You might think our resolutions will be all about pencilling in a shoulder-rub every 15 minutes throughout the year. Think again. We're fans of evidence-based new-year resolutions, here at the Good Spa Guide, so this is what the Spies will be doing in 2013.
1 We will not try any fad diets
This is because diets don't work. If you consume more calories than you expend, you will put on weight: that's the simple equation. You need to make this equation work in your daily life for the long term. Dieting -- severely restricting the amount of calories you take in -- may lead to short-term weight-loss but actually makes you fatter further down the line. It's because our bodies learned how to cope with food scarcity way back in the Stone Age. We learned how to store fat and survive. The more diets you go on, the more "famines" you expose your body to, the better your body simply becomes at storing that fat, and thus getting fat.
What we will do instead:
2 We will make ours a Cabernet Sauvignon
One proposed explanation for the so-called "French Paradox" -- the fact that French people eat a diet with high levels of fat but have much lower levels of heart disease than most other countries -- is their consumption of red wine. Red wine contains an antioxidant called resveratrol, which is thought to sweep up cancer-causing free radicals, as well as acting as an anti-inflammatory. All red wines contain some resveratrol but Cabernet Sauvignon-derived wines have the highest levels. Resveratrol is also present in white wines, but at much lower levels. You don't have to drink wine. It's the pulp and skins of grapes that seem to do the trick, so grape juice is just as good.
But perhaps not as nice.
Drink moderately; one or two small glasses a day, three or four days a week, with meals.
Experimental & Clinical Cardiology, the official journal of the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences.
3 We will use sunscreen
As 2012 was the wettest year on record for us here in the UK, you may think we're crazy. However: understand your ultraviolets. Sunshine contains both UVA (long wave) and UVB (short wave) rays. More UVB reaches us in the summer, which is when people tan, but UVA reaches us all year. UVA penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB and plays a major part in ageing and wrinkles. So look for a sunscreen or moisturiser that protects against both and use it daily.
Even in the rain.
We will also eat tomatoes.
4 We will go trampolining
All right, maybe not.
But, to stay healthy, most adults should try to be active daily and should do either:
* 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (such as cycling or fast walking) every week
* 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (such as running or playing football) every week.
Well, we're always pushed for time, so vigorous suddenly sounds alluring. If trampolining isn't practical, you could also try swimming really fast, riding your bike up hills, rugby, or finding that playground skipping rope.
5 We will remember our name
2013 brings a new way of thinking for us. We are the good spa guide. When we started in 2006, there were just 50 spas in the UK. We could review all 50 spas. We could have a relationship with all of them . . . and we did. As the spa scene blossomed, we ended up listing 950. We could not review 950 spas, and we certainly could not have a close relationship with them all. So, we've gone back to our roots. We now list and review only the good spas in the UK. We're currently restructuring the site (and aren't quite there yet) but both the Spies and the spas are excited for 2013. If you see a spa on our site, you'll know it has the stamp of approval from "the spa bible".
Happy new year!
28th February 2014
Warm floors when you put your bare feet upon them; heated treatment beds; soft towels; attention to detail, so that your treatment room looks and smells beautiful when you arrive in it.
Cold floors when you put your bare feet upon them; therapists who use your treatment time to write up a list of product "recommendations" that they hope you will purchase.
Behind the scenes