Celebrate Your Life – Experience the World
By J “Kat” Loren : :
Spanish moss draped trees lined the streets as I drove onto Hilton Head Island on my way to Hilton Head Head Resort in winter. Then the sparkle of blue channels winding through the marshes of the South Carolina low country caught my eye. It was mystical. Magical. Inviting.
After many years of travel writing, it was clear that I needed to break some unhealthy eating patterns and reset my diet and exercise routines. So I asked myself one question –
Where can a woman take a healthy vacation, that offers just enough social interaction to feel like you are not traveling alone, where someone cooks excellent spa cuisine and an exercise program is all laid out for you, and the masseuse offers a decent deep tissue massage to help you enjoy the time you spend toning muscle or losing weight?
The answer, after much internet research, was Hilton Head Health Resort (HH3) in Hilton Head, SC. It’s affordable, in a beautiful location with long beaches perfect for walking, and offers local tennis camps and an abundance of golf courses where animals and humans peacefully coexist. Located near the favorite tourist Southern Coastal tourist destinations, it’s a short drive from either Savannah airport or Hilton Head airport. And bucolic Beaufort and Charleston, SC are a mere two or so hours away.
Pulling into the resort, I marveled at the sight of two, huge alligators that had crawled out of hibernation right onto the golf course surrounding the resort. They lay sunning themselves oblivious to golfers weaving their golf carts past. Snowy white, Great American egrets stood at the edge of the pond as if oblivious to their presence. Clearly, this island was a place where wildlife and human development not only coexisted amicably but thrived in the presence of one another. The island offers a genteel hospitality to all.
The resort exudes this southern hospitality as well. It’s low key, relaxed. Unpretentious. Couples and singles of all ages stood talking in the lobby awaiting a lecture on healthy eating. Others exited the dining room in their exercise attire and headed off for a walk on the beach or headed off for tennis lessons. The staff is extremely attentive and will arrange transportation in their van for anyplace you might want to go on the island. Group classes and lectures are included as part of the weekly programs focusing on healthy lifestyles and weight loss, but they are not compulsory. You can do as much or as little as you desire without being badgered like a boot camp.
After receiving my packet of information about the Jump Start weight loss program I was attending for the next week, I found my villa just a short walk from the main building, picked out a bike that I would use often during the week, and settled in before joining the newbi’s for orientation.
The week would follow a fairly predictable pattern – eat, group exercise class, lecture, lunch, more exercise in the gym, the pool, or a long walk along tree lined streets bordering golf courses, or a tennis lesson at a nearby tennis club, with the occasional nap snuck into the mix.
People from New York, Washington DC, Texas, Florida and the Carolinas joined me in my Jump Start group –a 6-day weight loss focused program. Throughout the week, we would compare notes on activity tracking, calorie tracking, the best classes to take, and how much better we felt. Their reasons for coming were as varied as their weights and ages.
Two, recently retired couples admitted they had wanted to Jump Start their retirement and planned come annually just to take a healthy vacation that didn’t involve overindulging in food and drinks on a winter cruise. Instead, the resort’s dining room offered spa cuisine from diverse menu selections so that you never tired of the food. If you must have a glass of wine, a wine list was provided. And residents had full use of the gym and pool and spa. They loved it!
One man, clearly obese, wanted to Jump Start his weight loss and lost several pounds during the week. More importantly, he created a plan to sustain the weight loss and transform his health once he got home. The plan included shifting the unhealthy snacks out of his business and get the employees onto the healthy living bandwagon as well.
One woman, who looked like she didn’t need to lose a pound, came to tone up for her daughter’s wedding. Another had gained weight after Hurricane Harvey wiped out her kitchen and her husband, a contractor, seemed to be rebuilding whole neighborhoods but left their kitchen unfinished. A year after the storm she just couldn’t take one more pizza delivery dinner and came to Hilton Head Health to nurture and nourish herself.
The staff offered a healthy dose of encouragement and motivation in such an inviting way that we never felt body shamed, boot-camped, or treated like children needing to be told what to do. Participants were expected to put into it as much, or as little, as they wanted for the staff knew that for some, de-stressing and napping was as important as exercise and diet.
By the end of the week, we all felt like our lives were a little lighter in every way. The social interaction fed our souls, the spa cuisine nourished our bodies, and the exercise helped shed some of the weight of life. It’s no wonder why people come back year after year.
I could write more but this is a place that needs to be experienced for yourself. Alone, or in the company of a friend or spouse, you will love the experience of being in this atmosphere of southern hospitality that will charm you into wanting to sustain a healthier, happier life.
Best Exercise Class:
I loved them all but particularly enjoyed the ultra sweat-out-the-toxins-and-burn-fat “treading” class (on the treadmills of course).
Best Healthy Life Lecture:
Best De-Stress Activity:
Early morning beach walks on long, wide sandy beaches.
Best Indigo Spa Treatment:
Best deep tissue massage I have EVER had!
Best Spa Meal:
Van Der Meer Tennis Club weekend clinic or private lessons on clay courts.
The island seems to offer one long, windy series of linked golf courses. Pick your pleasure and watch out for gators.
For more information see: www.hhhealth.com
Photos courtesy of Hilton Head Health and gator photo by J. Kat Loren
© J Kat Loren and Crazi Culture / Blue Moth Media, 2014 – 2025. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to J. Kat Loren and Crazi Culture with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.