Archive for the ‘Healthy Lifestyle’ Category

5 Healthy Tips for Your Super Bowl Party

Everyone is gearing up for Super Bowl 50! Whether you’re a devoted fan, love the game or  just love to socialize during the game, we’ve got 5 simple tips to help you stay mindful and make healthier choices without missing a second of the action.


Bring something healthy and simple.

That way you have at least one healthier option to turn to during the party. H3 Fitness Coach, Chris Varano makes a low fat spinach dip with some Greek yogurt and vegetable soup mix and spinach. It’s that simple and very yummy.

And if preparing something is a ‘foul on the play’ in your mind, H3 Registered Dietician Felicia Hackett suggests buying store bought hummus with pre-cut vegetable tray. Hummus is always a hit and it’s always great to sneak in as many veggies as you can.

Be a Mindful Host at Half-Time

Make smaller portions of dips and put out smaller portions of chips while putting out bigger platters of fruits and vegetables.

Edamame hummus

Be sure to put water bottles next to the beer and other beverages so everyone sees there’s water available. You can even hand out/offer a water bottle to every guest when they are getting settled. Our RD Felicia Hackett pulls out these healthy tricks to help guests make healthier decisions while still allowing them to enjoy a little indulgence.

Turn Commercial Breaks into Fit Breaks

To stay active without missing a play or a hilarious commercial, Fitness Coach David Chesworth chooses squat jumps as his go-to fitness move. From a seated position on their chairs/sofas they would stand up and clap their hands – those who want high impact could add a jump after they stand. They could do 10 squat jumps for each commercial that airs or do 10 every time their team scores.

We’ve given you the game plan and now, it’s time to use it. Enjoy Super Bowl 50, everyone.

We’d love to know what you’re doing to stay on track during your Super Bowl Party. Share your plans with us in the comments!



Fawn Germer Talks New Years Resolutions

Best-selling author Fawn Germer, voted Top 25 Leadership Experts worldwide, shared some insight from her latest book, Work-Life Reset with our guests here at Hilton Head Health. She gave such relatable, InSPArational content we asked her to leave us with some healthy tips for the New Year resolution-ists:

Recap of Fawn’s tips:

  1. Make reasonable (realistic) resolutions/goals.
  2. Don’t try to take on too many goals.
  3. Take baby steps to reach your goals. (Small changes create bigger transformations.)
  4. Believe in yourself!

When you’re creating your list of New Year’s resolutions or goals, use Fawn’s tips to help you create an achievable list. In December of next year when you look back, you’ll see all that you’ve accomplished.

What is your biggest goal for 2016?



9 Tips To Help You Sleep Better

Adequate sleep is an important asset to a healthy lifestyle; not to mention, integral to successfully completing daily tasks, work . WebMD found that around 20% of Americans get less than 6 hours of sleep each night. If you’re in that 20%, our Hilton Head Health experts shared some strategies to help you get more, restful shut eye.

sleepless, working in bed, can't sleep

The best technique to quiet your mind and your body is called progressive relaxation, says Bob Wright, H3 Director of Education.

Stress is usually a culprit when you’re in bed but can’t get to sleep. Your mind’s racing a mile a minute and you’re thinking about all the things on your to-do list.

  • Start with a few minutes of deep, slow breathing. It helps if you visualize a relaxing scene, or repeat a relaxing word
  • Then starting with your toes,  moving to your feet, you slowly, alternate tensing then relaxing each muscle group all the way up your body.

The combination of concentrating on breathing deeply and focusing on your muscles, distracts you from those stressful thoughts, along with the physical relaxation that results from this techniques creates the perfect environment for drifting off to sleep. If you don’t fall asleep with  10 -15 minutes, don’t stress over it.

  • Get up, go to another room, sit in a comfortable chair and read for 15 or so minutes, go back to bed and try it again.

Chris Varano, H3 Fitness Specialist suggests these 3 tips to promote quality sleep filled nights:

  • Keep your bedroom for sleeping, not for TV watching, roaming the Internet or a work station.
  • Turn off phones, tablets, and other electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime to limit the amount of distractions around you.
  • Avoid eating right before bedtime. It’s ideal to have three to four hours of digestion before you try to go to sleep.

These tips from John Lippitt, Hilton Head Health’s Fitness Specialist can help you start a healthy sleep regimen:

  • Don’t work out right before bed.

An intense workout late in the evening may keep you awake longer because of the adrenaline, testosterone, and increase in sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight).

  • Exercise at the same time every day.

Getting into a routine of working out at the same time daily will help your body to follow a routine and a healthier sleep cycle as well.

  • Try light stretching or yoga before bed. These 3 yoga poses can help you get ready for bed:
    • Child’s pose
    • Forward Fold
    • Legs up the wall.

