Archive for the ‘Healthy Lifestyle’ Category

The Perfect Healthy Gift for Mom

With Mother’s Day coming up start thinking outside the box and think inside the bag. A well-stocked, stylish, gym bag is the perfect Mother’s Day gift. Every little motivational tool is a blessing when looking for reasons to workout. A gym bag with all the essentials is just what Mom needs to psych herself up to sweat. Here’s a few suggestions for this awesome gift idea:

First Things First…Find a Great Gym Bag:

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Mom needs a gym bag that is both stylish and practical. A duffle bag with extra compartments, both inside and out, is desirable for storing gym bag essentials. Also, make sure the gym bag you select is either machine washable or has coated fabric that can be easily wiped down. Leather just isn’t going to do. Ideally you want a gym bag that has both a handle strap and a shoulder strap. On days when she is loaded down with groceries and other sundry packages, Mom needs different carrying options for her gym bag. If shopping online, and have a great selection. I also like because you can select from many fabric choices as well as purchase matching accessories like a cosmetic bag.

Speaking of Cosmetic Bags…

A bag inside a bag? Yup, that’s a necessity for the ultimate gym bag. Mom will need a few essential toiletries like deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion and a brush. Look for her favorite brands in trial sizes, which can be purchased at most drug stores, and gather them in a small cosmetic bag for inclusion in her chic, new gym bag.

Hydration Station:

Every gym bag needs a great water bottle and Mom needs to stay hydrated during her workout. Look for a water bottle with an opening big enough to easily fill with ice (my favorite is the Nalgene Tritan Wide-Mouth, and try to find one with a carrying strap. H2O with a hint of fruit can be very quenching so you might consider one of the cool new infusion water bottles like the Define Bottle which has both a wide opening and carrying strap (

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Fashionable Fitness:

Mom will feel better about sweating if she looks good while doing it, so why not help her out with a cute, new exercise outfit (or a gift certificate to buy one)? For the fashionista, is the way to go. For comfort and style try and for fashion on a budget, TJ Maxx is the best!

A Few Extras:

You know Mom best so consider if she will need any of these items in her gym bag as well; hairbands, weight-lifting gloves, a towel, an extra pair of socks and a few on-the-go exercise accessories like a jump rope or resistance bands.


Health Benefits of Walking a ½ hour a day

My favorite health YouTube video of all time is 23 ½ Hours.

In fact we have featured it a couple of times in past blogs. It is a brilliant short video that makes a compelling case for the health benefits of walking a ½ hour a day. It has been so well received (almost 4 million views) that man behind the video, Dr. Mike Evans has his own You Tube channel now. Evans, an associate professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto, and a staff physician at St. Michaels Hospital, has a very engaging and convincing way of communicating health information. This video introduces Dr. Evan’s new channel, some of the topics being covered include: managing stress, low back pain and the concerns associated with sitting disease. I encourage you to check out his video, I think you will find his approach as interesting and informative as I have.


LOSE Well – NEW 4-week Weight Loss Program

lose well 420x229 LOSE Well   NEW 4 week Weight Loss Program


To successfully lose weight and keep it off, you need accountability; you need structure; you need peer support; but most of all, you need TIME for the habits to take hold. Our almost 40 years of real-world experience has taught us that the longer one participates in a program, more success is found in both short-term and long-term weight loss. Real change – and the significant weight loss that comes with it – requires a real commitment.

Introducing the program for people who are READY to lose significant weight – and keep it off!

The NEW LOSE Well 4-week Weight Loss program at Hilton Head Health is the most intensive plan we’’ve ever offered. Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • Comprehensive personalized health and fitness assessment
  • Weekly weigh-in and one-on-one mentoring
  • Progressive Fitness Programming in small groups
  • Nutritious calorie-controlled  cuisine
  • Physical Recovery sessions to keep you moving the entire program
  • Individual consultations with H3 Experts
  • Counselor-led workshops and discussions
  • Exclusive educational sessions
  • 24-hour access to world-class fitness facilities
  • Therapeutic massages and spa treatments

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Coaching Corner: Be realistic with meal planning

While meal planning is essential to weight loss or weight management, it can be challenging for many.  There is no single right way to meal plan and many factors affect how we do it and how consistent we are.  Our palettes change, life demands more time in other areas, travel, motivation, levels shift… whatever the reason, if we look at meal planning from an “all or nothing” approach, we will not find success.  Be realistic with your planning, even if that means starting with planning 2 meals for the week, because having success in that will only bolster your confidence to take on more the next week.

Lindsay, H3′s Registered Dietitian, shares with us a few more pictures of her meal planning.   Enjoy!

Roasted Vegetables with Rice Pilaf and Chicken is a combination of leftovers from different meals—using simply seasonings like garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper make these different foods taste great together.

