Archive for May 2012

Why Cultivate Spirituality?

Whenever I meet with H3 guests individually I always inquire about their spiritual beliefs. Why? Because I believe it’s very limiting to embark on a journey of self-improvement without addressing the whole person. You see, we’re the complete package—physical, emotional, social, and spiritual in nature. If your quest to improve your health is limited to nutrition and fitness interventions, then you’re only attending to the physical component of your more dimensional-self. 

It could be that this dynamic causes us to frequently slide backwards, as if the lesson will be given to us repeatedly unless we learn it, or at least factor in the other variables (i.e. emotion, spirit, and social connections). I can say with all honesty that addressing only the physical aspects of my dysfunctional behaviors surrounding food resulted in many years of chronic dieting and personal self-loathing. It wasn’t until I looked at my emotional eating, and my under-nourished spirit, that I started to find long-term recovery from compulsive eating and progressive weight gain.

The interesting thing about cultivating spirituality is that it’s linked with many health benefits. People who have a spiritual connection heal faster after surgery, experience less depression and anxiety, are more resistant to stress, have lower blood pressure, cope better with chronic illness, experience greater recovery from addictions, and tend to experience more hope and optimism which is linked with increased immune function.

So say this simple blog has you thinking about the concept of nurturing your spirituality but you’re not really sure where to start. Begin by asking yourself the following questions and revealing the answers by way of journaling:

  • If you are all there is in this life, if everything begins and ends with you, how does that affect your potential or your life’s possibilities?
  • If you were to explore a personal concept of a higher power or spiritual connection, how could that create a negative outcome? How could it create a positive one?
  • How could a spiritual connection serve as a resource in your efforts towards healthy lifestyle changes?

Once you’ve answered these questions then start the process of connecting to your spirit by simply focusing on gratitude throughout your day. You see, gratitude is a direct link to your spirit. When we experience gratitude, which means we acknowledge what we are grateful for while tapping into the positive emotional response (because gratitude only gives birth to positive emotions), we move beyond the preoccupations in our head to a more meaningful experience.

I will be exploring the concept of spirituality as it relates to long-term weight loss in the upcoming FAR workshop. Please feel free to call me with any questions.



The Mind Game

If you’ve visited Hilton Head Health in recent years, there’s a good chance that I was pregnant when you met me – our family started growing in 2008, and now, in 2012, I’m back from giving birth to my third little blessing – my son Jaden.  His two big sisters love him dearly and cannot wait for him to grow up so they can play together.  He is cooing and smiling, all the things we love that babies do.  He is a joy to cuddle with and has been my 24-7 side-kick for the past now 11 months. 

It’s easy to talk about the love of a new baby, but, of course as any of you fellow mother’s know, it can take quite a bit of positive self-talk to learn to love your post-partum body.  I mean seriously, does the baby have to destroy all of your abs??  All joking aside, it does take a lot of mental strength to build your confidence and motivation to keep working on your physical fitness and health.  That’s true for any type of set back – be it a baby, an injury, a stressful or emotional period – the battle of the mind is the one that must be conquered first.  If you’re finding yourself in a low right now when it comes to your health and fitness, here are some ideas that might help you win the mind game:

  1.  Find a source of accountability.  Whether it be a journal, a supportive friend, or even a coach, the accountability will help force you to look at your progress and keep pushing until you get some momentum going on this Change Train.
  2. Set a date.  A birthday, a vacation, a 5K… whatever it may be, find something that you will look forward to and give yourself a deadline.  This will help create priority for your goal.
  3. Think positive.  Make a list of all the reasons you can achieve your goals.  Write them down.  We are so good at telling ourselves why we can’t be successful… and then we’re not.  That mental part does take some effort, but it definitely helps with the physical.
  4. History is history.  Don’t dwell on poor decisions made in the past or what you did or didn’t do yesterday – just focus on what really matters.  What can you do right now?
  5. Just do it.  Just get started!  Often times if you make one healthy choice it leads to one more, even when it’s not planned!  Odds are you will get some positive kickback in one form or another!

 Today, I packed a healthy lunch and snacks for work.  What is one thing you did for your health today?



Get H3 Inspired: Adam Tannenbaum

Adam and Jeff at H3 in 2012

For years, I have been traveling to Hilton Head to visit my grandparents. My grandfather was the one who introduced me to Hilton Head Health after learning about the weight loss program during an episode of ‘HEAVY’. Not knowing that they had already stopped by the facility for a tour, they convinced me to take a look for myself. My whole life I was fairly active; I even played on my college tennis team. It wasn’t until a couple years later that I found myself turning to anything to help my depression at the age of 26. For some reason, I was lost and didn’t know how to get out of my rut; that’s when, with the support of my family, I decided to make a change. Staying at Hilton Head Health for three months not only helped me lose 66 pounds, but also gave me the confidence, courage and direction I needed to take control of my life.

