Lucy Williams from Fashion Me Now attended the Summer Boost Retreat. Here is her full review:
From 4 flights in a week, to resorting to the same amount of takeaways in the same amount of time thanks to not having a single moment to shop, cook or barely eat, life can sometimes, through no fault of your own, wear you down. For the most part, I imagine we all try and make good choices. I eat everything (meat, fish, dairy, gluten) but try and load up on the green stuff (veggies not fruit), occasionally remind myself to walk rather than drive and always go for brown over white when it comes to carbs. However, in the last month I’d been feeling frazzled. I was bad-tempered, bloated, sluggish, headachey and generally feeling grouchy and sorry for myself. My self-esteem was shaky and my immune system felt like it was about to cave in at any moment. The irony was I was too busy to do anything about it (haven’t we all heard that one) and despite my best efforts, meetings, e-mails and blog posts forever take priority over the gym and Wholefoods expeditions.
So when my friend Katherine told me about The Reset Button, a 5-day retreat in the Spanish countryside, I decided it needed to be done. The word retreat has always slightly filled me with fear (almost as much as bootcamp), not because I don’t like the idea of solitude or remoteness, but because I’m not brilliant at being told what to do. My need to be in control runs deep and the idea of someone setting meal times, menus and an exercise regime isn’t my immediate idea of fun. However this time, I was so ready for someone to do just that and take the lead on rebooting my health and wellbeing I couldn’t sign up fast enough. Plus, while dairy, wheat, caffeine and alcohol were off the menu, lean meat, fish and good carbs were still firmly on it so I knew I wouldn’t go hungry.
Set in a remote farmhouse about an hour from Barcelona, the retreat offers daily mediation practise and mindfulness lessons, ridiculously delicious and inventive food that makes you wonder why you ever needed wheat or dairy in the first place, personal training sessions, massage, yoga and one-on-one nutritionist consultations. And the best bit is that it’s set in beautiful, peaceful countryside and every spare hour (and there are lots don’t worry) can be spent reading by the pool, wandering through the local woodland or just soaking up some vitamin D. There were normally about 3 ‘activities’ a day, although I’m not sure even the laziest toad can count a massage as an activity, so plenty of time for doing your own thing. The wifi had such a mind of its own that the long weekend ended up being a bit of a digital detox too. Phones were left in rooms for the most part and used a handful of times a day. Sounds like a lot? Not when you consider I normally have to charge it almost 3 times a day… Yeah.
I’m not going to pretend certain elements weren’t hard. On day two I was exhausted and had a killer headache which I was told without doubt was chronic sugar cravings. And while I’ve always thought I’m pretty good with sugar, I suddenly realised that those 4 p.m yearnings for wholewheat toast and honey and rows of green & blacks after dinner meant more to me that I realised. We all longed for a pot of earl grey in the mornings and a glass of wine at sundown, but it felt good to test my resources and learn what you actually need and what you don’t. I also learnt that I will always eat everything. In my opinion, life’s too short to give up my mum’s fish lasagne or Ben & Jerry’s at the cinema. But the weekend made me reassess what I eat on a daily basis. I probably don’t need two slices of toast with eggs and salmon at the weekends; I don’t need to eat half a pack of Leerdammer cheese while I wait for my lunch; I can feel full on a good salad if I throw some grains or potatoes in there.
I came away with so much, from sleep meditation practises to help ease nocturnal anxiety, to a list of suggested supplements from the nutritionist to help with various ailments, I definitely felt reset. I realised it’s not about being perfect, but about doing little things every day, even if you fail and slip up occasionally. I’ve been keeping up with my workouts too, which has done wonders for my confidence and mental wellbeing. At the moment I’m loving following Youtube workouts like this and this as I can do everywhere and anywhere, from my garden at home to a hotel room. I mix in moves I’ve learnt from Tracy Anderson, Ballet Beautiful and Paul at The Reset Button and feel like the combination of everything is beginning to make a real difference. But the retreat isn’t about losing weight or getting fit (unless that’s what you want it to be), it’s more about learning to treat your body like a family member you care about. I constantly nag my boyfriend for eating too much salt, sugar and caffeine and yet I never do the same for myself. Leaving the retreat, I was suddenly accutely aware of what I was putting into it; anything in a packet with shed loads of ingredients scares me and I’m trying to eat more mindfully, slower and with less distractions, instead of wolfing it down with no thought. It’s little habits and practises like these that make The Reset Button live up to its name…