Admittedly, I’m healthier than many people. But that first meal changed every guest’s ideas about what the 16 of us were in for at this tough-love-luxury health retreat in the middle of nowhere, British Columbia. At similar fitness retreats, such as the Ranch at Live Oak, I’d been hungry and cranky, subsisting for a week on little more than vegetables. The results had been more than worth it, but the process was uncomfortable and sometimes stressful. (I stayed at these retreats as their guest.)
There are plenty of exercise classes and time for walking (called "Vermonting") on an old logging trail. As you cycle through the program you have fewer lectures and more activity. The facility itself is a sixties-era motel that has been nicely remodeled–simple, comfortable and clean.  All-inclusive rates are $3,700 for the first week, single occupancy.
Berries are more than just morsels of sweetness that you can toss on yogurt or work into a smoothie; they can help you lose weight, too! Raspberries pack more fiber and liquid than most other fruits, which boosts satiety. They’re a rich source of ketones, antioxidants that can make you slimmer by incinerating stored fat cells. And like other berries, raspberries are loaded with polyphenols, powerful natural chemicals that have been shown to decrease the formation of fat cells and eliminate abdominal fat. Not to be outdone, research suggests blueberries can also help blast away stubborn belly fat by engaging your get-lean genes. After a 90-day trial, University of Michigan researchers discovered rats that were fed a blueberry-enriched diet showed significantly reduced belly fat compared to those who skipped the berries.
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Spirulina is a high-protein seaweed supplement that’s typically dried and sold in powdered form. The dried stuff is about 60 percent protein, and, like quinoa, it’s a complete protein—deeming it a great weight loss tool. A tablespoon of the blue-green algae delivers 8 grams of metabolism-boosting protein for just 43 calories, plus half a day’s allotment of vitamin B12, which can encourage weight loss by giving you more energy and boosting your metabolism. Try tossing some spirulina into a smoothie and watch the pounds melt off.
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Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.


Since weight loss can be an exhausting and rigorous pursuit, many travelers choose to begin their journey at a relaxing spa. Typical spa offerings, like fitness classes, massage, chef-driven menus make the weight loss process feel less stressful. Some of these fitness and weight loss resorts are located within luxury hotels, while others have stand-alone campuses.
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Though you may think that strong willpower is a necessary trait to overcome down-time grazing, experts say that your success is more dependent on your food environment than anything else. “If you happen to get bored and there is nothing but healthy food available in your house, you likely won’t choose to eat it unless you’re actually hungry,” says Jennifer Neily, MS, RDN of Neily on Nutrition. Most people don’t have the urge to eat celery sticks; cookies, however, are a different story. Heather Mangieri, RDN agrees, adding, “You can’t eat what’s not there, so make sure when you open the pantry, you aren’t tempted with the sugary, salty, fatty foods that most people choose when eating ‘just to eat.’ Instead, stock your refrigerator with fresh vegetable slices and healthy whole foods that will be easier to pass on if you’re not really hungry.”
HIIT stands for high intensity interval training, and it’s a great way to build muscle without spending hours in the gym. The idea is to go all out for a short period of time, followed by a slower pace that allows you to recover. Think of jogging or sprinting all out for 30 seconds, followed by a minute or two of rest, then repeat. Short bursts of high-intensity exercises keep your heart rate up while adding lean muscle. More muscle mass equals calories burned on a daily basis. Also, the more lean muscle you have, the higher your metabolism is.

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.


The scientists ferried 20 overweight, middle-aged men by train and cable car to a research station perched 1,000 feet below the peak of Germany's highest mountain, Zugspitze. During the week-long stay, the men could eat and drink as much as they liked and were forbidden from any exercise other than leisurely strolls. The team measured the men's weight, metabolic rate, levels of hunger and satiety hormones before, during, and after their mountain retreat After a week up high, the subjects lost an average of 3 pounds. A month later, they were still 2 pounds lighter. The scientists' data showed this was likely because they ate about 730 calories less at high altitudes than they did at normal elevations. They may have felt less hungry, in part, because levels of leptin, the satiety hormone, surged during the stay, while grehlin, the hunger hormone, remained unchanged. Their metabolic rate also spiked, meaning they burned more calories than they usually did. A high-altitude weight loss strategy could be viable, though studies have shown peoples' appetites bounce back after about six months at high elevation, Leissner said. “If you could do intermittent periods for one week, then go down, and then go back up, this might actually be helpful.”
Body fat gets a bad rap, but your body needs it. There is an essential amount of fat that each body needs in order to maintain its natural functions. That amount will vary between body type, age, sex, physical activity level, and fitness goal. For the general population, the levels accepted as healthy are between 21-32 percent for women and 8-19 percent for men.1 Higher levels can lead to weight-related health risks such as Type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

Tart cherries are grown exclusively in Michigan, but if you’re able to get your hands on them there is strong evidence to suggest they can help you achieve your weight loss goals. Need proof? Researchers at the University of Michigan conducted a 12-week study that found that rats fed tart cherries showed a 9 percent belly fat reduction over those fed a standard western diet. Scientists believe this is because tart cherries are especially high in anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid with strong antioxidant activity. These and other flavonoids found in tart cherries have also been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.
Unfortunately, metabolic compensation isn’t your body’s only strategy to prevent weight loss or encourage weight gain. Hunger hormones – leptin and ghrelin – are also at play. Fat cells produce leptin, which tells your brain when you’re full. Fat cells also shrink when you lose weight, producing less leptin and meaning you don’t feel as full. Strike one. Ghrelin, produced by the stomach, tells the brain it’s time to refuel. When you lose weight, ghrelin levels rise, prompting you to want to eat more frequently. Strike two. Research suggests that neither leptin levels nor ghrelin levels return to a normal baseline for at least a year.
Apparently there’s a special ingredient in grapefruit that, when eaten with a form of protein, triggers a fat-burning process and therefore results in weight loss. So, the idea is to start each meal with half a grapefruit, eat lots of protein and drink plenty of water and black coffee. While this diet may help you lose a few pounds, any weight lost will pile straight back on once you return to your normal diet. Such a drastic reduction in your intake of calories can also result in dizziness and an upset stomach, plus it’s so very boring!
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’.
More than 400 genes have been linked to obesity and weight gain and they can affect appetite, metabolism, cravings and body-fat distribution. The exact degree to which you can be genetically predisposed to weight gain or obesity is unclear, but genes have been associated with difficulty losing weight even as you increase physical activity or low-calorie diets. Much like weight management on the whole, addressing a genetic predisposition for obesity is much easier from a preventative standpoint than a reactionary one.
Who knew that fantasizing about eating your favorite candy can actually result in real-life weight loss? A study found that daydreaming about eating an entire packet of the sweet stuff before indulging may cause you to eat less of it. To come to this finding, researchers asked participants to imagine eating three M&Ms versus 30. Then, they conducted a taste test where participants were able to nosh on the chocolate orbs. The results? Those who imagined eating lots of M&Ms ended up gobbling down the least!
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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).
Aim to get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Try going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. Get these seven tips for the best sleep ever! Why? Ever notice how you start to crave donuts and drive-thru breakfasts when you’re exhausted? When you don’t get enough sleep, your hormones are thrown out of balance. Running on no sleep can actually drive up the hormones that make you want to eat, while pushing down the hormones that signal for fullness—and that’s a recipe for weight gain. When you’re well-rested, it’s much easier to make healthy decisions and stay on track. 

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