For some people, the ideal vacation involves digging their toes into warm sand and sipping on an umbrella drink. For others, it’s spending two weeks on an adventure—perhaps in a place where you’ll sample exotic foods, visit ancient temples and require a vaccination. Or, maybe it’s somewhere in-between.
What most people don’t consider a vacation is a week’s worth of 5 a.m. wake-up calls, two-hour hikes, 250-calorie breakfasts, yoga classes, resistance training and food education classes—all before dinner. Welcome to the weight loss retreat: Some call them boot camps and others whisper, “fat farm.” Such calorie- and fitness-managed vacations are not a new concept, but they’ve certainly improved from the deprivation camps of the ‘80s. YouBeauty’s top five picks will not only help you shed away a few pounds, but give you the tools to help keep it off.
1. The Ashram, Santa Monica, CA and Mallorca, Spain (seasonally)
The Vibe: A quaint and cozy two-story California home where guests share meals around a communal table and nightly chit-chat around the fireplace.
The Food: The all-vegetarian diet is organic, unprocessed and unrefined. Most components in the meals are plucked straight from the premises’ garden.
Why You’ll Lose Weight: This is hard core—subject yourself to 70 miles of hiking over a span of a week, in addition to twice daily yoga, resistance training and swimming. Lights go out at 9:30. Although many guests come for spiritual revitalization, if weight loss is your goal, then you can easily skim off six to 12 pounds within the week.
How You’ll Keep It Off: Guests live alongside the staff so they can be engaged at any time for advice and lifestyle tips.
Unique Tidbit: With only 12 guests each week, it's not only a bathroom you'll be sharing, but bonding as well. Eighty-five percent of guests are returnees.
Cost: $4,500 per week. All-inclusive.
2. Miraval, Tuscon, AZ
The Vibe: There is some serious Southwest sophistication tucked into the picturesque Catalina Mountains.
The Food: The options are endless—from cooking demonstrations, to a private lunch with a nutritionist, all the way to champagne.
Why You’ll Lose Weight: There’s a big focus on mindful eating and the idea of “doing differently.” The people at Miraval believe that overcoming fear outside of the kitchen will help strengthen your end goal when you’re scoping out the contents of your refrigerator. Mind expanding pursuits include an equine experience and outdoors adventure challenges.
How You’ll Keep It Off: The experts at Miraval aim to provide guests with all the necessary tools to overcome emotional eating challenges at home.
Unique Tidbit: Exercise isn’t limited to the gym; you’ll be able to burn calories during photography hikes, ziplining and Rock ‘N’ Roll Tennis.
Cost: From $600 per person, per night. All-inclusive.
3. Bask Spa by Exhale, Atlantic City, NJ
The Vibe: Super sleek Zen-ness with a sanctuary-like fitness studio and all of the amenities that epitomize the Exhale Spa.
The Food: The resort offers a curated collection of Iron Chefs, Michelin chefs, James Beard Award winners and cuisine concepts from New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. A light menu will be available in the spa soon.
Why You’ll Lose: One word: Classes. Exhale is known for their knee-shaking, cult-following, Core Fusion Barre classes that combine intense core work with Pilates, yoga, and ballet to stretch, tone and strengthen muscles. To capture the beachside location, they’ve creating the SurfSET class that mimics the instability of a surfboard for a killer aerobic and agility workout (without having to step foot in the salty sea).
How You’ll Keep It Off: Keep yourself aware of the nutrition and wellness coaches, and if you’re lucky enough to live in one of the 11 cities with an Exhale location, you can continue the barre routines off-site.
Unique Tidbit: Experience true relaxation while inhaling in the healing dry air of the salt grotto.
Cost: Classes from $20; day pass with one class for $85. Hotel fees are additional.
4. Green Mountain at Fox Run, Ludlow, VT
The Vibe: This lovely, women’s-only retreat in Vermont is where guests lounge in Adirondack chairs overlooking lush Okemo Mountain.
The Food: The menu is composed of fresh, local ingredients that showcase the area’s best bounty. Think healthier versions of your favorites foods that can be easily replicated at home.
Why You’ll Lose Weight: Green Mountain focuses on the “non-dieting” approach to weight loss. They’ll teach you to listen to your body in order to overcome emotional, binges and compulsive eating habits.
How You’ll Keep It Off: By participating in specific classes such as “Approach to Lifelong Fitness” and lectures on behavioral eating. You’re here to relearn and get rid of unhealthy eating habits.
Unique Tidbit: The “Hunger Hutch” is stocked with fruit, nuts and other healthy snacks to reinforce the idea of mindful eating.
Cost: from $2,208 per week. All-inclusive.
5. Biggest Loser Resort (Niagara, NY, Ivins, UT, Malibu, CA)
The Vibe: This is summer camp for adults, so think campfires sans the s’mores!
The Food: Three carefully balanced meals daily (including breakfast burritos, turkey wraps and snacks) weigh in at a total of 1,500 or 1,700 calories.
Why You’ll Lose Weight: Structure is key. The employees unofficially call the resort a “compassionate boot camp.” Everyday is jam-packed with scheduled activities in a state-of-the-art gym where attendance and participation is mandatory.
How You’ll Keep It Off: With more than 10 different nutrition and education classes (such as “Shopping Smart“ or “Creating a Realistic In-Home Workout”), guests are taught how to make better choices after departing from the resort.
Unique Tidbit: Camaraderie is major. Guests are split up into color-coded teams (just like the TV show). By the time you leave The Biggest Loser Resort, you’ll not only have participated in a color war, but developed lifelong friendships as well.
Cost: from $2,295 per week. All-inclusive. Spa services and personal training extra.
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