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!
But perhaps the biggest change has been in my mindset. I’m learning that health is all about balance, which I’ve always known but to be here and live it has been eye opening and comforting seeing it firsthand. It’s so easy to fall into an "all or nothing" mindset, thinking that if I couldn't do everything perfectly then it wasn't worth trying or if I “messed up” then it wasn’t worth continuing on.
This award-winning spa believes self-discovery is the path to a balanced life and offers more than 90 different activities and classes to honor this belief. Guests can sign up for the healthy living workshops, which focus on topics from grief to relationships and everything in between or the integrative wellness classes. As for exercise, the resort offers “Latin Splash,” where guests water dance to Latin music, a high intensity circuit class, meditation, body conditioning and much more. Throughout each day, participants are encouraged to take a dip in one of the swimming pools, test out the climbing wall or Zipline, hit some balls at one of the two tennis courts and chill out in one of the Zen desert gardens.

Learn how to balance stress, weight and nutrition during Cooper’s popular six-day “Wellness Week” program ($2,195, does not include accommodation). The program includes two personal training sessions, group fitness classes, three calorie-controlled meals a day and two dining-out experiences where guests learn how to choose healthy options. Before you get started, sign up for the six-to-eight hour comprehensive physical exam that includes a stress test, blood test, skin cancer screening, and CT scan, as it is one of the few that provides same-day results.
Finally decided to venture out for a run? Snack on some beets before you hit the pavement. A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that runners who ate baked beets before a 5K race ran 5 percent faster. Researchers suspect this is because beets are high in nitrates, a natural chemical that increases endurance and lowers blood pressure.

Anyone who loves hiking will dig the Essential Zion Adventure package available at Red Mountain Resort in St. Ivins, UT. Not only will you receive plush accommodations and three healthy (no seriously, it's really healthy) meals each day, but you also have the option to take daily guided morning hikes through Snow Canyon State Park, sign up for an unlimited amount of fitness and healthy life classes, or participate in personal discovery activities. Oh, and once you've dominated in the kitchen for the Eat Well, Feel Well cooking demos, you'll want to take advantage of the Zion part of the package—a trip through Zion National Park (where Angels Landing and The Narrows are must-do hikes), with a healthy to-go lunch to boot.
In a 2015 Orlando Health survey of more than a thousand respondents, the majority cited their inability to stay consistent with a diet or exercise plan as their primary barrier to weight loss success. Sounds common, but here’s the kicker: Only one in 10 of the survey respondents noted their psychological well-being as part of the equation—and it’s likely why nearly two out of three people who lost five percent of their total weight ended up gaining it all back. Yikes! To unlock the door to weight loss success and stop emotional eating, try keeping a journal that tracks your food choices and current mood. Then, look for unhealthy patterns, which can help you recognize specific emotional connections you have with food. Once you’re more aware of these connections, it will be easier to adopt healthier eating patterns. Do you always reach for something sugary when you’re stressed or devour fries when you’re sad? Instead, try more productive ways to cope, like going for a brisk walk or texting a friend.
Instead of gobbling down breakfast at home, eat at your desk a few hours later than you typically do. Pushing back your first meal of the day naturally reduces your “eating window”—the number of hours you spend each day grazing. Why’s that beneficial? Sticking to a smaller eating window may help you lose weight, even if you eat more food throughout the day, a study published in the journal Cell Metabolism found. To come to this finding, researchers put groups of mice on a high-fat, high-calorie diet for 100 days. Half of them were allowed to nibble throughout the night and day on a healthy, controlled diet while the others only had access to food for eight hours, but could eat whatever they wanted. Oddly enough, the fasting mice stayed lean while the mice who noshed ’round the clock became obese—even though both groups consumed the same amount of calories! For more amazing weight loss insight, check out these 25 Best Foods for a Toned Body.

Even if you’re trying to reduce your eating window, you shouldn’t go to sleep starved. In fact, going to bed with a rumbling stomach can make it more difficult to fall asleep and subsequently leave you feeling ravenous the next day. And get this: Eating the right type of bedtime snack can actually boost your metabolism and aid weight loss, registered dietitian Cassie Bjork explained. “The right snack can help keep blood sugar stable so the fat-burning hormone glucagon can do its job. I suggest pairing a natural carb with a healthy fat. Apple slices and almond butter, berries with heavy cream and carrots with guacamole all fit the bill.”
Most people think of their protein or meat as their meal’s main event, but that shouldn’t be the case. “Place flavorful vegetables front and center on lunch and dinner plates, accompanied by sides of protein and whole grains,” registered dietitian Cheryl Forberg said. By simply rearranging your plate, you’ll automatically consume fewer calories and take in more health-protective vitamins and nutrients.

