October 23rd, 2018

Retreat Recap: The 2018 F-Factor X Golden Door Experience

A glimpse into what a F-Factor retreat really looks like.

F-Factor x Golden Door Retreat 2018, a recap:

The 3rd annual F-Factor retreat at The Golden Door spa has officially come and gone, and while there is no way to truly put into words the magic that transpired there, we attempt to give you a glimpse, here, with a recap.

For those unfamiliar with the F-Factor X Golden Door Retreat, it is a five-day, four-night completely immersive F-Factor experience in sunny southern California. Guests come from all over to unplug, unwind, and understand living the F-Factor way like never before. With activities ranging from hiking, to spa time, to receiving the F-Factor Education and lectures from Tanya herself, guests leave with a heightened sense of mindfulness and empowerment, and all the knowledge necessary to manage weight and keep it off. It’s the ULTIMATE way to look and feel your best.

This past retreat was truly special, our best one yet! Forty influential women, traveled from all over the world to join Tanya Zuckerbrot and F-Factor RD, Maria Stavropoulos, in San Marcos, California to relax, unplug and completely immerse themselves in the F-Factor lifestyle. These women came with a purpose, to leave their week at the Golden Door Spa better—more knowledgeable, leaner, healthier and happier—than when they arrived. We are pleased to say that every woman on the trip achieved that goal.

We laughed, learned, hiked, meditated, set our intentions, and best of all, reset our journeys to be the best versions of ourselves and lose weight. The agenda included all things F-Factor and self-care. For a closer look in what the trip entailed, read on…

Upon arrival, guests gathered for a meet and greet brunch on the patio looking out over a serene koi pond, the first of many the farm-to-table meals in the different locals on The Golden Door’s sprawling 600-acre property we enjoyed during the retreat.

From brunch guests were shown to their rooms, where they were welcomed with a swag bag of goodies and useful items for their stay—activewear tops, hats, cell phone power pack—and to continue their F-Factor journey upon leaving. While many of the activities during the retreat are group work, there is an amount of solo time included for maximal relaxation for the women. The rooms act as a personal mindfulness sanctuary for just that. In addition to the literature on mindfulness provided for the rooms by the Golden Door, our guests received cozy throw blankets donated by SL Home Fashions in their welcome bags, to make their rooms a little more homey and to warm the chilly mornings, as well as Minnie Rose cashmere slippers, Pursoma bath salts and CBD topical products, a relief balm and tincture, donated by Papa & Barkley. Massages are also done in-room.

After getting settled in their rooms, and enjoying their first spa treatment of the week (manicure, pedicure, facial or massage), we joined for a proper tour of the property, cocktail hour and finally dinner. Dinner this first night was Asian themed and everyone was provided with a kimono to wear. The first course was a salad with a sesame tarmari dressing, followed a choice of Miso Glazed California Black Cod or Teriyaki Tofu, both served with sautéed spinach and edamame braised bok choy. This first night was also a special guests birthday, celebrated with champagne and #FFACTORAPPROVED 20/20 Red Velvet Cake (more a cupcake person? Click here).

Not a moment is wasted at the Golden Door, and each morning of the retreat begins the similarly; bright and early at 5:00am. Guests meet by 5:30 for coffee and light bites and then we’re off on our daily sunrise 5-mile hike. Geared up with our new F-Factor hats and Stony Clover fanny-packs (both of which were included in the welcome bags) we set out and up.

For our first hike of the trip, everyone was instructed to find a small rock. Upon reaching the top, one by one, we placed our small rocks in a pile on a giant one, while taking a moment in our heads to focus on our intentions for the retreat. What do you want to accomplish? What areas of your life can be improved? What motivated you for joining this week? These are the types of questions we challenge ourselves with over the course of the retreat. With challenge comes insight and with insight comes change.

On the way back down, we walked through Golden Door’s famous rock maze. Everyone must finish the maze, a small accomplishment to symbolize that there is no limit to what we can accomplish. Those intentions that we set at the peak (pun intended) of the hike? The completion of the maze actualizes those intentions. We are all on our way to better versions of ourselves. Without even knowing it, our journeys of self improvement have begun.

This all set the stage for upcoming lectures and coursework on the topic of self improvement.

After a well-deserved post hike breakfast of 20/20 pancakes with berries, scrambled eggs with high-fiber GG crackers, or Greek yogurt parfaits, we met for one of the most anticipated activities of the week, the F-Factor education lecture with Tanya Zuckerbrot. This in-depth lecture breaks down the science behind F-Factor and teaches people exactly why and how the program works. This is hugely valuable for anyone starting to live the F-Factor way. Through education, rather than dictation, we can almost guarantee success on the program. This is because when something resonates with people on a cognitive level, acting any other way is just illogical. Therefore, the material learned is truly consumed by the student, and put into action with ease.

