A Weeklong, World-Class Spa Diet
When you book a week at a world-class spa like Canyon Ranch, you're virtually guaranteed to lose weight. The mouth-watering menus, all-day-fun activities, and stress-free atmosphere take the pain out of shedding pounds. But who can afford to drop in whenever a "fat day" — or week — pops up?
Now you don't need to. We asked the experts at Canyon Ranch to create this exclusive seven-day weight-loss plan, providing an average of 1,700 calories a day, enough to help you drop a pound per week. (You'll lose more if you include a daily workout; Canyon Ranch visitors typically spend up to 90 minutes per day being active, whether it's riding a mountain bike, running, or circuit training.) Not only is the program easy to follow, but it's also one of the most delicious diet plans we've ever presented.
A smaller waistline isn't the only benefit of following this diet, says Canyon Ranch Lenox director of nutrition Lori Reamer, RD. "Our guests also leave with the confidence to make positive long-term changes in their eating habits," she says. Follow the plan for seven days — or as long as you need to reach your goal. With food this good, and weight loss this effortless, you can't afford to skip it.
- 3-egg-white omelet with chopped tomatoes, onions, and peppers
- 1 whole wheat English muffin with 1 tablespoon 100 percent fruit spread
- Mixed-vegetable crudites with 1/4 cup hummus spread
Lunch: Tofu, Arugula, and Tomato Wrap
- 1/2 cup sauteed marinated tofu wrapped in a whole wheat flour tortilla with baby arugula, tomato, and 2 teaspoons low-fat mayonnaise
- 1 cup mixed green salad with 2 teaspoons olive oil and vinegar or 1 tablespoon light dressing
- 1 piece whole fruit or 1 cup berries
- A handful of almonds
Dinner: Asian Chicken Salad
- 2 cups mixed greens, red onions, and tomato wedges
- Top with 3 ounces sliced poached chicken breast, 1/2 cup mandarin orange sections, 1 ounce cashews, 1 tablespoon olive oil and vinegar, and 3 flatbread crackers
Breakfast: Kiwi-Banana Shake
- In a blender, puree 1 chopped banana and 1 kiwifruit with 1/2 cup apple juice and crushed ice until smooth
- Also have 1 whole wheat English muffin with 1 tablespoon 100 percent fruit spread
- Mixed-vegetable crudites with 1 tablespoon light dressing
Lunch: Turkey and Swiss on Rye
- 2 ounces sliced turkey breast with 1 slice aged low-fat Swiss cheese, lettuce, and tomato, with mustard and 2 teaspoons light mayonnaise on two slices of seeded whole-grain rye toast, grilled until cheese is melted
- 1 cup tomato soup with 4 saltine crackers
- 1 ounce string cheese with 2 whole wheat crackers
Dinner: Grilled Shrimp Over Rice
- 3 ounces grilled shrimp with your choice of spices served over 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
- Steamed seasonal mixed vegetables drizzled with 2 teaspoons olive oil and freshly minced herbs
- 1 small (half of a tennis ball) whole-grain fruit muffin (e.g., Au Bon Pain or VitaMuffin)
- Citrus sections and melon balls
- 1 ounce trail mix
Lunch: Salad Nicoise
- 3 ounces grilled tuna steak, 3 steamed red potatoes, 5 olives, and steamed green beans arranged on a bed of mixed greens
- Drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 cup low-fat plain yogurt with 1 cup strawberries
Dinner: Spaghetti Marinara
- 1 cup cooked whole-grain pasta tossed with 1/2 cup marinara sauce and topped with 1 tablespoon grated pecorino Romano cheese
- 1 small whole wheat roll
- Small side salad with olive oil and vinegar or light dressing
- 1 cup muesli cereal with 1/2 cup nonfat milk
- 1 piece whole fruit or 1 cup seasonal fresh berries
- Cut carrots and bell pepper strips with 1 tablespoon light dressing
Lunch: Chopped Vegetable and Bean Salad
- Chopped romaine lettuce, cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots, olives, and tomatoes tossed with 1/4 cup each cannellini beans, garbanzo beans, and hearts of palm
- Drizzle with 2 teaspoons oil and vinegar
- 1 cup fortified soy milk with 2 fig cookies
Dinner: Veggie Burger
- 1 veggie burger with lettuce, tomato, and red onion on a toasted soft whole wheat roll
