If you saw the recent PMN yoga video, you will also have seen a clip of me dancing in the kitchen after a healthy dose of delicious red wine.
Since getting in to ‘wellness’ and looking after myself, I’m the first person people call when they want to escape London for a ‘detox/yoga’ weekend. These are friends who looked at me, when I first got back from LA and wanted to meet up to go to a fitness class, or ordered tea when we met for an after work drink, as though I’d lost the plot.
But now? Now they call me up, desperate for a detox and we put a date in the diary to travel to my family’s bungalow by the sea. The ‘detox’ weekend arrives, we meet at the train station on a Friday evening and the first thing we do is buy a bottle of what I like to call ‘train wine’. We are suitably merry before we even get off the train which sets the perfect precedent for the rest of the weekend, starting as we mean to go on.
Is this ok? I’d say it’s great! Here’s why..
When my friends call me with these retreat requests, they think the problem they are having is that they are not able to stay motivated. They think they need to spend time with someone ‘healthy’ to get into their mindset. But in actual fact, the problem that they are having isn’t motivation at all. It’s a lack of balance. People go from drinking, having fun, living their life with their normal habits in their usual routines and then suddenly they expect to be able to drop it all and transform into these ‘healthy’, ‘well’, ‘fit’ people. It’s not sustainable. Like any diet, you’ll be fed up and back in your normal habits in a couple of weeks. In fact, you’ll probably have a rebellious binge, or get ill from doing too much and counteract everything you’ve worked towards.
Instead of having a ‘detox’ weekend, we have a weekend of health and hedonism. We have a couple of drinks on the train, get up in the morning and do a bit of yoga or go on a long walk... to the pub. We'll have fresh fish and lots of delicious, clean Ottolenghi salads and veggies for dinner. With wine. And probably pudding. It is the weekend after all. We can eat well aaaallllll week.
A friend of mine sums it up perfectly by saying she’s naturally inclined to eat 80% well because she loves it, she eats beautiful rainbow coloured dishes that are easy and have no nastiness. Then 20% of the time she’ll eat what she wants, but mostly instead of eating supermarket chocolate cake, she’ll go somewhere that has really yummy chocolate cake made from raw ingredients, or make her own so she knows what goes in to it. Urgh. I can't do this. It's making me so hungry, I love food.
Maybe it’s the same for life. If you look at my Instagram; it’s friends, family, work, fitness, booze, and a few lame ‘here’s my breakfast’ images. I’m definitely not quite as balanced as I’d like to be yet but I like my life right now. It’s fun.
I guess my point is this; it’s all about making small changes, one at a time. If you’re drinking more water this week than last week, that’s great. If you cut out sugar a few weeks later and it makes you feel better, perfect. That might give you the motivation and energy to start running the next week.
Some people may be able to wake up one day and just decide to transform, but I can’t do that. I make small changes one at a time, that turn in to good habits. My favourite change is that I have off days or off weeks and I don’t feel bad about it, because an off week for me now is completely different to what I would have described as an off week this time last year.
I enjoy feeling well and I know I’ll get back into it later.