certainly no exception.. of course we started the day with Wake up Workout ( there is always Wakeup Workout at The Body Retreat☺ ) then we took to the French countryside on foot and/or two wheels with Abbeys, Chateaus, sunflowers, vineyards there was plenty to see en route.

After an alfresco lunch and a short siesta it was time for strength and toning classes in the afternoons. Cardio tennis was a bit hit, pardon the pun.  Not everyone managed to get the ball over the net and some managed to hit the ball out of the court but no one could fail to exercise their laughter muscles through the entire class.  We are now thinking that along side a pool & spa facilities we need a tennis court at every location too LOL  🙂

One of the key parts on every retreat is R&R and in particular enjoying massage treatments, this retreat we were joined by the lovely Cher a local holistic therapist who it turned out had magic hands and the ladies all padded out of the massage shed with happy contented smiles on their faces, the perfect way to end a full day.

Think of France and its cuisine and you probably don’t think it is conducive to a Health & Fitness Holiday… but of course Juls had spent time to give classic French dishes the Conscious Cooking treatment. So we were able to enjoy a variety of dishes from Toulouse Sausage & Duck Cassoulet Quiche Lorraine, Beef Bourguinon and even enjoyed cheese, ham and baguette. You might think that all this extravagance would be reflected in the health assessments at the end of the week.. but the average weight loss was 8lbs and 5 inches, a great result.

One of the best bits of the French location for us was that we could have Bella (retreat dog)  join us on retreat and she loved all the new smells and experiences, but most of all loved getting out on the walks.  Well perhaps the tennis court with all its little yellow spheres was up there too 🙂

Oh and of course the wine…. Well in addition to having a little glass of vino with supper we also enjoyed a private tour and tasting at a local vineyard. Strangely enough I seemed to forget to take any pictures once the sampling started but here we are inside listening the lovely Mattieu whose family own the vineyard. As they also produce a sparkling grape juice there was something for very to taste. This was the perfect way to end the holiday.

Our next Women Only Health & Fitness Holiday in October sees us in our gorgeous Andalusian oasis in Spain. Warm days, cool nights, stunning scenery for miles and miles, there is no need to think of a Spanish holiday as a “fly n flop” when with us you can ‘tan n tone’ ☺

If you are ready for a real healthy holiday then get in touch.

Citrus Green Tea Refresher

Green Tea

Its Summer!!!  The temperatures outside are really starting to heat up.

Its important to keep hydrated and cool to keep your energy levels stable.  Every cell in our body needs water to function properly and if you neglect your hydration levels you will start to feel sluggish, develop headaches, brain fog and of course your won’t have the energy to work out and be active this summer.  There are many ways to keep your hydration levels up you can drink plenty of water and eat foods that have a high water content like salad veg and fruits.   But your appetite can take a dip when the heat is on and it can be a bit boring to drink gallons of flat water and of course most soft drinks contain up to 13 teaspoons of sugar or worse are crammed with artificial sweeteners and other “stuff”.

At The Body Retreat when the temperatures rise we often rustle up a healthy refresher for the ladies.  This is one of our favourites.  Its is such an easy healthy recipe to make and once you taste it you will not be rushing back to the soft drink aisle.

The mix of green tea and citrus fruits makes for a drink that is a real powerhouse of antioxidants and vitamins and most importantly it tastes great!

Citrus Green Tea Refresher

Makes about 500mls Cordial

1 Organic Green Tea Bag

2 Un-waxed Lemons

3 Un-waxed Limes

1 tbsp Honey

1 large spring fresh Mint

Firstly, place your teabag into a mug or jug and cover with about 300 mls freshly boiled water and leave to soak for at least 20 minutes.

Meanwhile roughly chop up your lemons and limes, keep the skins on, chop the lot then add to a blender, food processor or if you have one a Nutirbullet, along with the mint spring, again stalk and all and then add the honey.

When it’s cooled slightly add the cup of green tea to the lemon lime mix and give a few pulses to blend together.

Pop this mixture into a fridge for at least and hour to all the flavours to really develop.

Next pass the mixture through a sieve and press to get all the juice from your pulpy mix. Now you have the most delicious cordial that you can top up either with flat or sparkling water and some ice to make a healthy refreshing drink.

This cordial will keep covered in the fridge for about a week.

Give it a go and let me know how you get on.  Please feel free to share this recipe by using any of the social media buttons along the side …sharing is caring xx

 

Why our Detox Retreat Isn’t Really a Detox!!

We are currently on the last day of our Sugar Detox Retreat and in conversation around the breakfast table we were chatting about the retreat and one lady said that our detox retreat isn’t really a detox retreat. Come Again?? I nearly fell of my chair!

