The Spa – A Competence Center for Healthy Nutrition and Weight Management

Everybody knows spas and salons as service provider for body massages. facials and relaxation. Some places offer extra, specialized services like reflexology, body scrubs, reiki up to wrinkle treatments with laser and botox. Only larger spa resorts and Wellness/Health Centers began at the outgoing 20th century extending their service menu by introducing dietary consultation, fitness training and spiritual education Eastern style like meditation, yoga, and tai-chi.

Although this situation has not changed in principle, there are still three developments in the last decade, which the existing and future owner of the smaller spa or salon should take advantage of for growing his/her business: the exponential growth of world wide web users, the financial crisis and the seemingly unstoppable increase of an overweight and obese population.

The last listed point is the main subject of this post. We will deal with it in more depth after commenting briefly on point 1 and 2.

1. Regular internet usage of Western populations has increased in recent years to 80 or more percent and therefore should be a must for every business owner to reach and communicate with his/her target market. Newsletters and regular information exchange via email marketing, facilitated by user friendly autoresponder software, is one of the key elements to access prospects and secure the loyalty of existing customers.

2. The collapse of the banking system three years ago has substantially increased job insecurity and led to thousands of job losses. People’s trust in the stability and growth potential of European as well as American economies has further diminished and reached a frightening but very understandable low level. This should signal an entrepreneurial mind to rely in the future more on his/her own capabilities instead of remaining dependent on government and companies in a weak and further weakening economic climate. Therefore becoming self-employed may be the best option in these times. It is obvious that in such an environment finding staff is not a bottleneck one should expect. And good staff always has been the success factor No 1 in a spa or salon business.

This scenario then leads us to the third point,

3. The dramatically increasing percentage of overweight and fat people in our societies. As nobody expects a reverse development in the years ahead – in spite of all the flamboyant promises of the multi-billion diet industry -, there is a good opportunity for spas and salons to provide nutritional and lifestyle consulting services.. What is truly exciting about such service is the potential customer base, being significantly larger than 50 percent of the population (both sexes, kids included) in your area, way above the number of people who could become customers of your spa’s beauty services.

With such gigantic customer base waiting for a real solution – not marketing hype! – to their weight problem, often having experienced a lot of disappointments in the past, one needs to answer the question:

“How can your institute gain credibility in the weight/fat loss industry and compete successfully with the offline and online marketing power of diet corporations like weight watchers and Co”

The simplicity of the answer may surprise many of you: by advising your clients a few elementary weight loss principles, which are not at the core, in general nowhere even mentioned in corporate diet advertising for a very simple reason: such principles being applied would endanger, on the longer run even wipe out their existence.

The principles can be summarized in the following seven points:

1. A lasting healthy body weight can only be achieved by acquiring a healthy life style, not merely by diet, shakes or tablets.

2. The energy (kcal) supplied to the body (input) must on average not exceed the energy spent (output) (“Energy conservation law”).

3. Applying principle 2 allows everybody full control over the daily food consumption (caloric input) by balancing it with energy spending * physical activities (variable)

* The daily metabolic output is here considered constant

4. A rise in metabolic output is possible medium to long term by regular strength training (muscle buildup).

5. A healthy eating pattern must be adopted, where key components are

  • reducing the sugar intake (60 g daily max, population average is over 100 g)
  • a healthy protein – carbohydrate balance (about 1:1)
  • consuming mainly low glycaemic index carbohydrates
  • selecting only “good” fats, avoiding saturated and trans fats

6 Motivational incentives for a life style change need to be found, recognized and internalized.

7. Setting of an ambitious goal, a realistic step-by-step plan for it’s achievement in combination with a progress control and reward system.

If you, the spa owner, is interested in this subject, you will find ways of acquiring the necessary know-how and (ideally) practicing, what you have learned and teach your clientele (“walk the talk”). I did and you can too.

If for whatever reason you do not want or you can’t, e.g. for time reasons, provide such service, you certainly can look for a nutritionist, who will be joining your spa, perhaps first as a consultant and possibly later, with increasing customer demand, as a staff member.

By applying myself the above listed principles, I lost 8 kg within 3 weeks without starving and reached my ideal weight (176 pounds/80 kg at 6’2”/1,89 m) again, the first time after 35 years (!). I still have it half a year later as the program has changed my eating mindset, food shopping habits and stopped my cravings for sweets and chocolate. This and the fact that I always liked aerobic exercising (how lucky I am!) allows me to enjoy plenty of calories on various occasions without being shocked by the figures on my scale afterwards.

Believe me, living a healthy lifestyle – and that can be done at any age! – makes living every day a real pleasure. Help your clientele to discover the magic and they will be yours forever.