But perhaps the biggest change has been in my mindset. I’m learning that health is all about balance, which I’ve always known but to be here and live it has been eye opening and comforting seeing it firsthand. It’s so easy to fall into an "all or nothing" mindset, thinking that if I couldn't do everything perfectly then it wasn't worth trying or if I “messed up” then it wasn’t worth continuing on.
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.)
Featured on the NBC hit reality TV show, “The Biggest Loser,” this resort’s reputation certainly precedes itself. The resort has locations in Malibu, Calif.; Niagara, N.Y. and just recently Chicago, but the original Ivins, Utah location beat out the others (and took first place) in SpaFinder’s readers’ choice top 100 spas in 2012. The resort’s program is similar to what viewers see on TV: intense and group-oriented. During the seven-day program (from $2,695 for a private room), guests start off each day with a scenic guided hike. From there, participants partake in core strength training, cardio, water aerobics, cooking demonstrations and more. After the day is done, guests have the opportunity to relax in the heated swimming pool or at the full-service spa.
BodyHoliday’s “Stronger Me” Retreat is a comprehensive weight loss program based on a combination of fitness activities, calorie-controlled cuisine, education, relaxation and fun.  BodyHoliday starts your program before you even arrive, with a consultation with its resident nutritionist/dietician, who devises your meal plan based on your health and weight goals, and once you arrive, you’ll be immersed in a activities from fitness to cooking classes.  The retreat includes a good measure of education to equip you with the knowledge and tools you’ll need to continue your new healthy lifestyle when you return home.
“Repetition builds rhythm. Be boring. Most successful losers have just a couple of go-to breakfasts or snacks,” says registered dietitian Lauren Slayton. “Make an effort to pinpoint these for yourself. ‘Hmm, I’m starving what should I have?’ doesn’t often end well. You can change the rotation every few weeks, but pre-set meals or workouts on certain days will help tremendously.”
Women who ate low-fat dairy products, such as non-fat yogurt and low-fat cheese three to four times a day lost 70 percent more fat than low-dairy dieters, according to a study published in the journal Obesity Research. "Calcium serves as a switch that tells your body to burn excess fat faster," explains study author Michael Zemel, M.D., director of the Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Sorry, but you won't reap the same benefits from calcium-fortified O.J. Research shows that you get the best results from dairy products themselves, not fortified foods. Aim for 1,200 mg, which includes about three servings of dairy a day.
Eating sugary foods might be satisfying in the moment, but they can increase your cravings for more sugary foods in the future — and that only leads to trouble. "Many foods high in added sugar are also higher in calories and fill you up less than lower-calorie, still-sweet alternatives like fruit," says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in Jersey City, NJ. But there are still ways to satisfy your sweet tooth without ODing on sugar. "When you're baking, cut out some of the sugar in recipes by adding in vanilla extract or cinnamon, blend unsweetened cocoa powder into a smoothie instead of honey, top your French toast with unsweetened frozen fruit instead of syrup, and nosh on a slab of watermelon instead of cookies."
What happens if you fast for a day? What happens if you don't eat for a day? While most people will feel hungry and possibly tired, there is also a range of other effects. In this article, learn about how the body starts to burn fat for energy and whether fasting for 24 hours can be a good weight loss tool. We also investigate the possible risks. Read now

When it’s doing its job properly, inflammation in the body helps fight off infection. But in people who are overweight or obese, inflammation can get out of control, which increases insulin resistance as well as your risk for heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and even Alzheimer’s disease. “Excess body fat, especially when it’s located around the abdomen, is strongly linked to inflammation,” Dr. Webster says. Adipose fat tissue releases inflammation-causing molecules, but the markers of inflammation go down with even a 5 or 10 percent reduction in body weight, she says. Eat more of these 15 superfoods that can help you lose weight.
You’ll see some trendy low-calorie diets, including the M-Plan Diet and the 3-Day Military Diet, advertised online and in fashion magazines or tabloids. Their attention-grabbing strategies often appeal to dieters who are looking for something new and something easy. The plans are generally not backed by legitimate weight loss companies, physicians or registered dietitians and they are usually not effective for long-term weight loss.

Most low-carb diets advocate replacing carbs with protein and fat, which could have some negative long-term effects on your health. If you do try a low-carb diet, you can reduce your risks and limit your intake of saturated and trans fats by choosing lean meats, fish and vegetarian sources of protein, low-fat dairy products, and eating plenty of leafy green and non-starchy vegetables.
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. 

