Need A Fresh Start? 20 Health Retreat Ideas That You Can Do At Home

weight loss retreat

Get the benefits of a fitness vacation, without going anywhere

#1: Change your circumstances to disrupt habits

Breaking up is hard to do, whether it’s quitting the habit of being perpetually 5 minutes late, or quitting smoking. There’s evidence that going ‘cold turkey’ can be the best way to ditch old habits that are no longer serving you, if it’s safe to do so.

When people practice action, they develop associations in memory between the action and aspects of the context in which it typically occurs. – American Psychological Association

Changing your environment and routine is a powerful way to create a clean slate.

#2: Use landmarks on your calendar to motivate new behaviour

Behavioural scientists call it ‘The Fresh Start Effect” – an example of an important time on the calendar that helps millions get started on their goals.

Landmarks like New Year, birthdays, Mondays, semesters, and vacations have huge potential to shift people’s routine. The study researched 3 key patterns following landmarks: google searches for diet, gym visits and commitments to pursue goals.

This little-researched phenomenon has the potential to help people overcome important willpower problems that often limit goal attainment. These landmarks demarcate the passage of time, creating many new mental accounting periods each year, which relegate past imperfections to a previous period, induce people to take a big-picture view of their lives, and thus motivate aspirational behaviours. – University of Pennsylvania.

#3: Leverage big picture thinking

Do you have a birthday coming up? Perhaps this is a good time to reflect up on what you hope to achieve in the year ahead. But remember to create clear action plans on the time and effort required to achieve it! The first 3 months of your new routine are the most vulnerable. This is the best time to hire a coach or professional to support your aspirations and help with clarity.  

“Temporal landmarks may serve as one type of disruption to decision making and thus direct attention to high-level, goal-relevant information,” cites the above mentioned study. It goes on to note that “people at milestone ages (e.g., 30, 40 years old) are more likely to judge their life satisfaction based on their overall achievements, rather than their daily emotions.

#4: Plan and visualize better food habits

Making an action plan and visualizing yourself following through with it is the best way to improve your food choices, according to McGill University researchers. Similar to how athletes use visualization techniques to prepare for optimal performance, mentally rehearsing healthy habits has the same effect. When you can first ‘see’ something, whether that’s through imagination or reflecting upon a memory it plants the seed to take action.

Telling people to just change the way they eat doesn’t work; we’ve known that for a while. But research has shown that if people make a concrete plan about what they are going to do, they are better at acting on their intentions. – Bärbel Knäuper of McGill’s Department of Psychology

#5: Let yourself spend time in nature

Even if you live in the busiest of cities, usually theres a way to indulge in nature. I was especially impressed with Beijing, China the way they’ve created gorgeous parks right downtown in the midst of the bustle. This is something that you really don’t hear about or see in social media, or travel reviews about the city. Yet after a few days there I was craving nature, so casually asked my cab driver to take me to the nearest park. Such a nice surprise to be dropped off in the oasis!

Take a page from my book – next time you’re in a new city unsure whether there’s a safe park around, simply ask the cab driver. Take time to walk, relax, stretch and let your mind wander in the beauty of the natural world. It’s a surefire way to destress the pressures of modern life.

#6: Find a regular sleep schedule

Recently I began wearing my fitbit to bed. Although I was reluctant at first to have technology in the bedroom, the annoyance of the light was dimmed compared to the benefit of information. Each morning after syncing the phone app I get the complete breakdown with how much (or little) sleep I got the night before.

I’ve found it quite encouraging especially when sometimes I think that I’ve been ‘up all night’ and it records light sleep. Light sleep is better than awake . Psychologically I think it makes me more confident to seize my day as I don’t have the excuse of not sleeping. I’m behind on this one, but try it (if you’re not already.)

#7: Get tough with yourself

Write down everything in detail using the labels on the food, and measuring the food (instead of estimating the portions). It’s exciting when you realize that it’s your choices that are causing weight gain, not anything else. Identifying the problem is the first step in identifying the solution.  

Education is an important part of your personal development towards becoming an empowered, knowledgeable eater. Tracking the time that you ate it is important. Tracking times of consumption is a valuable way to increase personal awareness and make necessary changes.

  • Learn how to use your smart watch to full potential.
  • Download apps to support your goals, such as step counting and calorie counting.
  • Set yourself a daily step goal of 10,000.
  • Learn the energy value that you are putting into your body. 

#8: Track your progress, even if it’s hard to face

Not everyone can handle weighing themselves, and that’s okay! While this is a proven method to track your progress for a long period of times, photo and measurements are also helpful.

