1. What are my goals?
Where do you want to be at the end of your health resort experience? What do you want to achieve?
Are your goals short-term? Are you interested, for example, in dropping 10 pounds for an upcoming wedding or reunion, and this is your one and only goal? If so, there are plenty of boot camp-style weight-loss resorts nationwide that will whip you into shape in exercise sessions from dawn till you drop. You may slip in a bit of relaxation, like a massage or two, but the focus is definitely sweat.
Or, are your goals long-term? Are you, for example, looking not only to shed the weight but learn new skills that can help you continue losing weight when you return home? If so, you’ll want to research resorts’ websites or phone them to see if they offer healthy-living educational curriculums.
Look, for instance, for classes like how to cook healthy foods, grocery shop for them, and order well in restaurants. Ask, too, about the exercise program. Does training involve cardio workouts and weights? Hiking through the deserts and mountains? Three-hour yoga classes? Is the approach fast and furious? The more sweat, the better? Or is training focused on real-world, long-term fitness – on what you’ll actually be able to do (and maybe even enjoy) when you return home?
Also, consider any emotional/behavioral challenges you may be dealing with. Have you just gotten over a messy divorce? Are you struggling with the recent death of a loved one? Are you a compulsive eater? A smoker? A nonstop worrier?
Think about what you might want to change about your emotional life, what might make you a happier, more fulfilled person. Then, see if the resorts you’re looking at have classes or individual counseling that mesh with your needs.
Finally, and most importantly: Are there major health issues you want to address? Diabetes? High blood pressure? A recent heart attack? Or are you taking multiple medications, and hoping that if you change your life and start living healthier, you’ll become less dependent on pills?
For any major health concern, do make sure you’re finding a health resort that has a strong physician presence, not just a doctor who shows up one or twice a week, but a full-time team of physicians located right on the resort’s premises. It’s really important. Close, careful medical monitoring is vital for your health and well-being.