HAWC advises on healthier lifestyle

Monica Mendoza
Kaiserslautern American

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles about programs offered at the Ramstein Health and Wellness Center. Maj. Mike Blass of 435th Public Affairs and Capt. Jennifer Lovett of 86th Public Affairs, met with a HAWC dietician and fitness manager for help on a healthier lifestyle. The KA will check in with them every three weeks to record their progress.

A large box of chocolate candy sat on a desk in the 435th Public Affairs office. “Oh, candy,” said Maj. Mike Blass, 435th Public Affairs chief, as he walked toward the box. “No, I better not.” He kept walking.

Just one week earlier Major Blass sat across the table from a dietician and physical fitness program manager at the Ramstein Health and Wellness Center. His workout schedule has been sketchy at best, and he’s been on and off the low-carb, high protein diet.

“I’ve had trouble passing the PT test,” he told the dietician and fitness manager. He needs to make a change.

Capt. Jennifer Lovett, 86th Public Affairs chief, determined to knock off a few pounds, started keeping a food diary a month ago, tracking her daily calorie intake. She works out five times a week. She snacks on vegetables and popcorn. But she feels hungry all day and she has not seen the results for which she was looking, she said. Frustrated, she scheduled a meeting with HAWC dietician and fitness manager.

***image1***No matter where a person is in their quest for a healthier lifestyle, the HAWC can help, said Capt. Angie Hester, HAWC dietician, and Brian Kirby, HAWC fitness program manager.

They can help Major Blass get started with a workout and diet plan and they can help Captain Lovett stay the course, Captain Hester said.

First, both the major and the captain met with the dietician and fitness manager.

“You’ve got to look at where you are and where you need to be and set gradual goals,” Captain Hester told Major Blass.

Together, they reviewed the newest dietary guidelines by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, called “MyPyramid” formerly known as the four food groups chart.

“One of the changes in MyPyramid is that everyone is different,” Captain Hester said. “It’s about looking at the individual and setting calorie levels that are good for them.”

Major Blass, at 165 pounds, wants to get down to 150. More importantly, he wants to make working out part of his routine so he is not stressed in the weeks leading to the annual PT test, he said. Captain Lovett, at 125 pounds, wants to lose 15 pounds.

***image2***“They have goals that are in a healthy range,” Captain Hester said.

Mr. Kirby talked with Major Blass and Captain Lovett about aerobic exercise. He recommended to them both to start 20 to 30 continuous minutes three days a week.

Aerobic exercise includes walking up stairs, biking, walking, jogging and swimming. Then, they should each gradually increase the amount of minutes to between 45 and 60 minutes and up to five days a week, Mr. Kirby said.

Equally, important is weight training and building muscle, Mr. Kirby said.
“The more muscle mass a person has, the more calories they burn a day,” he said.

Captain Hester and Mr. Kirby sent Major Blass and Captain Lovett home with some new ideas and information. Both the major and the captain plan to attend a commissary tour to learn tips on shopping for nutritional value and a cooking demonstration to learn how to cook balanced, nutritional meals. Both will be checking in with HAWC team to track their progress.

“You will show that you can have success,” Captain Hester told them. “It’s about how willing you are to make those choices.”