Design for dieting

In her neverending quest to remain a size 4 at 63, Wanderer Debbi K. Kickham revisited Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires, which, she says, takes your health to a whole new plane.

Are you exactly in the state of health you want to be? Hardly anyone is. Furthermore, if you have a closet filled with investment-quality couture clothing, you also want to stay the same size, so you fit into all those Chanels and Pradas. If you need some inspiration, consider a stay at Canyon Ranch, a world-class, luxury destination spa in the Berkshires. It can provide you with everything you need to take your diet — and your exercise — to the next level.

Overhaul your exercise routine

 Not being one to stay in the status quo regarding my workout — and having visited Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Massachusetts, before with my mother and sister for this publication — I did something smart recently:  I visited Canyon Ranch’s in-house exercise physiologist for an assessment of my routine. It is one of the best things I have ever done for my well-being. It was worth every penny in that $165 as Canyon Ranch has a huge team of wellness experts to help you get on track and up your A-game.

The last time I was at Canyon Ranch two years ago, Rich Butler, the exercise physiologist, told me that if I actually wanted to lose weight, I should eat about 1,000 calories a day, do an extra day of aerobics on the treadmill, add more hills and lift weights for more repetitions. Well, I did just that and lost about seven pounds. On this trip, he advised that, because of my sciatica, I should opt for the elliptical machine instead and add a rowing machine to the mix for my arms. I came away with another strategic game plan on how to continue to stay a size four at age 63. His formulas work. I did my normal workout at Canyon Ranch and also took some of the excellent fitness classes, simply to show my body who’s boss.

Another asset at Canyon Ranch is the Bod Pod. With a simple eight-minute test, the Bod Pod device accurately measures your body fat percentage and lean body mass. Just wear a tight-fitting bathing suit. For women, tights and sports bra are acceptable. You’ll discover what you’re made of — lean muscle mass and fat — and you can set your new fitness goals accordingly. Brilliant!

Try it, you’ll diet

It is pure joy to travel and visit a destination where you don’t have to worry about every calorie. At Canyon Ranch, executive chef Dan Hardy and his team have kicked out all the calories, made smart substitutions and, best of all, listed all the fat, protein, salt, sugar and more on the menus. That means you can make extremely wise food choices. You’ll still have a delicious meal — and you will probably lose pounds. 

“Every recipe is nutritionally analyzed,” Hardy says. “The process makes the menu development take longer, but that’s what makes Canyon Ranch what it is. Everything is GMO-free, and we use as many organic ingredients as we can.” Indeed, one of my most-favorite-ever foods on the menu is the Southwest burger, containing 352 calories, 14 grams of protein and 9 grams of fat. In a word, it is scrumptious — and it’s on the lunch menu every day. The vegan burger is made with corn, oyster mushrooms, roasted bell peppers, oats used as a binder, a Southwest spice blend and onions. It is served on a potato roll with avocado (yum!) and with a housemade pickle relish. Another delight for your appetite is the chocolate-hazelnut chia pudding, which Hardy says “is a guest favorite.” Containing no eggs and only a small amount of sugar, it has what he calls “a silky mouthfeel.”

“We want to provide good, tasty food and plant-forward cuisine,” he says, adding that the resort uses only organic coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil (no nut oils); honey or maple syrup instead of white sugar, and that “We order specialty products for guests all the time.” Those items might include kosher chicken, 2% lactate, special cereals or honey from a favorite flower. The resort also features a special department to handle all of your culinary requests. In other words, you can eat petite at Canyon Ranch and love every bite.

Oh, and here’s something else. There’s actually a delicious item on the daily menu that you can purchase if you love a good hot fudge sundae. Canyon Ranch serves yummy soft-serve that’s topped with a “fudge” made by Wax Orchards. I have thrilled to this little treat for more than 25 years now and it is low-calorie and vegan — and available for purchase. 

Happy dieting.

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