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The peanut butter hummus is always a huge hit.  I had sliced apples and carrots to go with it—later on that week I sautéed the apples with seared pork tenderloin.

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Anyone that knows me KNOWS that I love salmon.  I have finally mastered the “sear” and because it cooks up so quickly I spent more time on the quinoa pilaf and roasted broccoli—both home runs and easy to incorporate into other meals throughout the week.

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Alzheimer’s Disease, what women need to know

It wasn’t that long ago that heart disease was thought to be primarily a man’s disease, thanks to the American Heart Association and other organizations efforts, we now recognize it is a major health issue for woman as well. According to the 2014 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures published by the Alzheimer’s Association, there may be a similar misconception about Alzheimer’s disease. The report states that women are at the epicenter of the disease. Nearly two thirds of those with Alzheimer’s – 3.2 million – are women. In fact, women in their 60’s are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s during the rest of their lives as they are to develop breast cancer. Women are also much more likely to carry the brunt of Alzheimer’s care as well. Unfortunately, the number of cases is on the rise. Over 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s today, which this number is projected to be 16 million by 2050.

Alzheimer’s is a complex disease with many contributing factors. According to Angela Geiger, chief strategy officer of the Alzheimer’s Association age is the greatest risk factor. Most people with Alzheimer’s are diagnosed at age 65 or older. Younger people than 65 can also develop the disease, although this is much rarer. While age is the most significant risk factor, Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging and advanced age alone is not enough to cause the disease. Other factors including family history can also increase the risk. But there are things that can be done to lower the risk. Growing evidence suggests that the health of the brain is closely linked to the health of the heart. Many factors that increase the risk of heart disease are also associated developing Alzheimer’s, other forms of dementia, including smoking, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Managing those risk factors would help. In addition, those who exercise regularly, and eat a heart healthy diet not only lower their risk of heart disease but Alzheimer’s as well. Staying socially and cognitively active lowers the risk also.

For general information about Alzheimer’s disease check out this short video produced by the Alzheimer’s Association.

More specific information about Alzheimer’s disease and women can found in The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s at




Spring is slowly arriving!  As we emerge from the dark, cold days of winter where we wanted to do little more than curl up in a ball under a pile of blankets, we now are beginning to feel a renewal of energy and enthusiasm to moving our bodies and getting active.  Exercise enthusiasts with the best intentions will often find themselves incurring a sprain, strain or injury at some point.  Most of the time these issues can be resolved rather easily with ice therapy.  Following, are guidelines for ice therapy.  For situations involving bleeding, major bruising, excessive pain or immobility, always consult a physician.

The benefit of ice:

Cold treatments can slow down the blood flow to an injury (slowing circulation), which will reduce pain and swelling, inflammation, muscle spasms and pain.

When to apply ice:

For the best results, ice the injury immediately!  This is when the results will be most significant.  After 48 hours the response to ice therapy is less effective.  Make sure to elevate the injured body part above heart level to minimize swelling.

How to apply ice:

You can apply ice in several ways.  You can prepare a sealed lunch bag with ice cubes, a freezable gel-pack found in any pharmacy, a bag of frozen peas (conforms well to the body), or a small block of ice (frozen paper cup of water).

How to protect the skin:

Do not place the ice directly against the skin.  Place a dishcloth, a washcloth or a dishtowel, for example, between the ice and the skin.  Try ‘massaging’ the affected area by moving the ice around the area regularly.

How long to ice:

For the best results, never ice longer than a period of 20 minutes.  Doing so can cause adverse affects such as amplifying swelling, tissue damage or frostbite. After 20 minutes remove the ice and allow the area to rest for 40-45 minutes before reapplying.  As a rule of thumb, think ‘20m minutes on, 40 minutes off’.

When NOT to apply ice:

Icing is especially bad for low back pain.  This type of pain is rarely caused by an injury, and inflammation is not typically involved.  Most often, it is the result of muscular trigger points (known as knots).  Trigger points can be aggravated by ice and will respond better to heat therapy.  There are, however, a couple of instances where ice may be useful for the back.  This would include muscular strains or sprains caused by heavy lifting (muscles may be damaged, traumatized or inflamed).  In these cases heat may exacerbate the inflammation and ice would reduce it.  Most neck pain also should NOT be iced.

In situations where you are unsure as to whether ice or heat therapy would be most beneficial, always consult a physician.



8 Outdoor Activities that Double as Exercise

Regular exercise is part of being healthy. However, we are constantly making excuses about both exercising and making healthy food choices. We’ve all done it; “I want one more piece of chocolate, I’ll just workout more to burn it off” but then the time to work out comes along and suddenly you are too busy; have kids to feed, laundry to do, have a long commute home, or already have plans to hang out with friends. Trust me we all do it at some point regardless of our fitness level. What if I told you, you were actually giving your body a workout in activities you might do every day or every week? Well guess what, there are!