Kelia gave me a tour of the facility and if you know Kelia, you know that she is very easy to talk with. I have to admit that at first I thought everyone was being a little too nice, but now I realize that’s just how everyone is—they love helping people, are excited to teach and genuinely care. Without judgment, Kelia and I discussed my past and just knowing that if the rest of the staff were as open and positive as she was, this place would be just what I needed for my life transition. I discussed the visit with my family and we decided that participating in the H3 Extensive & Intensive three month program was what I needed to break my unhealthy routine at home. This is the moment when my unhappiness started to be replaced one smile at a time.

Throughout my stay, more than anything else, I learned about myself. I learned that I enjoy swimming, kickboxing and boot camp—I made a promise to myself that I would attend every boot camp class while at H3 and I did! I discovered the cook inside me who enjoys trying new, healthy recipes. I’ve learned how to recognize when I’m slipping and what to do to get back in control. Most importantly, I’ve learned what works for me.

Read the rest of this entry.



Healthy Recipes: BBQ Pork Sandwich


What says summer more than some good ol’ finger lickin’ BBQ?! This BBQ sandwich is sweet and zesty, a great summer lunch!

2 cups Pulled pork
1 cup H3 BBQ sauce
2 each Arnold sandwich thins
1 each Tomato, sliced
1 each Red onion, sliced

• Make H3 BBQ sauce or use your own barbeque sauce from home.
• Mix pulled pork meat with barbeque sauce, then heat in pot on a slow simmer just until barbequed pork is hot.
• Place one slice of tomato and onion on one half of the sandwich thin along with ½ cup of the barbequed pork meat.
• Serve with H3 coleslaw and enjoy!

Serves: 4
Calories: 330
Fat: 4.5 grams
Fiber: 5 grams
Protein: 39 grams
Carbohydrates: 32 grams



Step-by-Step: How to Cut Fresh Pineapple

Pineapples are delicious, refreshing and sweet treats for summer—perfect for a Memorial Day cook-out! One of the questions we commonly get is how in the world do you cut fresh pineapple. Well, follow these steps below to learn how to pre-cut your pineapple so it’s ready when you’re looking for a sweet treat!

Step 1: Choose a ripe pineapple. Smell the pineapple when you buy it, if it smells sweet, it will be perfect.  Also, the pineapple should be yellow if it is green it needs a few more days to ripen.


Step 2: Cut off the bottom of the pineapple.

Step 3: Place the pineapple on its side on the cutting board and remove the stalk along with the very top of the pineapple.

Step 4: Stand the pineapple straight up. Cut directly in half through the core.


Step 5: Then cut it in half again, cutting the pineapple into quarters.

Step 6: Cutting one quarter at a time, glide the knife between the fruit flesh and core to remove the core. Repeat for all 4 pieces.

Step 7: Next, glide the knife between the flesh and skin of the pineapple removing the skin.

Step 8: Cut the pineapple in small pieces to eat.

Step 9: Serve the pineapple on the detached skin, for garnish.

Step 10: Eat your pineapple for breakfast, a snack or whenever you please. Enjoy!

1 cup of pineapple is only 80 calories, making it an excellent Metabo Meal. Pineapples are a great source of vitamin C and they offer your body excellent protection against free radicals, substances that attack healthy cells.



Friday Fitness: Bring The Party To The Pool!

Two weeks ago we welcomed a new intern, Betsy Hood, to Hilton Head Health.  Betsy just completed her senior year at Illinois State University with a degree in Exercise Science.  Betsy brings a wealth of knowledge, youth and excitement to our H3 team.  In addition, she has been a certified Aqua Zumba instructor for the past 4 years.  If you thought Zumba on land was fun, just wait until you come back to H3 and take a class with Betsy in the pool.  Here’s a 60 second sample of the H3 bustin’ a move in the pool.

Known as the Zumba® “pool party,” the Aqua Zumba program gives new meaning to the idea of an invigorating workout. Splashing, stretching, twisting, even shouting, laughing, hooting and hollering are often heard during an Aqua Zumba class. Integrating the Zumba formula and philosophy with traditional aqua fitness disciplines, the Aqua Zumba class blends it all together into a safe, challenging, water-based workout that’s cardio-conditioning, body-toning, and most of all, exhilarating beyond belief.



Restaurants Offer Healthier Options…but Is It Enough?

According to the National Restaurant Association, as the demand for more healthful options on restaurant menus has grown, America’s restaurants have accepted the challenge and taken the lead in providing healthier options to their customers. There is no doubt that more healthy choices are available than before. Even the king of massive portions, The Cheesecake Factory, now offers diners their “SkinnyLicious” line of lower calorie options. But a new study posted on the online journal Pubic Health Nutrition, suggests that restaurants have to do a better job if they want to be part of the solution.

Researchers looked at the nutritional content of 30,923 menu items from 245 different restaurants. They found that 96% of the entrees analyzed exceeded recommended level of at least one of the followings areas, calories, sodium, fat or saturated fat. One of the researchers, Helen Wu, assistant policy analyst at the Rand Corp., commented that, “If you are eating out tonight, your chances of finding an entrée that’s truly healthful are painfully low.”

