Love your body: WIN a $10K wellness trip to Thailand

Nikki ParkinsonHealth 62 Comments

Sponsored by Female for Life

Take that mince pie out of your mouth (well put it down for later) because have I got the ultimate motivation to love your body through the festive season?

A 7-night wellness retreat to Absolute Sanctuary, Koh Samui, Thailand.

YES! One very lucky Styling You reader will get to join me – and Female For Life’s Melanie Becker – for a week in April 2015 of total health focus.

More details on the total prize below – plus how you could book and join us for a fabulous retreat should you wish to join us for the week.

Female for Life ambassador Styling You Nikki Parkinson

Me smiling at the thought of spending a week getting healthy in Thailand. Wearing: Female for Life Lovely & Loose top under Bumba jacket

But first … Christmas.

This is probably the trickiest time of year for me to stay on track with my health goals.

I’m not going to kid you.

I love a glass of champers. I love the canapes that usually accompany a champers.

I love cooking and preparing fabulous food for friends and family.

And I very much enjoy eating said fabulous food.

I also know that I’ve been working too hard to maintain some kind of balance in my life to throw it all away over an excess of Christmas pudding.

This is the second Christmas since I made a sustainable and conscious decision to put my health first in my often-crazy work-life balance.

(You can catch up with my health story here, here and here.)

Female for Life active wear

 Female for Life Lovely & Loose top under Bumba jacket; Vixen pants

Female for Life active wear

I’m in a good space, I think.

I think that happens when you commit to supporting your body and your health over a long period of time.

I can tell you that I’ve only been able to sustain that long period of time business because I’ve finally found a formula that works for my body and my lifestyle. It’s a formula that’s endorsed and supported by my GP.

It’s never been about weight loss. It’s always been about how I FEEL.

I’m a bit of a cracked record on this as it really has been the key to keeping going. To keeping up with a healthy eating plan that works for me – and for keeping up with an exercise plan that works for me.

Female for Life active wear | yoga

Female for Life Chillax Black top | Solero leggings

I can tell you that I don’t FEEL very good at all if I have periods that take me from my regular yoga classes.

And I certainly don’t FEEL very good if I have a sustained period of time away when I’m not in charge of what’s on the menu.

I just start to feel a bit ICKY.

In the past, this ICKY feeling would have thrown me off the health wagon altogether. I’d give up. Thinking it was all too hard. Poor old thyroidy me. Hashtag #pityparty.

Not any more.

No, I just wake up, get on my exercise gear, immediately feel motivated and just get out there with the aim of getting back in some kind of balance.

The tips below are things that work for me – they may not work for you. I’m not a health professional. It’s super important that you get professional advice to help you with any changes to your diet and exercise patterns.

10 tips for loving your body this festive season

1. Be realistic. It IS the festive season. There are more parties and gatherings than normal. It’s a fact. Acknowledge that the balance may more easily get out of whack at this time of year and make sure you have measures in place to help get back in balance.

2. Don’t over-commit. A friend told me he had a party each night of last week. I know I could not do that and come out the other side feeling in any way loving towards my body. If you find yourself with a calendar exploding with parties, catch-ups and gatherings, take stock and work out whether you can either say no to one or two or make an early exit from them. Remember, sleep is your friend.

3. Stock up your fridge with healthy snacks and meal ingredients. When it all gets busy upon busy, you need your fridge on your side. This takes a little organisation but having some quick and easy meal solutions means that your body will still get the nutrition it needs. If you have eggs, baby spinach, tomatoes and avocados always on hand, you’ve always got a healthy meal in minutes.

4. Healthy food need not be boring food. If you’re in charge of the menu or taking a plate to any festive parties or gatherings, take the opportunity to prepare fresh and fabulous food that tastes amazing but is good for you too. Interesting and flavoursome salads are easy to create ahead (try this one) and serve with barbecued meat or seafood. Canapes need not be fried. Think simple things like these and these. Dessert based around fabulous summer fruit is always a winner.

5. Get out and exercise in the morning. You’ve got more chance of not skipping out on your exercise plan if you set the alarm and jump up and get active in the morning. And chances are the evenings are getting booked up with Christmas drinks and party invites. This way you’ll stay on track and maintain some kind of balance.

Female for Life active wear

Talula Purple top | Viber pants

6. Exercise with a friend. “We need to catch up before Christmas!” How many times have you heard that already? Here’s an idea, how about the catch-up be a “walk and talk” followed by brunch or G&T depending on what time of the day it is? I’ve been doing this a lot of late. Best catch ups ever.

