Archive for September 2009

Head Hunger: Avoiding the Appetite Ambush

By: Jeff, H3 Program Intern

Boredom strikes … What do you do? Quick! Think! … Are you tying up the tennis shoes to hit the streets for a thermal walk or are you reaching into the freezer for a delicious indulgence?

We’ve all been there – victims of eating when were not hungry, so how can we avoid this appetite ambush? Underneath are 3 of the most common surefire signals to help you recognize when your head is doing the eating and not your stomach.

Sudden: Emotional eating (a.k.a. Head Hunger) always comes on suddenly. One second you’re watching your favorite television show and the next you’re craving something sweet. It’s really a spur of the moment kind of feeling that can be sparked or paired with any emotion.


Specific: According to psychologists, emotional eating cravings are usually very specific. People seem to desire that one particular comfort food and won’t be satisfied with just any type of chow, especially not fruits and vegetables.


Shameful: If you happened to eat by listening to the head, then there will usually be feelings of guilt and you’ll promise to make up for the eating in some other way. Feelings of guilt should never be left behind after a meal (we eat to live right?). So if you are bumming out and saying to yourself “Oh, I’ll skip a meal tomorrow to make up for it,” your hunger was certainly not physical.

Head Hunger

Now that you know how to distinguish between emotional hunger and physical hunger, you may be thinking how can I not only recognize these signals, but overcome them.  The biggest thing for me personally is not keeping these so called “trigger or comfort foods” in the house.  Consequently, I do not keep ice cream in the apartment because I have realized that this is a food I can’t control. 

The good thing is I am not alone, ice cream happens to be the number one comfort food for Americans.  To put it simply, I like to think of the phrase “out of sight, out of stomach.”  By not making the frozen treat readily available and having viable substitutes, I am more apt to reach for an apple or a yogurt when I need a pick me up.

Here at Hilton Head Health, Dr. Beth Leermakers, our Wellness Counselor provides noteworthy lectures on Stress Eating and Overcoming Emotional Eating, which give our Guests a larger scope on this topic. Moreover, the H3 program has been proud to host specialty weeks featuring Johanna Smith-Ellis, a certified psychologist, whose experience has led her to be very knowledgeable on the subject. Since you may have missed them on your last visit, or have not yet stayed at H3, below is a quick glimpse to what I’ve picked up in lectures on how to evade emotional eating.

¨       Write down your trigger foods 

¨       Create a list of alternatives (Use the alphabet!)

¨       Find a comfort food that’s healthy  

¨       Go for a signature H3 thermal walk! 

¨       Call a friend or take a nap

¨       Check out some resources on emotional eating (*)


There are a few tricks that work for most people, but strive to find what is ideal for you personally. Remember, we all over eat sometimes and there is no reason to feel guilty about it! I am by no means an expert, thus I’ll leave you with a few resources to peruse at your leisure.

Nevertheless, keep in mind the 3 S’s to recognize head hunger, and think of this quote when the appetite ambush arises:

“If hunger is not the problem, then eating is not the solution.”
~ Anonymous


Check it out:


Mayo Clinic;



Take Strides at Sunrise

By: Jeff, H3 Program Intern

The morning alarm clock … nothing better than hearing that buzz, beep, or radio echo is there? Naturally we would rather hear many other sounds at that 7 a.m. hour of the morning, but luckily we can take advantage of that snooze button! Unfortunately, while we’re snoozing others are strolling to the sunrise and making the most of their morning march.


Here at Hilton Head Health, Guests have the opportunity to fully utilize their time and walk one of the best beaches in South Carolina.  The H3 experience is one of a kind and every day begins with a breathtaking sunrise beach walk.  Many of our guests find beach walks to be one of their favorite experiences of the program, and in actuality use the time to prepare mentally for the day ahead of them.  Among other things it’s also a great way to socialize with one another in a peaceful and calming atmosphere.

So here’s your morning motivation to take those strides at sunrise:

–  Walking on the beach uses almost double the energy as walking on the street

–  Some studies have shown that an average adult burns 25% or more calories walking wave side verses on a hard surface  

–  The uneven levels of the beach improves balance and coordination

–  Reduces pressure on the largest joints in your body (the knees)

–  Boosts your mood and diminishes stress

Not only is striding by the sunrise invigorating, but springing up out of the sack can really pay huge dividends for your health.



