Archive for the ‘Healthy Lifestyle’ Category

Bob’s Healthy Book Review

If you have been to Hilton Head Health in the last few years, and sat in on my Portion Control class, you might remember that I often referred to a book entitled Mindless Eating. This book is incredibly relevant for those focused on weight loss, healthy living and developing a healthy diet plan. Brian Wansink, Ph.D. and the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab Director, wrote this must-read book based on hundreds of studies and experiments he conducted looking at what factors influence what and how much we eat. His research clearly shows how our environment strongly and unconsciously impacts our eating behavior. As a result of your visit to H3, I hope many of you have taken steps to create an environment that helps manage your portions more effectively, such as: getting smaller plates and glasses, keeping ‘less healthy’ treats out of sight and more healthy foods around.

Since then Wansink, dubbed the “Sherlock Holmes of food”, has continued his research and just released his new book entitled, Slim By Design. Wansink suggests that the most effective way to manage weight and maintain weight loss long-term isn’t to tell people what they should or shouldn’t do but to help them set up their living environment in a way that will help them lose weight naturally.  He not only shares new and surprising research, (who would guess that the color of the plate you use could influence how much you serve yourself by almost 20%) but provides specific recommendations as to how you can use that information in the areas where most of our food decisions are made: the home, restaurants, grocery stores, your work place, even your kids’ schools.

I am looking forward to incorporating this new information into the Portion Control class here at H3, but why wait until you come back to get the benefit? Pick up the book and get started creating the environment that will help you become Slim By Design! Do you have a favorite weight loss or wellness related book?

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H3 Top 10 Must-Have Healthy Ingredients

HiltonHeadHealth Lecture  2 640x427 300x200 H3 Top 10 Must Have Healthy Ingredients

Common scenario: A mother with a family of four has chosen 4 to 5 healthy recipes that make up a healthy meal plan for the upcoming week. She purchases everything from the grocery store, returns home and starts meal prep. By mid-week, she starts to notice certain foods are going bad; but, she has plenty of leftovers and limited time to use everything before it hits the trash can. Another trip to the grocery store is needed and it just adds another item on the “To-Do List.”

At Hilton Head Health, we value nutrition and a healthy meal plan as a the key to a healthy lifestyle.  What may be missing in one’s healthy lifestyle is practicing the concept of cross-utilization. Similar to the scenario above, one can make every intention to prepare great recipes, but it can get overwhelming at times and certain foods can be wasted. Cross-utilization is taking one ingredient and/or segment of a meal and using it in another way throughout the rest of the week. Awesome, right? The 10 ingredients below are not only healthy ingredients, but are easily used in multiple ways to be incorporated to any healthy meal plan..

5 Healthy Ingredients to Keep in your Pantry:
Sweet Potatoes: Rich in cancer preventative carotenoids as well as dietary fiber, vitamin C and potassium. Use these within 3-5 weeks in the following ways: baked sweet potato fries, mashed sweet potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, sweet potato soufflé with tofu, or a simple baked sweet potato with a touch of ground cinnamon and a pinch of salt.
Oats: This whole grain can be used to make oatmeal, homemade apple and oats granola bars, pumpkin oatmeal pancakes or mixed into a healthy smoothie to help bulk it up. Oats are packed with soluble fiber (think intestinal and heart health) and beta-glucans (shown to inhibit tumor growth).
• Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Use this oil to sauté vegetables, sear salmon and other protein sources, incorporate into a vinaigrette dressing, roast Brussels sprouts or as a light sauce to a pasta dish. One tablespoon of EVOO is 120 calories so one can’t be too heavy handed; however, olive oil has been ingrained into the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet for years and seems to be working just fine.
• Quinoa: This whole grain is actually more like a seed. Uniquely, it is a complete protein as it contains all of the amino acids essential to get from food. There is red quinoa, black quinoa, quinoa flakes and even more varieties that one can incorporate as a breakfast cereal, pilaf with dried cranberries and toasted pecans or combined with black beans and vegetables to make a vegetarian burger.
• Spices: As most people have busy lives, cooking can sometimes go out the door. Using different seasonings and spices such as salt-free Mrs. Dash blends, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, saffron, Italian blends, cinnamon and nutmeg can transform bland but easy dishes into something special. Try roasted potatoes with garlic/onion powder, baked Italian seasoned chicken breast or turkey meatballs incorporating garlic powder, paprika and a touch of salt.

