The Skinny on Weight-Loss Vacations
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There are plenty of facilities that boast the ability to help you shed pounds fast. However, Dr. Howard Eisenson -- executive director of Duke University's Diet and Fitness Center -- says that the more magical a place sounds, the more skeptical you should be. The only way to produce real results is to incorporate what you learn on a wellness vacation into your life at home. "There needs to be an honest acceptance that this is going to be a marathon, not a sprint," he says.
"It takes a while to become overweight, and it's going to take awhile to get in shape," Dr. Eisenson says. That said, if you're serious about attending a wellness program to lose weight, it's important that you find a facility that caters to both your needs and your budget. "You need to have a serious conversation with yourself about why you're attending these programs," says Dr. Eisenson. "You need to ask yourself: 'Am I willing to make serious changes?'"
If you feel that a wellness retreat is the right way to approach weight-loss, Dr. Eisenson advises finding a program that balances nutrition, physical activity and mental health. And it's also a good idea to do a little research, ensuring that the regimens and treatments are medically sound and right for your body. On that note, we've gathered information on some of the best health and fitness retreats out there.
*All prices listed in this article are for single rooms for a week-long stay unless stated otherwise.
According to Mel Zuckerman, founder and chairman of Canyon Ranch, "Losing weight and becoming active changed my life profoundly … There is no way to exaggerate the difference that sustainable weight loss can make in an individual’s health, in how a person feels and what a person can accomplish." During the one- or two-week Weight-Loss Program offered at the resort's Life Enhancement Center, participants learn to make small changes to their daily routine that will yield a healthier lifestyle overall. Members of the program take part in a variety of group fitness activities (including hikes, yoga, Pilates and even Zumba) and dine together on specially prepared, well-balanced meals. Each participant also receives personal consultations with on-site nutritionists and fitness specialists, and is provided with a detailed post-program plan to help them follow through with weight-loss goals after the retreat is over.
* Accommodation (Seven nights)
* Three meals/day
* Access to fitness classes and spa amenities
* Guided hikes, biking excursions, wellness presentations and healthy cooking workshops
* Personal wellness planning and health assessments
* Resort amenities
* Sales tax
Tips for Success: According to weight-loss specialist and program leader Param Dedhia, M.D., the key to successful weight loss is to establish a routine rather than rely on willpower. "It's the habits and related routines that promote our health as opposed to willpower that can be derailed by negative emotions and stressors. Perfection is not required. We tend to dwell on mistakes and fears which in turn can make us feel like quitting our routine … Every day is a new opportunity to practice a better lifestyle."