The Body Retreat

The Body Retreat

Women Only Weight Loss & Wellbeing Retreats

Exercise New Year Resolutions = Injuries !!!

Exercise New Year Resolutions

Exercise New Year Resolutions = Injuries !!!

Although we love exercise New Year Resolutions we are not great fans of at The Body Retreat.  While we can applaud making a conscious decision to begin to take better care of yourself, of shedding the weight that is unnecessary for you, of improving your health and wellness; we don’t feel that there is any special time of year when you “should” make these changes.

How about you?  Are you an Exercise New Year Resolution maker?

Would you be surprised to learn that exercise New Year Resolutions could actually work against your health???

Have you keenly thrown yourself into a new fitness regime?

Are you enjoying the benefits, feeling strong fit and healthy? 

I hope so….but you might actually be feeling a bit sore and sorry for yourself right now.

January is a boom time for the fitness industry, as millions of the guilt-ridden flock — at least temporarily — to health clubs, gyms and bootcamps to try to shed excess pounds acquired over the holidays or to make this year the year that they do shed their unwanted  weight.

But for the inexperienced, this going from zero to one hundred in a workout regime can pose unexpected hazards. Many fitness wannabes are not familiar with how to use exercise machines and other equipment, they don’t take time to learn the proper technique or focus on their form and can easily sustain head, eye, back, neck, hip, leg and ankle injuries.

According to a recent survey, sprains, joint inflammation and other overuse injuries are among the most common maladies doctors, physios and osteopaths see among resolution-makers.  Mostly seen in people who have taken the phrase “no pain, no gain” literally.

What’s the best advice to prevent Exercise New Year Resolution injuries?

  • Yes exercise – its good for you but know your own limitations and work within in these to begin with as you slowly start to build up your strength and stamina
  • Plan a simple program (ask your physio, PT, gym supervisor for some help)
  • Learn the correct techniques!!  It is much better form to do less of the correct technique that lots of poorly executed reps that do little to build muscle or worse could be setting you up for injury.
  • Warm up, Warm up, Warm up.  Its doesn’t have to be very much or even very long but never go straight into exercise cold.
  • Listen to your body and don’t fail to find the intensity, frequency of exercise that is right for you. You can always build on this as you progress.
  • Vary your exercise, this not only can prevent injury from over use but also prevents boredom.

Making exercise and movement a regular part of your lifestyle is a fabulous goal to make for yourself.  Just take it slow, find out what works for you, something you enjoy.  Then you will find it easy to keep the momentum going, safely and healthily. 

If you still are not an exercise lover or haven’t found anything that ticks your movement boxes check out our blog on Enjoying rather than Enduring Exercise.

What Are Your Weight Loss Weak Spots?

Many women begin a new diet or healthy eating plan and while the first few days go well they see, to find themselves inevitably falling off the wagon time and again.

Now you will already know our view on diets and restrictive plans here at The Body Retreat, but we do appreciate that for many women they feel that their eating has literally spiralled out of control and so for them they need and want the structure that a diet plan or programme can give them.

In our time running Weight Loss Retreats for women we have identified the following 7 Common Weight Loss Weak Spots that come up again and again.

Identifying for yourself your own weak spot can really help you to over come them and achieve your health and wellbeing goals.

First a word on weak spots… I want to be very clear here that these are not a weakness, failing or fault of yours. In identifying the weak spots that have in the past let you down is an opportunity to empower yourself not beat yourself up!!

7 Common Weight Loss Weak Spots


Where you spend your time obviously has a big impact on how you behave. If you work in catering, hospitality or food retail and find yourself surrounded by food all day every day you may find that you have adopted the habit of grazing through the day.

Likewise if you live in a household of all males then you may have found that you serve up the same size portion for yourself as the boys.

Do you have children for whom you feel obliged to keep sweets and snacks on tap?

Is the environment that you spend your time conducive to supporting your healthy eating? Think about what small changes you might like to make to your environment or your behaviour in that environment to help you to eat healthily.


Do you allow yourself to be unduly influenced by those around you? Do you find it hard to say no when offered delicious and tempting foods? Do you have an “eating buddy” you know the friend with whom you can enjoy a good old foodie blow out?