5 Healthy Ingredients to Keep in your Refrigerator:
• Eggs:  The incredible edible egg is great for omelets, frittatas, scrambles, poaching and more. As most of the protein is found in the egg white, the yolk is a source of Vitamin B12, choline, Vitamin D and more. Added bonus—eggs are quick to cook and stay fresh all week long.
• Yogurt (Regular & Greek): Greek yogurt tends to have more protein per ounce, but traditional yogurt is still a great way to consume high quality protein as well as calcium and Vitamin D. Use non-flavored yogurts for breakfast parfaits, blended and seasoned for dressings or smoothies, incorporated into traditional baked goods or as a simple snack between meals.
• Cruciferous Vegetables: Ideally, you would want to use these within 3-5 days, but make sure to stock your refrigerator with broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbages. These are nutrient powerhouses as they are high in fiber, vitamin C, glucosinolates, and folate (great for our body’s cellular regularity). Prepare broccoli cabbage slaw, roasted paprika seasoned cauliflower, sautéed Brussels and onions and more.
• Spinach & Mixed Greens: Spinach is so versatile– it cooks down for omelets, side dishes or into a stuffed chicken breast. Use this green in salads along with other mixed greens to get a variety of textures and nutrients—one can’t go wrong with something so low in calories but high in fiber, folate, carotenoids, vitamin K and more.
• Mixed Berries: These may go bad relatively fast in the refrigerator, but one can easily individually quick freeze berries and keep them around for months. Blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries are the ones most commonly seen, but try using them in different ways: spinach and berry salad, strawberry smoothie, blueberry chipotle sauce or baked berry ricotta strata.

We hope that you found this list of healthy ingredients to keep in your fridge helpful! Which of these ingredients do you use in your meal planning?


How To Make Your Workout Plan Fun

Here at Hilton Head Health, we offer over 50 fitness classes along with fun fitness actives and adventures to help our Guests develop an effective workout plan. We teach fitness guidelines in accordance to the American College of Sports Medicine (the golden standard for fitness guidelines). ACSM recommends that we exercise at least 30-60 minutes/day, 5 or more days/week at a moderate to vigorous intensity. “So you’re telling me that I have to block out time almost every day of my life to work out?!” Whether this is what you were thinking or not, answer these questions for yourself: What if exercise didn’t have to feel like a “work out” every single time? What if there were times when exercise could be thought of as fun or even recreational?

1. Join a community sports team: Remember when you were a little kid and you enjoyed rough housing with your friends? Maybe you played games like: hide and seek, kick the can, sharks and minnows, Red Light Green Light, Red Robin, and etc. Well, what if you could still be playful as an adult? Sometimes all it takes is something as simple as joining a community softball, flag football, tennis or soccer team in order to keep up physical activity as a regular part of our daily lives.

2. Treat Yourself to an Outdoor Excursion: Whether it be hiking, biking, kayaking, paddle-boarding or something else, outdoor adventures can be a great way to have fun while being active. We love taking our Guests on fitness adventures on Hilton Head Island! Instead of noticing the sweat on your body, notice the breeze in the fresh air. Instead of dreading the challenges of a hard workout, enjoy the sights of nature and wildlife that adventure brings to you.

3. Get an Activity Tracker: At Hilton Head Health, we promote the Garmin Vivo-fit as a great tool to keep track of your physical activity. Use it to track your calories, distance, heart rate, sleep quality and more. Create and accomplish daily goals such as getting in 10,000 or more steps a day. Having small, realistic daily goals to accomplish makes the journey to success more enjoyable. Learn more about the Vivo-fit here.

4. Attend a Group Fitness Class: Let’s face it, not too many people enjoy working out. However, everything becomes more exciting when done in a group setting. Sure, maybe you’re sweating and feeling the burn, but so is the person next to you. At the end of the day, not only did you get a great workout, you also have someone else to share the experience and laugh with.

