Wellness travel is one of the hottest tourism trends so when I was invited to check out Hilton Head Health Resort in South Carolina, I happily accepted the offer. I love to travel, eat healthy food and exercise, so why not? 

Based on my research, the resort appeared to have 3 tracks guests could follow named Lose Well, Live Well and Play Well. Lose Well was for guests looking to lose weight. Live Well was for guests it appeared who lived an active lifestyle and wanted a vacation to recharge their batteries while boosting their health. The Play Well track looked to be built for the adventure seeker and athlete with rounds of golf, paddle boarding, kayaking and more. 

Since the Play Well track was not offered during our stay, I signed up for the Live Well. 

The Good:

I stayed in a fabulous 2-bed, 3-bath condo that felt like a family vacation home with another blogger. The resort leases them from various owners.

The meals were delicious and probably my favorite part of the stay. The calories are listed right on the menu along with dietary labels. The Lose Well guests are given suggested calorie limits but pre-portioned healthy snacks are always available. There are no fad diets that dictate the menu but most dishes would be considered by me as “clean” and close to its original source. 

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We had a menu for breakfast and lunch but dinner was a set entree with exceptions for special diets. 

The veggie scramble was a favorite breakfast of mine. I ordered it twice. Once with fruit and avocado and once with a bowl of oatmeal with berries.

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My other favorite was the oatmeal with locally made granola, fruit and single fried egg. The oatmeal was sweetened with a touch of vanilla instead of sugar. 

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I didn’t take a picture of the lunch menu but it was equally as impressive and longer, allowing us to order a starter and main meal. 

The massaged kale salad was a favorite. It only had 100 calories and was so filling. I ordered this to start one day and was almost full from it thanks to the volume.

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I also loved the shrimp taco salad. Instead of a corn fried tortilla, the chef used baked wanton wrapper. 

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I wrote down that I preferred fish in my registration packet and so one night, when pork was on the menu, I was served a local white fish instead. It came with mashed sweet potatoes and broccoli. 

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The following night, we all were served a delicious sea bass with risotto, carrots and green beans. The fish was the best I had all weekend. 

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I wasn’t able to try any of the vegan dinner entrees but they looked amazing! Dessert is only served on Wednesday and Saturday. While I enjoyed the pumpkin cheesecake I was served, I later saw it was made with Splenda and fat free cream cheese… 

It was suggested to have a fit bite at 10:30 am and also 3:30 pm which were all prepackaged are available to grab at any time. 

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The lectures were really interesting! I didn’t think I would find them very captivating but the speakers were animated, inspiring and intriguing. A simple lecture about portion control turned into how to eat mindlessly to lose weight. Also fun were the healthy cooking classes. Some were free and others were additional. 

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We learned how to make this delicious peanut butter hummus recipe during a free demonstration. I’ll be posting the recipe soon! It’s a great way to satisfy a peanut butter lover’s cravings without binging. 

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During the day, classes and excursions are offered at various times. The excursions cost additional money and included things like a zip line, bike ride, and stand up paddle boarding. With our schedule, I couldn’t participate in any of them sadly so I decided to sign up for a private golf lesson. When in Hilton Head I figured, right? The H3 staff arranged my appointment, dropped me off and picked me up from a near by course.

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The classes were varied for all abilities and interests. The Treading class was challenging and reminded me of a longer version of Barry’s Bootcamp treadmill work. I took it along with the other bloggers on our trip, Andie, Beth, Monique and Nicole

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The Pilates, TRX, Yoga, Pool activities, Zumba and more offer something for all abilities. I especially loved Camilla’s classes! Her spunk made the time fly by and her moves were easy to modify and advance. Nicole and I took her TRX and had a blast. 

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Since I wanted to see the beach, I went running one morning in lieu of taking a class. I was glad I did because the beach was gorgeous but chilly thanks to the latest polar vortex. I would love to come back during beach season. 

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Other Impressions… 

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My room was a little over a mile from the H3. There were no shuttle buses but if you called the front desk a van would pick you up within 10 minutes. I couldn’t get a van at 7:30 am Thursday morning and had to walk. You can rent beach bikes for the duration of your stay to get to and from H3.  We were also over a mile from the beach so it’s easy to forget you’re so close. I would recommend getting a bike!

I signed up a for a deep tissue massage which was amazing! It was hard to book an appointment but the staff added some extra times due to high volume. H3 is building a brand new spa with more rooms to accommodate the requests as well as step up their game in the spa options. I would love it if they added an acupuncturist or chiropractor to round out alternative health experience. 

I had my finger pricked and measurements taken my first morning after fasting for 12 hours. The results were not mind blowing for me since I recently had my blood drawn but it would be very helpful for someone going to H3 to start their weight loss journey. You talk about your results with one of the medical professionals on staff the following day. Some guests stay for a full week, others a full month or longer! They are able to track their progress during their stay.

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H3 is a no judgement zone. We wore casual clothes the entire time and no make up. People don’t come to H3 for a spa vacation, they come to make a real change. I know that the resort is hoping to attract a younger audience with the expansion of their spa services. I was told the demographic gets younger during the summer season with school break. H3 is expensive, but for its services, it is a reasonable price compared to other resorts offering similar results.

