What kind of weight loss program should you choose? Here are some questions to ask yourself before choosing a stay-spa experience:
What is your experience with other away-from-home weight loss programs?
Would you respond well to a tough-love, no-excuse approach which is more akin to a boot camp than a spa resort? Or, do you prefer a luxury resort which includes a variety of amenities, including spa services, with your wellness program? Do have specific medical issues, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, which are best addressed by medical personnel on staff? Will you be required to bring your work with you, and if so, do you require a business center on site? All of these questions will help you decide between a health retreat, a destination spa, a medical retreat, and other types of stay programs.
What is your availability?
Do you have the time, energy and budget to enroll in an all-inclusive weight loss retreat or do you want a weekend jump start program to get you started on your own program? Do you have a special event which dictates when you must begin or conclude a weight loss program? These factors are important because some weight loss programs have date-specific programs which require participants to attend on a specific set of dates, while others offer year-round programs which may start and stop on your own schedule.
Do you have one goal, or two?
Are you interested in a weight loss spa retreat that eliminates all distractions or temptation to stray off-program? Or, are you exhausted with your career and life stressors, and the thought of having no chance to combine a weight loss vacation with a resort vacation (city scape tours, shopping, a play, a museum, or other activities) makes an “all-in” retreat sound too restrictive? You need to determine if your only goal is a health retreat, or, if you want a health retreat and vacation rolled into one.
Are you a loner or a groupie?
What is your experience with the group dynamic in weight loss programs you’ve tried in the past? Do you find the give and take support of fellow participants helpful, or do you prefer one-on-one private consultations? Do you socialize easily with new friends or would you prefer bringing a family member or friend for support? Would sharing a room (and thus costs) with another program participant interest you (and appeal to your budget), or, is a private room a requirement?
The best plan is the Flexible Plan.
Ask yourself how flexible you can be. Which of your goals are the most important and which are optional? A private room may be less important than finding a roommate who shares your goals and the cost of the room. A group class with participants laughing over shared struggles can be energizing, while a private session with a personal trainer may help others overcome shyness, fear or trepidation.
Are you diving into murky waters?
Avoid fads. There is a reason every second-hand shop and used-book seller has volumes of diet and weight loss books. A new one comes out weekly, it seems. A fast fix sounds appealing, but weight gain wasn’t fast, and the return to health won’t be thanks to a popular diet fad. Still, trying something new and different can be exciting and fun, but if it affects your health, do so wisely. Try to avoid enrolling in a dietary plan which has dramatically different foods or restrictions than is your custom (e.g., transitioning to a vegan or raw food plan or other narrowly-defined diets which don’t rely on traditional meals of fruits, vegetables, grains and proteins), without first discussing these programs with a medical professional and then adopting some of the principals in your home environment, over time. This permits you to identify likes and dislikes, allergies, contra-indications or other issues which may give you trouble “on the road.”
Check with your tax professional.
The Internal Revenue Service allows qualifying U.S. taxpayers who are medically diagnosed as obese to deduct all or a portion of the medical expense to participate in a weight loss program. Make an appointment with your tax professional to determine if you, the program you chose, qualifies you for deductions.
With these questions considered, we hope that our guide to spa resorts, and resorts and retreats offering weight loss programs, contribute to your goal of improved health by helping you choosing the best destination spa, weight loss retreat, or “boot camp” for you. Please come back and tell us all about it when you return home!