The focus on breathing will help to calm your body down, clear your head of the “monkey chatter”, and prepare you for a restful sleep.



To Diet or not to Diet on Christmas

Hilton Head Health Registered Dietitian, Felicia Hackett

Christmas cookie,

The food is made with love and holiday cheer. Family and friends have finally arrived. Throughout the house, there are homemade sugar cookies and gingerbread men that are perfectly or not so perfectly frosted, tasty dill dip in a bowl made of rye bread, peppermint candy canes, yummy cheese and crackers, and red and green foiled candies. For dinner, the buffet is set with an attractive basted turkey or honey glazed ham, grandma’s stuffing, classic green bean casserole, buttered mashed potatoes, and candied yams. After dinner, the whipped heavy cream topping is placed next to the pecan and pumpkin pie signaling that dessert is ready.

How does that sound for a Christmas day spread?

Pause for a moment and think what Christmas means to you and your family. For me, it is about breaking bread; having a friendly and engaging meal in a comfortable, inviting environment with the people you hold dearly to your heart.

“Food for thought: have we been so engrained in our tradition that breaking bread has now become breaking habits, nutrition habits in this case?”

Intuitively, food that is familiar is food that we like.

Pump the breaks on holiday foods like the ones listed above and begin shifting your mindset to more nourishing foods. Experts agree that wholesome, healthful foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds are linked to positive health outcomes. This Christmas nourish yourself and choose not to diet. If we are in the dieting mentality we hold feelings of guilt and regret for enjoying foods that we have, over the years of dieting, labeled “bad”.

Feelings like these only damper the holiday spirit.

To Diet is the practice of eating food in a regulated and supervised fashion to decrease, maintain, or increase body weight. To Nourish is to provide food necessary for growth, health, and good condition. In contrast to dieting,  if we practice having a nourishing mentality we are expressing feelings of satisfaction and contentment. To keep on track this December, ask yourself a simple question before you eat, Is this food nourishing?

  • Create a menu that highlights steamed, baked, or sautéed vegetables with fresh herbs.
  • Decrease the amount of added sugars in your day by using half the sugar the recipe calls for in candied yams and like foods. And instead of honey glazed ham, try smoked ham; or just like salad dressing have the glaze on the side.
  • Add whole grains to the menu by making a whole wheat bread stuffing, a recipe right from our blog.
  • Cut down on dessert options, because having variety of desserts quickly becomes a tasting of the variety of desserts.

This Christmas, give yourself a gift by tossing out the dieting mentality and embracing the concept of “to nourish”.



Healthy Gifts Ideas for Everyone on Your list

We asked our expert Health and Fitness staff to give us their best healthy gift ideas for the holidays. No matter who you’re shopping for, this is the ultimate gift list to take care of everyone for the holidays!

Gifts to Get Them Moving

We all have a friend or family member that’s stuck at a desk all day, with little or no time to go to the gym before or after work. The DeskCycle Desk Exercise Bike Pedal Exerciser is the perfect gift to get them moving. They can feel the burn while they’re at they’re desk.

For the Personal Trainers or Fitness Coaches out there, give friends and family certificates for training sessions.  Use your skills and gifts to help your loved ones start a healthy fitness practices for the New Year. Who knows your loved ones better than you do? Craft their workout routines for their fitness level.


You can’t go wrong with a simple but personalized gift basket decked out with a water bottle, energy bars, healthy snacks ideas, socks, a Fitbit (if you’re going all out), etc. Throw in a gift card to get some fitness gear or sporting goods and the special person receiving this will absolutely love it!

Healthy Kitchen Gadgets They’ll Actually Use

Get your loved ones eating healthier with the Spirelli Spiral Vegetable Slicer. Such a great tool for sneaking more vegetables into recipes. I love shredding zucchini and tossing it with whole wheat pasta. (under $30)

Herbs are mini vegetables! The Back to The Roots Garden-In-A-Can helps make herbs readily available to eat more often and much more affordable. Fresh herbs add so much flavor to even the most simple dish. (under $30)

The All in One Kitchen Tool Set is a great gift to new cooks or someone looking to simplify their kitchen and save some space. It is about the size of a bottle of wine and includes eight kitchen tools: a funnel, lemon squeezer, spice grater, egg masher, cheese grater, egg separator, measuring cup, and a grip for hard-to-open lids. (under $30)


Gift the Caloric Cuvee Calorie Counting Wine Glass to the person in your life trying to monitor her wine intake.

Gifts for Your Favorite Foodie

An awesome KALE Sweatshirt is a goodie for any vegetable lover, especially the Foodies in your life! Share the love for this great leafy green with this stylish item!

This one might go down as the best Foodie gift, EVER. Gift your Foodie friend or family member with a week long stay at Hilton Head Health to submerge themselves into the Healthy Kitchen Cuisine Living Well Program! They’ll enjoy healthy cooking demonstations, gourmet fine dining events, hands on cooking classes and so much more.


