*** Note: This review was originally posted on Alex Loves ***
After the excesses of the past few weeks, I decided a detox would be a great opportunity to start the year afresh, and kickstart a healthier lifestyle. I headed to Homefield Grange, a rural retreat in the Northamptonshire countryside. Homefield Grange is a small, dedicated facility based in the village of Rushton, just 1 hour from Central London, where the owner Suzanne and her staff spend 51 weeks a year doing just this. The detox programme is a holistic approach, combining a strictly controlled diet, treatments and exercise.
Now before you think I just spent the last week being pampered, let me tell you – it was hard. The detox consists of 3 ‘meals’ a day: a juice for breakfast and lunch, and a bowl of soup in the evening. That all adds up to about 500 calories a day, and every day would include a long Nordic walk in the fields in the morning, and a yoga session in the evening. We had a small group – around 6 detoxers, with a few more coming later in the week for a shorter stay – which made the experience more personable and friendly. Although it was mostly women, there was also a guy, and it’s a friendly environment where you can just hang out together in the living room in front of the fire, or hang out in your room, watching one of the many DVD’s to choose from.
At Homefield Grange, everything can, not should. You make it whatever you choose to make it. I’d been told the second day would be the hardest, and indeed, by the second, my body felt like it was just shutting down. I was exhausted, had horrendous headaches from caffeine detoxing, and quite frankly, I was starving! I spent most of the day asleep apart from my treatments. On Day 3, I woke up like a new person. The detoxing process was well and truly happening, I felt good in my skin and even did a gruelling 1 hour session with a personal trainer. I also opted for the intolerance and live blood test, which revealed some interesting things as to why I’ve probably not be feeling as good as I could in recent months (intolerances to wheat, dairy and… champagne!!!) In the evening there were educational talks, giving us the skills to continue living healthy after the detox.
In the end, I lost over 5 pounds in under 5 days and since getting back, another 1.5 pounds. I feel great and ready for a fresh start, which includes a whole new way of eating. It feels like someone has pressed my reset button. This initial weightloss is a great starting point and motivator, and I really hope I can continue to embrace some of the vital lessons I learned whilst staying there. Although in theory you could be doing the juicing at home, I think getting away from temptation and sharing the experience with other people who are going through the same thing makes this gruelling process a little nicer. It’s a perfect opportunity to leave stress and work behind, mobile phones are not permitted in the communal areas. Although 5 days was more than enough for me (don’t think I could handle 7 days!), I highly recommend it, even if you just go for the weekend, as it’s a great way to give your body a chance to recover from its daily stresses.
Homefield Grange offers a range of programmes – including a 3-day, 5-day and 7-day juice detox – but you can also opt for healthy food if things get a bit too hard. It’s a homely and welcoming place with a lovely professional and kind staff. I hope that I can turn my stay there into a real long-term success. I’ve already bought my juicer…