On the first day of her $5,600-per-week stay at a ritzy Malibu detox ranch, Christina Binkley was awakened at 5:30am to do yoga, eat a tiny frittata, and then go on a 12-mile hike. "The scenery was gorgeous," she writes in the Wall Street Journal, but after four hours, she stopped noticing it—and so did her fellow hikers, many of whom spent the trek vomiting. Later in the week, participants "lined up like Pavlov's dogs" for the scant snack of three almonds and two cashews during another many-hour hike. By the fourth day, Binkley "couldn't stop thinking about beef." But then something changed.
One morning she found herself hopping out of bed, trotting through the hikes, and even enjoying the celery-root soup that was served for lunch. "My food cravings vanished," she writes. "I decided to forgo a burger and instead have sushi as my first meal 'out.'" Her stay at the Ranch at Live Oak, during which one guide estimates she ate around 1,100 calories a day, left her 6.5 pounds lighter, and the exercise left her stronger. The Ranch also aims to wean guests from other ever-present aspects of daily life—think cell phones and email—and by the time she returned to real life, she warned her husband, "Don't ruin my glow."