Most people don’t deliberately set out to sabotage your best efforts to eat healthily, perhaps you have simply adopted a habit that has got out of hand, maybe you have never had the firm conversation that you don’t want to eat in the old way anymore.

Think about how your relationships impact the way that you eat, are they as constructive as they could be? If not then it may be time to have a conversation and ask for support or a new way of behaving.



Think eating healthily is expensive? This may be because the last diet plan you followed meant a complete restock of your cupboards with items that once you finished the plan or gave up you never used again. Or perhaps it was a plan that was 100% organic and you cannot justify the extra food bill.

I understand, we do advocate organic at the Body Retreat, I would love it if we didn’t have to stipulate organic because pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and other “Stuff” wasn’t routinely added to the food chain…but that is a whole other blog…. I’m a realist and again this is about choice and a bit of compromise.

If you adopt the 80/20 principle and 80% of the time you choose to buy and eat food that is healthy, maybe organic then that allows you 20% of the time to eat anything else that takes your fancy. You will notice in the recipes on our Conscious Cooking Blog that they routinely use the same ingredients time and again. With just a few staple store cupboard ingredients you can always be ready to rustle up a healthy dish



When you begin your new diet or healthy eating regime, what are you thinking? Are you thinking “fingers crossed this time”; “here we go again”; “hope this one works”.

Perhaps you are even thinking “what’s the point”; “I bet it won’t work for me” or even “ I never stick to these things”.

Our thoughts become our feelings, become actions and ultimately become our results. So beginning any new venture with anything less than feelings of optimism, determination and confidence means that you are pretty much setting yourself up to fail.

Time to be firm and honest with yourself. Are you guilty of thinking self sabotaging thoughts and undermining your best effort?



This is a tricky one. So often we hear from the women who join us on retreat that they simply don’t have the time to eat healthy.

I don’t doubt for one minute that these are very busy women, often holding down successful careers as well as raising a family and running a household.

But here is a universal truth…We make time for the things that are important to us.

Healthy eating does not have to involve long and laborious meal plans, slaving over a stove or building up Popeye worthy biceps at the chopping board. There are many easy time hacks and shortcuts to healthy eating, on retreat we have a breakfast that takes just 90 seconds to prepare.

Time is an excuse…a bit of tough love here!!

Its about choice. When you are busy it is easy to grab the unhealthy option, you may even be unconsciously rewarding yourself for your hard work. But it’s just a choice. Grabbing a muffin rather than a yogurt pot, or a baguette rather than a soup.

There is never enough time, I know that. But it doesn’t mean you cannot make a better choice in the time you do have.



This is probably one of the most common weak spots that we hear from the women who attend our Weight Loss Retreats.

The women who join us on retreat are smart, bright professional woman, but over the years and decades they have been so bombarded by mixed health and weight loss messages that they find themselves almost stultified into inaction by the shear volume of choice. Should they be cutting carbs, sugar, fat, fasting , juicing, the list of options literally overwhelms them into inaction.

Keep it simple. Work out what works for you and then stick to that…stop switching and swapping. Allow your body and mind to understand what you want them to achieve and you may surprise yourself how easy it becomes to shed the unnecessary weight.



Everything above really falls under the same umbrella…these behaviours quickly become our Habits. Once a habit is ingrained it cannot be broken, rather you need to adopt a new habit ,which over time grows in strength and drowns out the old unhelpful habit.

Now that you have reviewed our list of Common Wight Loss Weak Spots you may have already identified for yourself those spots where you seem to come unstuck. That is great…because knowledge is power and you are now in a position to make a change.

You Should Be Planning Your Spring Clean Detox Now

Spring cleaning is often a term that applies to the big house clean we like to do around this time of year, but the technique can also be so easily applied to spring cleaning our own bodies.

Traditionally this is the time of year when my thoughts turn to spring cleaning.  Its a time to get rid of the heavy feeling of winter, clear away the cobwebs and prepare for the hope of warmer weather… that will show its face (eventually!!)

I love a good spring clean, it feels so good to clean out from top to bottom, you feel in control, and really quite virtuous. In fact I just spent the weekend spring cleaning my office in preparation for the new year.

Over the winter months you may have started to hibernate, stocked up on heavy rich foods, indulged in a little more treats than usual.  Winter may literally be weighing you down.  Don’t wait until its summer time and you find yourself “suddenly” faced with an uphill struggle to regain your body, health and fitness.. Act Now and you will breeze thorough spring


The body already is detoxing all the time, it has to.

