Nourish Don’t Punish

It is around this time of year that the nation becomes obsessed with the number on the scales, the tightness of the jeans and the calorific content of every meal.

We commit to get fit, and decide that this year is the year we are going to hit our target weight.

Yet time after time, people fail in their attempts to lose weight long term, they drop off their plans, or just as bad, they stick to them but in the process, they make themselves miserable.

So why is it that so many diets fail? Is there another way to approach this that doesn’t need to be so flipping boring and difficult?

The answer could lie in a new movement in nutrition. I was chatting with my nutritional therapist colleague Anne Richardson the other day, and we both believe in an eating psychology that is more empowering, positive, and ultimately, more effective.

I have spent my career trying to change the mindset of dieters, trapped in a cycle of denial, punishment, strict regimes that focus on diminishing what we feed ourselves, which lead to feelings of missing out and not having enough.

This approach is neither satisfactory nor sustainable.

We need a more positive approach. Our bodies are meant to be fed not starved, and we need to focus on what we put in them, not what we take away from them.

The answer lies in one word – Nourish.

To nourish means to provide with the materials necessary for life and growth. When we give the body what it needs and wants, we feel satisfied, we don’t suffer the hunger, energy and cravings that accompany diets. Instead we feel fulfilled, rewarded, full of life and vitality.

Of course, we have to consider the impact of the choices we make, so awareness is key, and asking ourselves if a certain food is going to nourish us adequately, in terms of its nutritional value as well as it’s taste and satiety, is key.

For instance, for my daily diet, I know that a good breakfast is the secret to how I feel for the rest of the day. Many people believe a granola breakfast to be healthy, so will choose that whilst trying to lose weight. If I was to have granola, I would be hungry less than two hours later, and be in a cycle of energy highs and lows for the rest of the day. An egg-based breakfast, however, sustains me and means I eat less overall throughout the day.

It’s about finding what works for you, and also finding what you feel nourishes you on all levels. We need to feel like we are treating ourselves well, because this leads to feeling good about what we are doing, which is the secret to keeping it up. We need to nourish ourselves, not deny ourselves.

Marc David, a consultant in the field of Nutritional Psychology, believes it is more than just what we eat.

“Nourishment is not just “nutrition.” Nourishment is the nutrients in the food, the taste, the aroma, the ambiance of the room, the conversation at the table, the love and inspiration in the cooking, and the joy of the entire eating experience”.

I believe it is also about more than just what we eat, but what we do with our time, and how we treat our bodies, including the exercise we do.

Too many people seem to be punishing their bodies with exercise they don’t enjoy, or causes them pain. It shouldn’t be a hardship, it should make your body feel great at the end, which is why I love yoga – it’s about finding what feels good. The same goes for dancing.

If you’re not smiling through it, it’s not doing you much good!

We need to eat what nourishes our body, do what nourishes our soul, and choose thoughts that nourish our mind.

So next time you are making a choice, no matter how healthy you think it is, if it doesn’t nourish you, let it go.


To find out more about how to nourish yourself, Gillie is putting on a one day Nourish retreat at Highfield Farm in Topsham, which will include yoga, a nature walk, mindfulness, and a cookery workshop, nutritional talk and healthy lunch with nutritional therapist Anne Richardson.

For more information email






Massage at Wild Yoga Camp!

I am super excited to announce that joining us on Wild Yoga Camp is my old colleague from my days running fitness retreats (and friend!) Suzanne Burgess.

Suzanne is one of the special therapists out there who has a “foot in both camps”, you might say. A highly qualified massage therapist, but with a spiritual and nurturing side. Her exceptional knowledge and expertise, combined with her empathetic nature gained us outstanding feedback week on week.

Suzanne Burgess, Sports Massage Therapist

Suzanne Burgess, Sports Massage Therapist

When she wasn’t healing the achy muscles of our tired retreatants, she had the enviable job of massaging the legs of the Stoke City Football players.

Suzanne will be available for massages throughout the camp at a special reduced rate.

£25 for 30mins, or £40 for 60mins

You can rest assured, you will not be disappointed.

For more about Suzanne, read below.