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We're a busy lot here in the UK and sometimes we seem to forget that we can take the time to pause. A survey conducted by Conscious Food found that the average person in the UK eats all 3 meals in a total of 23 minutes each day, when we should be spending at least 20 minutes on one meal! You might guess that this does not spell good news for your weight or digestion.
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.
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.)
And speaking of eating full-fat fare, a cutting-edge review published in PLOS One discovered that when it comes to reducing cardiovascular risk and promoting rapid weight loss, low-carb diets are superior to low-fat diets. Can’t imagine fully committing to a low-carb lifestyle? Start by eliminating empty sources of carbs from your diet such as white bread, desserts, and sugary drinks.
If you just can’t shake those belly-bloating sugar cravings, try tyrosine—a building block of protein. It has been shown to prevent that yearning for the sweet stuff by encouraging the brain to release dopamine and another neurotransmitter, norepinephrine. In other words, eating more tyrosine (which can be found in eggs, spirulina, certain cheeses such as Parmesan, Gruyère, Swiss, and Romano, milk, sesame seeds, beef, and bacon) helps fend off those harmful sugar cravings that make your belly fat.
To maximize weight loss, guests will eat a high-protein/low-carb Paleolithic-inspired diet, starting the day with a fresh juice and continuing with alkalizing raw fruit and vegetables and fresh seafood. The trip fee includes an in-depth personal training course in the guest's home country, three weeks in advance in order to prepare for the trip, and one week on return.
Spa Index Guide to Day Spas, Resorts, and Destination Spas. SpaIndex.com helps you find the best day spas, medical spas, hotels and resorts, weight loss retreats, weight loss spas, detox retreats, stop-smoking retreats and smoking cessation programs, luxury destination spas, wellness getaways, spa packages, DIY recipes, spa cuisine recipes, and the best spa lifestyle ideas and tips.

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!
Voted SpaFinder’s readers’ choice top ten for best weight loss and/or fitness program for six consecutive years and awarded the 2013 Condé Nast Traveler: Gold List Platinum Circle Award, it’s no surprise that this luxurious resort made the list. Cal-a-Vie, located in the magnificent hills of Vista, provides 32 Mediterranean-style villas and a five-to-one staff-to-guest ratio, allowing guests an intimate experience. Guests have access to over 130 fitness classes, spa treatments, lectures, cooking demonstrations, and fresh meals during their stay. The resort offers customized three-night (starting at $3,995), four-night (starting at $5,295) and seven-night (starting at $8,295) packages.
By now you know that protein is a vital part of a healthy diet, but don’t let that fact fool you into thinking that all protein bars are created equal. Though a multitude of the trendy treats purport to be nutritious and low in calories, many of them are also packed with sugar but low in satiating fiber, meaning they aren’t actually very healthy at all. Before picking a protein bar to snack on, give the nutrition label a good once-over and look for something with natural ingredients and plenty of protein (obviously) and fiber. If you need help making sense of the overcrowded landscape, consult this list of 25 Best & Worst Low-Sugar Protein Bars!

The American Heart Association recommends that the amount of added sugar consumed in a day shouldn’t exceed 25 grams for women and 37.5 grams for men, but since the sweet stuff is in everything from bread to tomato sauce, most Americans aren’t adhering to those guidelines and they’re fatter for it. In a review of 68 clinical trials and studies, New Zealand researchers reported in the British Medical Journal that increasing sugar intake meant increasing body weight while reducing sugar meant reducing body weight. Additional research has shown that cutting back on the granular stuff is one of the fastest ways to lose weight.
As far as grains go, quinoa is a great one to have around if you’re looking to lose weight. It’s packed with protein and fiber, and contains approximately 220 calories per cup, cooked. What’s more? Quinoa is one of the few plant foods that offer a complete set of amino acids, meaning it can be converted directly into muscle by the body. It’s also incredibly versatile, and can be eaten as part of a salad, tossed in a smoothie, or on its own as a side dish.
Sitting pretty in British Columbia, Canada, this boot camp vacation is a mountain-lovers dream thanks to stunning views, a wide variety of trails, and abundance of natural hot springs (eh hem, it's also the only mountain-based weight loss program in North America). Not only will you get to do daily hiking, yoga, and a slew of other fitness classes, but Mountain Trek guests also receive a personalized program of massage therapy, detox treatments, and nutrition classes all catered to your specific needs. In other words, if you're looking to stoke your metabolism, there's a fitness, food, and health class for that. Not enough? After you've been a guest once, there's the option to participate in their Adventure Trek program, which takes guests on an international adventure. The locations vary by year, but so far they've covered six to eight miles daily in Japan, the Amalfi Coast, and Bhutan. Passports ready? Check.
Not in an extreme, Atkins sort of way, but having a little protein at every meal fires up your metabolism. "Your digestive system uses more energy to break it down, so you burn more calories," explains Lisa Dorfman, R.D. However, keep protein levels to between 20 and 35 percent of your diet; eating too much of it can cause kidney strain and may cause your body to store too much fat.
1 Reference for 5%: Blackburn G. (1995). Effect of degree of weight loss on health benefits. Obesity Research 3: 211S-216S. Reference for 10%: NIH, NHLBI Obesity Education Initiative. Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults. Available online: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/ob_gdlns.pdf [PDF-1.25MB]

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