A weekend of drinking lemon juice? Really? Beth Gibbons gives the Beyoncé detox a try in Bath
I’m a caffeine addict. There, I’ve said it. I’m a busy working mum and as a consequence, I eat on the go, rarely hit my five-a-day and fuel it all on coffee. No wonder then that I’m feeling more than a little rundown. Determined to break the cycle and kickstart a healthier attitude to my body, I settle on a detox mini-break – though I’m hoping for some pampering too.
It’s only when I receive the itinerary for my stay at The Royal Crescent Hotel in Bath that reality hits. The only thing to pass my lips on the three-day lemon detox made famous by the likes of Gywneth and Beyoncé will be an infusion of freshly squeezed lemon, natural tree syrup (a mixture of tropical maple and palm saps) and a dash of cayenne pepper. For someone who wakes up most days dreaming of roast dinners, the idea seems laughable.
Nevertheless, I’m committed. The programme is meant to be a great way to rid toxins, improve sleep, get better skin and boost energy. Each day you are given a flask of lemon brew which you carry around and sip each time you get a hunger pang. But there’s also the spa to enjoy, including pool and sauna, plus two detox-specific body treatments thrown in.
As I am detoxing solo, I wonder how I will fill the hours that are usually taken up by the ritual of eating. But then I see the size of the bed in my room and it all becomes clear. I have five years of sleep to catch up on.
Over at the Bath House (a cross between a church and a Balinese spa), Julie explains the lemon infusion contains all the vitamins and minerals I’ll need over the next few days. The aim is to give my digestive system a break and allow it to catch up with the backlog, so to speak (apparently your innards may be holding up to 5lb of faecal matter. Yuck!). I’m a size 10 so don’t need to lose weight but it would be nice to be able to slip into my pre-baby jeans without having to jiggle across the floor on my back.
I take my first sip of the infusion that will be breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next 48 hours, and am pleasantly surprised. It’s warming, tangy, slightly sweet. My stomach rumbles with excitement. But before I get the chance to tuck in, it’s time for an exfoliating treatment with peppermint oil and sea salt, that leaves my skin tingling. Then I’m hosed down and massaged all over with juniper and grapefruit essential oils (both renowned for their cleansing properties).
When I emerge, it’s dinner time – in the real world, at least. I’m starving. I take a sip of lemon tea and feel a bit better, but there’s still no denying my stomach is empty. I look longingly at the emergency banana I brought with me then take another sip of lemon instead. I climb back into bed and fall asleep for 10 hours straight.
I wake with a raging headache, wanting to poke my own eyes out. Looks like caffeine withdrawal has already set in. Julie suggests I come in for a reflexology session to help ‘realign’ my body. An hour of toe-tugging ensues and afterwards I feel so serene and headache-free, it doesn’t even register that lunchtime has come and gone. I sip away some more, before losing myself in that ginormous bed one last time.
Incredibly, I’ve lost 4lb in the space of a weekend and my stomach is so flat I photograph it for posterity. Though it sounds extreme, this is one detox that isn’t about punishing your body, but rather resting and nurturing – I’ve never slept so much in my life. Even if my jeans weren’t hanging off me – though, they are – I’d still give it the thumbs up. And I am sent home with a plan to stretch my detox out to seven days so I can change my habits for good. My coffee cup? Now a change jar to save up for my next visit.
The three-day lemon detox retreat is available at six hotels around the UK including The Royal Crescent Hotel in Bath www.royalcrescent.co.uk
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