What is it? Slimmeria Retreat at Hye House
Where is it? East Sussex
As you might expect from the name, Slimmeria is a venue where the principal focus is weight loss. Something of a fusion between a bootcamp, spa and detox retreat, the immediately striking thing about it is the beauty of the location. The renovated house is very much a labour of love for proprietor Galia Grainger, who devised every detail from the decoration to the dinners based on her own devotion to healthy living.
Bought as a ruin, Grainger spent three years developing the manor house-style property and its gardens a mere four miles from the sea. Given that positivity is a key part of her ethos, the venue provides an inspiring start to the week-long retreats knowing that however much hard work you are going to do, you are doing it in style.
The basis of the five to seven day retreats is a vegetarian detox diet which having contributed to her own four stone weight loss, Grainger swears by as a full-body MOT and a kick start for healthy living. Her other passion is walking, so the day starts with a two hour power walk overseen by the lady herself, followed by a fitness class with one of the trainers and an hour of yoga before lunch. Then in the afternoon there is time for spa treatments and a bit of pampering – the coconut and honey massages being particularly popular because they smell so good … Grainger has thought about introducing a chocolate treatment, but is a bit concerned that guests will start eating the products. At 5pm there is another fitness class – Zumba, martial arts, belly dancing or a nutritional talk, before an early dinner at 6.30, and time to relax before bed. “Guests, especially girls, bond a lot in this time – they are like minded, and often spend the time talking about why they are here, it helps to keep one another motivated, and they usually keep in touch after they leave.”
Food and food education is naturally a big part of Slimmeria, and there are nutritionists on site to advise, but the crux of the retreat is their vegetarian detox diet which consists primarily of fruit and vegetables and small amounts of protein and quinoa. Grainger is keen to point out that the diet you have during the week is very much an MOT for the body, and when you leave you are taught to introduce more proteins to make it sustainable and healthy for the long term; you also leave armed with recipes to help keep you on track.
Working on the basis that beautiful surroundings will inspire a willingness to be healthy, Slimmeria takes full advantage of its location, with two hour walks through fields or along the East Sussex beaches taking in natural and historic sites – not least of all the infamous locale of the Battle of Hastings. Aside from the health attributes of sea air and bracing winds, the visual stimulation provides a welcome distraction from the overriding concern of, ‘when can I next eat?’
Although people might go to the retreat thinking that they just want to lose weight, between the life coach and Grainger’s own direct persona, it doesn’t simply aim to re-jig dietary hard drives, it also aims to find the cause of the problem – or as she explains: it’s also a ‘mind detox’. It is however hard work, and part of the reason it works lies in the determination of guests to make it happen – not for the faint hearted then, and although Grainger remains in touch with many of her visitors, one of the things she is most proud of is that people leave with all the tools to make their new lifestyles work: “it’s like taking out the old disk and putting in a new one!”
– There are nutritionists and trainers on site, so make sure you ask lots of questions while you are there. There is also the added option of having a one-on-one session before you leave and obtaining a personalised training plan to carry on at home if you think you might veer off track.
– The retreat is designed to help you make lifestyle changes, so think about which exercises you enjoy doing and which ones you would like to continue at home, whether it’s finding a dance class or thinking about a walking route.
– Although the main goal is weight loss, the retreat is also designed for people who are simply feeling a little dissatisfied with life – if it isn’t the detox that makes you feel more positive, then the views and location certainly will!
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