To put it simply, a guest (who by the way never misses a beach walk) once said to me “I enjoy beach walks, they are what I do … an awesome way to start the day.”



Move It Monday: Tread it Out

Decisions, decisions … what ought I do today? With limitless classes and possibilities at Hilton Head Health guests have the opportunity to participate in anything they desire! What’s interesting though is that the most popular class at H3 involves one of the universal least desired pieces of equipment: the notorious treadmill. This would lead you to believe that treading real isn’t too popular? Nevertheless, I am here to tell you that is lie, treading is truthfully the most popular class at H3.


So what makes this class so cherished? Here are the top ten reasons as to why guests love to tread it out, I am positive many of our guests would agree!

1)      Time flies when you tread it out.  In the midst of so many different elevation and speed intervals the class seems to be over before it even begins!

2)      Allows all participants to work at their own pace.  Every class becomes your own workout and it’s great because class after class an individual can challenge themselves further!

3)      Ability to use what you want.  What’s more! You can use virtually any piece of exercise equipment such as a treadmill, elliptical, NU Step.

4)      it’s different each class.  Typically there are 3 hills and 2 speed intervals per workout, but they always differ in time and intensity.

5)      A variety of instructors and music.  Nearly all instructors at H3 teach treading so there’s constantly a new motivator (a.k.a. instructor) and fresh music!

6)      Priceless Camaraderie.  At all times there are lots of partakers. Exercise classes are always more fun and inspiring with more people!

7)      A workout to take home.  Treading is transferable. Without a doubt an exercise class that can be performed with a friend or at the gym back home.

8)      Encourages good posture, long strides, and deep breathing.  Treading class really develops lasting safe exercise skills

9)      You sincerely sweat it out.  Such a great workout that it’s easy to sweat! However, it’s so fun that nobody minds!

10)  Afterwards you feel amazing.  Time and time again guests have mentioned that they feel refreshed! “Man, I feel great” or “That was an awesome workout!”

Therefore, when you return to Hilton Head Health or stay for your very first time – make sure to sign up early for treading. Otherwise, you’ll really be missing out on the top ten reasons to Tread it Out!

Want a sneak peek — try this H3 Treading Routine yourself.  Once you fall in love – you will have to come visit H3 for the real thing!

Treading Routine

  Minutes Incline Speed
Warm  Up 0-5 0 Comfortable walking pace
Hill One 1 5 +0.2
  1 9 +0.2
  1 12 +0.2
  1 14 0
  1 15 0
  1 9 0
  1 3 0
Speed Interval 1 3 Challenging speed
  30 sec 3 Recovery
  1 3 Challenging speed
  30 sec 3 Recovery
  1 3 Challenging speed
  30 sec 3 Recovery
Hill Two 1 6 0
  1 9 0
  1 11 0
  1 13 0
  1 11 0
  1 9 0
  1 6 0
  1 3 0
Hill Three 1 8 0
  1 13 0
  1 15 0
  1 13 0
  1 8 0
  1 15 0
  1 10 0
  1 8 0
  1 3 0
Speed Interval 1 3 Challenging speed
  30 sec 3 Recovery
  30 sec 3 Challenging speed
  30 sec 3 Recovery
  1 3 Challenging speed
  30 sec 3 Recovery
  30 sec 3 Challenging speed
  30 sec 3 Recovery
  1 3 As hard as you can!
Cool Down 5-10 0  


What’s In a Word…..

Article written by Kelly Hillyer


fat farm: 1969 (noun) a health spa that specializes in weight reduction

When you think ‘fat farm,’ what typically comes to mind?—Dorm-style bunk bed living quarters, traveling in herds to the dining room, everyone performing the same mundane activities, Kirstie Alley…Just hearing the phrase causes a string of unpleasant images to flood into our heads, when in reality, according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary; a fat farm is “a health spa that specializes in weight reduction.”  I think that it is time to re-evaluate and really re-consider the negative connotations associated with the phrase ‘fat farm.’ 