Your inbuilt cleaning system is dealing with toxins every day.

Toxins are everywhere, our bodies are bombarded by them, in the air you breath, the food and drink you consume the products you use around the home and even on your body.

Under natural circumstances, the body is able to eliminate many of these toxic substances, however if your system is out of balance then the bodies ability to do this can become compromised.

Signs You Need to Detox Now:

  • Dry, botchy skin
  • Outbreaks of spots
  • Headaches
  • Fungal infections
  • IBS symptoms (eg bloating, constipation, flatulence)
  • Lack of energy, but poor quality sleep at night
  • General feeling of heaviness
  • Super cravings for sugar or carbs
  • Super strong cravings for sugar or carbs

How to Detox Safely

Detoxing is safe, effective way of supporting your bodes ability to heal itself.

But… and there is a big BUT… we are not advocating quick fix juice only detox plans, those which suggest you eat nothing at all, but drink juices. In our opinion this is not a way to support your system and can actually decrease your energy levels.  Any detox plan you choose to follow should not be too low in calories, it should be nutrient rich and have a varied meal plan.

Detoxing is a way of giving your body a new start. A safe detox combined with a gentle exercise programme and tools to support a positive attitude towards life gives a fabulous boost to everyone.

At The Body Retreat our Sugar Detox Retreat is designed to provide the tools, resources and environment to make detoxing not only, simple and safe but also a real pleasure.

Our Detox Programme incorporates healthy nutritious but light meals. The purpose of the plan is to reduce the load on your digestive system while at the same time flood your system with enzymes, vitamins and minerals in an easily digestible form. While at the same time its an opportunity to rid yourself of the sugar habit you may have been struggling with, whether that be bread, soft drinks, wine, ketchup or even fruit.

When you are detoxing you do not want to redirect your bodies energy into high intensity exercise, that just makes you feel wrung out but increasing your activity levels will support the detox process as well as provide you with a mental lift.  So it is a great time to explore low intensity exercise, Pilates, yoga, nordic walking, swimming are all great options.

The body detox is only half of the equation.  This is also a fantastic opportunity to detox your mind, to lose the internal negative chatter or toxic emotions that may be keeping you stuck in situations that are not healthy for you.

On our Sugar Detox Retreat we use NLP along with relaxation techniques and guided visualisations to help overcome any mental obstacles that may have held you back in the past and help you to refocus on new positive goals.

When body and mind are detoxed you feel lighter, brighter, clearer ad re-energised ready to embrace life. At our Sugar Detox Retreat there is the added benefit of around 6lbs weight loss which gives a great confidence boost as you start to look forward to first signs of spring and the opportunity to shed your winter layers.

Want to try a detox plan at home?

Top Tips  For Spring Clean Detox.

  • It will come as no surprise that increasing your water intake is No1 on the list.  Aim to drink at least 1.5 litres per day
  • Start your day with the juice of half a lemon with hot water to give your liver a boost.
  • Get into the habit of dry skin brushing daily, it will take a bit of time to begin with but you will soon find a rhythm and you will be amazed at the difference in your skin tone.
  • Cut out Caffeine, Dairy, Meat, Carbs from your diet.  Your meal plans should be 80% veggie based, go organic and local where possible.
  • Go Green… green veggies are packed with  chlorophyll helps flush out environmental toxins.
  • Garlic in almost everything, it activates liver enzymes that help filter out wastes. Counteract the garlic by eating lost of parsley, which also happens to be a great detoxifier 😉
  • Keep the good fats in, Avocado, rapeseed oil, seeds and nuts all in small quantities
  • Get into the fresh air for at least 15 mins every day and breath fully and deeply
  • Spend at least 5 mins every day in quite contemplation or practice mindfulness
  • Get your hands on The Detox Plan by Jane Alexander, this great book will take you through a weekend or month long safe detox programme


Why Counting Calories Will Not Achieve A Beach Body

Its that time of year when the world goes “Beach Body Crazy”.

Of course it can be pretty hard to not feel a certain pull of beach body worthiness when our society is so image obsessed. Put to one side for a moment that a lot of the images we look at in our media are not real, having had the support of some tech wizard and the mighty Photoshop pen.

