Weight-loss spas can help you develop healthier habits that will help you lose weight, but it's important to pick the right spa. In general Destination spas (sometimes called health spas) are a much better choice than resort spas if you want to lose weight.
Destination spas serve healthy spa cuisine and plenty of exercise classes -- a combination that tones you up, burns calories, and gets you eating healthy foods. They're also good because everyone around you has the same healthy focus. But not all destination spas are alike.
What To Look For In A Weight-Loss Spa:
Don't expect to lose a lot of weight -- ten pounds -- in one week. Destination spas have dramatically changed their food philosophy since the "fat farm" days, when everyone was on 800 calories a day and rigorous exercise. This approach may cause rapid weight loss, but it also slows down the body's metabolism so that you gain weight rapidly when you return home. And some of the loss might be muscle.
The emphasis now is changing your lifestyle, learning healthy habits you can live with, and taking them home where you continue the process.
Choosing The Right Weight-Loss Spa For You
While you can lose weight at most destination spas, look for the style, approach and price that suits you. Here are some examples of the various approaches:
- Highly focused weight-management programs with medical and behavioral support are found at Green Mountain at Fox Run, Hilton Head Health Institute, Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa, Cooper Wellness Program and Duke Diet & Fitness Center. Canyon Ranch has medical staff and lets you focus your stay on weight-loss or executive health.
- Canyon Ranch in both Tucson, Arizona and Lenox, Mass., have medical staff and can help you focus your stay on weight-loss or executive health.
- Luxury spas Cal-a-Vie and Golden Door near San Diego customize the calorie counts for every guest, including those who want to maintain or even gain.
- Affordable weight-loss spas include The Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge in Utah, New Life Hiking Spa in Vermont and California's The Oaks at Ojai, which puts everyone on a strict 1200-calorie a day diet with exercise. (Some people have been known to head down the street for supplemental ice cream.)
- At destination spas like Rancho La Puertaand Lake Austin Spa Resort, you can have as much food as you want -- and it's EXCELLENT. If you want to lose weight, you have to be the enforcer.
- Red Mountain Spa usually lets you eat your fill, but during "Re-energizing Weight-loss" Weeks" the focus shifts.
- The Ashram in California is a no-frills throwback to the "fat farm" days, with 800 calories and all-day hiking for a week, with the goal of losing 8 to 10 pounds.
- Some spas like New Age Health Spa in New York and The Raj in Fairfield, Iowa, offer special fasting programs. You will lose weight, but the primary focus is detoxification.
Prices at weight-loss spas generally range from $1200 a week to $8,000 a week, depending on the luxury factor, the degree of customization, and the depth of staff and programming.