Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tightwad Travel Tip – Weight-Loss Strategy

Weight control is not easy for me. I have to work at it. Three aerobic sessions per week at the gym are mandatory if I don't want to gain weight. If I actually want to lose a couple pounds over a period of months, I must limit calories and increase time at the gym. It's a slow process.

I suppose, if I were not a tightwad, I could spend a week at the beautiful Canyon Ranch Resort in Tucson, Arizona, where I'd stay in a deluxe room and enjoy three gourmet, albeit nutritious and low-calorie, meals a day for $730 per day. For that price I can also take fitness classes and bike, hike or walk to my heart's content.

Or I could stay a little closer to home at the Rancho La Puerta Spa, just one hour's drive south of San Diego in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico, which bills itself as an economy—but still deluxe—alternative to pricier resorts. Here I can enjoy a week's worth of accommodations and meals plus the same activities offered at Canyon Ranch for $494 a day.

But I think my approach is cheaper and a lot more interesting. I ate delicious food, slept in a lovely apartment, did all the walking I could handle, and enjoyed world-class museums for only $83 a day. And I lost weight. Eight pounds in all!

Every time I'm in Europe, I lose eight to ten pounds without even trying. (I lost ten pounds when I spent six weeks in France and Italy in 2007.) The trip in September was no exception. Despite devouring at least one chocolate croissant each day and ice cream more times than I care to recall (plus the usual three meals a day), David and I both dropped eight pounds. Is it because we walked for hours a day and did not snack between meals? Or is it because French food is much less caloric than American food? I don't know the answer, but I do know that I prefer travel as the best approach to weight loss. It's much more fun than aerobics and a whole lot cheaper than fancy spas.

Wouldn't you rather spend $581 for a week in Paris than $5110 for a week at Canyon Ranch or $3460 for a week at Rancho La Puerta? Besides, think how cosmopolitan you'll sound when you tell your friends you're going to Paris to lose weight!

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