The Oxford English dictionary defines “Detox” as Abstain from or rid the body of toxic or unhealthy substances.

Isn’t that what we are doing here at The Body Retreat’s Detox??????

Then conversation became clearer… Having spent some time looking for a retreat many of the ladies had seen the same old detox blurb time and time again. Eat little, move less, have a few treatments then home.

What Makes a Detox Retreat a Detox Retreat?

When you think of a detox retreat what comes to mind?

Well probably a few things, depending on whether you have ever been on a detox retreat or not, but there may well be a few common threads…

Juice fasting, raw foods, herbs & supplements, yoga, mediation, lounging around in fluffy robes and perhaps even colonic irrigation or other holistic detox treatments.

On the whole this is a pretty fair overview of many detox retreats at the moment. Based on the principle that the body needs to be cleaned from the inside out, purging the body of toxic overloads that have built up from your sloppy modern lifestyle, detox retreats promise your leaving with your insides squeaky clean and everything working just as its should do.

Here’s the thing, your body comes fully prepared to detox itself …without outside intervention. Your kidneys, liver, lungs and skin are all part of your body’s waste management system, ensuring that you don’t end up in need of serious medical attention

So why do so many people claim to feel better after a detox? It may be due in part to the fact that a detox diet eliminates highly processed foods. Avoiding these high-calorie low-nutrition foods for a few days may be part of why people feel better.

Aren’t you simply making the case NOT to go to a Detox Retreat at all?

Yes and No.

Don’t go to a detox retreat expecting to be some how fixed in a few short days. It’s not the days on retreat that make the improvement in your health, but rather what you do when you return home.

Really think about what you want to achieve from your time at retreat, weight loss, kick start a new healthy eating programme or perhaps you are just looking for a break away from a hectic lifestyle?

Make sure your retreat will suit your goal.

Why Our Detox Retreat is different.

Thinking back to the common threads of detox retreats what about The Body Retreat?

Well at The Body Retreat we do have juices…but only once a day. Every afternoon we have a greens juice as it’s a great way to really blast your system with vitamins, mineral and antioxidants in a format that is really easy to digest. Juices never take the place of real clean whole foods. Yes, we agree that it can be useful to lighten the digestive load from time to time, allow your body to play catch up without overloading it with rubbish or hard to digest foods. To that end there are also some raw food dishes during the week long retreat, but as part of balanced meal plan and not the main staple of the retreat.

We also have yoga during the week, but as part of a varied exercise and activity programme. A very important part of supporting your body’s natural waste management system is movement. Movement increases circulation and lymph drainage. If you are existing on a very low calorie diet of juices then the chances are you don’t have the energy to move very much or very far. In fact to do so would be counter productive to your health as you could find yourself cannibalising muscle to give you the energy you need. At The Body Retreat we have a programme that includes walking, swimming, yoga and toning classes.

There are no colonics or enemas at The Body Retreat. We are not anti-colonic ourselves, but we feel that the decision to have a colonic is one that should not be taken lightly and should be undertaken with the support of a professional. Hosepipes and buckets and a “give it a go” approach are not for us.

Our Detox has a pretty specific purpose…its all about Sugar. Or rather it’s all about getting free from the clutches of sugar. Sugar is endemic in our food these days, hidden in the most obscure places from sausages to hummus, combine this with the over availability of sweet treats, soft drinks and processed foods and you really do have a health time bomb. Of course not all sugar is in the crap we know we should be eating less of, you can over consume sugar in an attempt to be healthy, eating too many high sugar fruits, dried fruits, smoothies even starchy veggies can all add up to a high sugar intake. Quitting sugar is hard, so our retreat is an opportunity to begin the process of detoxing the sugar from your body while at the same time detoxing your mind of the cravings, triggers and self sabotaging thoughts that can lead to over consumption of the sweet stuff.

Oh and course there are robes to lounge in, if lounging is your thing. R&R is an important part of every Body Retreat not just the Detox Retreat, so there is time every day to sleep, curl up on the sofa and read, hit the hot tub or pool, whatever your R&R is.

But the real difference with The Body Retreat’s detox is that it is not designed to be a quick fix. Yes, you will lose pounds and inches on the week, but that is only the start of the real result. You leave us with a four week at home programme that helps you to maximise your result. Having felt for yourself how your body feels eating clean whole foods, how your energy levels rebalance, how your skin tone and hair condition can have improved, you may even see improvement in some chronic conditions like reflux, eczema, IBS etc So it feels natural to want to carry on choosing to eat, move and behaviour in much the same way at home.