Overall, I had a great experience. I would recommend H3 to anyone who is looking to get away and get a jump start or boost in motivation to reach their health goals. H3 is better suited in my opinion, right now, for those who are beginners, need to lose a lot of weight or are a little older as the exercise classes are better geared towards those populations. I felt a little out of place at times but was happy that I am now able to share my experience with you guys and maybe inspire one of you guys to invest in your health. Most of the guests at H3 were all reoccurring guests so they must be doing something right, right!? 

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. While my stay was complimentary at the resort, I paid for my flight to South Carolina. 

 

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I have had Thanksgivings where I probably did consume nearly 4500 calories from the minute I woke up to the time I went to bed, which is the average number American’s consume on T-Day. I would like to hope that is not true since I started this blog but I am not someone that is going to give up stuffing or pie. I think Thanksgiving is one of 2 days out of the year I actually eat stuffing, candied sweet potatoes and pie to be honest. I’m not going to give them up. I’ll just cut corners in other places to avoid feeling disgusting.

Healthy-THanksgiving-2

Here are 10 ways you can have a healthier Thanksgiving while still enjoying your favorites:

  1. Skip the butter. Roast your veggies with non-stick spray to save on fat and calories without missing taste. You can always add more salt and pepper which usually does the trick.
  2. Splurge on your protein and get the free range organic bird. Yes it’s more expensive, but it’s once a year! Vote with your dollar and support animal rights, reduce your risk of salmonella, avoid the antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, and added hormones. I think it also tastes better.
  3. Instead of gravy, try some homemade pesto. Literally, gravy is the fat that melted off the bird. Simply put, it’s like drizzling grease with butter and flour for taste/texture over a plate of somewhat healthful food. I love this kale pesto recipe as an alternative.
  4. Lighten up your mashed potatoes by making it half cauliflower/half russet potato. Skip the cream, and halve the butter you usually use. Try adding flavor with Greek yogurt which has extra protein and less fat as well as. Use fresh herbs like chives and spices for extra flavor.
  5. Better yet, avoid the white potatoes all together and stick with roasted sweet potatoes – not the candied kind, although I love those too. You avoid the dilemma of asking if the mashed potatoes are made with cream and butter or causing uncle Aldo to get pissy for messing with his favorite childhood recipe. Pick what you think is worth the splurge. Would you rather run 2 miles and eat the candied sweet potatoes or are they not worth it to you? Pick your treats. Stuffing is mine.         THANKSGIVING Healthy Tips
  6. Avoid boxed anything! You have a freaking year to prepare. Don’t be lazy. The #1 packages to avoid are canned cranberry sauce and stuffing. Did you know 1/4 cup of cranberry sauce has 21g of sugar in it!? Here is a great homemade Paleo stuffing recipe that is gluten free too. You can also go the traditional DIY route by using whole grain bread or quinoa which is a good source of magnesium, potassium and zinc. White bread is low in nutrients. Do we really need more white carbs anyway???
  7. Skip the sugary drinks and have a wine spritzer! I love spritzers. Mix 1 part white wine, 1 part sparkling soda. Alcohol can make you think your are hungry when you really you are not at all so go easy on the booze.
  8. Skip pecan pie for pumpkin pie. Better yet, bake your own and bring it with you. Try making it with a gluten free crust or bring a homemade apple crisp with low sugar granola alternative topping.
  9. Make your own cranberry sauce! I said it above but ¼ cup of the canned stuff has 21g of sugar! What a waste of sugar calories, right?!
  10. Appetizers – choose wisely. Skip full fat dips. Be choosey. Try everything once if you must and stick with what you truly love. Save your appetite for dinner!

Exercise on Turkey Day

Also, I always exercise 4 out of the 5 days during the week of Thanksgiving. This means if you take Thanksgiving off, you better make sure you get your ass to the gym on Friday. Traveling on Wednesday? Get your exercise in on Thanksgiving.

Sometimes I take Thanksgiving off because I’m too hungover from Wednesday night. It is one of the most popular nights to go out after all… Don’t judge. If I survive, I usually go for a long run. I never have a turkey trot conveniently near my Thanksgiving dinner and I’d rather run 5 or 6 miles if I feel good than just a 5K.

I get that the 5K’s are family friendly and I’ll be grateful for them when I am a mom but right now, I’d like some longer distance races on Thursday morning. Anyone else?

Here is a special Black Friday workout I shot 2 years ago featuring a kick ass 15 minute full length workout. I also have a 10 minute cardio Damage Control HIIT video coming out next week! Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for notification when it goes live.

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How To Eat Mindlessly Without Gaining Weight

When you think of portion control, you think of your fist, a thumb or deck of cards to correctly learn how much food you should be eating. We know how much we are “supposed” to eat but we just can’t seem to stick to that magic number. The USDA says Americans eating 500 more calories […]

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My Candy Detox & Juice Cleanse Discount

www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZKEGG2yKQ8″>YouTube

This morning during my Sunday yoga class, my teacher Erica said, “Hold the pose for one last breath for that extra Snickers. I did that too this week.” I smirked because I knew it rang true for many in the class, including myself. This past week I wanted to do a 3-day juice cleanse. After […]

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