Suzanne Burgess is the practising therapist, brains and soothing hands behind BMG Sports Therapy.  Living and working in the Staffordshire Moorlands, Suzanne qualified initially as a therapeutic masseuse in 1995, following a 12 year military aircraft engineering career.
With a love of things sport and exercise related, she went on to further qualify as a sports massage therapist; practising her skills in self-employment and with a number of amateur athletes and sports clubs, gaining FA “treatment and management of injury” accreditation before studying at degree level for 3 years to become a full time Sports Therapist.

Since qualifying in 2005, she has worked in professional football, where she is currently still employed in the Premier League, and also spent 4 years working in the weightloss boot-camp field. Believing in Balance, Suzanne’s approach to body wellness is holistic and multi-modal, and she will attempt to help restore balance with a variety of techniques, advice and potential referrals to other practitioners where and when appropriate.  In line with this approach, she has added Indian head massage to her skills list in recent years, and has an interest in Reiki, being attuned to the basic level 1.

Here Comes Summer

Here comes the sun (salutations!)

Here comes the sun (salutations!)

Today is the 1st June, so even if the weather not may seem that way today, I think we now officially call this summer.

So I am letting you know about my new summer schedule of classes and workshops. As you will see, I am using new venues in and around Topsham.

If you’ve not been there already, Highfield Farm is a sunning rural setting with lots of parking, and is park of an organic farm and campsite. The Court Barn which I use for classses and workshops is spacious and light, with lovely views out to the fields. Everyone who has been just loves it, and we are also able to easily cater there.

Yoga in Nature at Highfield

Yoga in Nature at Highfield

I am also open to any suggestions you have for venues you know of. Any questions or suggestions please feel free to chat after class or give me a call.

Topsham Summer Schedule From July 2nd 2015 – September 4th 2015

NB There will be no classes from June 15th to July 1st as I will be away teaching on retreat in Spain. For details see

Weekly Yoga Classes in Topsham

Mondays 6.15–7.15pm Mindful Yoga Highfield Farm (all levels, beginners welcome)

Mondays 7.30 – 8.30pm Mind Over Matter (weight loss group)Highfield Farm (parking available)

Tuesdays 9.30am Yogalates (yoga and pilates for all levels) at St Matthews Hall (upstairs)

Tuesdays 6.30pm Flow Yoga (a more dynamic class) Highfield Farm

Wednesdays 9.30am Yogalates (fitness and wellness class) venue Pebblebed Vineyard, Clyst St George (parking available)

Wednesdays 6.30pm Mindful Yoga  (all levels welcome, ideal for beginners)St Matthews Hall

Thursdays 6.30 – 7.30pm Flow Yoga (beginner to intermediates)Highfield Farm

Fridays 9.30 – 10.30am Yogalates (strengthening and stretching for all levels) at St Margarets Church

*Classes are £8 for one class, or £12 for two classes. Book a block of 4 for £30. Private sessions are £20 per session for upto 4 people (July and August only, usually £30)

  **Thursdays and Fridays I am available 9am – 5pm for private sessions and workshops for individuals and businesses. Also some Friday evenings andSaturdays. 

Upcoming Workshops and Events

(Held at Highfield Farm unless stated otherwise – visit for details and directions)

Sat 4th July  YogaDance Workshop 10.30am – 12.30pm

Fri 17th July  FeelGood Friday Karma Yoga class (donation only for MIND charity) 6.30-8pm

Sat 1st Aug Eco Yoga Workshop 10.30am – 12.30pm

Fri 14th Aug FeelGood Friday Sunset Yoga and BBQ (option of camping and Saturday classes)

Sat 29th Aug SALUTE TO THE SUN! (just 108 times) donation only 12 midday

Getting ready for chakra workshop

Getting ready for chakra workshop

For more details and bookings email or call 07530 012 490.

Coming soon….

Please bear with us whilst we get our new website up and running.

In the meantime, you can contact us on or 07530 012 490.

We offer the following:

* Yoga Classes in Topsham

* Yoga and Meditation workshops in Devon

* Mindfulness Workshops for businesses

* Corporate Wellness Days

* Motivational Training and Coaching

*Healthy Eating Workshops and Private Catering for Events

* Retreats in Spain