You’ve booked a healthy vacation. You’ve made arrangements for your neighbor to feed your cat. Now it’s time to start prepping for your dream wellness getaway.
First, take a minute to think about the wellness vacation you’ve booked. Some destination spas, such as Spain’s SHA Wellness Clinic (featured above), serve alcohol. Others like Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa, and Cal-a-Vie do not serve alcoholic beverages and have more specialized nutritional programs.
Inns, resorts and hotels have traditional restaurants with healthy options and offer a wide variety of spa and recreational activities. (Think Ojai Valley Inn and Spa and Grand Wailea, A Wellness Resort.)
Wherever you are headed, some simple changes before you go will help you maximize your wellness getaway.
Begin by Eating Healthier
At least two weeks before you leave start thinking about what you eat and drink and initiate subtle changes. This will make the transition to a healthy diet easier and avoid hunger pains and withdrawal.
- Reduce your salt, saturated fat and refined sugar intake. Now is a good time to start paying attention to ingredients and start eliminating unhealthy foods.
- Cut back on alcohol and caffeine (more on this below)
- Up the amount of water you drink
- Eat more fruits and veggies (you knew we were going to say that!) and ease off on the number of calories you are consuming.
Start Moving More
There is no need to start an extreme exercise program but try to amp up your daily routine a bit. And if you’re not exercising, now is the time to start. Even it’s just a longer daily walk, you’ll be glad you started experiencing the benefits of getting fit in advance.
Meditate on a New You
You may be heading to a spa or retreat to simply relax and enjoy nurturing treatments, or you may want to completely change your life by upping your fitness game at a specialized yoga retreat or surf camp. Meditating on what you hope to accomplish doesn’t require special classes: several weeks before you leave start thinking about how you will feel and look while you are there and after you return home.
Keep it Simple
If you’re taking a healthy vacation at a luxurious hotel or resort, you may need a few dressier outfits but at most spas and retreats you will just need workout clothes, a few simple dresses or skirts, a bathing suit and minimal beauty products. Try to get it all in one carry on bag and discover how relaxing traveling light can be!
Avoid the Crash
If you are scheduled to visit a detox or weight-loss spa and plan to quit smoking, give up caffeine, or say sayonara to sugar, do your body (and mind) a favor and cut back gradually before you leave. Withdrawal symptoms can range from irritating to painful and substituting herbal tea for a caffeinated drink at a coffee break or easing back on nicotine or calories can help avoid extreme reactions.
And When You’re Home….
You’ve been on a spa trip of a lifetime, where extraordinary chefs served you delicious and healthy meals and snacks and delectable spa services were at your beck and call. Avoid falling back into old unhealthy habits by planning healthy meals and activities before you return home: take advantage of follow-up programs the spa may offer; have a friend stock your ‘frig with fresh fruits, veggies and juices; make dates with a walking buddy; book a massage, and plan two weeks of healthy meals centered on what you learned on your retreat.
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