- Side salad of mixed greens and vegetables with olive oil and vinegar dressing
- 1 cup hot oatmeal or multigrain cereal with 1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt and 2 tablespoons golden raisins
- 1 piece whole fruit
Lunch: Chicken Cranberry Wrap
- 2-ounce whole wheat pita stuffed with 2 ounces poached chicken breast
- Add 1 tablespoon cranberry sauce and greens
- 1 cup low-fat plain yogurt with 1/2 chopped banana
Dinner: Tropical Grilled Tuna
- 3 ounces ahi tuna grilled with fresh pineapple, served over 1 cup couscous
- Small side salad with oil and vinegar dressing
Breakfast: Eggs Florentine
- 2 poached eggs served on a toasted whole wheat English muffin with sauteed spinach
- 1 energy bar, such as PowerBar Pria or Clif Luna Bar
Lunch: Grilled PBB Sandwich
- 2 slices whole wheat bread filled with 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 1/2 sliced banana, and 1 teaspoon honey, heated on a nonstick pan sprayed with olive oil
- 1 cup skim milk or fortified soy milk
- 1 piece whole fruit or 1 cup chopped, and a handful of almonds
Dinner: Pizza with Grilled Vegetables
- 1 small (4-inch diameter) prepared whole wheat pizza crust spread with 1 tablespoon roasted garlic
- Top with grilled onion, yellow and red bell peppers, and 2 ounces shredded low-fat mozzarella, broiled until golden brown
- 1/2 cup reduced-fat granola cereal with 1 cup nonfat yogurt and fresh fruit
- 2 whole wheat crackers spread with 1 tablespoon natural nut butter
Lunch: Chopped Vegetable and Bean Salad
- Chopped romaine lettuce, cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots, olives and tomatoes tossed with 1/4 cup each cannellini beans, garbanzo beans and hearts of palm
- Drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil and red wine vinegar
- 1 cup chicken noodle soup
- 1 cup skim milk or fortified soy milk with 1 oatmeal cookie
Dinner: Grilled Chicken Sandwich
- 3 ounces grilled skinless chicken breast with sauteed onions, tomatoes, and lettuce on a toasted whole wheat roll
- Side salad, 2 teaspoons light dressing
Spa Tricks That Melt Pounds
1. Eat mindfully. "Mealtime should be a total sensory experience," says Canyon Ranch's Lori Reamer. Whenever you prepare a dish, take a few moments to add a garnish. Appreciate the aroma, taste, and texture of every bite. All this slows down your eating, so you'll feel satisfied with less.
2. Take 10. Even though a day at a spa is often packed with treatments and activities, there's always time to relax — even if it's just for 10 minutes by the pool. Stress hormones trigger weight gain; conversely, chilling out helps keep your metabolism in prime fat-burning mode.
3. Fill up on quality foods. "Everything that's served at Canyon Ranch is top-notch," explains Reamer. "The more wholesome the ingredients, the more flavorful they are." Don't skimp on high-quality ingredients, whether you go for a pricey olive oil or an heirloom tomato.
4. Focus on fiber. If there's one magic bullet when it comes to weight loss, it's fiber. "It fills you up, so you ultimately consume fewer calories," explains Reamer. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and choose whole-grain breads, cereals, and grains with 2 or more grams fiber per serving to help meet your daily quota of at least 25 grams per day.
5. Pump up the protein — wisely. "Protein helps prevent cravings and enhances satiety," says Reamer. Choose from beans, skinless poultry, fish, soy products, and low-fat dairy or lean meats.
6. Make healthy fat choices. Don't be afraid to include small amounts of higher-calorie items like avocado, nuts, and seeds in your daily menus. Just a tablespoon of toasted nuts instantly upgrades a salad, and a sprinkling of diced avocado brings buttery richness to grilled seafood.
7. Go local. "Using locally grown ingredients ensures that everything is at its peak of freshness," says Reamer.
8. Get wet. "Dehydration drains your energy and may even hamper metabolism," says Reamer.
Originally published in Fitness magazine, June 2005.