I have gotten hooked on a few reality shows over the past years, but the only one on my TiVo list this season was The Biggest Loser. Even if you haven’t been following it, you will probably come across something about last night’s finale today. It was quite extraordinary.
The winner was Erik from New York. He lost 214 pounds in about eight months. What amazed me was how fit and healthy he looked – trim, muscular, energized. The footage of him when he started at more than 400 pounds, with high blood pressure (which you could see in his face) and diabetes (with which he was diagnosed during the filming of the show), was such a contrast to the man he had become at the end. It brought tears to my eyes.
Something else that struck me about the program is that all of the people who were “on the ranch” for the four months lost a great deal of weight. The show’s formula really works: exercise, nutrition, education and motivation from leadership, and forming a community among the participants. Their format is so much like some of the destination spas (pure spa settings) I know.
Last year, we started getting calls at our Spa Finder office from people wanting to know where “the ranch” was so that they could sign up and go. Well, we have learned that “the ranch” is in California, and it is only “made for TV.” But thankfully there are destination spas.
“The Caribbean, the Largest Spa in the World.”
I’m in the Dominican Republic, attending the second-ever Caribbean Spa and Wellness Association conference. Above is the new slogan the Association selected, which I think is terrific! Given the bright blue water that surrounds every island and the natural relaxation that results from just being in the Caribbean, the slogan seems fitting. I spoke yesterday on the state of the spa industry in the Caribbean and have been in sessions all day today. A few days ago, I did a tour of spas here. I have learned some surprising things, which I will share later. Right now, I’m just taking a break during sessions.
Deborah Szekely has been a mentor of mine for many years. She hired me at the Golden Door in 1975 when I was just out of college. Then, the Golden Door was still “the old Golden Door,” meaning that the beautiful “Japanese inn” facility for which the Door is now famous had not yet opened. At that time, the Golden Door was still located in its original home right off of Highway 395. It was configured like a motel, with rooms around the pool (which were fabulous). All the women guests wore “pinkies” and had oil put in their hair for the entire week! I remember the first day I walked into the setting and saw the lush vegetation and fragrance of the gardens, the birds singing, and the happy atmosphere shared by staff and guests alike. Little did I know that my entire career in the spa industry had started that very day.
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