Getting Gorgeous in Goa
Having fallen victim to the infamous Dubai Stone, I was in desperate need of something to kick-start a healthier me. Long hours and late nights have seen me gravitate towards takeaways and what’s best defined as heart attacks on a plate. Yes, Friday brunch, I'm talking about you. The only solution is to channel my inner Jen Aniston at a detox retreat – in Goa, of course. Five days at The Beach House will transform me from fad dieter to super slimmer… here's hoping.
Day One: I’ve arrived, it’s 6am and I’m ready for bed! After my overnight flight and a horrendous week at work a retreat is just what I’m after and thankfully the Beach House staff let me get some kip. Breakfast is served until 10am, so 40 winks it is.
Oh heck, I’ve slept through breakfast and have 10 minutes to get dressed and across to the main house for my welcome talk. My stomach is rumbling – clearly those choccies I scoffed on the flight weren’t filling enough. We discuss what the programme will entail and my aims for this trip. It’s all a bit overwhelming but I guess the results in five days will say it all. Lunch is surprisingly tasty: tofu, salad and sprouts – no not Brussels; we’re talking home-grown mung beans and the like. Although it’s not a massive portion I’m no longer hungry and start to think I will survive this detox after all.
After a lymphatic drainage massage in which I drift off to sleep, I feel revitalised and ready for the evening yoga class. I’ve never been a huge yoga fan as I tend to lose concentration. However, this time it’s different: I find myself switching off and actually get why people enjoy it.
Dinner is small but I’ve not felt hungry since lunch. It’s pea soup and it isn’t too bad – perhaps just needs a pinch of salt, but I’m guessing that’s a big detox no-no. After the evening talk (a daily after-dinner ritual) I’m asked, ‘Would you like to meditate?’ Instead of my normal response of ‘On yer bike’ I decide to give it a go. Perhaps it’s the surroundings of Goa, the lapping waves and steady breeze that contribute to my chilled-out state, but I really am relaxed. It’s a great way to finish the day before heading to bed. I think Goa is already bringing out my inner hippie.
Day Two: What’s that noise? Ah, it’s my wake-up call and it’s 7.15am. Feeling surprisingly spritely, I jump out of bed to open the door so my breakfast can be delivered: a mug of hot water with some freshly squeezed lemon. Back at home I have a weird Bran Flakes addiction, so I’m a little worried about going cold turkey. Morning yoga starts at 8am but first there’s my new morning ritual of dry body brushing. Not as painful as it sounds. Doing this daily is meant to tone and tighten skin, as well as aiding digestion and breaking down fatty tissues and cellulite (definitely a good reason to keep it up when I get back home).
After yoga it’s time for the first enema of my trip – a do-it-yourself exercise, might I add – which I’m a little apprehensive about. Surely tubes in that region should be dealt with by a professional? The doctor tells me exactly how to do it… but I’ll spare you the details. Let’s just say it isn’t your usual spa treatment – although it turned out to be surprisingly easy. One down, four to go.
Now comes the painful part: my body composition analysis. This is where I find out what bad shape I’m in. Weight, not good; BMI, not great; biological age, horrific! I’m 41, yes 41, which means I’m old enough to be my own mother. I’m told there are various contributing factors but I’m guessing mine is mainly that I love fish and chips a little too much.
With the number 41 still running around in my head I put extra effort into the evening fitness class, which today is high-impact aerobics. It’s hot, there’s a lot of jumping involved and by the time the hour is up I think I’m on the verge of passing out. That said, I do feel more energised. Who knows, maybe I’ll wake up a fresh-faced 40 year old tomorrow!
Day Three: I won’t be eating many solids during the detox but three times a day I have a fruit or vegetable smoothie drink, each of which is packed with vitamins and nutrients. They are really tasty, which is more than can be said for the super-food shot. This delightful treat is dark green, looks like pond scum and doesn’t taste much different. Honestly, it makes wheatgrass taste wonderful! But this is day three and I’m determined to drink every single one that is put in front of me. Today is liver day so, on top of the daily smoothies and shots I have a liver drink, which gets rid of any lurking toxins. It tastes OK – but anything is better than the super-food shot.
