Spa Secrets
____________________________________________________________________

My reasons for going to Fitfarms, a weight and fitness retreat, were vanity and fitness. I have spent most of my life doing martial arts and dance, but the past few years I had done nothing! So although I was happy with the way I looked, I want to stay happy. I WILL look like Demi Moore when I'm 45, but I know I have to take control of my fitness and health now. I want it to be normal to stay fit and not torture.

Day 1 Arrival

We got into the Fitfarms jeep and the bonding began. This sounds cheesy but it was bound to happen with a group of women from different walks of life and different ages. Although weight loss and fitness was the overall goal, everyone had a deeper reason for attending – loss of personal identity, personal tragedy, wanting to start a new life and to build confidence. Sharing your reasons brought us closer together and we hadn't arrived yet.

The Fitfarms house was amazing – a beautiful country home up a steep windy road and surrounded by fields. Following a delicious dinner of Moroccan lentils and grilled veg (my favourite dinner of the week), we met the team of Gilly, Charlotte and Zuzanna and they explained what Fitfarms did and how the week would go. Our first activity was light exercise to get us in the mood – more like games to get us moving and to get us to know each other.

We then had our evening snack of apple and mango compote and I spent the rest of the evening chatting with the other guests.

Day 2

Up at 6.30am! We begin the day with weigh-ins and health assessments. We talked one-to-one with Gilly, discussing why we were there and what we wanted out of the week. We found out how many meals we'd have, what kind of food we would eat and how the exercise and activities would be structured. Although weight loss is the title, they did not focus too much on it; in addition, they measured us and took body fat measurements.

Fitfarms never tell you what is happening the next as they want you to concentrate on the day in hand. The main assessment was a fitness test, a three-mile run or walk in the surrounding countryside. I walked the three miles – I don't do running1 i walk really fast, so I still felt the benefit.

Peak of the day:  Boxing, core work, porridge made with fruit juice. Yum!

Pit of the day:  None

Day 3 – The hard work begins

Up at 6.30am. Argh! I only wake up this early if I need to get a flight. I'm surprised I manage to get out of bed and complete the exercise circuits, but we partnered up and i had a great time. I absolutely loved it and it reminded me of PE at school. I had retained my enthusiasm and the team Jedi masters, tricking everyone into loving the exercise – I was really looking forward to the day's activities.

Peak of the day:  belly dancing, stability ball exercises.

Pit of the day:  Walking six miles in the rain but it did eventually stop, so I ended up enjoying the last two miles.

Day 4

Today was great because waking up didn't hurt quite as much and my friend Charly arrived to take part in the rest of the week's activities. I was still motivated and started to notice my knees were more toned.

As well as exercise, FitFarms holds classes to teach you about nutrition and how to maintain the changes we were making that week. Today's workshop was brilliant – we learnt how food marketed as health foods sometimes contain more sugar than Willy Wonka's factory. We also took a vitamin deficiency test – you drink a shot of water containing vitamins and minerals and depending on what it tastes like to you, the experts can determine how deficient you are. I was happy that I was not lacking in any. Phew!

We also had a workshop about why we overeat and it led to a fascinating discussion among the group about weight and eating habits. At first I was a bit nervous about joining the discussion as I am a size 10, but I explained to the group that unlike them, who eat to deal with their feelings or issues, I did the opposite when stuff happens I just lose my appetite and it has caused me problems in the past.

Peak of the day:  Circuit (I loved the variety) and nutrition workshop (most so-called ‘healthlthy' cereal bars are evil).

Pit of the day:  The 15 mile bike ride – I can't ride a bike.

Day 5

Porridge made with fruit juice is the way forward and I cannot get enough of it. Also today was the Big One, a nine mile walk. I was raring to go and ditch the trainers and put on the Fitflop boots. I was so pleased to come in just after the runners – walking fast is my super power.

Today I noticed my bum looked more toned (nice0 and my waist looked thicker. I started to freak out because although i want killer abs, I didn't want to lose my shape, but my friend pointed out that my hips have got smaller, so crisis averted. I also noticed that my boobs have got smaller and my face looks slimmer. Boobs come back!

Peak of the day:  Pick ‘n' mix with Charlotte

Pit of the day:  Shrinking boobies

Day 6

The end is in sight and I feel so sad. It's only been six days and I love the women here. I love spending the day exercising, the smell of the countryside is becoming tolerable and my energy levels have shot up.

We repeat the walk from day two and everyone's time has improved. We stand at the finish line cheering each other on, it's a poignant and emotional moment. The rest of the day flies by with

lots of laughs.

Peak of the day:  Everything. Especially cheering on my friends at the finish line of the three mile walk and Charlotte 's ab workout. ‘I will have a six pack@ is my new mantra.

Pit of the day:  Realising it's almost over and eating quinoa – I really dislike that stuff

Day 7

The last day and I feel so sad. Charly and I have had a great time. We have made some friends and I'm not looking forward to going back to reality.

Our final assessment revealed I lost 5lb and dropped 2.5% body fat. Wow! I feel motivate to maintain it and think a yearly visit to FitFarms is on the cards. My mind feels clearer, my skin looks great, I feel stronger and I'm really happy!