That week in Devon changed my life.
Prior to attending I didn’t do any outdoor activity, I didn’t know much about nutrition, and I HATED running. I was also very much in the mindset of “If only I could lose weight my life would be better” without understanding that my weight wasn’t the thing I needed to focus on.
I came back 7lbs lighter, and full of excitement about introducing fitness into my life.
It was the start of my love affair with running and fitness challenges, and it transformed how I saw myself.
I loved the bootcamps so much, I would end up going back a few more times, each time building strength, gaining confidence and making new friends.
And then I had my daughter Rose, and my Too Fat to Run business took off and I never found the time to go back, but I always kept abreast of what owner Stephen was doing, and could see the company going from strength to strength.
With a full marathon coming up, and a massive task of regaining my fitness, strength and confidence for my Sierra Leone Challenge, I was over the moon when Stephen said YES to me coming along for a week to review the new and improved retreat.
And it was everything I hoped it would be and more.
Thinking around dieting and health and fitness change, just as people do, and so it was great to see how the “bootcamp” had evolved.
There were so many upgrade that made this feel more luxurious and perhaps even kinder than how I remember it more than a decade ago.
There were no 6am starts for a start, and the facilities were absolutely beautiful.
The focus was no longer about weightloss, but rather fat loss (with the weight in completely optional now)
Did I want to loose weight YES…and Fat in particular, as carting myself around the jungle of West Africa would be easier the lighter I was.
But for me the focus was on reseting. Reminding myself that I have got strong before, and I can do that again.
We were very lucky with the weather, the bright mornings meant I literally skipped out of bed.
Having the use of a fitness centre, with pool, gym, sauna and steam…ooohhhh and jacuzzi felt really abundant, also meaning you could do a bit more if you wanted to, or less and got for a sauna instead.
The programme was diverse, with a mix of talking workshops, outside hikes, and fitness classes.
I loved the boxing, I loved the HITT training, I loved the early morning runs…although the hills??? I still don’t love hills.
I am always amazed at these things how little your body needs nutrition wise, to still be able to train.
The food was delicious and always looked great. There were a couple of occasions where I knew I needed a little bit more, and the staff were happy to do that.
I loved that as the week went on the gap between dinner and breakfast became more and more…intermittent fasting is a great way of giving your body time to do its thing over night.
I got a little emotional in one of the mindset sessions.
I struggle so much with my identity.
I have always been large, or maybe that is just something I tell myself. My adult life I have always been between a size 16 and a size 22…mostly a size 18.
I made peace with the fat I live in a larger body, and I embrace the word fat as a descriptor rather than a weapon.
And yet, whenever I focus on becoming healthier, stronger and more confident, it quite often comes back to weight loss and becoming smaller….and I don’t always know how I feel about that.
The things which women are told they should care about, I don’t care about so much. I don’t want to be defined by how I look (although I know I often am).
But I do care about how I feel, what my body can do, taking care of my mental and physical health as I age….and being a good role model for my 9 year old.
The staff were brilliant, they offered tools for us to explore our own goals, and reminded us that they were indeed our goals, ones which we can take full responsibility for.
As the week progressed I could feel my body changing. I didn;t have the DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) that I remember from the first few retreats.
I had soreness in my upper back and shoulders, but that would have been from the boxing…something I am considering taking up.
But I felt stronger, more capable, but also I noticed a shift in my breathing while doing cardio (spin was a killer lol)
I don’t think I realised what an impact COVID would have for such a long time.
I was at Fitfarms from Friday early evening to Thursday morning…so 5 full days of fitness and balanced eating.
I lost 10lbs of weight (as weighed on my own scales on Friday morning)
2% bodyfat and 13 cms of size difference.
But the biggest difference since coming back is I just feel so calm.
I ran a half marathon last weekend, and am continuing to fit in exercise, cooking fresh foods, having a few treats but generally just nourishing my body.
I am not even bothered about the scales, it’s more about knowing I am giving my body what it needs.
I think a decade ago I wasn’t ready to look at my nutrition as a way of properly fuelling me…where as now I see it as the ultimate act of self care…yet with no shame or judgement when I decide to have cake (like yesterday when I went to Harrods with my 9 year old)
If you have been reading this blog for a while you will know I am not pro or anti purposeful weight loss…it is none of my business what any other woman decides to do with her body or what choices she makes around her wellbeing.
But what I do know is when you are ready to make changes and want somewhere safe to go and explore what that might look like for you, FitFarm never disappoints.
Being somewhere where you don’t have to make any decisions feels like the biggest luxury of all…and then it is on me, on us, to take what we want and roll with it moving forward.
A massive thank you to Steven for allowing me to come and check out their new facility/location in Devon, and to Jane, Dave and Gosia for looking after us so well.
And of course to the other ladies and gents at the retreat…they literally made it the adventure that it was.
For more information about FitFarm locations (including their new Morrocco location…I am all over that one) check out www.fitfarms.co.uk
If you do book let Stephen know you are from TFTR and you might get an extra few cherry tomatoes (probably not lol)
This 5 night stay was gifted in exchange for an honest and fair review. You can also check out some videos of my time at Fitfarms over on my instagram account.