As a wife and mother of two children, my days are usually filled with errands, cooking, laundry and driving the kids all over the place. Canyon Ranch was a place I had only dreamed about escaping to in order to ‘get away from it all.’ When given the opportunity for a weekend, where I could take off my chauffeur’s cap and rip off my cooking apron, I jumped at the chance and never looked back.
The weekend was everything I dreamed of and more – it was ‘all about me.’ When I say ‘all about me,’ I am not just talking about exercise classes, spa treatments and lectures – it was really about doing some soul searching and learning how I can take better care of me. From a Physiological Fitness Test to learning how to cook and eat healthier, Canyon Ranch gave me the kick-start I needed to be a ‘better’ version of me.
Driving through the gates at Canyon Ranch feels like you are entering an earlier era. Located in the Berkshires in Lennox, Massachusetts, the century-old Bellefontaine mansion is the centerpiece of Canyon Ranch. Bellefontaine had been a private home and then a boarding school, before it was destroyed in a fire. The mansion was restored and additional buildings were added, soon becoming a classic vacation spot. The library, the only room that had not been destroyed by fire, was fully restored to its original dignity.
Canyon Ranch is an all-inclusive health resort and luxury spa. There is a choice of more than 40 fitness classes offered daily, nutritious gourmet cuisine, and an option to consult with physicians, nutritionists, exercise physiologists and other specialists.
As someone who wakes up on a daily basis, thinking today is the day I will start my diet, but having no idea where to begin my healthier lifestyle, Canyon Ranch helped me to devise a plan. My weekend experience eliminated the mystery of what to eat, how much to eat, how to cook healthy, the type of exercise that I will benefit from and even how to think more positive to achieve my daily and lifelong goals. Providing the inspiration and the ‘You can do this attitude,’ the staff at Canyon Ranch helped give me the kick start I needed.
Let’s talk food at Canyon Ranch:
I have a love hate relationship with food. I love it. But after I eat way too much of it, I really hate it. The food at Canyon Ranch was not only delicious, but healthy. The cuisine emphasizes healthy eating with quality carbs & fiber,fruits, legumes and moderate portions of whole grains. All meals are balanced with protein-rich food and healthy fats, including extra-virgin olive oil, canola oil and omega-3 fatty acids. They do not use trans fats or other artificial ingredients in their cooking. The food is seasoned with herbs and spices to keep the use of salt at a minimum and the use of sweeteners are in moderation and there are no artificial sweeteners at all.
More importantly, the food that is served is the correct portion size. Being a frequent visitor to local restaurants and having heard about what portion sizes are supposed to be, my body (and my brain) initially went into shock when faced with the reality of a TRUE portion size. Fearing starvation, panic set in, but not only did I live through eating a smaller portion, but I left the dining area feeling good. No bloat. No regrets.
There is also a moderate amount of salt in the food. I add salt to everything – both while I am cooking and when the meal has been served, there is salt on the table. While I would have loved to add a dot of salt, it was not an option. Thanks to the wonderful chefs at Canyon Ranch, the food was delicious without me adding salt.
No soda and no alcohol. No diet soda. No regular soda. No glass of wine with dinner. The choices were sparkling water, regular water, coffee, tea and delicious, healthy smoothies. I am not a huge soda (or alcohol) person, so I didn’t notice until a friend pointed it out. The philosophy behind no alcohol is that Canyon Ranch is focused on wellness and detoxifying. Canyon Ranch respects people’s decisions about whether to drink in moderation, as well as their choice of wine, beer or spirits. Canyon Ranch advises that guests with concerns discuss them with their doctors.
Both the Canyon Ranch health resort in Tucson and the Canyon Ranch health resort in Lenox are alcohol-free environments. Canyon Ranch does not disapprove of alcohol, and guests are of course free to bring it with them to consume in their rooms. The philosophy of the resort is to present all the resort guests with the healthiest possible choices, so that they can experience how good healthy living makes them feel. They have more opportunity to do that if their perception is unclouded.
Keep reading to find out about exercise at Canyon Ranch and much more!!