The Pioneer Spas: Hilton Head Health
We love this destination’s bold, unpretentious admission: “More than a fat farm!” Indeed, this South Carolina seashore retreat has changed thousands of lives with their smartly conceived program of calorie reduction and personal attention to mind/body fitness. We salute them for their inspiration and education.
Since its inception over 35 years ago, Hilton Head Health (H3) has created life-changing experiences by successfully offering a program that combines psychological counseling, education, exercise and a reduced-calorie meal plan. As the H3 maintains: “Here you put the world on hold and focus solely on yourself.”
Location, Location, Location
With its tranquil setting, subtropical climate, and miles of white sand beach—where many guests start their days with walks—Hilton Head Island is an ideal environment for people to make strides in personal health and an active lifestyle.
As significant as its location is H3’s thoughtfully crafted Healthy Lifestyle™ program, which gives visitors embarking on a lifestyle change the tools needed to succeed. “The program helps guests by providing strategies for emotional and intellectual behaviors, combining delicious food with nutritional education and making fitness fun and challenging,” says Bob Wright, Director of Lifestyle Education at Hilton Head Health and a staff member for over 30 years.
The experienced specialists at H3 guide guests through one-on-one private consultations, making recommendations and creating structure for an individual’s unique fitness plans (with over 50 different fitness classes and activities to choose from). These experts also show visitors how to incorporate exercise and conscious eating into daily routines once they’ve left Hilton Head. Perhaps part of what makes H3 stand out, guests say, is that these professionals have a friendly, caring, attitude, and are knowledgeable, supportive, and accessible.
Weeklong stays begin with individual screenings (baseline blood tests) and goal setting. Habits are also examined, as is a guest’s current state of health. Though HHH promises guests will lose weight, the end result is not the sole concern. Instead, H3 delves into the reasons behind weight gain, serving as a guide to change the self-defeating behaviors and unhealthy habits that often result in serious health problems.
With food as a key component to better health, a culinary team at H3 accommodates almost every dietary need. Prepared gourmet cuisine comprises flavorful, low-calorie, realistic portions and includes well-balanced, healthy foods that utilize local and natural ingredients. The 1200-1400-calorie/day meal plan also follows guidelines set by American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and American Diabetes Association.
While H3 began exclusively as a weight-loss destination, today some guests simply seek the fitness adventures of the island or a healthy getaway. Others stay for weeks at a time to intensively work toward breaking years of poor habits. Wright says, “The tremendous variety in our course offerings has expanded so that anyone from 18 years old to 90 years old, and from marathon runners to people who haven’t exercised in 25 years, can benefit.”
And just last month, a new Culinary Arts Center cooking school and state-of-the-art discussion rooms were unveiled, which, along with enhanced programs, help keep the spa a leader in the healthy lifestyle movement. In addition, H3’s profile was recently raised by being featured on A&E’s weight-loss docudrama Heavy, which examines the personal struggles of 22 individuals in their pursuit against obesity. “Our mission is to make the world healthier, one person at a time.” Wright says. “In our 35 years, we can count thousands of successes.”