Now that you’ve got some great holiday gift ideas, there’s nothing stopping you from knocking out that gift list!



Active Tips for Everyday

Hilton Head Health Fitness Interns Aaron Wood, Kristen Clark, Kelsey Camien

In order to start a healthier lifestyle, you don’t have to go from one extreme to another to create change. For example, going from no exercise at all to 2 hours of exercise everyday and expect that to habit to stick. Smaller progress can lead to long lasting, healthy change. By making healthy adjustments here and there, you can be more active and create a daily routine that’s easy to follow.


Don’t be an Office Potato

Healthy Exercise Snacks

  • Try calf raises while standing in line or doing dishes.
  • Perform some squats while you brush your teeth.

Extra Steps that Count

  • Take the stairs instead of using the elevator.
  • Park further away from the doors while grocery shopping, at your workplace or any parking lot for that matter.

Daily To-do’s

  • Add light cleaing as an every day activity to move more. Not to mention, keep your stress levels down due to your less cluttered home.
  • Turn healthy eating into a daily ritual by cooking at home and meal planning.




4 Ways to Breathe More and Stress Less

by Hilton Head Health Intern Kelsey Camien

While life can be demanding, there are techniques to overcome your daily stresses. Meditation is a great way to help alleviate stress in less time than you would think. In just 10-15 minutes a day, you can have a fulfilling meditation practice with these 4 tips:


Create a routine.

Practice in the same spot every time. This will help condition your mind to move into your meditation practice faster. If it’s possible, choose a location where you only meditate: maybe a chair outside or lying on a mat. It’s best to find a quiet, comfortable place without clutter and distractions.

Meditate at the same time daily, this will help solidify the practice. Some like to meditate upon waking up to help center themselves for the day, others choose right before bed to unwind. You can also try a mid-day meditation to help relax yourself right before or after a stressful moment.

Creating this pattern will become a value in your life, a habit you won’t want to break.

Connect to your breath.

Connecting to your breath is a key component while meditating. Using a mantra, which is a sound, word, or phrase, can be an aid in doing so. There are countless mantras, so choose what resonates best with you. Some like to count the breath: 1-2-3-4 on the inhale and 1-2-3-4 on the exhale. You can also use phrases such as “I am peace” or “I am.” Examples in practice: inhale “I am” exhale “peace” or inhale “I” exhale “am.”

Be kind and gentle with yourself. Thoughts will come in from time to time. Think of these thoughts as clouds that float by, allow them to dissolve and return back to your breath and mantra.

Be passive, not active.

While meditation does take some practice, it shouldn’t be something you stress about; that is what you’re trying to relieve! When you begin your meditation, give yourself permission to let go of all the stress, worries, and tension you may be holding onto. Set a timer with a gentle chime and tell yourself that this is your time of day when all the cares of the world seem far away. The timer will eventually sound and life will be right where you left off.

Be still.

Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Set an intention not to move during your practice. You may notice that more activity is happening inside of you now that you are still on the outside. With commitment, your physical stillness will lead to emotional and mental stillness. Over time, this will become habitual. Every time you sit still, your inner frenzy will turn into a calm and peaceful state of mind.



How to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain

by Hilton Head Health Registered Dietician, Felicia Hackett, RD

The holiday season is here and our healthy lifestyle has now become part of our holiday wishlist. Here are some strategies to help you optimize your healthy choices during this special time of year.


Be a Thoughtful Grazer

Focus on expressing gratitude rather than ruminating on food this Thanksgiving. Spend your time connecting with family and friends or practicing being thankful for your year of accomplishments. Try occupying your mind and body with activities like getting together for a flag football game or entertaining your guests.

When you do reach for food, grab for nutrient dense fare made of vegetables or fruit. Skip on the creamy and choose herbs and spices as flavor enhancers. For dessert think sliver not slice or dollop, not scoop. Make the Thanksgiving beverage a low-calorie Thanksgiving herbal iced-tea like cranberry vanilla or make that holiday wine a wine spritzer.

Make your day more about the thanks and the giving and less about the thoughtless grazing.

December Holidays

Think Small Wins

The month of December is all about holiday parties and the bombardment of tasty food and drinks that come with them. Think small wins throughout the month long celebration.

“Small wins turn into transformative changes.”

Pat yourself on the back for skipping on the Christmas cookie or fruit cake. Go for the big win and challenge yourself to a “0” gain weight goal going into the New Year. This way you get after your New Year’s resolutions instead of thinking you have to lose pesky holiday weight first. Avoid tempting fate by not standing near the seasonal cookies, pies, and candies and position yourself away from the food; out of sight, out of mind.  Include more mindful food experiences that create mindful pauses like cracking almonds to get to the crunchy nut.

