Travel Tips

Window Seat or Aisle Seat: 6 Shape-up Family Vacation Ideas

Locations in this article:  San Diego, CA

We’re 14 days into the new year, so how are your resolutions holding up? New Year, New You promotions are everywhere. But sometimes to make new habits that last, you need to hit the road and immerse yourself in a community that shares your goals. If you’re battling the bulge, Kerri Zane offers up six vacation ideas to jump start your shape-up plans.

For most of us the new year represents a time of setting annual goals, stating our resolutions and committing to a healthy fresh start. The number one resolution at the top of the list for most Americans is weight loss. It is a good goal and one that has become more important as obesity continues to be an ongoing issue in this country. Current data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that more than 35 percent of men and women in the US and 17 percent of our youth are clinically obese.

As a single mother and a healthy living expert, I focus childhood obesity is paramount. Scientists who study families and obesity say that when someone in the household has a weight problem—even just one member—he or she is far more likely to shed pounds if everyone adopts a healthy diet and exercises.  Dr. John Mayer, Clinical Psychologist, leading expert in adolescent health and author of, “Family Fit” concurs,

When families participate together in a healthy eating program it turns your weight loss/healthy lifestyle program from a ‘ME’ program to a ‘WE’ program and that makes your efforts all that more successful.

Most traditional diet programs fail because they are done in isolation of those around you. With this in mind, I set out to find wellness centers that serve the entire family.

The Wellness Heavyweights

There is no more prominent a name in the game of weight control than The Biggest Loser. The Biggest Loser Resort, named after NBC’s hit show,  focuses on fitness, nutrition and education. Visitors can expect a boot camp-style experience (similar to what contestants experience on the program) that includes fitness training and nutritional counseling, as well as personal counseling and life coaching to help bring the lessons and health habits learned at the resort back to daily life. The Resort has packages that include teenagers (ages 14-17), so the whole family can learn new lifestyle habits together. There are water activities and hiking. Kids will be taught how to use the equipment in the gym, but must be accompanied by an adult during their stay. Guests are also drawn to the program’s contestants, who visit and work at the original destination in Utah. In addition to that facility, there is a resort in Niagara, New York and their new facility in Malibu, California, which opened in 2010.

Located on the beach in La Jolla, California, Wellspring Family Camp is one of the most popular weight loss and fitness summer camps in the country. The camp takes place on the campus of University of California San Diego, this venue offers an incredible range of activity, temperate weather, and top-notch facilities.

The program, based on the research of its founder Dr. Dan Kirschenbaum, utilizes the three S’s: Simple, Scientific and Sustainable. In other words everyone is trained on the self-regulatory skills they need to return to a healthy weight, and parents are given a simple and sustainable solution to supporting their child at home. Campers spend lots of time enjoying the beach-sand volleyball, boogie boarding, surfing lessons, snorkeling, and evening bonfires-and make use of UCSD’s expansive fields. They also can take advantage of the University’s $35 million state-of-the-art fitness complex with a variety of classes such as strength training, kick boxing and yoga. Trips to Seaworld, Knotts Berry Farm, Disneyland, mountain biking and hiking adventures, and on-campus games and activities round out the ultimate camp experience.

The family program is only offered during the summer months and will allow families with children as young as 10.  Wellspring representatives said they can accommodate families with younger children on a case-by-case basis. The organization runs weight loss camps, retreats, and schools for overweight kids and adults in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Lengths of stay vary from one to three weeks.