First things first: Whether you do or don't want to lose weight is totally personal; if you want to, great, but if you don't, that is perfectly fine as well. If weight loss is one of your goals this year and you don't know where to start, you're not alone. Nearly a quarter of the Americans who resolve to change something about their lives this New Year’s will be hoping to shed some pounds—and preying on these doe-eyed resolvers will be all manner of “fast weight loss solutions.” They’ll guarantee instantaneous results or promise to make the pounds melt off without you having to change a thing. The reality is, losing weight in a safe, healthy, and effective way is a lot more complicated than that.
Even if you start slow, each bit of weight you lose will give you more energy to keep going. “Just a 5 percent drop in weight can help lower blood sugar levels and blood pressure and improve sleep quality, all of which increase energy,” Sass says. Because your body isn’t working as hard, you’ll have more resources to perform more healthy activities. And in a positive cycle, that first bit of extra energy will make changes you’re making stop seeming like such a chore. “When you have more energy, you’re more likely to feel motivated to be active and make healthier choices,” Sass says. Exercise itself has also been shown to boost energy levels. Check out these other incredible ways your body changes after just one workout.
Why a top-pick? Many weight loss retreats develop their programs around a specific exercise schedule and predetermined nutritional goals. At Kripalu, participants spend more time delving into why they eat and what they can do to make healthier choices. Dieters don't go home with a specific meal plan to follow, but they have the opportunity to connect with others so that they can continue to build on the foundation that they establish at Kripalu.
before and after 40 pounds
Spoon Guru nutritionist Isabel Butler (MSc, ANutr) recommends that “the best way to reduce weight and maintain the weight loss is by simply eating a balanced and healthy diet, without refusing yourself particular foods… If you do cut out foods, you need to make sure your diet is still balanced and you are getting the nutrients your body needs from other sources.”
As far as sugar goes, high-fructose corn syrup is the worst of the lot. The man-made substance is a combination of corn syrup (which itself is 100 percent glucose) and pure fructose, making it a unique nightmare for your waistline. In one study, researchers fed subjects beverages sweetened with either glucose or fructose. Though both groups gained the same amount of weight over a two-month period, the fructose group gained its weight primarily as belly fat because of the way this type of sugar is processed in the liver. To avoid the belly-bloating HFCS trap, make sure you look at nutrition labels carefully and ditch the processed snacks and fruit drinks.
Suspect you have a sluggish metabolism? You might have hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland, which afflicts about 25 percent of American women — many of whom don't know they have the condition, according to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. "The thyroid gland controls your body's metabolism, so one of the first signs that it may be off is an inability to lose weight," explains Pamela Peeke, M.D., professor of medicine at the University of Maryland and author of Fight Fat After Forty. Your doctor can determine if you're suffering from hypothyroidism by running a blood test. If you do have an underactive thyroid, you'll be treated with a synthetic thyroid supplement, which you will need to take for the rest of your life (it will return your metabolism to normal, so it should be easier to drop unwanted pounds).
A healthy diet and moderate exercise is the obvious answer. But the truth is that this is not all there is to it. Every body is different and every life is different. What works for me won’t work for you (maybe) and so the best ways to lose weight really depend on you, as a person. You already have an idea what works for you and what doesn’t, so definitely keep this in mind as you’re searching for a retreat.
Even if you fill up on produce, lean proteins, and whole grains, according to British Journal of Nutrition findings, when you think about the quality of your diet, you’re likely forgetting about all the unhealthy food that also finds its way to your mouth. People tend to exaggerate the good foods they eat and underestimate the bad stuff, says study author, Kentaro Murakami, PhD of Japan’s University of Shiga Prefecture. While it’s not necessarily intentional, it’s likely one of the reasons why it’s so hard for people to lose weight. For example, you might grab a handful of candy at a co-worker’s desk or a sample at the mall and then forget about it altogether. Our advice: To get a more accurate overview of your diet, keep a detailed food journal on your phone—yes, that means you should include that food court sample, too. Whether you snap photos or keep a written log is totally up to you—both tactics will work. The more food records dieters kept over the course of 30 months, the more weight they lost, a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found.
Tennessee Fitness Spa recently had the honor of hosting VickyFlipFlop, a travel blogger who writes "for people who want to make the most of their annual leave, weekends, money and friends, by exploring the world, and a festival or two." Creating a video about her stay, we're excited to share that Vicky had a fun – and productive! – stay at our fitness camp for adults. If you'd like to hear Vicky's thoughts about her time at Tennessee Fitness Spa, click on the video above!