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Weight Loss Resorts: The Answer To Beating Fat?

Sarah | April 26th, 2013

weight loss resortWeight loss resorts are a beacon of hope for people who have been unsuccessful in their efforts to lose weight fast with the old “diet and exercise” routine. Since vacation is naturally a time for “renewal” and “rejuvenation,” it seems that weight loss and luxury resorts really do go hand-in-hand. “These resorts are a far cry from the fat camps image that has been around for decades,” writes Fox News correspondent Laura Kelly.

Weight loss resorts: The best way to lose weight?

At the Hilton Head Health Weight Loss Spa in South Carolina, health-minded vacationers can enjoy up to 14 weeks of rest and relaxation in a gated seaside paradise. Here they’ll meet with a health specialist, behavioral counselor and chef. Guests adhere to a 1,200 – 1,400 calorie per day meal plan, stay in a posh condo, and enjoy total-body fitness activities like kayaking, Zumba, tennis and boxing. It’s not bad – if a person has $43,700 to spare.

To be fair, not all weight loss resorts fetch such a pretty penny. Fox News explains that these health retreat packages start as low as $270 per night at Red Mountain Resort and Spa in Utah. Accommodation, three healthy meals, workshops, guided hikes and unlimited fitness classes are included in the rate. It’s easy to feel inspired to lead a healthier lifestyle and lose weight fast – miles away from home… amid the stunning red rocks, lush green grass, and blue skies.

Weight loss resorts offer short-term Solution, say medical professionals

However, not everyone is convinced that these weight loss retreats are the answer to busting bad habits and turning a new leaf. The Center for Medical Weight Loss is the largest group of weight loss doctors in the country, with over 450 locations around the country. These physicians understand that a long-term solution is necessary to transform patients’ lifestyles — and waistlines.

“The resorts offer wonderful weight loss benefits to those with the means and time to go,” says Dr. Michael Kaplan, founder of The Center for Medical Weight Loss. “However, those benefits are limited when you return home and resume your regular routine. Maintaining weight loss is challenging without a long -term plan.”

The best way to lose weight fast: A long-term plan

Those who wish to maintain the weight lost at these resorts have a variety of options at their disposal when they return home. But without that attending staff of personal trainers and spa chefs, maintenance can feel overwhelming and motivation may fade.  “One solution to this problem,” explains Dr. Kaplan, “is a physician-directed weight loss program, which provides a customized plan for both weight loss and maintenance upon your return home.”

A 2012 study published in the American Journal of Medicine confirms this finding. According to that study of 413 participants, the average Center for Medical Weight Loss patient lost 28 pounds (or 11.1 percent of their total body weight) in 12 weeks.  Though no studies have been documented comparing the effectiveness of physician-led weight loss to weight loss resorts, research has shown that patients lose a greater percentage of body weight working with a primary care physician as compared with a “weight loss clinic.” In addition, over 95% of the participants maintained weight loss after one year. There are many reasons for this.

Trained physicians help patients lose weight fast by identifying illnesses, hormonal factors, metabolism issues, and psychological roadblocks impeding progress. They can also identify the medications that make it difficult for some to lose weight and prescribe certain medication that can help others take it off. Weight loss doctors can also monitor safe and effective exercise programs for those without experience in the gym. And finally, they can help manage your diet by offering expert nutritional advice.

For those who wish to maintain their weight loss with less medical intervention, personal trainers, group exercise classes, and light cooking classes are all excellent resources to utilize for weight loss maintenance upon their return home from vacation.

The bottom line: Weight loss resorts are just a vacation

Liz Sidoti, reporter for the Associated Press, recently chronicled her love affair with weight loss retreats. She talked about her first trip to the Bikini Boot Camp in Tulum, Mexico. “It promised rustic beach cottages, certified trainers leading fitness sessions, healthy food, excursions like biking through Mayan ruins, spa services, and enough down time to make my vacation my own,” she reminisced.

She confessed that she was “immediately hooked on the model,” adding that in the years since, she went to several other weight loss resorts in Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. This method of weight loss is just that – a vacation. Guests will undoubtedly have a wonderful time, eat delicious food, squeeze a few workouts in, make new friends, learn a little, and experience beautiful new landscapes. But do they offer the best way to lose weight in the long-term?

It’s up to the travelers to decide whether they continue their journey at home.