Whether you would just like to lose a few pounds, or are concerned about being overweight, slimming to a sensible healthy weight and improving your lifestyle will give you more energy and make you healthier.
Whilst many spas offer treatments designed to shed the pounds, the results may only last a very short time – perfect for a quick fix or a special occasion, but not conducive to a long-term change. A spa is fundamentally a place for relaxation. But, in between lolling by the pool and floating around in a robe, there are a number of opportunities to tone up and slim down.
For the benefit of all you lovely spa-goers who are looking to lose weight, the Spa Spies have been wrapped and steamed, worked out and nutritionally balanced to bring you this guide on how to lose weight and look great!
Many day spas and hotel spas, and almost all spa retreats, offer healthy food options as well as decadent delights, allowing you to start your weight-loss regime on the right track, or keep up your good intentions and healthy eating habits during a relaxing getaway. Macrobiotic dining, raw food options, carb-free, delicious salads, iced water and steamed food are often available, should you choose to steer clear of the chocolate cake...
We're sorry to break it to you, but there really are no miracle tricks. If you want to lose weight, you are going to have to get on your feet and get your heart pumping with physical activity. The gym is a good place to start, but it's certainly not the only way you can exercise whilst spa-ing.
A gym can be a daunting place for a newcomer –- full of strange-looking equipment, people in Lycra and personal trainers –- but gyms aren't half as scary as they first appear. The best way to get initiated is to organise an induction. This way you can learn about the available equipment, as well as get some advice about what to use to help you achieve your desired results. Once you know your way around and have been taught a few basics, you are free to roam, using the equipment in any order you fancy and, of course, (Spa Rule Number One) keeping nicely hydrated at all times.
If the gym just isn't for you, or you want to vary your exercise to keep yourself motivated, there are other options. The pool offers the most obvious opportunity; swimming is a fantastic form of exercise that is suitable for almost everyone. Water provides support for your body, which lessens the impact on joints. Gentle swimming, or a beginners' aqua-aerobics class are a good starting point, with the option to diversify into other classes and lane swimming once you get into it. Getting the swim-bug will allow you to keep up your healthy campaign regularly, even if you don't have a spa on your doorstep –- most towns and cities have public swimming pools, many of which run classes and have dedicated adult-only times. Plus, you can take full advantage of the sauna and steam room - there may even be a hydrotherapy pool too.
A word of warning: if you want to take your swimming seriously, contact your chosen spa to find out their timetable. It's difficult to practise your butterfly stroke when you are sharing the space with a host of over-excited children or a water-polo class.
Many spas are nestled within the British countryside, so opportunities to fill your lungs with country air abound. If you're at a countryside or coastal spa, a bracing cliff-top walk, a forest hike or even a simple stroll around the grounds are not to be missed. Even 20 minutes of gentle walking three times a week can make a difference, so why not start as you mean to go on?
There are probably very few of you who haven't bought (or been bought) an exercise video or DVD at some point. Many of those videos have also probably been relegated to a cupboard, or been donated to the charity shop. Staying motivated has a lot to do with encouragement; jumping on and off a step in your front room is unlikely to keep you engaged for very long.
Taking part in a class is a good way to improve your fitness levels, lose weight, meet people and stay motivated. A class is a supportive environment filled with like-minded folk and run by a trained professional –- making it much more likely that you will stick with the class regularly, see results, and avoid injury.
There is a class out there for practically everyone, and whilst fitness fads will come and go, there will always be the opportunity to try yoga, Pilates, aerobics, combat classes or dance classes at most good spas.
Sometimes a day spa simply isn't enough. If you want to commit some serious time to changing your lifestyle, weight loss programmes are available at dedicated fitness retreats and weight loss holidays. These programmes offer tailored weight management plans that combine activities and guided meal plans to help re-educate you about nutrition and motivate you to get moving.
A typical programme may combine exercise, games, cooking classes, fitness sessions, talks and supervised dining with the additional support of professional trainers and nutritionists.
Not all of these camps involve back-breaking workouts and celery sticks. Some health spas offer a combination of exercise, nutrition and indulgent treatments, designed to ease your tired muscles and keep you focused, without leaving you too exhausted.
Many spa treatments that claim to trim inches, whilst often effective, are not long-lasting. These detoxing slimming treatments often rely on dehydration to give the illusion of weight loss. Wraps can be just perfect for a special occasion, though -- plus, they are incredibly easy, painless and very relaxing.
Spa treatments complement a weight-loss plan perfectly. Regular body treatments such as massage and scrubs will help to get your circulation going, encouraging your body to expel waste and circulate nutrients. This will, in turn, help with your slimming as you will have increased energy levels for exercising.
However, if you are looking for an instant solution without the hard work, you may have to walk away from the pool and find yourself a medi-spa -- and a deep pocket! Medi-spas offer procedures such as Smart Lipo, Bodysculpting and VASER, all of which are designed to help you lose inches, either by "melting" fat with specially tuned lasers, or emulsifying and removing fat using ultrasound or other energy frequencies.
These are spas where losing weight can be part of your package:
* Ragdale Hall Health Hydro and Thermal Spa in Leicestershire
* Grayshott Spa in Surrey.
Use our spa search to find a relaxing spa near you.
However you choose to start your new regime, we wish you the best of luck! Fitness, health and a good body image are integral to inner peace. Whether you use a spa to kick start a diet, get you moving or as a treat when you reach your target, be sure to enjoy yourself. Take a few hours to lie back and relax; after all, beauty starts on the inside!
3rd May 2013
Instant results; jasmine and frangipani scents; hot steam rooms; a good selection of magazines; modernist decor.
Whale noises (on CD, not in the pool hopefully); hard massage beds; tiny toilet cubicles; being spoken to like a child; lukewarm pools.
Behind the scenes