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Start a new you with 12 DIY tips from Rancho La Puerta and The Golden Door

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As an avid spa goer for several decades I learned many good life lessons about health, beauty and fitness. While I’ve trekked to facilities throughout the world, most of what I gleaned came from two top spas, the Golden Door in Escondido, California and Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico.

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Both health and fitness resorts were the brain children of the doyenne of spas , Deborah Szekely--although she co-founded the Ranch with her then husband, Edmond Szekely. Thanks to Deborah and the staff at both spas, guests were taught more than just how to lose weight or get fit. We learned to unite our minds, bodies and spirits and to utilize the knowledge imparted to us to live a healthier and more gratifying life.

Here are 12 take home tips or life lessons you might want to consider incorporating in your life during the following last days of 2013 and in the New Year:

1. Move. Don’t just sit there, get out and walk, go to the gym, park far away from a store or restaurant, put activity into your life. Start a daily exercise routine and stick to it (with your doctor's permission). If you have a pool, use it. If you live in LA take a hike in Runyon Canyon or one of any of hundreds of hiking trails around the city. Or just walk around the block. The week-long programs at both the Door and Ranch begin with early morning (pre-breakfast) hikes for all abilities.

2. When dining out or eating in, look at the amount of food served on your plate in front of you and picture how you want to look and eat accordingly. Think thin, unless you're trying to gain weight.

3. Read labels on all packaged and can foods to check out calories, amounts of salts, preservatives etc. Don’t buy it if it has too many ingredients.

4. Every night before you go to sleep think about all the wonderful things that happened to you that day and anything you’d like to change about yourself. (Words of wisdom from Deborah Szekely).

5. In the morning before getting out of bed wiggle your toes, stretch your arms over your head and then sit up and say, “good morning, this is going to be a wonderful day.” (From Deborah Szekely).

6. Diet is a four letter word. Consider instead eating healthy, eating less, eating only when hungry, but always starting the day with a good breakfast.

7. Keep a food diary daily of everything you eat, you’ll be amazed at how much you might have consumed and might just be tempted to cut down.

8. Make time for family and friends, they are important to your well-being.

9. Stretch before and after a workout, stretch when you get up in the morning, stretch before bed.

10. Take time to relax, meditate and unwind.

11. Breathe deeply, the more oxygen you take it, the better your metabolism will work. Fitness expert Diane Allen of the Door emphazes breathing and holding in your tummy (or core) while exercising that it becomes part of your everyday life.

12. When writing a professional letter spell check every word, make it neat and clear, be precise, it will get better results. (Teachings of Deborah Szekely).

If you’ve never taken time to visit a spa, put it on your bucket list for 2014, it is one of the best things you can do for yourself. For those who can afford it, give a loved one a day of pampering at a day spa or a trip to a destination spa for a gift. It’s one of the best things you can do for another person.



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