While we recommend that you strive for 5 or more days of moderate to vigorous physical activity, we also recommend that you strive for a stress reduced lifestyle. These are just 4 of many ways you could make exercise fun. I challenge you to find ways to implement “fun exercise” into your life. How do you make your workout plan fun?


Health and Fitness Apps Worth Downloading

I don’t know about you, but I am starting to get a little overwhelmed with the amount of apps we can download for our smart phones. From games to healthy recipe apps to fitness apps, there are just so many to chose from! With that being said, there are few mentioned below that I find very helpful for those looking to better their health, wellness and fitness.

  1. Figwee Portion Explorer ($1.99)
    • You name any food and this app will show you the realistic and ideal portion for that particular food.  For example, if you were to type in apricots you’d have the choice of various apricot items (e.g., dried, fresh, in syrup).  From there, simply click and an actual picture of the food will show up.  Talk about managing portions through actual visuals!  Amazing! Great healthy recipe app!
  2. MyFitnessPal (Free)
    • This app has a huge database of foods as well as making it easy to log physical activity.  Keeping track of your meals, snacks, beverages and exercise can be extremely helpful for those that want extra accountability, as well as recognizing certain daily or weekly patterns. This is hands down my favorite fitness app.
  3. TED (Free)
    • Need a motivational talk? Trying to find what to listen to on a thermal walk?  Download the TED app so you can listen to wonderful TED talks.  If you haven’t heard of a TED talk then I would highly recommend watching Hilton Head Health’s TED talk—check it out:  Hilton Head Health TED Event.

  4. Paprika Recipe Manager ($4.99)
    • This app is great for creating weekly meal plans and managing recipes found on the internet.  Yes, it is almost too good to be true.  For example, I found a smoothie that I really wanted to try on a particular website.  I downloaded the recipe (using the app) then added it to my “Sunday- Breakfast.”  Simple to use and the added bonus is that it helps you create a grocery list! Awesome!
  5. Helium Video Booth Lite (Free)
    • At Hilton Head Health, we stress the importance of relieving stress and a having a  mind/body connection. This app is perfect for stress relief! It will completely feed your soul with laughter. Download this app and you will understand.  Once downloaded, practice on an employee that has a good sense of humor. icon wink Health and Fitness Apps Worth Downloading

We hope that you enjoy these great healthy recipe apps, fitness apps and health apps! Which one of these is your favorite?


10 Back-to-School Grab & Go Healthy Breakfast Tips

You know the summer is over when your alarm shrieks two hours earlier than it did last week and you’re standing by the coffee-maker nodding off while it brews, seemingly at a snail’s pace. Once the coffee is eagerly ingested, you start the perilous process of waking your kids for their first day back at school. The relaxed summer mornings are replaced with waking the dead, followed by chaotic bursts of panic, bickering, wishing you could get everyone fed and a final rush out the front door in order to avoid hearing the school bell ring. Leisurely fixing a healthy breakfast is unceremoniously canned.

When back to school sneaks up on you, breakfast is the first healthy habit to go. We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it’s crucial for those little minds focusing on both good behavior and learning throughout the day. Kids who skip breakfast have trouble concentrating, under-perform in memory tests and have low energy. In contrast, kids who eat breakfast tend to keep their weight under control, have lower blood cholesterol levels and fewer absences from school, as well as make fewer trips to the school nurse with stomach complaints related to hunger.

At Hilton Head Health,we capitalize on nutrition as an essential component for wellness and weight loss for our adult Guests. However, health and wellness are just as important for our kids! Here are 10 tips for fitting in a healthy breakfast among the back-to-school bedlam:

1. Trail Blazers: Make your own healthy breakfast trail mix and portion in baggies. Slip the baggies in your kid’s backpack, keep a few in your car’s glove box and throw one in your purse. Voila! Hidden trail mix, ready to eat, everywhere! Let your kids help pick out the nuts, raisins and dried fruits so they’re invested in the choice. (P.S. You can also do this with granola.)
2. Nice Catch Kid!: Cut up mixed fruit and portion in baggies then sprinkle with fresh lemon juice to keep it from browning. Keep the bag in the fridge overnight for a great kids breakfast when you’re in a rush.
3. Smooth Move: Remember the fruit from tip #2? Use one of these bags for a smoothie. Throw the fruit from one baggie in the blender with some ice and Greek yogurt or a bit of peanut butter for some added flavor and protein. No child is going to refuse a smoothie! Nope, not gonna’ happen. Keep some disposable cups on hand so that you don’t have to buy a new set of glasses every month. If you want to take this one step further, you can actually put all the ingredients for your smoothie in the blender pitcher the night before and keep it in the fridge. Pull it out in the morning and blend it while you hover over the coffee-maker as it’s brewing.
4. Sandwiched for Time?: Purchase a loaf of zucchini or banana bread from your local healthy grocery store. Slice it thinly and make sandwiches using cream cheese or peanut butter. Portion into baggies and keep in the fridge. A yummy grab and go kid’s breakfast that they’ll love!
5. Unleash the Quiche!: Make muffin-tin frittatas or quiches early in the week and store in the fridge or freezer. Wrap one in a paper towel, warm it in the microwave, and stick it in your kid’s hands — as you’re signing that last minute permission slip. Garnish with a kiss on the cheek. (P.S. Leftovers are great for making frittatas). Here’s a video from to get you started:














6. Speaking of leftovers: There’s nothing wrong with a non-traditional breakfast. Don’t be shy about microwaving some leftovers, especially if it’s a family favorite.
7. The Incredible, Edible Egg: The boiled egg is the original fast food. Always keep a few in the fridge for a shot of morning protein.
8. A Good-Day Parfait. Assemble a few yogurt, fruit and granola parfaits in disposable cups and store in the fridge. It looks, tastes and feels like a decadent morning treat that will send any kid off to school with a smile.
9. Stowaway Fruit. Stick an extra piece of fruit in your child’s lunchbox so they can eat it on the way to school. In the unlikely event that they actually ate breakfast before leaving the house, the fruit will make a great snack for later in the day.
10. Mamma Mia, Breakfast Pizza: Using a pre-made crust, scrambled eggs, bacon and cheese (you are welcome to add marinara sauce as well as veggies), make a breakfast pizza and portion slices into baggies. Heat a slice in the microwave, give it to junior and then ask for a tip.

Wishing you all a wonderful school year with healthy and happy kids! What’s your favorite healthy breakfast recipe?


5 Steps to Wellness

Here at Hilton Head Health, we understand the difficulty of adjusting into a healthier, fitness oriented lifestyle. That’s why we encourage our Guests to use incremental changes to help them reach their fitness and weight loss goals and wellness objectives during our weight loss program and wellness program. These  small changes may not seem drastic, but they can feel like an adjustment from your normal, everyday routine. However, as those steps are continually taken, over time those small changes can lead to making bigger steps towards a healthy lifestyle. Here are 5 small steps that you can take to begin to achieve wellness, and live an overall healthy lifestyle:

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1. Substitute water for carbonated and sugary beverages

  • Put fruit in your water to spice things up!
  • Compared to what you were drinking and what you add into the water, you could save 100-200 calories.

2. Meditate for 20-30 minutes a day

  • You should meditate in quiet place while lying down in a comfortable position. Clear your head of any thoughts and listen to your body inhale and exhale.
  • This will ease stress and anxiety, allow you to release the stress from your day and boost cognitive function.

3. Have fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks instead of chips, candy, etc.

  • Some great options are blueberries, bananas, peaches, apples, carrots, broccoli, peppers, and celery.
  • Fruits and veggies are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, which help your body fight off disease.

4. Maintain a regular sleep schedule.

  • Try to wake up at the same time each morning and go to bed at the same time each night.
  • Adequate sleep enriches your healthy lifestyle because this helps your mind, heart health, weight loss, weight management and more.

5. Set fitness goals for yourself.

  • Encourage yourself to make SMART goals – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based. For example, I will work out 3 times a week this month then increase to 4 times a week next month.
  • Making SMART goals will help you slowly transition into new workout routines. This will help you sustain your improved, healthy lifestyle and help you continue to reach all your wellness goals.