7. Ask for new active wear as a gift. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m so motivated by how I feel when it comes to maintaining my health. A big part of that feeling is how I feel in my active wear. Good active wear like the pieces featured here from the new Female for Life collection feel amazing to exercise in. They look good, they suck and hold you in (in a comfortable way). The quality is second to none (I’ve got pieces I’m still wearing from three years ago). Why not send a not-so subtle hint about what pieces you’d like to unwrap on Christmas Day (I find an email with exact links to each product works very well!) or strongly suggest a gift voucher?

8. Plan active get togethers with family. Get in the surf together; play backyard cricket; cool off with pool volleyball … whatever your favourite way to be active as a family together, do it and do more of it. It’s a great way to earn that piece of pavlova.

9. Embrace alcohol-free days. I’m mostly pretty good at not drinking at all Monday-Thursday. I say mostly because if there is an occasion then I have a drink because I want to. The mostly bit keeps me on track – and is essential at this time of year. If there isn’t an event or occasion happening then I’ll make soda water in the SodaStream, throw in some lime and just pretend. The more I can do this across the very social weeks of Christmas and New Year, I know I’ll feel better.

10. Christmas Day is only one day. There may be parties and gatherings either side of this one day but it’s the one day that we tend to focus on. I think it’s ok to blow out the health plan on that day if you treat it as a one day thing and not a festival. That’s my plan anyway. Cheers to that.



How would you like to win an amazing health-giving prize worth more than $10,000?

The prize includes a luxury seven-day health and wellness retreat to Koh Samui, Thailand, as well as a Vitamix and four Female for Life activewear outfits.

I’m so excited about this trip and the opportunity for one Styling You reader to come along and focus on their health with Female for Life’s Melanie Becker and me.

You can read all about all the inclusions (yes there are spa treatments too!) and ENTER here.

Come along with us!

If you don’t want to wait and see if you’ll win, why not book to come along with us. The retreat will be from April 18-25, 2015.  To book, head to the Absolute Sanctuary website and book the Be Fit lifestyle program for those days. The Be Fit program is only one of the programs offered at Absolute and every program is tailored to the person – you create your own inclusions. If you do book, make sure to let Absolute Sanctuary know what you were referred by Styling You and Female for Life. I’d love it if you could also please email me: [email protected].

So tell me, Stylers … how much would you love to go on this wellness retreat? Got any festive season health tips to share?  

Comments 62

  1. What wouldn’t I love about this? Learning to love myself again, learning to listen to my body again. That would be priceless 🙂

  2. Words simply cannot express how DESPERATELY I would love to go. Like many, I’m on a journey and whilst (metaphorically) there are some deep valleys, every now and then I sight the peak of Everest. Keep the inspo coming – we love you, love watching your ever-changing wardrobe and hearing about your struggles and successes. And that mince pie? Straight in the bin! I’ve got gym gear to FEEL good in!

  3. With my father in hospital since August and still there, this would be fantastic and rejuvenating for myself and my sister, thank fully he is on the mend but the stress has built up in all that time

  4. Great tips there, Nikki. I just find I’m exhausted by this time of year. Just getting out in the mornings should be much easier as my daughters have finished school now. It also means we can have a walk after dinner as that’s when we tend to have a bit of a chat as well. Good to have time with my girls out of the house and distractions. I will come back and read this one again. Got my eye on those mesh insert tights!

  5. Oh Nikki, that is just what the doctor ordered! I lost my Thyroid 14 years ago from Radioactive Iodine treatment for a Toxic Multinodular Goitre and have struggled with my health ever since. I had been misdiagnosed for two years and told nothing was wrong… it was just PND, then panic stations to wean my daughter in order to get treatment when a locum Dr found it. In February of this year my Adrenals crashed and I have been basically home bound and often bed ridden trying to recover. I too have not been responsive to Thyroxin and have finally found a Dr to prescribe Natural Thyroid Extract (not without a lot of begging mind you). It has not been a smooth transition because of the other health problems I have as a result of the synthetic meds not working for so long. Unfortunately the medical society offer us no alternative and just band-aid the other conditions that the synthetic meds cause. It’s really not good enough. Through my own research I have made huge changes this year to my diet and lifestyle (basically gluten, sugar, dairy, alcohol, caffeine Free), I started Yoga and meditation mid year, but had balance/vertigo issues and increased fatigue so have not been able to continue with the Yoga. Part of my plan for next year was to attend a wellness retreat but the thought of going alone overseas and on the meds I am on, coupled with the thought of becoming unwell in a strange country scares me to no end. This retreat would be a perfect way to nurture my soul and help replace what has been taken away from me and my family. A life without a thyroid is a miserable one and there are so many people out there suffering without help…it’s just wrong. Thank you for providing such a wonderful opportunity to your readers xxx.

