When I was blessed with the opportunity to go on a wellness vacation with my best friend, I hopped at the chance. We boarded the plane from Michigan and flew to Hilton Head Health in the charming state of South Carolina. As the taxi driver drove us in, part of me wished we were going on a regular beach vacation where we sipped fancy cocktails and ate greasy food, instead of a health getaway where fitness instructors would tell us to hold our planks longer.
Before the wellness trip, I was reasonably healthy. I'd do my best to eat well and work out during the week, but the weekends were another story. I'd splurge on drinks, fatty foods, and plenty of desserts. I come from a family that absolutely loves to eat, and I had no idea what portion control meant.
While I was curious and excited about the wellness trip, I was downright nervous, too. Now that I'm back to regular life, I can firmly say that it was a life-changing experience. If you're planning to take a trip soon, here are a few reasons you may want to consider a health vacation!
- The team environment is incredibly motivating. From the moment we arrived, the atmosphere at our resort was warm and welcoming. Guests walked around sweaty and smiling — proud of themselves for kicking ass and eating well. The staff embraced us as though it was the fifth time we had visited, almost like we were family. During the classes, we all high-fived each other regardless of where we were in our healthy journey.
- There are so many fitness classes, you'll have no excuse. My friend and I tried everything: weight training, yoga, pool aerobics, Tabata, treading, Pilates, and even just learning how to properly stretch. These fitness classes revitalized my body and rejuvenated my soul.
- The food? It's good. Upon our first meal, I sat stunned in the resort's elegant dining room. Not only was my Asian rice bowl delicious, but it was filling, too. All of the meals were freshly prepared, tasty, and satisfying. I grew a new understanding about how much food I should actually be eating for my body type. We weren't denied anything, either. It wasn't a "no-carb" kitchen where all the food was raw. We could eat healthy snacks throughout the day and even enjoy the occasional dessert. I finally learned how to enjoy the right amount of food that my body needed to use for fuel . . . a crazy idea called portion control.
- Cooking classes are also on the menu. The health resort offered cooking classes so we could learn how to prepare the healthy meals in the comfort of our own homes. I've even tried some of the recipes in my own kitchen, and they taste just as good as the head chef said they would.
- This is the type of vacation that leaves you energized. That old saying "I need a vacation from my vacation"? Yeah, we didn't feel that way. Throughout our time on our wellness vacation, we rented bicycles and breathed in the beautiful island. Instead of letting the sun burn us all day while we sipped on sugary cocktails, we enjoyed the beach for a couple short hours while snacking on almonds. It wasn't the picture of vacations in the past, but it sure was much healthier and even more enjoyable.
- The learning doesn't stop when you leave. Since we've been home, my best friend and I text each other pictures of our meals — keeping each other in check. We talk about our weekly workout plans and encourage each other just like the staff did at Hilton Head Health.
Our life-changing wellness vacation jump-started my health and fitness routine and made me realize that life is too short to not take care of my body. I've learned that vacations don't have to be filled with drinks, the sun, too much food, and soaking up every single experience you can — coming home with a new, healthy mindset means so much more. So if you are starting to plan an exciting vacation, consider indulging in one that your mind and body will thank you for.