So there you have it…The Body Retreat’s Detox Retreat. Are we a Detox Retreat? Or might we be something more……

The Confusing Problem With Sugar

Are you confused about the sugar you are eating?

It comes as no surprise that chocolate, fizzy drinks and sweet treats are full of added sugar. We all know that and as such many of us make the conscious decision to limit these sweet treats in our diets.   However, there are other surprising culprits that we might not associate with being a cause for concern. Many processed foods contain high amounts of hidden sugar and as we consume these foods daily  you could be unwittingly having regular sugar binges which could be playing havoc with your metabolism and insulin levels, making you store fat.

The problem with sugar is that it is highly addictive, we know now that sugar has the same chemical composition as cocaine, with the exception of nitrogen, so it is little wonder that when we consume a little we find ourselves  craving a little more then a little more.  You know how that story ends.

Thesedays more questions are being asked about where sugar is creeping in.  Consumers are slowly but surely starting to be switched on to these hidden sugars.

Just recently the photo at the top was published in a national newspaper to act as a guide for sugar consumption and on the face of it, it makes sense.  You can see clearly at a glance how much sugar is contained in various foods.  Some of which may or may not surprise you.

But this picture only adds to the confusion about sugar.  You can clearly see that for example a can of coke has less sugar than a mango.  Of course, this may be true but it ignores the fact that the coke is nutritionally empty, filled with chemical additives and preservatives which impact how our bodies systems work.  While at the same time ignores the fact that the mango contains antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals.

So perhaps mixing fruits, whole foods, sweets and processed foods in the same guide is not as helpful as it could be.  Its suggests that the measure that they are presenting is the most impotent one…but of course this is newspapers…their job is to inform and to an extent educate…but mostly its to make stores that sell newspapers. If those stories add to the confusion about health then thats another story opportunity.  The only losers are the readers who buy into what they are reading.

We know that there is a lot of confusion about sugar in all its forms, we meet ladies on our Sugar Detox Retreat who have been trying to cut back on their sugar consumption but find themselves getting pulled back time and time again into the grip of the white stuff.  Intelligent, professional women who are trying to follow a healthy eating plan or support their weight loss but when they fancy a sweet treat are confused about what the best thing is to have.

Guides like this can encourage them make a choice that isn’t really a healthy one.  Follow this guide and you could be tempted to have a couple of Oreo biscuits and a can of Red Bull as your snack, after all they contain less sugar than the Mango!!  But of course once you have consumed the biscuits and drink your blood sugar levels will have spiked and crashed so quickly that you will be left feeling low and more hungry then before.  Then you end up eating more than you need.

Our ethos at The Body Retreat is that we should all look to Remove the Hidden Sugars in processed foods, Reduce the Elective Sugars in sweet treats and Rethink the Natural Sugars in whole foods.  We need to learn to listen to our own common sense about what we are eat and not blindly allow ourselves to be lead by guides, especially those printed in newspapers.

Stick as close to nature as you can and if you fancy enjoying a mango as part of a healthy balanced diet then enjoy every juicy bit of it.  (Maybe do your blood sugar levels and favour and have a little protein  or fat to help slow down the absorption and you really are onto a winner)

Tried & Tested Belly Busting Blowout Recovery Plan

Today’s post is part advisory guidance and part confession…..

You see on Sunday this week I had a blow out… I was having a celebratory lunch with a girlfriend. We had planned it months in advance and so I knew it was going to be a feast of a lunch. Somehow….no additional questions please 😉 … my planned lunchtime indulgence cascaded over into the entire day.

The Belly Busting Food Diary
Breakfast : Large bowl of Bran Flakes
Mid Morning Snack: Slice of home made Pork Pie
Lunch: Crab Tiane with Smoked Salmon, Roast Pork & Mash, Baileys Creme Brûlée, Sauvignon Blanc
Supper: Vegetable Crisps, Smoked Mackerel Crostinis, Garlic Prawns, Garlic Mussels. 2 Cosmopolitan Cocktails

Unsurprisingly the next day I felt ROUGH…. now I cannot blame the cocktails or vino as I actually drank in moderation… what I didn’t do was eat in moderation. I was overcome by the “What the heck, it’s a celebration” voices in my head and had over indulged at every stage.

It wasn’t just the amount of food I ate but the type of foods. Just the amount of processed carbs alone was enough to throw my digestive system out of balance and left me feeling bloated, uncomfortable, groggy, with a fuzzy taste in my mouth. The next morning I felt sluggish and really quite down and unhappy. My entire mood being affected by how I felt physically. My stomach was stretched and felt as tight as a drum. Physically and emotionally I was not in a good place. To be honest I felt so bad that all I really wanted to do was lie on the sofa. I was very thirsty and because I felt so sluggish I was craving sugar to give me an energy boost.