I feel due for some me-time, so reflexology it is. I drift off to sleep for the whole hour so all I know is that it must have been good, the perfect way to unwind prior to my Three Chakra Assessment. This is where I will talk one-on-one to a member of staff, to discover the emotional roots of my physical ailments. It sounds like a therapy session and I’m a little dubious, but I will give it a whirl. Two hours later and all cried out, my session comes to an end. Don’t get me wrong; the tears were a good thing. They’d obviously built up over years and it was a relief to let them all out. I’m not one for emotional babble, but I do feel a lot better.
Day Four: Today I will be flushing those unwanted parasites out of my body by way of a garlic enema. Surely the smell alone will make them run a mile.
I have a chat with a member of staff about food. Sounds pretty straightforward but turns out that I don’t know as much as I thought. Yes, I know the basic food groups and that eating a whole vat of chocolate isn’t good for me but I’m introduced to something new: the acid/alkaline approach.
Basically, my diet should consist of more alkalising foods in order to restore the body’s natural pH balance. My pH currently stands at six, which is at the lower end of the acidic scale. Acidic food is to be eaten in moderation or not at all. This includes things like chocolate, white carbs, processed cheese, coffee, tea, alcohol and fish. The latter is packed with omega-3, though, so I should simply balance it with alkalising food, such as green veg, sweet potato, goat’s cheese and quinoa (not all at the same time, of course).
Shocking fact of the day: margarine is grey before they dye it yellow and has a similar composition to plastic! I’m given what looks like a pack of playing cards, each one for a different food. On the back is loads of info that will definitely come in handy when I’m food-shopping back in Dubai.
Day Five: As a follow-up to my Three Chakra Assessment, it’s time for hypnotherapy. This will focus on one area I wish to improve and look at overcoming the emotional hurdles that get in the way. I just hope I’m not made to act like a chicken when someone clicks their fingers. As I gradually drift off, I’m aware of where I am and who I am but just can’t open my eyes – a surreal feeling. I talk during the session but I am very aware of my own voice, like an out-of-body experience.
Two hours later I’m back with it and feel somewhat different. Can’t really put my finger on it, but it’s as if someone has lifted a massive weight off my shoulders. With a few tears shed (yes, more sobbing) I think it released all those pent-up emotions. I feel more positive, something I’m going to take away with me in the hope of curing my deep-rooted cynicism.
Not feeling too great today – a little light-headed and queasy – so I skip the afternoon fitness session in favour of a nap in the sun before my last treatment. I’ve opted for the inch-loss body wrap – a last little push before my body composition analysis results.
Getting on to the scales again I panic a little, but am pleasantly surprised to see that in five days I’ve lost 1.8kg, and 6.7cm off my waist. Winner! My body age remains 41 but I’m assured that over time this will drop, as long as I keep up a healthy lifestyle. I also have a check to test the fragility and density of my bones. My results are normal, so no need to knock back pints of milk to increase my calcium intake. I now have a chat with the nutritionist about the food diary that I filled in on the weekend prior to my trip. Good job it didn’t include brunch!
Dinner time and it may be the meal I’ve been dreaming of: pumpkin mash and roasted veg. Its tastes amazing and I enjoy every bite. I’m asked to compile a list of acid/alkaline-balanced meals I could eat on my return to Dubai and find it surprisingly easy to do, even if the list of mouth-watering dishes suddenly makes me hungry again.
The Beach House was well worth the trip. Although intensive at times, it definitely helped me to be more positive about losing weight. I’ve bought a blender to make my own smoothies and stocked my kitchen with alkalising foods. I will allow myself the odd treat (I am only human) but will be more conscious of what I’m eating. I’ve thrown the margarine out and, yes, I am a yoga convert. Now there’s something I never thought I’d say.
Resting metabolism: 1438kcal
Body age: 41
Resting metabolism: 1399kcal
Body age: 41
INFO: Air Arabia flies from Sharjah to Goa from Dhs 1,336 return, including taxes and charges, www.airarabia.com The Beach House, Goa offers a variety of retreats tailored to different needs and ranging from three to 14 days. Costs start from INR45 (Dhs3,750) for three days, full-board, wwww.thebeachhousegoa.com