Making Health Choices
By Capt. Particia Alvarez, Barquist Health Clinic
With the holidays fast approaching now, more than ever, is the time to embrace the Surgeon General’s Performance Triad touting activity, nutrition and sleep. The Barquist Health Clinic can help you resist the temptation to over-indulge, skip on sleep and forgo exercise by following some helpful tips.
To get the blood flowing, we recommend checking out the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s https://www.supertracker.usda.gov, a free online diet and activity tracking tool. The application is based on the Dietary guidelines for Americans and helps users identify how their personal dietary and physical activity choices compare to recommended amounts customized for each user.
If you don’t have time to view the website, remember that in general, just 30 minutes of physical activity per day will help you maintain weight loss. To lose weight, try increasing physical activity to one hour per day.
Plan out your meals to ensure you eat small, frequent meals comprising three healthy primary meals and two snacks in between to maintain good nutrition. Refer to USDA’s http://www.choosemyplate.gov/ for tips on healthy eating on a budget, sample menus and recipes, and much more.
Research indicates that the amount of sleep you get each night, the third Performance Triad, is closely tied to your nutrition and weight. Sleep affects your metabolism, and sleep deprivation tricks your body into feeling that it is hungry. If you are like most people, you will satiate your growling belly by grabbing whatever food is most convenient – often a less nutritious choice.
To ensure you are getting enough ZZZ’s the National Sleep Foundation recommends establishing a regular bedtime routine and a regular sleep-wake schedule. They suggest refraining from eating or drinking too much close to bedtime and creating an environment conducive to promoting sleep, for example, a bedroom that is dark, cool and comfortable.
The best way to get more rest, exercise regularly and eat more nutritious food is to be aware of the broader impact one poor habit can have on your body and other healthy habits you are trying to form. Focus on modifying less healthy behaviors through active planning. It takes 21 days to make a habit, so hang in there.
In addition to encouraging you to stay active, eat right and hit the sack on time the health clinic is offering a number of activities this month to help you stay invested in your health. Here are just a few:
- November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Patients with diabetes may meet with the clinic nutritionist to develop a personalized meal plan.
- Fort Detrick Community Health Expo. Personnel from the Carlisle Barracks Army Wellness Center will be available Nov. 7 at the Odom Fitness Center. Staff will meet with soldiers, dependents, retirees and DA civilians to assess their health and nutrition and provide management techniques empowering participants to maintain a healthy lifestyle, prevent illness and seek care as required. Individuals interested in enrolling in the program may call 301-619-4661. Flu shots will also be available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Smoking Cessation. Nov. 21 marks the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout. To help you in your quest to live smoke-free the Frederick County Health Department is giving away free Nicotine patches and offering free classes on quitting smoking. Call 1-800-784-8669 or visit smokingstopshere.com to learn more.
- Educational Groups. The clinic is offering discussion groups every Wednesday from 1:30-2:30 p.m. at the Barquist Health Clinic starting Nov. 6. Register for classes by calling 301-619-7175 or by contacting your health care provider.
Barquist Health Clinic Educational Groups Class Schedule:
- 1st Wednesday, Pain Management
- 2nd Wednesday, Sleep Disturbace
- 3rd Wednesday, Healthy Behavior: Eating, Exercise, and Sleep
- 4th Wednesday, Coping with Chronic Illness