The most important message is: People who go to spas are all shapes and sizes, so no-one needs to feel out of place. A good spa looks after you, and helps you achieve what you want to achieve while you are there.
Of course you can. There aren't signs at the door saying "Thin people only" or an automatic weighing machine you have to step on as you come in -- with red lights and buzzers sounding if you tip the scales too far in the wrong direction. At a spa, most people drift about in robes, anyway, so you'll fit right in. Those towelling garments mask every lump and bump so you won't feel as if everyone's looking at you, either.
What this question often means, however, is "I am embarrassed about being overweight. What will the therapists think of me?"
Don't feel embarrassed for a moment. A trip to a spa is a great reward for getting to grips with your desire to lose weight and get fit. Your therapist won't bat an eyelid. Therapists are trained to deal with people sensitively and are there to help you look and feel your best. During your treatment, your therapist will drape you with towels and covers while she works on a specific area. Relax and enjoy yourself. No-one's looking, honest.
A spa-stay can give you a kick-start for losing weight but -- don't get too depressed -- you are not likely to lose a lot of weight while you're there. You may lose some water-weight in a sauna, or with certain wrap treatments, but that'll go back on as soon as you have a drink of water.
You can also lose a few pounds with a calorie-controlled regime on a spa stay. However, more importantly, what a spa stay can do for you if you want to lose weight is give you the chance to begin a new lifestyle: one that will help you go on losing weight when you leave.
Three or four nights in a spa will get you past the most difficult part of a new eating regime and lifestyle, and also give you enough of an energy boost to mean that it's easier to keep up the changes at home. It's a time to try and to get used to more exercise and careful eating.
Just as importantly, some time away gives you a chance to review your life and summon the willpower you need to make longer-lasting changes stick.
Losing weight takes time if you're going to do it in a healthy, lasting way. But if you go to a spa, eat well, exercise and reward yourself with some treatments, this can make you feel great and want to continue what you've started.
Promise yourself another trip in a few weeks' time as a reward for making the effort to stick to your good resolutions -- and those resolutions may just last, too.
The trick is to learn from your spa trip. Although we would all probably like to go to a spa every other week, the clever line is to bring as much of the spa back home with you as you can. Take some of the ideas: the regular exercise, the healthy meals, the time to relax, and build them into your everyday life.
Add in an occasional massage or facial at somewhere nearby and you may well find that a spa trip once or twice a year actually helps you keep up your healthy lifestyle for all 365 days.
30th May 2013
Warmth and sunshine; spas which take me away to another country; fruit infused waters; beach-worth pedicures; deep tissue massages.
High footfalls; treatments that over promise and under deliver; heavy lunches; loungers drapped in used towels.
Behind the scenes