While we're sure you meant well when you set that New Year's resolution to lose weight—and actually stick to it this time—research shows most people ditch their goals by the end of February. But we say it's time to recommit, what with warm weather on the horizon and swimsuits getting pulled out of the closet. And since we may or may not need a little kick in the pants to get started (and figured you might, too), we rounded up the top weight loss retreats that do just that. So instead of focusing on the kids, work, and the 12,000 errands you have to run, book a flight and focus on getting back to, well, you. Because yes, it really is smart to take care of yourself first. Pinky promise.


Despite the common perception that you need to drop pounds slowly in order to maintain your weight loss, the exact opposite is true. In fact, you’re more than five times as likely to succeed in your long-term weight-loss goals if you start out of the gate by dropping pounds rapidly, according to a 2010 study in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. To set yourself up for weight loss success, make sure you focus on diet and exercise.
Belly Fat! Without doubt, one of the most common and dangerous types of fat. Losing it is not only important from an aesthetic point of view but it's also essential for health reasons. Excessive abdominal fat, also referred to as visceral fat, can form within your abdomen between your organs and secrete proteins that can potentially lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. There's good news though - losing this fat is easier than most people think as long as they have the correct advice. Our latest FREE ebook offers 81 tips to lose this stubborn form of fat. 

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While you might not think there’s a huge difference between eating a whole piece of fruit and drinking fruit juice, nutritionally speaking, the two entities are most definitely not one and the same. Whereas whole fruit contains naturally occuring sugars and fiber that can help counteract the bad effects of too much sweet stuff, fruit juice is often loaded with added sugar (such as high-fructose corn syrup) and no fiber to speak of. According to a study led by Harvard School of Public Health researchers, eating more whole fruits, particularly blueberries, grapes, and apples, was significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, a greater consumption of fruit juices was associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. To get the fruit flavor without all the bad stuff, try stirring up a batch of fruity detox water instead.

“Tahini is an oft-forgotten option for nut and seed butters, but it sits front and center in my fridge because it delivers major creaminess to sauces and smoothies and packs a powerful flavor punch,” says Willow Jarosh MS, RD co-owner of C&J Nutrition. “Although some advise against eating the spread because of its high omega 3:6 ratio, the super high intake of omega-6s in the average American’s diet isn’t due to things like tahini—it’s mostly from not eating a variety of fats or consuming the majority of fats from fried foods and packaged snacks. As long as you’re also eating foods rich in omega-3s, your end-of-day ratio should be nothing to worry about. Plus, tahini is loaded with tons of healthy nutrients like copper, which helps maintain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant responses in the body. It also provides six percent of the day’s calcium in just one tablespoon.”
The first step in undertaking any goal of importance is simply taking a second step. When it comes to arriving at a healthy weight, knowing what you should do, need to do, and want to do, is not as hard as converting that knowledge to action. You’ve decided to enroll in a residential weight loss program at a destination spa or weight loss retreat — that’s taking action. Deciding which program is best for you can be challenging.
All meals are important, but breakfast is what helps you start your day on the right track. The best, heartiest breakfasts are ones that will fill you up, keep you satisfied, and stave off cravings later in the day. Aim to eat anywhere between 400 and 500 calories for your morning meal, and make sure you're including a source of lean protein plus filling fat (e.g., eggs, beans, unsweetened Greek yogurt, nuts, or nut butters) and fiber (veggies, fruit, or 100% whole grains). Starting your day with a blood sugar-stabilizing blend of nutrients will help you slim down without sacrifice.
If stone fruits aren’t your thing, peel a banana instead and watch your belly bloat disappear. A study in the journal Anaerobe found that women who ate a banana twice daily before meals for two months reduced belly bloat by 50 percent. Researchers believe this is because bananas are packed with potassium, which can reduce water retention. The yellow fruits are also a good source of fiber, which will keep you feeling full. 

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.”

There’s some truth to the old adage that breakfast is the “most important meal of the day,” and if you’re looking to blast belly fat, what you eat at the start of each day can make all the difference. According to a study from the University of Missouri-Columbia, a high-fiber, high-protein breakfast may be the most important investment you can make for your waistline. The study showed that eating breakfast triggered women’s brains to release dopamine, a feel-good chemical that helps to control impulses. In other words, eating a balanced breakfast decreases your chances of reaching for that 3 p.m. candy bar and keeps your belly slim.


If stone fruits aren’t your thing, peel a banana instead and watch your belly bloat disappear. A study in the journal Anaerobe found that women who ate a banana twice daily before meals for two months reduced belly bloat by 50 percent. Researchers believe this is because bananas are packed with potassium, which can reduce water retention. The yellow fruits are also a good source of fiber, which will keep you feeling full.
Don't get me wrong — exercising at any time is good for you. But evening activity may be particularly beneficial because many people's metabolism slows down toward the end of the day. Thirty minutes of aerobic activity before dinner increases your metabolic rate and may keep it elevated for another two or three hours, even after you've stopped moving. What that means for you: You're less likely to go back for seconds or thirds. Plus, it'll help you relax post meal so you won't be tempted by stress-induced grazing that can rack up calories, quickly.
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That’s one way the beautifully presented, animal-protein-centric food comes in. Of course, protein is excellent fuel, but the meal plan is also meant to prove that healthy choices don’t require deprivation. You can eat more or less like a normal American, red meat and all (though they accommodate vegetarians handily). Between the reasonably sized meals and copious snacks (to keep blood sugar even), I was never hungry, and occasionally doubted that it really added up to 1,200 calories a day (1,400 for men)—though the fat-measuring scale convinced many of us otherwise.

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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.
Not fond of exercise and healthy food? No worries, simply ingest a parasite to help you lose weight. At the beginning of the 1900s, tablets containing tapeworm eggs were marketed to help people lose weight. These eggs reportedly hatched in your system and stole your nutrients, causing weight loss. It wasn’t known whether these tablets really contained tapeworm eggs, but the idea itself is pretty extreme.
Stress is a big no-no at Mountain Trek. The stress hormone cortisol is public enemy number one here, because it messes with metabolism. Everything that happens during the weeklong program is focused on vanquishing it: a diet free of foods that might cause digestive stress, a strict no-devices policy meant to keep guests from thinking about work, and lots of physical exertion to produce endorphins and other feel-good hormones that counteract it. (Oh, and also to burn fat.)

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.


Cal-a-Vie bridges the gap between health resort and luxury spa.  Its comprehensive nutritional services include consultations with a registered dietician and tests with a biochemistry focus to identify problems arising from adrenal, thyroid or hormone imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, food sensitivities, and more. The fitness program includes more than 130 different classes for beginners to the already fit.
However, if a HIIT workout or piling on muscle mass seems too daunting, simply move for two-ish minutes to whittle your waistline. Why, you ask? Research printed in the journal Physiological Reports showed that people who did five 30-second bursts of max-effort cycling, followed by four minutes of rest, burned 200 extra calories that day. If you incorporate this technique into your workout routine just a few times per month, you can burn thousands of additional calories per year.
“Anytime you’re stressed, you probably go for food,” Dr. Seltzer says. (Have we met?!) That’s because cortisol, the stress hormone, stokes your appetite for sugary, fatty foods. No wonder it’s associated with higher body weight, according to a 2007 Obesity study that quantified chronic stress exposure by looking at cortisol concentrations in more than 2,000 adults’ hair.

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