What are some steps that you take every day to help you achieve wellness?


Wellness Wednesday: Everyday Wellness

Here at Hilton Head Health, our goal is to help you reach your weight loss and wellness goals and ensure that you achieve long lasting results through nutrition education and personalized programs. We believe that achieving your goals is not a process that happens over night. It involves squeezing small healthy habits into your everyday routine. Here are 5 healthy habits that will enable you to practice everyday wellness.

1. Start your day by eating a healthy breakfast.  This sets you up to be less hungry by lunch and dinner and stops your from potentially overeating at those times.

2. Plan on eating 2-3 healthy snacks a day. Healthy midmorning and midafternoon snacks keep your metabolism revved and this prevents you from feeling deprived.

3. Stay hydrated throughout the day.  Start off in the morning with a big glass of water when you wake up and repeat every 2 hours.  This will give you about eight glasses per day.  Dehydration can mask itself as hunger initially; instead of reaching for a snack, have a glass of water first.

4. Get extra steps in.  Park farther away from the building where you work, take the stairs instead of the elevator, plan a noontime walk after you have your lunch and when you get home at night, eat dinner and then go for a 10 to 15 minute walk or go outside and play with your children.  Instead of meeting friends for happy hour, meet for spin class or a run. Not only will you get more activity in your day but you will have a lot of fun doing it.

5. Get enough sleep. One of the most important factors in any wellness program is sleep.  Aim for seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.  Try to keep your sleep times the same throughout the week.  Turn off the TV, cell phone and computer and keep your sleeping area cool, dark and quiet.  Your body needs to go through all the sleep cycles to regenerate itself so the fewer distractions in the bedroom the better.

With proper hydration, nutrition, sleep and motivation, any time is a good time to stay fit, lose weight, and practice everyday wellness! Remember, that “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”-Confucious.



Nutrition: Men, Pay Attention to Live Longer

ManUp 300x300 Nutrition: Men, Pay Attention to Live Longer

This week is National Men’s Health Week. The purpose of the week is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men.

And boy do we need the help.

Women outlive men and have done so for many years. In 1920, women outlived guys by an average of 1 year; now it’s 5 years. Why? According the Men’s Health Network –, men die younger from: heart disease, cancer, diabetes and many other chronic diseases. Probably because we are less likely to practice good health behaviors than women, more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors than women and are less likely to seek medical attention when we need to. In fact, men are 24% less likely to have visited a doctor in the last year; half as likely to make an appointment with a physician for preventative purposes and less likely to follow medical advice after a diagnosis.

The good news is that progress is being made, it wasn’t too long ago that women were outliving men by 7 years. But more can be done to narrow the gap even further. It starts, obviously, with practicing the fundamentals of good health – the things that have been the cornerstone of H3 since its inception:

  • eating well,
  • exercising regularly,
  • sleeping well,
  • managing stress,
  • avoiding tobacco
  • and drinking alcohol in moderation (for more specific guidelines, click HERE.)

But as men we have to do a better job of taking advantage of the health care system by following the recommended preventive and diagnostic screenings. Clearly, the sooner a condition can be identified, the greater the opportunity to manage it. For an updated list of screening tests and when men should have them, go to the Men’s Health Network.

While this article is about men’s health, it affects women as well.  To quote Congressman Bill Richardson,

“Recognizing and preventing men’s health problems is not just a man’s issue. Because of its impact on wives, mothers, daughters and sisters, men’s health is truly a family issue.”  

Because men are less likely to take care of their health on their own, we need the help of the women in our lives. Theresa Morrow, from the support group, Women Against Prostate Cancer, put it this way,

“The role of women in keeping the men in their life healthy is invaluable. While it may pain you to nag your husband (or other men you care about) about one more thing, do it anyway. If you recognize unusual symptoms in your loved one, do whatever it takes to get him the help he needs; it may save his life.”


What Makes a Habit?

Habits5 14 300x275 What Makes a Habit?