It’s a Slippery Slope!!

Does this sound familiar?  This is the point when in the past I would have given in the physical craving for sugar, carbs and diet coke and hit the corner shop… but now I know that only leads to a serious downwards spiral.  One that ends up with about an extra stone around the middle.  I’ve been there.  I know only too well how slippery that slope is!!!

I also see it with my clients, time and again I see the same self destructive behaviour the day after a blow out.  Its as though the blow out wipes out all good intentions, cancels out any good work gone before, confirms that you can’t do this healthy living stuff! They worry that this over indulgence will stop their weight loss.

But Im here to tell you that is just the cravings talking….like any addiction this is when you are at your most vulnerable.  So now is a time for action…but mostly now is a time to be kind to yourself.  Pick yourself up, accept that the blow out happened, but just more forward.  No looking for excuses, no guilty recriminations , no negative self talk…the blow out was yesterday. Today is a new day and you can make a new choice right now.

The question is…what choice do you want to make?

To help you get back on track I’d like to share with you my tried and tested Belly Busting Blowout Recovery Plan. Just five simple steps to having in you feeling like yourself again in now time…and more importantly to stop you slipping down that slope into daily over indulgence.

The 5 Step Belly Busting Blowout Recovery Plan

1. EAT
Yes I know this might seem a contradiction when feeling over indulged. But it is important to keep your metabolism moving  and your blood sugar levels stable. So today it is important to eat but EAT LIGHT.

Belly Busting Recovery Food Diary

Breakfast : Detox Greens Juice (You can find the recipe in our blog or on our FB page)
This will set you up for the day, flooding your system with goodness while at the same time being very light to digest.

Lunch: Green Eggs & Ham
A great protein based lunch, add chopped spinach to two scrabbled eggs and serve with a a slice of ham. The ham helps to satisfy salt cravings.

Afternoon Snack: Apple & Walnuts.

At the apple with help to keep you hydrated while irving natural sugar and fibre and the walnuts really pack a nutritional punch as the oils also help to balance your insulin levels.

Supper: Chicken & Barley Soup

Again keeping it really light and hydrating this tasty soup helps to satisfy your hunger which will have begun to build during the day. Again you can find a great recipe for Chicken soup on our blog.

2. DRINK
Water, water, water. Today it is especially important to drink lots of water, aim for about 2 litres in total of fresh plain water. If you really feel like you need something bubbly (I know I did) then avoid carbonated soft drinks. Instead add the juice of one whole lime and one whole lemon to a large glass of sparkling water. This will refresh you instantly.

3. WALK
You really need to get moving and not become a couch potato…even though every part of you will be urging you to just sit it out and wait for the discomfort to pass. Get outside into the fresh air…regardless of the weather. Walking for an hour is great, half an hour is good and 15 mins is the absolute minimum. This walk will lift you physically and mentally.

4. SUPPLEMENT
Having consumed a large about of dairy, sugar and proceed carbs my system was totally acidic. I was feeling totally backed up and very uncomfortable (if you know what I mean!!). I needed to get my system back into alignment as soon as possible. Gentle exercise and light eating both help to achieve this but you can super-charge this process by adding supplements into your diet right now. Both Julie  and I always have Alkalising Salts at home. (I take them for Gastro Oesphical Reflux Disorder and Julie  for an energy boost when she feels sluggish) Making up a glass of alkalising salts morning and evening will help to

Also if you have them take 2 probitotics before you got to bed at night they will also help to bentley get things moving regularly by morning.

5. TREAT YOURSELF
The day after a blow out is usually when the guilt and negative self talk sets in. I was disappointed in myself. I hadn’t meant to over indulge…it sort of crept up on me!! My mood was so low that I found myself ruminating on negative thoughts….. in short i was beating myself up for my behaviour the day before. This isn’t helpful. Instead, acknowledge that you perhaps didn’t stick to you plan, but also acknowledge that this one day doesn’t make you a bad person. There is no reason to be guilty and punish yourself. Instead lift your mood by treating yourself to something you really like to do, maybe its have a massage, a manicure, run a bath and take a magazine to enjoy a whole chunk of you time. Whatever is going to lift your spirits.

Let me know how you get on with the plan…it never fails to make you feel better fast.  Follow this plan and you will undo that over indulgence in no time and find yourself back on track.

Please leave me a comment in the box below, I’d love to hear how you get on.