But if you are hitting the beach or poolside this year then it’s quite natural to want to feel good.

Feeling good poolside is very different from a desire to look like a Photoshop model poolside and just to be clear, there is no such thing as a beach body…your body is your body, summer, winter, spring and autumn. Feeling good inside and out is a 365 option not just for two short summer weeks. Ok…rant over.

But if you have been thinking that you want to shed your winter poundage (those unwanted pounds that have crept on since you layered up and started hibernation eating over the winter) then I want you to think differently about how you approach your weight loss this year.

In the interest of full disclosure I will say that I am much more an advocate of Gaining Health , not Losing weight. But I live in the real world and I know that there are times when we all want to trim down and tone up.

For decades now we have been told that when it comes to weight loss you need to count calories and then reduce them.

Put less in than you use up and hey presto you lose weight. It’s the perfect equation…except that it isn’t!

Playing the calorie counting game doesn’t work in the long term and even in the short term it may do more harm that good as you can actually gain weight and upset the hormones that control your metabolism, your sleep patterns even your sexual appetites!!

Why Counting Calories Doesn’t Work


All calories are not created equal.

For example you want an afternoon snack and you have budgeted about 250 calories. What to have?

How’s about a chocolate bar? A Mars bar has 260 calories or a Kitkat is even better at only 230 calories.  Or how about a boiled egg and half an avocado coming in at 270?

The chocolate bar will give you a real rush, your blood sugar levels will be flying for about 30 – 40 mins then you will feel totally flat as you crash and burn. Your insulin levels will be sky high coping with the sugar. You are also training your brain to respond to sugar and so set yourself up for a lifetime sugar addiction.

By contrast the Egg & Avocado option, while not as attractive from a calorie perspective of is full of good fats and proteins and so the energy is slowly absorbed, avoiding those blood sugar and insulin spikes. You will literally feel fuller for longer and you will have had the vitamin, mineral and antioxidant boost from this snack. It’s also much less likely to have you chewing your arm off on the journey home from work or craving carbs in the evenings.

Choose the chocolate and you could have saved yourself 30 calories, but you will most likely eat much more than that to climb out of the sugar crash.

It’s not about the amount of calories but rather the type of calories that you are choosing to consume.

You May Be Tempted to Eat “Fake Food”

The saviour of any calorie counting diet plan are the artificial sweetners, and processed foods.

“Need an afternoon snack? Why not enjoy our chocolate flavoured yoghurt with mini crispy balls on top for only 99 calories!!!”

Why not? Well, before you tuck in take a quick look at the ingredients list. Does it read like a chemical experiment? Are there lots of words you cannot pronounce and have no clue what they are? You are consuming chemicals, chemicals which fool your brain into thinking you are eating real food. Yes you have only consumed 99 calories but you have consumed a whole lot more “stuff” that messes up your metabolism and endocrine system.

Hormones Regulate Metabolism, Not Calories.

This is a good time to give a quick plain English explanation of metabolism.

We tend to think of metabolism as a furnace that gets switched on or off depending on what you eat and how much you exercise. But actually is much more than that.

Metabolism in your biochemistry, its actually hormonal reactions in your brain, your gut and even your fat cells that tells the body what to do with the energy you have consumed. Burn it as energy, store it as fat or use it to build muscle its your hormones that dictate that and its much more about what type of food you eat rather than the calories composition that makes these reactions.

When you eat Fake Food or very low calorie food you aren’t giving your hormones much to work with and so your metabolism gets sent into free fall.

You might lose weight this week and then having eaten a fewer higher calorie food the next you put on 3 or 4 pounds!! How did that happen? Well your metabolism’s is out of whack. You need start eating real clean food all the time…no exceptions and no exclusions. Your hormones will love you for it and so will you waistline.

When You Calorie Count You Stop Listening to Your Body.

We have all done diets. Day after day of having a fixed reduced calorie intake goal. “Today I’m eating 1,200 calories” and so you plan the day out, splitting the calories into manageable portions.

Picture the scene, you are sitting down to dinner with your calories counted portion and towards the end of the meal you start to feel full. But you still have all those calories left on the plate that you allocated, it would be a shame to waste them…so full or not… most people keep eating and clear the plate. After all they are still within their calorie budget so no problem right????