According to Webster, a habit is “a usual way of behaving:  something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way.” A better defined explanation I found in the American Journal of Psychology is “a habit, from the standpoint of psychology, is more or less a fixed way of thinking, willing or feeling acquired through previous repetition of a mental experience.”

Typically a person doesn’t notice a habitual behavior because while taking part in the habitual task, a person does not need to be mentally engaged.

Therefore these behavioral patterns are imprinted in our neural pathways, making old habits hard to break and new habits just as hard to form.

However, new habits, specifically healthy habits, are possible to form through repetition. As healthy behaviors are repeated consistently, there is an incremental increase in the link between the motive and the action. This increases the automaticity of the behavior. I have heard many people say that habits are formed by completing a task 21 days in a row. After those 21 days, abracadabra, a habit is formed. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Habits take time, mental dedication, persistence and work to maintain. There are three phases of habit formation: honeymoon, fight thru and second nature.

The honeymoon phase is where it starts. Characterized as the “easy phase,” the habit at this stage is something new, refreshing, and possibly inspired by someone or something. Starting something new gives us that renewed feeling; however, at some point this honeymoon phase must come to an end. The fight thru phase is when inspiration starts to fade and reality sets in. You find yourself struggling between the new positive habit and fighting the old habit which creeps back in. In order to move forward and make it to phase three, you have to fight thru this stage. To help get you to the fight thru, try these techniques.

1. Recognize: It is essential to succeed in stage 2 if you recognize the fight. To move past this stage, you need to enter and openly state you’re in the fight thru stage. Remember every fight thru you win will make the next easier, and every one you lose makes the next one easier to lose. Keep your determination. Push forward.

2. Ask yourself: “How will I feel if I do this?” and “How will I feel if I don’t do this?” Feel the positive emotion in winning the fight thru and the negative in losing. Having an emotional connection brings about a relationship, thus a further commitment to the fight thru.

3. Project your life: Imagine how your life will be like in 5 years if you didn’t make these changes. Make sure you are honest with yourself; let yourself feel what life would be like if the changes are not made.

The final stage is phase three, second nature. Entering this phase, you feel like you are getting into the habit or “getting in the groove.” Once you get to the second nature stage, there are still a few disturbances which could potentially send you back to the fight thru.

  1. Discouragement: Fight against negative results which discourage you and your new habitual thinking. Start to think “I can do it” and “this is working.”
  2. Disruptions: Be mindful and aware of individual experiences affecting your new pattern, i.e. vacation, illness, weekends and holidays.
  3. Success Seduction: Remember to not focus solely on positive results because this could decelerate progress. Gaining great results begins with a great plan and process.

Stages can indeed fluctuate; an experience may send you back to stage two or winning a few fight thru’s may move you to stage three. just remember that great habits are formed daily. Positive habits are not easy and they require time and hard work. Being great requires sacrifice, which may mean doing things that others won’t do or can’t. Positive habits require consistent commitment. Remember Bob’s saying:

Weight follows behavior, it just takes time.

Make the commitment to yourself, be dedicated to make it past the fight thru, even though you may go back to the fight many times, each and every time getting stronger and reaching new levels of success.


H3 Meal Plan Champ

While cooking for one, it’s just as important to create a nice meal for yourself as it would be to cook for two, three or more. Though meal planning can be challenging, it’s the key to weight management and weight loss. Here’s an example of meal planning from a past H3 guest’s perspective.

Guest Alicia, shows that meal planning can be done.  Alicia has been sending me weekly photos of her meal planning, thus far. These meals have left her more satisfied and as she puts it, “…and sitting down, eating a complete meal at once is reducing the urge to snack later in the night – so far seems to be helping!” I think this is pretty cool.

Check out her meal planning skills:


BREAKFAST: Two baked eggs with spinach and mushrooms

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LUNCH: Vegetarian burger with caramelized onions and mushrooms with a side of sautéed asparagus


DINNER: Broiled salmon, wheat berry pilaf and steamed broccoli

Great job, Alicia!

These meals were delicious, nutritious and easy for her to make. If meal planning seems overwhelming to you, use these tools to get started.



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