If taking your own photo, use the timer on the 10 second setting propping up the phone at eye level if possible. Use good lighting, outside in a bathing suit or underwear is ideal but then again, most reading this are in snowy North American winters! Use your better judgement on this but definitely embrace the unflattering light – it’s where you’ll see the most encouraging improvement.

Commit to taking a new pic every month or so. If feeling extra brave, save it on your phone to refer back to when you want to quit on your healthy intentions. It’ll be a huge motivator to keep going in the positive direction and create the life of your dreams, starting with taking back control of your food and exercise.

To measure yourself, keep the tape firm but not tight. You can buy one at a hardware store, in most supermarkets or at a craft store. Measure at minimum your hips, waist, legs and chest.

#9: Hire a fitness professional

Tracking is a good task to delegate to a personal trainer. Even if you only buy a few sessions, measurements and photo will take them less than 10 minutes and likely will be more accurate. It’s tempting to not be completely honest (with both starting point and results) when you’re doing it on yourself.

It is important to find someone you can talk to about your fitness journey. Trying to get in shape alone gives you more opportunity to break your promise. It’s easier to disappoint yourself than anyone else!

#9: Make daily and weekly goals

Set daily goals that you want to achieve, and break them down into smaller chunks that are achievable. For example, perhaps today your priority is to drink 3 liters of water. Break this down into drinking 3 cups before lunch. You will feel awesome when you will start to achieve small goals – as it will lead to bigger goals!

Every Sunday, look back on your week. Was it a good one? Did you make choices that you should be proud of?

If so, treat yourself well with small rewards – perhaps hiring a baby-sitter for the afternoon so that you can enjoy a long walk in the forest. Rewards play a vital role in positive reinforcement and they are best done when you help yourself!

#10: Find your people

Abby Smith (35), a stay-at-home Mom from Texas, agrees. She felt like she was always forcing herself to stand up and start working out, when in fact, it was the last thing she wanted to do in that moment. “Alarm clocks didn’t work! I didn’t even realize I was snoozing my alarm clock.

This ended when she encouraged her neighbour and good friend as fitness buddy. Her friend, who woke up early would knock on her door, every morning so they can jog.

Abby found it both motivating and embarrassing if she’s still in bed when she hears the knocking!

#11: Plan your workout time productively

Throughout the years of running destination fitness retreats, we’ve learnt a lot about how to make things run smoothly.

This gives us the ability to:

  • Generate well-organized, creative activity scheduling.
  • Coordinate the details of your body transformation – from foundational phase through to healthy weight.
  • Work with all types of learners. We speak your language!
  • Interact successfully – sometimes you need a trainer, other times a mentor, listener, guidance or friend.
  • Juggle multiple tasks and limit waiting time between workouts and activities. Always with a positive attitude!

#12: Surround yourself with those who ‘get it’

Remaining true to our original goal to provide unparalleled weight loss retreat experiences … that’s what stands us apart from our competitors. Whistler is one of the most pristine corners of the world so it’s easy to get lost in the views around you, as you sweat your way to slimmer and healthier.

We’re a company of travellers who are committed to daily workouts, healthy eating and living our best life. We have friends and family who, just like you, find it more challenging to commit to regular workouts. Many of them struggle with eating too much, and some have obesity related diseases.

That’s part of the reason that here in Whistler, we’ll welcome you like family. From your first phone call, we’ll show you why so many of our customers refer us to their friends.

#14: Pay attention to detail

You can count on us for experience, enthusiasm and above all, safety. You matter here, and we have the resources in place to ensure nobody slips through the cracks.

We have fun in our jobs, sharing an extraordinary knowledge of Whistler and a passion to share our stories with you. Our fitness schedule is diverse and adjustable, with weekly hiking, biking, kayaking and outdoor fitness classes. Having a dedicated fitness leader who oversees your programming throughout the day is so important, when getting back into your workouts. My team and I ensure that your workouts are safe, results orientated, interesting, empowering and time efficient.

#15: Take a birds eye view of your social life

We keep our program intentionally small, with no more than 12 guests per week. You’ll never feel like you’re one of the crowd, quite the opposite and our goal is always to make each customer feel like they matter. It’s easier to do this with smaller groups, so for this reason we have no more than four guests per guide. This is one of the best staff-to-customer ratios in the industry, especially important for outdoor fitness vacations.

Hey, I’m Cat Smiley. I’m a fitness, nutrition, weight loss and life coach. Hire me if you want results! Click here to learn more about my 1-to-1 phone coaching services, upcoming weight loss retreats, and personal workshops.

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