Sunday the 9th of June saw Alma and I run the Southend Half Marathon. Although I had done more training than for Brighton, as we approached the start line I was really apprehensive. The last few days had been a bit stressful what with my Mum being ill, and I didn’t sleep well at the B & B (nothing to do with the beds which were very comfortable, just my nerves!).
I needn’t have worried though – Alma proved to be the great race companion she always is, and despite me making 2 rookie mistakes (wearing brand new bottoms to race in that kept slipping down and trying a gel I hadn’t used before which gave me a stitch) somehow I puffed and plodded my way to a PB by a whole 40 seconds! I know that doesn’t sound much, but considering I set that PB in 2011 and ran Brighton HM 7 minutes slower only 8 weeks ago I was pretty chuffed.
THE NEW ME
I’ve just come back from a weeks stay at Slimmeria weight loss retreat for a detox week on a raw vegetable diet. I went because I was looking for something to jolt me out of my weight loss rut and on the website it says the average weight loss per person is 12lbs in a week. Here’s how my week went.
Got up took all my measurements, got hubby to take before pictures of me, saw them and felt depressed – do I reeeeeeally look like that from the back?? Had a lovely cooked brekkie to console myself, got the train at 1.15, bought a brie and cranberry baguette and a huge packet of crisps as my last chance blowout to eat on the way – scoffed the lot within 15 minutes of getting on the train. Arrived at the retreat at 4pm. It was a beautiful afternoon and the house is on the edge of one of those chocolate box villages – all pretty houses and lots of green. Here’s a pic:
I decided to unpack and run off the baguette – it was too hot to go far or fast though so I just ended up doing 3 miles. Dinner that evening was cabbage, carrot and onion broth (a recurring theme) and over dinner I got to know my fellow guests and how the week would work. A few of us went for a little stroll in the evening in the spirit of starting the week as we meant to go on. Went to bed feeling hungry.
Woke up to my alarm at 7am feeling hungry. At 7.45 we were given one slice of apple and hot water and lemon and then it was out for the morning walk. 5.5m at a brisk pace (thanks to my half marathon training my legs were strong so I was mostly at the front of the group), then back to the house for breakfast which was grapefruit juice.
At 1030 we had a circuits class, followed by yoga then lunch which was a salad (the days all merge into one but the lunchtime salads were the tastiest meal of the day). After lunch we were free to relax and I had an inclusive spa treatment for each day I was there.
As I know my PCOS makes it harder for me to lose weight, I decided to do a 2nd walk each day, repeating what we had done in the morning. I made sure I got back in time for afternoon tea which was a herbal tea with some fruit. I thought fruit meant we would get a nice big apple, or an orange or a big bowl of strawberries, but no, this is Slimmeria – it is geared towards you losing a lot of weight, so the fruit we got was what I would call the ‘concept’ of fruit. A couple of examples: 4 * 1cm thick little triangles of pineapple with 10 pomegranate seeds; 1 gooseberry with half a strawberry and 1/4 of a small kiwi fruit; a slice of pear, a whole strawberry (I got very excited) and a 1cm piece of papaya… you get my drift. Afternoon tea became the highlight of my day – fruit has NEVER tasted so good!
Afternoon tea was followed by my spa treatment, then dinner was served at 6.30pm. It was the same foods (which are very beneficial for detoxing) just cooked differently each day – courgettes, red peppers, onions, carrots and cabbage. I wasn’t expecting haute cuisine, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the blandness. Luckily there were chili flakes on the table so every dinner ended up tasting like a watery veg chili. After dinner we had a motivational talk which was quite interesting – talked about using positive self talk and goal setting. Bedtime was 9.15pm – we were all glad of it by then.
Pretty much as above just with different exercise class – Boxing, which I really enjoyed and the evening talk was replaced with a Zumba class (I was too tired and kept going in the wrong direction).
Same as before but with a different walk (by the beach – lovely!) and another class. This was the day that quite a few people ‘crashed’. The week before going I had cut out all caffeine so I was feeling OK, but those that hadn’t really felt it. Everyone had different symptoms – headaches, tiredness, palpitations, dizziness, feeling sick… It’s scary to think that something a lot of people drink can cause such extreme withdrawal symptoms. I had a lovely afternoon walk with one scary moment – I had to negotiate my way around these cows to get out of a field back onto the footpath, I ended up talking to 2 that ran away from me up the slope towards the gate – I must’ve sounded like a right weirdo.
It was my turn to crash. No simple bloody headache for me – oh no, I decided to go all out and burst into tears at the back of the yoga class (luckily I was by the door and slipped out without anyone seeing). I sat and sobbed for half an hour and when one of the Slimmeria team found me she was very supportive. I think it was probably a mixture of physical tiredness and a build up of stress and worry about my Mum, so when I went for my walk in the afternoon I spent an hour talking to Mum and made myself a mini bouquet out of wild flowers and felt much better afterwards.
Same as the rest of the week, walk, workout, walk, treatment, force down dinner, spent the night not really sleeping (uncomfortable bed, too achey, mind racing).
9 mile walk in the morning in the wind and the rain. The most testing so far both terrain and conditions. I went for another shorter walk in the afternoon and finished my day with a wonderful muscle soak bath – bliss!
Weigh in day! I stepped on a bit apprehensive, a bit excited and was both happy and disappointed to see a 13 lbs loss. I know its a great loss, but other people in the group had done far less than me and hit bigger numbers. I spent the train journey home thinking about it and now I’ve reflected on it I know it’s a brilliant weight loss considering my PCOS, also my legs and arms are more muscly than they were so I’ve lost fat and built muscle. I tried a load of clothes on when I got home and can fit into LOTS of things I haven’t been able to wear for a couple of years, so I’m a very happy chappy!
I’d highly recommend Slimmeria IF you are prepared to push yourself. It’s a great escape from real life (I didn’t think about work once) and you come away lighter and motivated to carry on. The owner, Galia, and her team are very enthusiastic about the programme and because it is such a small business and group they seem to really care about each participants success – as I was leaving Galia asked me to let her know how I’m getting on at regular intervals. I intend to stay away from gluten as the skin condition I suffer with on my hands has completely cleared up and I feel far less bloated, and I’m going to make cheese an occasional treat rather than a daily necessity. All in all, a great experience and I intend to go back as soon as I can.