Motivated and excited to put our new knowledge into practice, we sat for lunch by the pool before going into the afternoon activities, which included self-care treatments, and F-Factor lectures. We indulged in mani/pedis and learned about the commonly confused concept of healthy vs healthy for weight loss (which you can learn about too here).

After a delicious dinner, the first full day of the retreat wrapped up in similar vein as to how it began; with the topic of intentions. In a short inspirational session we vowed to regard ourselves as accountable for our actions and stop viewing ourselves as a victim of our circumstances. We resolved that the fork is in our hands…. and that does not just relate to food.

The second morning waking up at Golden Door started with our 5-mile sunrise hike through the serene landscape and past the lemon groves and breakfast in-room, like the day before.

While the first morning at Golden Door was dedicated to the F-Factor Education, the remainder of the mornings at Golden Door are filled with more individualized activities, which gives the women the opportunity to take advantage of the multitude of physical activities offered, as well as the spa treatments. Included in that is private workout sessions with their individually appointed personal trainers. The mornings are also when the women can have their private follow up sessions with F-Factor RD, Maria. During these sessions they review medical history and receive their personalized diet plans. They also go over goal setting, how to journal and do weigh ins with the inBody machine.

This day is when we had our lunch in the garden, which is one of the most special meals of the retreat. The entire garden at The Golden Door Spa is organic, and all of the produce is farm-to-table. It’s so fresh and delicious, and a beautiful setting for a meal.

To compliment our morning workouts, one of the lectures this afternoon regarded exercise: why exercise does not make you thin. The women learned that that doesn’t mean to quit working out all together, but rather they should adjust their approach to working out. Use F-Factor to get lean, workout to get strong.

Our third dinner of the retreat was held in the labyrinth, and it’s one of the most elegant nights of the trip. The atmosphere feels magical. Golden Door maintains that the labyrinth is the spot on the property with the most energy. Everyone at our dinner that night would agree, it was all positive energy for us.


Our final sunrise hike proved the benefits of creating a habit/ repetition and sticking with something. The uphill hike that was a challenge just a few days prior was muscle-memory now. After breakfast we met for circuit training, and archery lessons. The women continued to meet with Maria for their individual sessions, and enjoyed Swedish massages and body wraps.

The highlight of coursework this afternoon was the F-Factor cooking demos. We made #FFACTORAPPROVED carrot cauliflower soup (recipe here!), blinis topped with smoked salmon and dill with the F-Factor 20/20 Fiber/Protein powder, and Nedi Martinis to wash it down with (the recipe for which can be found in her e-book here). Not only did the women learn how incredibly easy it is to prepare F-Factor meals, but just how delicious living the F-Factor way can be. It was truly a treat!

Our final evening began with a wine tasting by Speckle Rock Vineyards, a local winery who graciously supplied the wine for the retreat. The wine was paired with a Garden Heirloom Lettuce Salad, to start, and a choice of either Blackened Pink Groper “en papilotte”, Fennel Roasted Poussin or Tempeh Vegetable Dal for the entree, and F-Factor 20/20 Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream for dessert. Over dinner we discussed dining out on F-Factor (which is not only allowed, but encouraged!) and Tanya graced us with a final lecture on the topic of self improvement.

Before heading home, each woman met with Maria for their final weigh ins on the inBody machine, and you know what? Every one of them lost weight.

These women experienced first hand how F-Factor is the most disruptive, liberating, effective and sustainable approach to weight loss and improved health. Through the F-Factor Education, lectures, consultations, and, of course, delicious #FFACTORAPPROVED meals, they have learned that they can dine out, drink alcohol, eat carbs and free themselves from being a slave to the gym once and for all–how supremely liberating is that! By understanding the science behind F-Factor, they have learned to manage their weight through their intake instead of their output.

We are proud to say that the guests of this year’s retreat left with the tools needed to look and feel their best without compromising their quality of life.

Special thank you to all of our donors who helped make this year’s retreat the success that it was! Thank you to Roar Organic for the pre-hike fuel, and to Stony Clover for making sure that hike was done in style with our stadium-approved fanny packs. Our gratitude goes out to Speckle Rock Vineyards for hosting a delicious wine tasting and keeping us hydrated all week long, to GG Fiber for filling our F-Factor snack cases with GGs to take with us as we depart, and to Inspiralized, Devgan Scientific Beauty, JTAV Clinical Skincare, SL Home Fashions, Minnie Rose, Tara Pearls, Bandier, Pursoma, Papa & Barkley and Sabria Brows for their generous contributions to the retreat welcome bag too!

For information on upcoming F-Factor retreats and other F-Factor events, be sure to sign up for our newsletter and stay tuned to our blog.