Something had to change – Christmas cheer had led to too much beer.
A weekend on a Slim & Wellness programme in northern Tenerife was just what the doctor ordered.
The 5H Hotel Botanico’s Oriental Spa Garden is tucked between the snow-capped Mount Teide and the seaside town of Martianez in the Orotava Valley.
My wife and I were whisked off for a meeting with nutritionist Dali, who put together our personalised programme for the next three days.
A high-tech machine measured my body mass, bone, muscle and fat, pinpointing problem areas and optimum calorie intake.
Dali made it clear the programme was not just about losing weight, but a holistic approach to creating wellness of body and mind.
The programme appeals to a varied clientele. Overworked professionals looking to unwind, detox and recharge.
Those recovering from ill health, ready to kick-start a lifestyle change.
And people, like myself, who feel sluggish, overweight and unhealthy after overindulging.
It is about getting fit, eating well and losing weight in a luxurious setting.
The Oriental Spa Garden boasts top-notch facilities.
It has outdoor and indoor heated pools with jets and hydromassage, Japanese and aromatic saunas, an oriental dry heat room, Turkish baths and Jacuzzis.
There is even an Ice Temple to aid recovery after sessions at the gym, on the tennis courts, or on the 18-hole pitch-and-putt course.
Also on offer are classes including yoga, tai-chi, Qi Gong and aqua gym.
We plumped for Pilates followed by meditation.
Our instructor showed no mercy, putting the class through its paces.
Muscles and limbs were stretched to their limit.
Being a meditation novice, alarm bells rang when the class started with three loud “omms”.
But after an hour of breathing exercises my mind started to leave behind the stresses and worries of everyday life.
Feeling zen, it was time for our first treatment — the Slim Massage CV.
My heart sank when my masseuse Ursula handed me some tiny paper pants which left little to the imagination.
With my traditional English reserve put aside, I climbed onto the table.
Ursula exfoliated my skin with a green-tea mixture to bring out the toxins.
After a quick shower, hot cinnamon was applied to break down the fat cells.
I came out relaxed, clean and smelling like a donut.
Following a restful night’s sleep and a tasty low-calorie breakfast, we took a short walk to the nearby town of Martianez.
Its lively seafront cafes, bars and restaurants are a great spot to watch surfers on the Atlantic rollers crashing on to black sand beaches.
Back at the spa, we were keen for more pampering with the subaquatic bath and slim massage treatment.
Submerged in a giant bath, a high-powered jet was manipulated up and down my body to break down cellulite as well as improve weight loss and circulation.
Those paper pants almost didn’t make it.
On the treatment table, a body-sculpting cream was applied to treat deep fats and cellulite.
Wrapped up in towels, I felt like a turkey at Christmas.
Eventually the cream was removed and a more relaxing rubdown ensued.
Despite the mild discomfort I left feeling like a million dollars.
After all our “hard work” it was time to eat.
The Slim & Wellness programme includes breakfast, served in your room, and three-course lunches and dinners in The Slim restaurant.
It specialises in healthy, low-calorie food — but serves no alcohol.
Herbs and vegetables grown in the hotel’s grounds and cooked in a steam oven are accompanied by fresh seafood and grass-fed meat.