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At the Hilton Head Health Institute, Ackerman ate three restricted-calorie meals a day (followed by 20-minute walks), and had exercise sessions, nutrition lectures, cooking classes, and behavior modification seminars. Here's how to keep it off Features such as these don't come cheap.The cost of attending an adult weight-loss retreat ranges from about ,000 to ,000 per week. Contestants on The Biggest Loser experience dramatic weight loss, but the show has come under fire because its results are sometimes temporary.(Other measures of health, such as their cholesterol levels and blood pressure, also tend to improve measurably.) Health.com: Skinny up your weekend As for the permanence of the weight loss, a study conducted by researchers from the University of South Carolina found that one year after their stay, just 22 percent of Hilton Head Health guests weighed 10 percent less than they did when they entered the retreat.Similarly, in a 2006 study of people who attended a weight-loss camp in Europe for more than five months, just over one-quarter maintained a 10 percent weight loss after four years.Some, such as the nationwide chain of Wellspring Retreats, emphasize outdoor activities such as whitewater rafting, surfing, and mountain climbing, while others, such as Duke University's Diet and Fitness Center, feature a clinic-like atmosphere.For a more relaxed approach, there's Green Mountain, a "non-diet" weight-loss program in Vermont exclusively for women. While the theme and day-to-day schedule varies at each retreat, most programs are structured around exercise, healthy meals, and lifestyle education."I went there not knowing much about what I was in for," she says."I didn't want to get pampered; I wanted to get healthy." Weight-loss retreats, spas, and resorts for adults -- the grown-up version of fat camps -- have been around for decades. After two weeks of swimming and fitness classes, she lost 11 pounds.
"Unfortunately," she says, "some weight-loss camps promote rapid weight loss through very low calorie diets and/or a punishing exercise regimen.
In 2009, for instance, season-three winner Erik Chopin -- who lost 214 pounds on the show -- told Oprah Winfrey that he had gained most of the weight back.
Do people who attend weight-loss retreats also lose a significant amount of weight, and are they likely to see a similar rebound effect?
But now, fueled by growing awareness of the health risks of obesity and the popularity of weight-loss shows such as The Biggest Loser, they seem to be on the rise. "It was a great jump start for me," says Ackerman, who returned to the institute twice and went on to lose more than 100 pounds.
Last year, she was married on the beach; she weighed 165 pounds and was a trim and confident size 12.
(Health.com) -- Five years ago, Juli Ackerman never thought she'd be able to buy an off-the-rack wedding dress.