News>Feature - HAWC dietitians help Team Shaw control weight
The Health and Wellness Center has many tools, props, resources and programs for service members and their dependents to help them with problems like weight management at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. Along with pamphlets and classes like “Better Body, Better Health,” they have dietitians who will meet one-on-one to teach better life style habits to help manage weight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Krystal M. Jeffers/Released)
The Health and Wellness Center has many resources to help increase service members’ knowledge about nutrition and healthy living like examples of healthy portion sizes at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. HAWC also has dietitians and weight management classes like “Better Body, Better Health.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Krystal M. Jeffers/Released)
Janine Reinholtz, 20th Medical Group community dietitian at the Health and Wellness Center, teaches Tech. Sgt. Mindy Altum, 20th Component Maintenance Squadron unit training monitor, nutrition information during “Better Body, Better Health” at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. Oct. 15, 2012. Altum said she wanted to learn more about nutrition to live a healthier life style. The program teaches better behavior habits, nutrition and fitness to help service members and their dependents manage their weight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Krystal M. Jeffers/Released)
by Airman 1st Class Krystal M. Jeffers
20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
10/30/2012 - SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Many service members find themselves struggling to manage their weight, whether they are having difficulty decreasing their weight or are finding themselves unable to increase their weight.
According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health and can help people prevent and control many diseases and conditions. If a person is overweight or obese, they are at higher risk of developing serious health problems including heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems and certain cancers.
Being underweight can be just as dangerous as being overweight.
According to Medical News Today, health problems associated with being underweight can include being unable to fight off infection, osteoporosis, decreased muscle strength, trouble regulating body temperature and even increased risk of death.
Also, according to the Life Tips website, when a person is underweight the effectiveness of their immune system may be decreased. Nutrition is very important to a person's immune system and even if a person only has minor deficiencies they can still suffer from illnesses that won't go away and from fatigue. Infertility is also an issue many underweight women face.
The Health and Wellness Center has dietitians who work with military members and their dependents to help them with their weight.
"I help in making sure we have a fit and healthy Air Force," said Janine Reinholtz, 20th Medical Group community dietitian at the HAWC. "I see people one-on-one for both (weight gain and loss). We also have monthly programs that focus on both fitness and nutrition. For example, there is "Passport to Health" which focuses on individuals learning to work out more as well as learning about different cultures, where they get their calcium, and how much water you are consuming to tie fitness and nutrition together."
Along with monthly programs, the HAWC also has pamphlets and classes like "Better Body, Better Health" which is five weeks long.
"People meet at the HAWC once a week for 1 ½ to two hours," said Reinholtz. "We discuss everything from nutrition, like their favorite fast food places, to behavior modifications, like not eating in front of the television, to fitness."
Tech. Sgt. Mindy Altum, 20th Component Maintenance Squadron unit training monitor, joined the Better Body, Better Health program.
"I wanted more information about nutrition to live a healthier life style," she said. "I didn't understand the different kinds of fats, what is good for you or bad for you, how to read nutrition labels, and what is good for your heart. Reinholtz is very helpful and informative. (She taught me to) set goals, stick to a plan and have a routine to help you stay focused when life is unpredictable."
"I can have fantastic intentions to manage my weight, but if I don't have a plan set up and if I am not changing my behavior, I am going to go back to square one," Reinholtz said as she explained what she taught in the class. "So, behavior has to be one of the main things we focus on instead of just 'eat less and workout more.' Then, fitness helps us build muscle and burn the fat and finally, the nutrition aspect ties it all together."
Information regarding ways to manage weight can also be found on the internet and television. According to Reinholtz, some of this information can be misleading and incorrect.
"I think there is a lot of misinformation on the internet. A lot of that information, along withthings we see on the television, are along the lines of fad dieting and that's not the way to lose weight," Reinholtz explained. "They are short term changes that you can't do forever. It just leads to disappointment and guilt in yourself when you fall off that diet."
"Generally, with a lot of fad diets, you are eating too little so you are lower than you metabolic rate," she continued. "That makes your body think you are starving, so you end up losing a lot more muscle than fat because your body is holding onto that fat for a rainy day. Ideally, we want to slowly build up muscle to burn away the fat. It's easy, but it is not going to be fast. This is good weight loss, or weight gain."
Reinholtz provided some simple tips to manage weight which include:
· Workout to build muscle and increase your appetite.
· Eat before and after exercising. For example, eat a banana 30 minutes prior to the work out and then eat something that has both carbohydrates and protein post workout like a glass of chocolate milk or a meal to help build muscle.
· If you find yourself not hungry at meals or you fill up fast, snack during the day on things like nuts and dried fruit.
· Sip on nutritional supplements like Boost or Ensure during the day.
· Eat dairy or dairy alternatives for calcium which will help mobilize fat stores.
· Don't do fad diets. They are hard to follow long term and when you discontinue them there is risk of disappointment and frustration.
· Eat smaller portions and eat everything in moderations.
· Reduce the amount of carbohydrates consumed.
· Eat adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables at every meal
· Exercise to build muscle that will burn fat.
· Eat fiber to fill you up and protein to keep you full and satisfied.
"Whether you want to gain weight or lose weight, you want to try to get all your calories as the day progresses," said Reinholtz. "When it comes to losing weight, if you don't get enough calories you will end up losing muscle and feed the fat because your body thinks it's starving. When you are gaining weight, it will help your body make muscle."
Maintaining a healthy weight is important because it helps people lower their risk for developing problems, helps them feel good about themselves, and gives them more energy to enjoy life, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.
"Food is life sustaining but often people don't realize it and think of food as the enemy. We should see food as nourishment rather than something that is off limits," concluded Reinholtz.
For more information about nutrition and weight management contact the HAWC at (803) 895-1216. Also, for websites on fitness, nutrition and health, Reinholtz suggests: www.choosemyplate.gov and www.myfitnesspal.com.