The key to shedding pounds sounds easy enough: Eat healthy and exercise regularly. But putting this into action can be tough. The difficulty lies in breaking old habits and overcoming inertia. When it comes to altering your dining routine or finding the energy to exercise, sometimes sheer willpower isn't enough. If that's the case, it might be time to take a vacation. There are plenty of facilities that boast the ability to help you shed pounds fast. However, Dr. Howard Eisenson -- executive director of Duke University's Diet and Fitness Center -- says that the more magical a place sounds, the more skeptical you should be. The only way to produce real results is to incorporate what you learn on a wellness vacation into your life at home. "There needs to be an honest acceptance that this is going to be a marathon, not a sprint," he says.

"It takes a while to become overweight, and it's going to take a while to get in shape," Dr. Eisenson says. That said, if you're serious about attending a wellness program to lose weight, it's important that you find a facility that caters to both your needs and your budget. "You need to have a serious conversation with yourself about why you're attending these programs," says Dr. Eisenson. "You need to ask yourself: 'Am I willing to make serious changes?'"

If you feel that a wellness retreat is the right way to approach weight-loss, Dr. Eisenson advises finding a program that balances nutrition, physical activity and mental health. And it's also a good idea to do a little research, ensuring that the regimens and treatments are medically sound and right for your body. On that note, we've gathered information on some of the best health and fitness retreats out there. Click here to find the program that's right for you.

*All prices listed in slideshow are for single rooms for a week-long stay unless stated otherwise.

[Find the perfect weight-loss retreat]


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