Dieting is hard work, but never more so than when your willpower is being sabotaged by your other half. Dubai nutrition consultant Ahlaam Ali, managing director of the Powwer Eat programme, is convinced that people whose partners devour takeaways while they’re munching lettuce explains why so many health kicks fail. To assist people’s good intentions, she’s hosting a detox retreat next weekend, from Thursday March 14 to Saturday March 16, encouraging couples to leave their bad habits at home. It’s also open to singles and friends who want to start together.
‘A lot of my clients say I need to get them away from everything – it’s the only way they’re going to start this properly,’ she explains. ‘Most people are aware of what healthy eating is – they just need that little kick to get them started.’
The weekend course takes place at Al Hamra Village in Ras Al Khaimah – far enough away from most people’s cookie jars, Ahlaam laughs. When asked how she plans to keep the group away from the resort’s buffets and other such temptations, she explains that mealtimes will be scheduled to avoid coinciding with those of the resort. She also insists that the weekend is not about deprivation. Though there will be a juice detox option, there will also be a full menu of healthy food options on offer for those who prefer to eat real meals.
The weekend programme will include seminars on adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, plus fitness activities, abs training sessions, Powwer bhangra (a Bollywood dance class) and a body fat percentage analysis. As well as providing two days of education and cleansing, the programme aims to deliver you back to Dubai feeling significantly less stressed.
Another activity on offer is a ‘vision board’ exercise. ‘We’ll talk to each couple and individual, and get them to write down their goals. Whether it’s “I’m skinny but I want to get fit”, “I want to lose 10kg” or “I need to lose 30kg”, once we’ve worked out what their realistic goals are, we pull pictures from magazines, print out words and gather health and wellbeing images that get them in that zone,’ she explains. ‘It’s such a passion for me to work with people on vision boards – and they have always come true for me. My own board, features keywords such as “toned”, “healthy” and “pain-free”. It’s all about programming your subconscious.’
Surely the chance of coming back to Dubai de-stressed and weighing less than when you left (an impressive feat for anyone) is worth the price of a weekend away in the UAE. Take your partner or a friend along, make promises to each other to stay motivated, and you’ll be more likely to stick with it when you get back. What have you got to lose?
Dhs1,299 per person, based on double occupancy. Thursday March 14 to Saturday March 16. Al Hamra Village Golf & Beach Resort, www.ahlaamali.com (055 840 7679).
How to kick-start your detox on the cheap
1 Detox to your door
Dubai’s Detox Delight offers a variety of raw vegan detox options, including a juice detox, juice and soup detox, and juice and dinner detox for those who don’t think they could go without solid food
for several days.
From Dhs530 per day. www.detox-delight.ae (055 883 5072).
2 Hit YouTube
There are hundreds of videos online offering detox advice, including swathes of people trying the well-known detox cleanse recommended by America’s straight-talking Dr Oz. Watch their diary updates for tips on how to successfully manage the full three days. Search ‘Doctor Oz Detox’.
3 Make your own vision board
Even Oprah Winfrey is a fan of these inspirational ‘mood boards’. There are smartphone apps available, but we recommend making your own by covering a large piece of card with motivating images and words that relate to your goal – and make sure the board sits somewhere you can see it when you wake up every day.