  6. Oh wow! A health retreat is on my vision board for next year 2015. My blog won an award on Female for Life’s site last year and I haven’t even tried out there clothing yet. Will add to the “To Do List”. Those vixen pants are divine. Thanks for a fabulous giveaway.I’ve got everything crossed 🙂

  7. Great advice! I definitely need to be reminded of these things and you have inspired me to try and make yoga a priority for next year. I feel that practicing flexibility and balance makes me feel youthful and more energised. Unfortunately, the prize week encompasses my 23rd wedding anniversary so I probably won’t enter, but it sounds wonderful 🙂

  8. Those vixen pants look amazing! Ugh, since moving to Melbourne, i’ve kind of slacked off on yoga. I’ve been eating better, and walking more, but I seem to have lost some of my motivation. Sounds like a great trip, I hope you have a fantastic time!

  9. Love those pants with the mesh panels!! I love having nice workout wear, it makes me so much more motivated.
    Those are all great tips Nikki! I find I value my downtime so much more in December as I need time to recover from all the events.
    I like trying to balance out my alcohol with water on a one-for-one basis so I stay hydrated.

  10. Hi Nikki, I might have missed it but I can’t seem to find where the gorgeous floral cap is from? Thanks for your help 🙂

  11. Hi Nicki thanks for these posts, I do have some Female For Life clothes on my Xmas wish list. Can I ask a somewhat personal question…what brand of sports bra do you wear? We are similar shapes and I have all sorts of problems finding a suitable/comfortable bra (main activities walking, boxing class, spin class and yoga)

  12. I read this while eating a piece of chocolate cake. Topped in whipped cream. I’ll admit I finished it (while nodding along with everything you said) and then vowed to get off my backside and go for a walk (not a run, just a walk) this afternoon so I don’t spend the rest of the day chastising myself for indulging.It’s all about balance. Thanks for another helpful post! x

  13. All I want to say is THANK YOU. Each time you write a post like this, you inspire me a little more, guide me in the right direction a little more and make me feel like I can actually do it. This time next year I want to be able to hold my head high and flash a smile as beautiful as yours, knowing I’ve spent the entire year putting my health first and taking good care of my body. 2015’s mantra will be WWND (What Would Nikki Do?)…! x

  14. A fantastic article and an awesome prize offer – how do you do it Nikki?!! I have spent this year – post-40th birthday – focussing on what I want from life and better health has been a big part of that answer. I am still prone to vanity, but am working to love myself as I am and to treat my mind and body better than in the past. I still have missteps (champagne brunch on the weekend – don’t mind if I do, strange how it lasts all day!) but when motivation is slipping stories like yours remind me that I’m doing this to be the best me I can be 🙂 Thanks for the ongoing inspiration.

  15. Great tips Nikki and I think summer is the best time of year to keep on a healthy eating plan with so much yummy seasonal fruit around it’s easy to eat that instead of something not so good for us and I’m a big lover of salads too.
    Health is very important and so is listening to your body Xx

  16. Great tips Nikki and I think summer is the best time of year to keep on a healthy eating plan with so much yummy seasonal fruit around it’s easy to eat that instead of something not so good for us and I’m a big lover of salads too.
    Health is very important and so is listening to your body Xx

  17. This prize looks & sounds amazing. It would be a wonderful experience & would certainly fill in some gaps for me with regard to relaxation & diet, I am already quite the gym junkie! Would love to share this amazing experience with you Nikki! Thanks for the tips above, I already follow some (but not all unfortunately as I am so addicted to sugary treats – they are my downfall!) I do always ask for new active wear for pressies! Love some of yours! Thanks for the opportunity to win this great prize. Good luck everyone & best wishes Nikki for a wonderful & relaxing festive season.