Consumer trends reveal that people between the ages of 44 and 62, who are searching for weight loss destinations, use the phrase ‘fat farm,’ which makes me think– the Baby Boomers are right on target.  They know they want weight loss, and they’re not afraid to search for ‘fat farms.’    

This makes me wonder- if the Baby Boomer generation has no problem calling them what they are, why does everyone else?  What’s so wrong with calling them ‘fat farms’?  Why do we, as a society, have a problem with telling our friends and family that we’re going to a ‘fat farm’ for the week to better our lives and to make the necessary improvements to our daily lifestyle?

I think that it is finally time to let go of the negative implications associated with ‘fat farms’ because no matter how you want to dress up a weight loss spa, fitness retreat, health resort, weight loss spa—you are in fact traveling to a destination for the purpose of losing weight aka fat farm.

For over 30 years, Hilton Head Health (H3) has been recognized as a premier weight loss destination in the United States.  When you take a step back and look at the big picture experience H3 has to offer, you will see that it is one of the most innovative, personalized fat farms in the nation.  H3 creates an individualized weight loss plan in a relaxed, comfortable environment that allows each Individual to take the necessary steps to a healthier life.  Everything from the fitness regime to nutritional meal plan is tailored to the Individual, allowing and encouraging successful and sustainable weight loss. 

In all, fat farms are the not-so-newest craze in health and fitness, but they are still one of the most effective approaches to weight loss.



Exercise at Home with Workout Videos

Guest Post:  Former H3 Guest, Leslie G.

If you’ve spent time at Hilton Head Health, you know the days are filled with opportunities to move. 

From the sunrise beach walk to the thermal walk after dinner, it’s easy to find ways to add a few more steps on your pedometer.  You can try dozens of fun, new exercise options during your stay, and you’re bound to find something you like – something that you’re likely to pursue when you return home.

But what about that?  How do H3 guests keep up the momentum after they’ve left the Island?  What if you’ve fallen in love with Latin dance workouts, but there’s no class in your neighborhood?  What if you discovered that you love to walk, but the weather keeps you inside more often than not?

For some, exercise videos are the answer.  One of the most comprehensive online and mail order sources for videos is Collage Video.  If you’ve been through the H3 program, you’ll find Collage Video mentioned in the materials you received at the end of your stay. 

I started exercising with workout videos more than 20 years ago, for one very simple reason.  I live in Minneapolis and we have long winters.  The thought of going for a run (or driving to the gym) when there’s snow and ice all around leaves me, well, cold!  Also, I exercise before heading to the office, and exercise videos make it easy to add a workout to my morning routine.

Interestingly enough, Collage Video is also based in Minneapolis.  I think they recognized there was a big market right in their own backyard!  No need to travel to the Twin Cities to buy, however.  You can shop for videos by mail with their catalog, but you’ll also want to check out their website at

Collage Video offers every type of exercise video imaginable – you can search by workout type, fitness level, your goals (weight loss, flexibility, strength) and more.  You can search for popular instructors like Jillian Michaels from The Biggest Loser, or Leslie Sansone, the reigning queen of at home walking videos.

The best feature of the Collage Video website is the video player that lets you preview clips from nearly 1000 exercise videos for sale on the site.  You can get a real feel for the tempo of the workout before you buy.  Too fast (or slow) for your taste?  A little too dance-y?  You’ll know before you place an order.  You can hear the instructor’s voice, and for me, this is key.  Are they encouraging, silly, menacing, no-nonsense?  You can choose the instructor and workout that will work for you.

Best of all, Collage Video has tapes and DVDs for many of the activities you tried and came to love during your stay at H3 – from aerobics to yoga, and everything in between.  Another great feature – “every video on the site has been tested by an ACE-certified instructor and a ‘regular person.’ “They also have a wonderful section called “Success Stories” where you can see photos and read stories from women and men who have lost weight and gotten fit by way of exercise videos.

Can you tell I’m a big fan?!  For me, exercising at home is the easiest, most effective way to stay in shape.  I’ll be back every so often to review individual workout DVDs, so check back often.  Until then, just keep moving!



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