  1. Riding your bike; maybe that means loading up the car and driving to a safe location, or heading down the road from your house, riding bikes is a great cardio activity for your body, it is easy on your knees if you have knee problems and there are a variety of different bikes for multiple terrains and skill levels. 0319 1 300x195 8 Outdoor Activities that Double as Exercise
  2. Taking a walk; could be after your lunch with coworkers. You could also walk around during your child or grandchild’s sport practice if you have to wait around for them; this is another opportunity to include other parents too. 0319 2 300x225 8 Outdoor Activities that Double as Exercise
  3. Basketball; make a family date night in the driveway, pick up a basketball and play couple rounds of horse, around the world or one-on-one. Trying to figure out how to continue having fun with your children or grandchildren, what better way than something they enjoy, everyone wins!0319 3 185x300 8 Outdoor Activities that Double as Exercise
  4. Golfing; this is another great recreation activity that can be quite active, especially if you walk the course instead of renting a golf cart. Not only are you walking but you are also carrying your golf clubs around too! 0319 4 8 Outdoor Activities that Double as Exercise
  5. Kayaking; it gets you out on the water where you can see all sorts of wildlife. It can be relaxing or if you hit the white water rivers, more challenging. 0319 5 300x131 8 Outdoor Activities that Double as Exercise
  6. Swimming; on a nice warm day getting in the water is refreshing. It is also a great place to work your entire body and in a low impact way.0319 6 300x195 8 Outdoor Activities that Double as Exercise
  7. Stand up Paddle Boarding; improve your balance and your core while you enjoy an afternoon on the water. You might even see some wildlife while you are out!0319 7 300x197 8 Outdoor Activities that Double as Exercise
  8. Hiking; it gets you outside and moving around, and gives you time to think about other things in life or if you are looking for some solitude this might be your favorite activity. Just take a look around you and enjoy the sights.0319 8 300x225 8 Outdoor Activities that Double as Exercise


All-Natural? Cage Free? What Does It All Mean…

You walk into a healthy grocery store or the Healthy Living section of your grocery store and you can’t help but see multiple health claims and confusing terminology on packaging.  Here are some words or phrases you may see and what they ACTUALLY mean:

Free-range. This label indicates that the flock was provided shelter in a building, room, or area with unlimited access to food, fresh water, and continuous access to the outdoors during their production cycle. The outdoor area may or may not be fenced and/or covered with netting-like material. This label is regulated by the USDA.

Cage-free. This label indicates that the flock was able to freely roam a building, room, or enclosed area with unlimited access to food and fresh water during their production cycle.

Natural. As required by USDA, meat, poultry, and egg products labeled as “natural” must be minimally processed and contain no artificial ingredients. However, the natural label does not include any standards regarding farm practices and only applies to processing of meat and egg products. There are no standards or regulations for the labeling of natural food products if they do not contain meat or eggs.

Organic.  Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides, fertilizers with synthetic ingredients, bioengineering or ionizing radiation.  For something to be labeled “organic”, 95% of the ingredients must be organic.

Grass-fed. Grass-fed animals receive a majority of their nutrients from grass throughout their life, while organic animals’ pasture diet may be supplemented with grain. Also USDA regulated, the grass-fed label does not limit the use of antibiotics, hormones, or pesticides. Meat products may be labeled as grass-fed organic.

Pasture-raised. Due to the number of variables involved in pasture-raised agricultural systems, the USDA has not developed a federal definition for pasture-raised products.

Humane. Multiple labeling programs make claims that animals were treated humanely during the production cycle, but the verification of these claims varies widely. These labeling programs are not regulated under a single USDA definition.

No added hormones. A similar claim includes “Raised without Hormones.” Federal regulations have never permitted hormones or steroids in poultry, pork, or goat.


Wellness Wednesday: The H3 Plate

 Wellness Wednesday: The H3 Plate

In 1992 the Food Guide Pyramid was released with much fanfare. It was supposed give people a simple picture of what a healthy diet should be.  Consumers found it anything but simple, and in fact it created more confusion than guidance. So in 2011 the USDA’s food pyramid was replaced by a plate.  The change made sense, as Marion Nestle, Ph.D. professor of nutrition at New York University put it, “we are people, we don’t eat pyramids, and we eat off of plates.”  Most found the new MyPlate a vast improvement over the pyramid. H3 agrees.  MyPlate is much easier follow, and clearly communicates the message we should be consuming a plant based diet with an abundance of vegetable and fruits, moderate amounts of grains and protein sources.

While the MyPlate was big step in the right direction, H3 felt there was more room for improvement. So we are happy to announce the release of the new H3 Plate, a visual guide to healthy eating. The H3 Plate provides a more complete picture and is more specific in its recommendations for attaining a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few key points that distinguish the H3 Plate from the USDA’s MyPlate.