Not really.

Firstly, when you eat to feeling full that means exactly that, your stomach is full. Which means that you are every so slightly stretching your stomach. So the next time you eat, you find that you need to eat just a little bit more to gain the same feeling of fullness, then the same thing happens the day after and the day after… before you know it your stomach has stretched and you cannot seem to find that same feeling of fullness you once did.

Admittedly you are not very likely to stretch your stomach on a diet of lettuce leaves, but the problem with diets is that they never last…never! And once you have created the habit of always eating until you are full you continue this habit with the higher calorie foods, consuming the same sized portions of food that will now stretch your stomach and are stored as fat.

You Can Become Obsessive About Food

 Viewing foods only in terms of their calorific value encouraged disordered thinking about food. You can so easily become obsessed about hitting the lowest number of calories per day or working out to burn off as many calories as possible…leaving yourself under nourished and over exerted. What you fail to see is the real nutritional value of the food. Often times choosing a high calorie whole food is a better option for your waistline. Note the word whole food, we are talking organic meat and diary, fatty fish, avocados, nuts, seeds and great oils…not donuts and takeout.

What’s the Alternative?

We our top tips at The Body Retreat when you want to tone up and trim down are pretty simple..and nothing to count, measure or weigh.

Eat Clean Whole Foods…cut back on the starchy foods and increase the lean proteins and lots of green. Green is Good!

Only Eat When You Are Truly Hungry…get out of the habit of eating. Don’t eat when you are bored, stressed, upset. Learn to listen to your body, listen out for the signs of real hunger.

Never Skip Meals, (if you aren’t hungry after about 4 hours or so are you listening to your body?) You will probably eat about 4 times a day, about every 4 or so hours, this is about how long it takes for your body to use up the energy you have given it along with some of your fat stores.

Keep Hydrated…don’t confuse hunger with thirst. Stay hydrated all day, your skin, hair, eyes and waistline will love you for it.

Move More Every Day…there is no getting away from it. You do need to move. Aim for about 20 – 30 mins of activity every day to help control your blood sugar levels.

Get Your Rest….sleep helps to reset those all important hormones meaning your energy levels and hunger levels are better balanced during the days.

Relax… your body is already beach ready. When you make the decision that it’s ok, but you now choose to nourish your body and mind with real whole foods, enjoy moving your body and feeling how strong it is, how much it can do then your confidence to peel off those extra layers will be right there.


When the Christmas party scene starts to kick off its only natural to feel a little swept up in the festive spirits.

Festive drinking can take its toll on your body and your health, from the additional empty calories of many cocktails, the late night sloshed snacking, the hangover sugar binges and not to mention the distinct lack of motivation to get up and exercise.  Its seems like a pretty bleak time for the health conscious amongst us.

But worry not, its not all doom and gloom, with a little planning you can have your tipple and your waistline.

Our Golden Guidelines for Christmas Drinking Survival

  • Never drink on an empty stomach, preferably drink alcohol with food so it slows down the absorption of the sugars.
  • Do not drink alcohol on two consecutive days and not more than twice in any one week
  • Avoid carbonated soft drinks and fruit juices as both are very high in sugar.
  • Choose your beverage wisely remember that the rules about carbonated drinks and fruit juices still apply, so if choosing sprits what mixer will you have.
  • Dry white wine or red wine is probably a better choice than sprits or beers
  • Don’t mix your drinks.  Pick one drink and stick to it for the evening.  Mixing wines, beers and cocktails is not only a sure fire way of becoming very drunk but can also make you ill.
  • Stop drinking at least one hour before you go to bed.  Then during this last hour drink water to help rehydrate yourself before you sleep.
  • If you come home and you feel like ravaging whatever is in your fridge, drink two large glasses of water, then have a small snack. It should tide you over.



Chrimbo Cosmo

1 measure Pimms

½ measure sweet vermouth

Cranberry Juice

Dash Angostura Bitters


Pour all ingredients into a shaker over ice.  Mix vigorously.  Pour into a cocktail glass and serve.


Merry Mojito

1 measure Gin

1 tsp Agave Syrup

4 mint leaves

4 wedges lime

soda water


Muddle the Gin syrup, mint and lime in a tall glass.  Top with soda water and serve.