I recently spent a week at Hilton Head Health. I ended up there rather on a whim. Being overweight is constantly on my mind and several months ago the thought occurred to me to try some kind of adult fat camp. I literally googled that. This article was the first hit. It seemed fairly positive and mentioned HHH.

I was super nervous about the idea, but I must have been feeling adventurous and liked what I saw enough on the HHH website and pulled the trigger. I’m glad I did!

You stay right on Hilton Head of course which is a beautiful place. Loads of beach. No overly obnoxious developments. Everything is only a story or two tall from what I saw. Businesses, even along major roads, are set off the road a bit with trees in between which maintains a very beautiful, nature-y look to the island.

I stayed in a private villa, which was $75 more dollars per day. Not too bad, since it’s already fairly expensive at $2900 for the week. As an introvert, I needed my escape hut. I remember kind of gawking at the price, but I feel like a beach vacation can approach that anyway when you factor in all the costs. Remember this covers everything including lodging and food (but not transportation).

Right away they test your blood and take your blood pressure, and record your weight and such. Then you meet with a counselor to discuss your goals and look at those numbers (blood sugar, triglycerides, good/bad cholesterol, etc) They help you make a plan for the week.

From 7am to 7pm each day, there is stuff going on. Activities, classes, and meals.

Activities range from the very chill like beach walks and movie night to the fairly intense like their signature “Treading” class (fancy treadmill stuff) and a class where you alternate between cardio machines and weightlifting every 2 minutes for an hour.

There are three main meals a day. They are at certain times and everyone eats together. This is where you really get to know everyone. Each meal is around 300 calories. Then there are three “Metabomeals” of 100 calories each, putting the total at 1200.

Classes range from hour long lectures like “Mindless Eating” and “The Restaurant Game” to 3 1/2 hour courses on grilling in their fantastic indoor cooking classroom.

Some of the classes, activities, and meals cost additional money but everything, including the free stuff, is optional. You make of the time you have there what you will. Nobody is cracking a whip. Very chill.

For me, it was all about the food. Forcing myself onto a super strict eating plan like that was worth the trip alone. I enjoyed the classroom stuff quite a bit and did as many exercise classes as I could, but that was just gravy compared to the meal system. That’s just me – eating is my hardest thing.

I don’t have that much regiment in my life, so forcing some structure on the day and being amongst so many nice people in the same situation was wonderful. I’m planning to go back, if nothing else, to give myself some accountability. I can’t go back worse than I left!


  1. Sounds like an awesome time! Losing weight is never easy, takes a lot of will power and consistent effort. Mostly though it requires us to change the way we think about food. I always used to eat for comfort (I still combat this but at least now I have some tools for doing so) the battle is for the mind is much easier once you recognize all the ways we are killing ourselves with a spoon and fork.

    I recommend a great book by Dr. Wayne Anderson that will also help you find the intrinsic motivation necessary for making a life change toward optimal health.


    Charles Vance

  2. Marc says:

    Hi Chris,

    You’ve helped me a heck of a lot in the past with your articles and learnings. I’ve been following your articles on CSS tricks since 2009 and have not really felt inclined to comment up to this point since I can relate a little.
    May I suggest something (well 2 things) for you to look in to? It’s minimal complication & sacrifice which is why I gave it a try.

    I’m not affiliated or anything like that and they are both free but I can tell you that it’s worked for me.

    The first is the Caveman diet or better known as the Paleo diet:
    It’s all about macro nutrients/whole foods & cutting out carbs.

    Secondly, check out Stronglifts 5×5. Only 3 exercises 3 times per week.
    These 2 combined works a treat. You can actually do Stronglifts on your own seeing as you’re an introvert.

    Figured it’s worth a shot to mention & finally had something of value to give to you.