The reality is that some must eat out often because of travel or business. If you are in this category, trying to order more healthfully is your only option. Managing portions, getting sauces and dressings on the side, and picking restaurants with healthier options gives you chance to keep things under control when eating out. But for the rest of us who have chosen to eat out more often than in the past, maybe it’s time to take back some control by preparing and eating more of our meals at home. The American Restaurant Association estimates that one out of every four meals consumed by Americans is prepared by the restaurant and foodservice industry. We are probably never going back to the days when we went out to dinner only for special occasions, but cutting back on the frequency of eating out might be an effective way to get our caloric intake back under control.

As you start to think about preparing more meals at home, don’t forget to check out all the healthy recipes available  to you at




Do We Really Eat With Our Eyes?

Looks like our nutrition expert, Bob Wright, really knows what he’s talking about when it comes to portion control. In so many words, Bob has always preached that our eyes are hungrier than our mouths. Ask any chef and they will agree… we eat with our eyes and then our mouths. So when it comes to weight loss and weight management, one of the keys to success and cutting back on portions.

In a recent study, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University found that we tend to eat less when tricking our eyes by portioning out food. They came to this conclusion by giving students one of two types of Lays’ potato chips. One group was simply given a regular can of Lays’, while the other was given a stack of chips with red, edible potato chip dividers inserted every 5-14 chips.

It’s easy to guess what the first group did. Not realizing how many chips they were actually eating, this group (without the red chip dividers) ate far more chips than the group with the dividers suggesting they had reached the serving size. In fact, the group with the red chip dividers reduced their potato chip consumption by 50%! Who knew a single red chip could do all that.

I think the lesson here is that we do in fact eat with our eyes. If a full plate is placed before us, chances are we’re going to eat everything on the plate and not stop at the suggested serving size—especially, if you grew up as a ‘clean plate’ kid being rewarded for eating everything on your plate.

Over and over again, people are amazed when they arrive to Hilton Head Health and are surprisingly full on our 1200 calorie diet. Why is that? Because when we serve meals we usually start off with a salad and/or soup, we bulk up everything with lots of vegetables, and we avoid using huge plates. At home, there’s the temptation to load up oversized plates, not to mention the leftovers just begging to be eaten. Trick your eyes into thinking your eating more than you are by joining the Small Plate Movement. Hop down from a 12 inch plate to a set of 8-10 inch plates. A two inch difference in plate diameter or will result in 22% less calories at each meal.  To put this in perspective – if the average dinner is 800 calories, a smaller plate would lead to a weight loss of around 18 lbs per year for the average sized adult. Read this post for more information on the Small Plate Movement.

The next time you’re itching for something salty try this: separate your servings of popcorn or chips as soon as you purchase them and you’ll know exactly how much you’re eating at a time. This simple act can put you one step closer to success!



Are you sabotaging your happiness?

Happy Tuesday H3 blog enthusiasts! Today I came across this quote and couldn’t help myself… I had to share. I believe the quote itself speaks to the majority. The profound message speaks volumes in its simplicity. Overall happiness, as you and I both know, plays a huge role in our wellness journey. Seemingly, if we are intrinsically happy, we are more likely to engage in smarter, healthier activities. The smarter the choices, the kinder, and more compassionate energy we feed our bodies and minds. So why do we, more often then not, tend to struggle with this tiny little thing called “happiness”?

I can relate the struggle to something more ordinary. Perhaps it’s the little birdie that sits on your shoulder encouraging you to sleep in a little longer, to not get up and go to the gym as planned. Or maybe the birdie that tells you it is okay to devour that enormous cupcake as you are celebrating a milestone, a birthday, anniversary, or maybe just the sun coming out on a rainy day. Hmm…sound familiar? We can always talk ourselves into excuses as to why we cannot do or stick to some sort of healthful regiment. Why not talk ourselves into being happy? Why is it so difficult to shift the focus on happiness? Is it really that challenging to eliminate expectations and find positive in the negative? Yet again, if we are happy we tend to be feeding our body and minds with happy, healthy things. So, why not make gratitude your new attitude and embrace the changes it makes on your health? This Tuesday, I challenge you to start a gratitude journal. Start simple. Write one thing you are grateful for- or one negative thought redecorated into a positive.

 If your intentions are to seek greatness, then thou shall find greatness. Follow your yearning. It is then that you may find yourself shaping a life that is in sync with your soul intentions- a life filled with much happiness and health.



Healthy Recipes: Open-faced Hamburger


1.5 pounds Beef tenderloin, ground       

1 teaspoon Montreal steak seasoning

1 bunch Parsley, fresh, chopped

1/2 cup Onion, minced

2 tablespoons Garlic, minced

1/8 teaspoon Salt

2 sandwich thins Arnold sandwich thins


  • Preheat grill.  
  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  • Portion 1/4 cup patties.
  • Grill patties until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees, about 4 minutes per side. 
  • Serve on an open-faced sandwich thin with lettuce, tomato and onion.

Serves: 4

Calories: 190

Fat: 3 grams

Carbohydrates: 14

Fiber: 7 grams

Protein: 26 grams



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