Last tip for the holidays. Take notice of your holiday nutrition behaviors and see if you can tweak it slightly so that it aligns better with your food and fitness goals. For example why not change Santa’s cookies to Reindeer food of carrot sticks.

Happy Holidays and cheers to family and friends.



Reduce Your Risk for Alzheimer’s by 35 Percent

alzheimer's disease, MIND Diet

The MIND Diet

Alzheimer’s Disease is one of the scariest and most costly chronic diseases. Fortunately, the evidence continues to mount that we have a greater impact on influencing our risk than many would believe. A recent study builds on previous research suggesting that lifestyle, specifically diet can have a dramatic impact on the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Researchers from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, led by Martha Clare Morris, PhD, found that those following their dietary approach rigorously, lowered their risk by 53%, encouragingly, those following it even moderately lowered their risk by about 35%.  Referred to as the MIND diet (acronym for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay), the dietary pattern was developed by blending elements of the Mediterranean and the DASH diets, both of which have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The Food Recommendations and Limitations

The dietary pattern emphasized the consumption of 10 brain healthy foods and limited the exposure to 5 foods that may increase risk.

The healthy foods were:

  • Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale or a salad with romaine lettuce every day
  • One other vegetable every day
  • Three servings of whole grains a day.
    • A serving is one slice of whole wheat bread,  ½ cup of whole grain pasta or brown rice, or a bowl of whole grain cereal.
  • Beans every other day
  • One serving (about and ounce) of nuts per day
  • Poultry two times a week
  • Berries at least 2 times a week. The study found blueberries to be very ‘potent’ in brain protection.
  • Fish at least one time a week
  • Olive oil
  • One 5 oz. glass of wine per day.

Foods that were limited:

  • Red meats
  • Less than on tablespoon of  butter or stick margarine per day.
  • Full fat cheese, less than one serving per week
  • Sweets and pastries
  • No more than one serving each per week of fried or fast foods.

The Beauty of Simplicity

At first glance you may think, there is nothing new here, why all the excitement. First, of the results were impressive,  secondly, as Varanda R. Seth, RDN,CDE, spokesperson for the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, states “the MIND diet is fairly simple to follow. Having a green salad and one other vegetable a day and snaking on nuts is pretty simple to do. Many people already have poultry at least two times a week and enjoy a glass of wine with dinner.” The other guidelines while challenging for some to follow, are not overwhelmingly difficult. And as lead research Dr. Morris points out once again, ”one of the most exciting things about this is that people who adhered even moderately to the MIND diet had a reduction (35%) in the risk of Alzheimer’s. I think that will motivate people.”

The Big Takeaway

The take home message from this study is that we have more control over our risk for Alzheimer’s Disease than many consumers believe. Dr. Morris sums it up by  saying that “With late onset AD, with that of older group of people, genetic risk factors are small piece of the picture. This study along with past studies have  yielded evidence that suggests that what we eat may play a significant role in determining who gets AD and who doesn’t.”




How to Use Mindfulness to Reduce Cravings

We are rolling into the Bermuda Triangle of food holidays and the sweetest of them all, Halloween, kicks off the craving madness. Just weeks away, the Halloween candy invasion is unescapable. It’s about this time when your sweet-tooth begins to behave more like a sabre-tooth. How can you sooth the savage beast?

halloween, candy craving, mindfulness

Mindfulness vs. Chocolate Cravings

It turns out that exercises in mindfulness have proved very effective in reducing candy cravings. Julien Lacaille, a psychologist at McGill University in Quebec, organized a study to see how mindfulness skills training can reduce chocolate cravings. Her surprisingly positive results were published in the May, 2014 edition of the journal Appetite.

Lacaille enlisted 196 self-proclaimed chocolate fiends for the study and divided them into five groups. Four of the groups received training in specific mindfulness techniques and were directed to practice them for two weeks whenever a chocolate craving arose. Members of the fifth group were told to distract themselves as a way to fend off cravings.

The Mindfulness Trifecta

The three mindfulness techniques used were:

Awareness: Simply noticing one’s thoughts, or just noticing the craving.

Acceptance: Not passing judgment on one’s thoughts, or noticing the craving and not judging it good or bad in any way.

Disidentification: Distancing oneself from the cravings by thinking of craving-related thoughts as separate from oneself. In other words, the candy craving is actually not real because it is separate from who you are. It’s as if you refuse to own it.

The Crucial Technique

The group that became skilled at practicing the disidentification mindfulness technique, which involved distancing themselves from their craving after acknowledging it, had a significant decrease in chocolate cravings. “They developed less-intense cravings for chocolate because they now perceived it as generally less desirable,” Lacaille said.

As you battle the onslaught of candy cues this month, use disidentification mindfulness to help bolster willpower.

What steps are you taking to stay mindful for the holidays?



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