Of course, many guests—whom one program director described as type A’s, double A’s and triple A’s, even if they aren’t all super-fit—come for the results, not just the high. And we were pleased. One guest dropped nearly nine pounds his first week and ten his second. After one week, I’d taken off just about all the fat I'd put on after I was sidelined by an injury several months ago. My skin glowed, the dark circles under my eyes looked lighter, and I genuinely felt rested.
This diet consists of forcing yourself to only eat lean, unfried meat, water, eggs and vegetables, with no fat and just a tiny bit of bread or fruit – hardly a laugh a minute! Apparently the combination of foods is supposed to interact chemically to burn fat. We’ll admit that this diet may be a quick fix for that upcoming wedding or holiday but an extreme diet plan like the chemical diet is not nutritionally balanced and does not contain enough calories for a healthy lifestyle.
“The weight starting coming off,” she says. “I remember I lost 9 lbs. my first week. After I had lost 100 lbs., I started trying more adventurous exercise. I became fascinated by fitness and seeing what new things I could accomplish with my body. I do things that I never dreamed were possible like running races, lifting heavy weights, and completing a sprint triathlon.”
Yes, this is exactly what you think it is. A nice fatty blob of butter in your coffee alongside a glug of oil. Really! The latest diet fad involves taking a tablespoon of butter and stirring in two dollops along with a dash of oil (medium-chain triglyceride, to be precise) which makes a cup of Bulletproof Coffee. Despite the fact that this unappealing brew contains a massive 500 calories, its creator Dave Asprey, once 21 stone and now ‘slimline’ swears by the formula. But we’re not convinced, and neither is Dr Sally Norton, an NHS surgeon and leading UK weight-loss consultant who spoke to the Telegraph. ‘There is no science that would back this up as a weight-loss tool’.
While understanding your body composition may not seem like an important concept in a generic weight loss plan, it represents a clear measure of unseen risk. You see, as excess body fat accumulates around your organs, it begins to act as an independent endocrine organ secreting inflammatory compounds and increasing insulin resistance that may lead to metabolic syndrome, a constellation of elevated blood pressure, cholesterol, and a state of insulin resistance (diabetes).
A different way of viewing weight loss identifies the problem as not one of consuming too many calories, but rather the way the body accumulates fat after consuming carbohydrates—in particular the role of the hormone insulin. When you eat a meal, carbohydrates from the food enter your bloodstream as glucose. In order to keep your blood sugar levels in check, your body always burns off this glucose before it burns off fat from a meal.
French superstar chef Michel Guérard is famous not just for his fantastically refined food but for something that seems wholly at odds with fine dining: weight loss. At his deeply chic manor-house hotel in Gascony, Guérard combines a delicious, low-calorie diet with sculpting treatments using sulphur- and magnesium-enriched water from the nearby hot spring. In between trips to the spa there is time to exercise with a personal trainer. It all feels very doable and therefore easier to maintain later, as does the calorie-controlled diet. The food is limited, but mouthwatering. A three-course lunch of tangy white-bean and tomato salad with soft pear followed by sea bass in a vegetable-and-herb tea is just over 500 calories. And that includes the chocolate-cream pudding.
One of the best new examples of a weight loss spa is Skyterra Wellness Retreat about an hour from Asheville, North Carolina. It's a small program that encourages longer stays (one to four weeks) where everyone eats the same delicious, healthy meals at communal tables. They exercise together, attend lectures together, even go into Asheville for a bit of chocolate and coffee at French Broad together!
While a few programs still offer this model, it is truly not advisable. The emphasis now for short-term stays at destination spas like Canyon Ranch Lenox and Rancho La Puerta is not so much on losing pounds, but on eating delicious, healthy food, getting plenty of exercise, and attending lectures and classes on healthy living and personal expression.
Weight loss isn’t a linear event over time. When you cut calories, you may drop weight for the first few weeks, for example, and then something changes. You eat the same number of calories but you lose less weight or no weight at all. That’s because when you lose weight you’re losing water and lean tissue as well as fat, your metabolism slows, and your body changes in other ways. So, in order to continue dropping weight each week, you need to continue cutting calories.
Do you know if your current weight is healthy? "Underweight", "normal", "overweight", and "obese" are all labels for ranges of weight. Obese and overweight mean that your weight is greater than it should be for your health. Underweight means that it is lower than it should be for your health. Your healthy body weight depends on your sex and height. For children, it also depends on your age.
Thanks to an increased interest in food and food trends, recipe videos are likely dominating your social media feeds. And their constant presence could be hindering your weight loss goals, especially since many of the brief clips spotlight unhealthy dishes and sweets. “The internet and social media sites are basically making you fat,” Lisa Hayim, MS, RD, and founder of The WellNecessities, told us in The 30 Worst Flat Belly Mistakes Women Make. “If it isn’t 25 ways to eat tater tots then it’s [another] national [something] day. The internet has made it basically impossible to stay away from cravings and indulgences. These are not excuses to eat unhealthy food.” Next time you see one of these videos, scroll quickly past. Or better yet, unfollow the page completely, and follow Eat This, Not That! on Facebook for healthier videos and more slimming tips.
There's a reason you've been hearing so much about cutting meat out of your diet lately. It's not just great for your body, but also a quick way to shed some extra pounds. "Consider swapping a few meat-centric meals each week for ones centered around vegetarian proteins — or give a full-fledged vegetarian diet a try if that's of interest to you," Gorin says. "Research shows eating a vegetarian diet may boost and speed up weight loss, resulting in a loss of up to 10 pounds." Gorin recommends topping a salad or filling a veggie taco with vegetarian protein sources like pulses — which are beans, chickpeas, lentils, and dried peas — to give your weight loss a boost. One study found eating ¾ cup of pulses daily led to a loss of close to a pound over about six weeks, versus people not eating pulses daily.
Green Mountain at Fox Run offers health and weight loss retreats for women only, which range from specialty weekends to 1-2-3-4 week programs, as well as extensive online resources, including recipes, tips, forum support, and complimentary webinars on a variety of topics ranging from mindfulness to binge eating. The panel of experts take particular care with young women to guide them to wellness at critical stages in their lives.
Forget weight-loss teas, firming creams and other fad-products. How about washing your fat away with a specially designed soap? In the 1930s a soap was marketed as having “magical fat-dissolving properties”. If the goodness of the soap could get rid of dirt on the skin, surely it could penetrate deeper and target a flabby belly? Or at least that was the idea behind the soap.
Plain and simple: We just don't feel full by liquid calories in quite the same way as we do real food. Drinking a juice or caramel coffee drink, for instance, won't make you feel full the way eating a bowl of veggie- and protein-packed stir-fry will. So monitor your intake of juice, soda, sweetened coffee and tea, and alcoholic beverages. If you consume each of those beverages during the day, you'll have taken in at least 800 extra calories by nighttime — and you'll still be hungry. (Incidentally, alcohol may suppress the metabolism of fat, making it tougher for you to burn those calories.) Some other ways to skip sugar? Check 'em out here.