  18. Nikki – how did you actually start yoga? I have been considering starting yoga for what seems like years and to date, it has just not happened. Did you do an introductory course/session or just jump straight into it? I am confused by the yoga class choices … not sure where to start. Thanks x

    1. I first went to a beginners’ class – most studios will offer them – they might be as a course but they might be just a scheduled class you can slot into. Once the instructor knows you’re a newbie, they’ll be aware to direct you. It’s also a bit cliched but a lot true – yoga is a journey. You don’t have to get it “right” you just have to practise it. Even now, some days just flow for me; others are a struggle. I just go with it and don’t let that get to me. x

    2. I first went to a beginners’ class – most studios will offer them – they might be as a course but they might be just a scheduled class you can slot into. Once the instructor knows you’re a newbie, they’ll be aware to direct you. It’s also a bit cliched but a lot true – yoga is a journey. You don’t have to get it “right” you just have to practise it. Even now, some days just flow for me; others are a struggle. I just go with it and don’t let that get to me. x

  19. Oh my, just entered, and yes along with thousands of others I want to win !!
    I discovered yoga about a year ago, always been a bit un-coordinated, but I am a work in progress, and I love it. I can not imagine not doing it now, wish I started earlier, so if anyone else is thinking of trying yoga, go…It may be your thing too….. Great comp Nikki, thankyou xx

  20. Omg nikki love the comp, love those black tights with mesh inserts and most of all love your wellness philosophy…it’s the same as mine. When we truly commit to wellness as a whole then everything falls into place…mind, body and spirit. If we truly love ourselves then there’s no need for hash words of self doubt when our wellness path takes a detour (like at xmas). You are glowing lady!

  21. Entered! It looks amazing Nikki – an opportunity of a lifetime. After a year full of drama, it would be lovely to do something just for myself. Something that allows me to focus on me and my health and make myself a priority without feeling guilty.

  22. you are looking so great in your exercise gear!
    I don’t even know how to spell it!; had three goes!
    your body shape seems to have completely changed!
    that’s what’s happened to me this year too!
    oh those cycles of life! … love it m:)X

  23. What a beautiful competition. I’ve long wanted to go on a health retreat in Koh Samui. My balance is a bit off at the moment. My eating is on track and I’m managing to negotiate the party season festivities without a food coma. But my exercise has really fallen away. With extra work, my daughters birthday, Christmas and birthday preparations and end of year school activities my days are overloaded. It’s busy and I’m very active but it’s not the same. I’m dying to get back to my walking, yoga and a bit of weight training. I know it will happen so I’m not stressing but my body feels so much tighter (not in the good way) and achy. I know once I have my consistency back my body will thank me!

  24. Competition entered! Lovely exercise clothes too. Like you, we watch what we eat, but Christmas Day is total splurge day – no calories counted. X

  25. I love Christmas and I love the Christmas Day meal… A few years back I was in the process of losing weight and portion control is still an issue for me. I will eat everything on my plate, so I moderate how much I put on it. So I allow myself to have a taste of everything, but just small portions of everything. Once I’d finished, if I’m still hungry I can have more, but this doesn’t usually happen. It means I get to enjoy everything, don’t feel like I’ve missed out, and don’t feel like I want to explode at the end of the day (no guarantee there won’t still be a food coma though

    1. Yes, that holiday is long overdue Ruth! And your Christmas Day strategy is a very good one. I’ve found since I’ve been on my little formula for more than a year I really don’t crave mountains of sweet stuff. Often a bite-size mouthful is enough. I’ve had the taste and really don’t want any more. And yes, I don’t feel like I’m missing out either!

  26. I like the look of those Vixen pants – something different from the usual 3/4 leggings.
    Think I might enter the competition. It’s been a challenging 6 weeks since I was diagnosed with Bipolar. I’m off work until April at least and this would be perfect. Being unwell has forced me to make my health a priority. Onwards and upwards 🙂

  27. That retreat sounds fabulous. This festive season is going to be very different for us – we are heading to Finland!! Mindful is what I will need to be – staying in hotels can be very challenging food-wise!! Then on to England which will be full of family, will just have to remember to go slow on the food and drink sometimes!!

    1. Enjoy Finland. Make sure you pack your thermals 🙂
      My parents are from there. They moved to Australia in 1969 and have visited Finland in the summer but are returning for a holiday this Christmas. It will be their 1st White Christmas since Christmas 1968.

  28. Just a note to say thanks to your wonderful photographer. The first picture of you is a most beautiful portrait. Thank you for a the lovely smile to start my day at work.

  29. Another wonderful competition Nikki thankyou! I need a good kick up the bum, been so slack lately. Must get myself back on track, currently I am at my heaviest ever, apart from being pregnant. First world problem, must get over myself. I have entered the comp, looks like a really good website for info too!

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