The MyPlate is divided into four categories, Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, and Protein; H3’s also has four categories but emphasize Non Starchy Vegetable, Whole Grains, Healthy Proteins along with fruits.

Like the MyPlate, the H3 Plate recommends that vegetables and fruits make up half of the total plate.  We make the important distinction between non starchy vegetables and starchy ones; the USDA version groups them together.  H3 specifically recommend the consumption of at least 3 servings of non starchy vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, leafy greens, green beans, summer squash, carrots etc.) a day. There is no limit, the more non starchy veggies the better. Starchy vegetables (potato, sweet potato, beets, winter squash) are encouraged in moderate consumption and are included as part of the whole grain group.

Both versions of the plate recommend the daily consumption of fruit. The USDA version allows fruit juice to count as a part of the fruit group. While small amounts of fruit juice is acceptable, the H3 Plate recommends the consumption of while fruit to meet the recommended intake. Whole fruits provide more fiber, are more filling and satisfying than juice.

MyPlate  recommends at least 50% of the grains you consume be whole grains. 50% is better than none but that still allows for a significant intake of refined grains within the guidelines. H3 encourages the consumption of grains as well but encourage they all be whole grains. Whole grains provide fiber and important nutrients lost in the refining process. We have also included other healthy sources of carbohydrates including legumes, and starchy vegetables in this category.

Rather than having its own group, as it does on MyPlate, H3 included dairy as a component of two groups.  Beverages and Healthy Protein, we recommend 2 servings per day.  Because of their versatility legumes are also listed in two groups, Whole Grains and Healthy Proteins.

The H3 Plate has a sidebar that complements the main message of the H3 Plate.  Acknowledging the importance of healthy fats and oils, beverages, and flavor enhancers such as herbs, spices, vinegars and salsas to add boldness with less sodium.

Finally the H3 plate recommends a 10” plate. Plate size does matter, the larger the plate we use, the more we serve ourselves. Research suggests that a 10” plate, as compared to the standard 11 – 11 ½”,   is the optimal size.  Using a smaller plate is a simple subconscious way to curtail overeating.

H3 Plate


Is Sleep Deprivation Weighing You Down?

sleep and obesity Is Sleep Deprivation Weighing You Down? One of my earlier blog posts was recently referenced. It was entitled The Weight of Sleep Deprivation and provided some insight into the relationship between sleep deprivation and weight gain. It also provided some excellent resources for those you want to take some steps to improve the quality of your sleep. The resources are still current, and after seeing how the evidence continues to accumulate strengthening that association, you may want check out that post again.

As mentioned in the previous post, two hormones that influence appetite, leptin and ghrelin, are very much influenced by sleep deprivation. The quick review is that we want our leptin level appropriately high because leptin suppresses appetite, and we want our ghrelin low because it stimulates appetite. A University of Chicago study found that participants who slept only 4 hours for 2 nights had an 18% decrease in leptin and a 28% increase in ghrelin—resulting in a 45% increase in appetite, in particular for high refined and calorie dense foods.

Two studies presented at Sleep 2012: Associated Professional Sleep Societies 36th Annual Meeting, suggest sleep deprivation selectively and significantly impairs brain activity in the frontal lobe, a region critical for controlling behavior and making complex decisions such as what and how much to eat.

Not only would you gain weight as a result of the extra caloric intake, a study at Wake Forest University suggests that sleep deprived people gain more of the risky belly fat.

Common sense says this but Obesity Source at the Harvard School of Public Health reports that people who are sleep deprived are more tired during the day and less likely to participate in physically active activities. They also spend more time watching TV and pursuing other sedentary activities. As one of my favorite quotes from James Loehr says… sleep deprivation quote Is Sleep Deprivation Weighing You Down?

Let’s stop for a moment and review. Studies now show that people who are sleep deprived have significantly increased cravings for high calorie foods, have impaired activity in very part of the brain that might help them resist those craving, if they over eat, more fat is stored as dangerous belly (visceral) fat; and as a result being tired or exhausted, the last thing you feel like doing is exercising or preparing a healthy meal for that matter.

It should, therefore, that a study presented at the American Heart Association’s 2012 Scientific Session found that sleep deprivation had a tremendous impact on caloric intake. Researchers studied 17 healthy, young men and women for eight nights, with half of the participants sleeping normally and half sleeping only two thirds their normal time. Participants ate as much as they wanted. The sleep deprived group consumed an average of 550 additional calories a day. That’s right, 550 calories a day! Another study published in the journal Obesity Reviews, found that compared to those who got 7-9 hours of sleep nightly, those getting 6 hours were 27% more likely to become obese—and those getting 5 hours or less were 78% more likely to become obese.

It is time to acknowledge that sleep is not a luxury, but an essential component of a healthy, weight maintaining lifestyle.

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