Get H3 Inspired: Karen McCarty
There are many compelling reasons that motivate people to come to Hilton Head Health. The most obvious is weight loss but the programs there go much deeper than calories and exercise. Before coming to H3, my eating schedule was haphazard at best. Many mornings all I had was coffee and wouldn’t eat until mid-morning or afternoon. Usually, I had only two meals a day. In July, I saw my physician and was diagnosed with diabetes. I should have seen it coming; poor eating habits, sedentary lifestyle, a family history of the disease, and gaining weight in the perfect apple silhouette. That’s when I knew I had to make a change and commit to managing the disease with diet and exercise.
After researching dozens of health and weight loss retreats, I chose H3 and traveled from Oregon to South Carolina. When I arrived, I was immediately impressed with the courteous and friendly staff. I checked into my “cottage” which resembles a townhouse, complete with washer and dryer. It felt like home. You’re given a backpack, water bottle and a notebook/binder. The binder is a terrific idea; it has sections for Nutrition, Exercise, Self, and Schedules so you have all your notes and handouts organized for you when you go home.
I was surprised to learn that lunch and dinner were sit down meals, elegantly prepared and served—no cafeteria lines here! And the food is delicious, nutritious and low in calories to promote weight loss. The ingredients are fresh, many coming from the H3 Garden. A main principle at H3 is to eat smaller portions throughout the day, so you never feel hungry and your blood sugar is stable. In addition to the three basic meals, you eat a “Metabo Meal” (snack) three times a day. This simple routine made a significant change on my health.
I decided to stay at H3 for three weeks, giving myself the benefit of time for the things I learned in the program to stick and to participate in the Diabetes Enhancement Week. It completely surpassed my already high expectations. I’ve lost 5% of my weight and my glucose levels are now in the normal range—all from the healthy H3 diet and exercise.
But let me share with you, this is no “boot camp” environment. The professional staff and long history of H3 (founded in 1976) provides an atmosphere that rivals any spa or resort. The outdoor pool and hot tub are salt water; there’s no chlorine to dry out your skin. The common areas are immaculate and fresh white towels are provided all day long. If you’re poolside and it’s time for the Metabo Meal, fresh fruit and veggies miraculously appear.
The exercise classes are fun and there is enough variety offered to satisfy everyone. There are classes that target strength training, flexibility and cardio. And, H3 is such a supportive environment that you can experiment with classes there that might be more intimidating at home. I found that the cardio-boxing class was a lot of fun, but would have been reluctant to try it at home if it weren’t for H3.
You can rent a bike to explore the island along easy bike paths. There are also off campus excursions like kayaking, golf, tennis and even movie nights. Several times during the week, one of the H3 chefs will have a cooking demonstration where I learned to make cherry ketchup! It’s fantastic!
Other superb options include scheduling a massage, a one-on-one session with a trainer, a consultation with the chef to help you plan for meals at home, or a private meeting with one of the fitness experts to create a customized workout plan for you to do at home—one of the services I have found most useful. The staff there is totally committed to your success. The guests are friendly and it’s possible to make lifelong friendships with some of the people you meet during your stay.
The website and H3Daily blog offer a lot of resources for guests after they return home, and H3 also offers a H3@Home Coaching program to help you stay on track after you leave with one-on-one emails and strategies for success.
When I ask other guests their impression of H3, everyone concurs, “This place is fantastic.” Often heard is, “This is the best thing I have ever done for myself.” I would encourage you to try it too.