BREMERTON , WA, UNITED STATES
Story by Douglas Stutz
Not surprisingly, the most common New Year’s resolution is to lose weight.
Two weeks into 2019, for those who think that weight loss is just food for thought, Naval Hospital Bremerton’s (NHB) Combined Food Operations and Nutritional Management department has ready recommendations to assist in the process of shedding a few pounds.
“Weight gain not just during the holidays but also during the year can often drive New Year’s resolutions. Instead of focusing on the number of pounds to lose, focusing on behavior change can have a stronger impact on long term success,” said Lt. Mari M. Moffitt, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and Naval Hospital Bremerton Combined Food Operations/Nutrition Management head.
Moffitt acknowledges that change can be difficult not only to implement, but also to stay committed to over time.
“Change is often challenging because it goes against what is routine and comfortable for most people. Forget the ‘all or nothing’ approach with unrealistic expectations. Focus on small changes and moving forward versus perfection. Any improvement counts. Avoid long lists and aim for no more than three meaningful goals,” Moffitt said, noting that her clients can help facilitate change by creating realistic goals that are tailored to their lifestyle.
“Break goals into smaller steps to make them more achievable and to boost confidence. Create an action plan and implement it at their own pace,” added Moffitt.
Examples? Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Pass on chips – potato or chocolate – for fruits.
Behavioral change associated with weight loss and eating habits also does not equate to cringing and flinching at food offerings. With the menu provided by NHB’s Combined Food Operations, the charge towards change is full of tempting, wholesome taste.
There’s cilantro citrus chicken one day, blackened mahi-mahi with mango salsa on another. Vegetarian lasagna, island baked salmon, and Shepard’s pie. Such nutritional and nourishing variety is more than just appetizing. NHB’s menu focuses on increasing mission readiness and boosting personal resilience.
“The majority of what we offer at our Terrace Dining Room has very high nutritional value. Excessive fatty foods are out. Using a lot of grease is out. What we have is food for fuel, and most is green and beneficial. We lay it out to help everyone out. That’s what we’re here for,” shared Chief Culinary Specialist Donald Simpkins, NHB Combined Food Service head.
Menu options include lean proteins, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and heart healthy oils. Adding such choices was gradual.
“The galley staff recognized the requests and desire from patrons for nutrient dense options. We worked together to develop menu items that are full of flavor and nutrients. It was based on an understanding that food is medicine. It can heal just as much as hurt. We wanted to provide meals that support the health and wellness of our staff, patrons, and patients but at the same time provide them with options. If we can support our people by offering a variety of nutrient dense foods it may decrease sick days, improve mental wellness, or prevent chronic diseases, so that they can continue to support the mission,” explained Moffitt.
Moffitt attests that the ultimate goal for incorporating a variety of nutrient dense foods, and minimizing the intake of high sodium, added sugar, saturated fats, is disease prevention.
“Focus on foods you can add to your diet versus foods you should avoid. Fuel your body with foods that will improve your health – more whole, colorful foods! Factors that are outside of our control are aging, race and ethnicity, and family history. What we can change to prevent the development of chronic disease, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, obesity, is diet and exercise. Make it fun by building on healthy habits and using your resources such as counselors, providers, nutritionists and dietitians, to help you set goals and support you on your journey to achieve them,” exclaimed Moffitt.
There are a number of resources offered at NHB to anyone eligible to improve their nutritional intake and eating habit(s). The Nutrition Clinic offers one-on-one consultations and a variety of classes: Basic Nutrition, Fundamentals of Diabetes, Diabetes and Healthy Eating, Gestational Diabetes, and Prenatal Nutrition. Health Promotions additionally offers diverse classes such as Ship Shape, Small Steps Big Rewards (Diabetes Prevention), and Heart Healthy Living.
According to Kayla Kangiser, NHB Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator, there are a number of straightforward changes anyone can make to their environment to help influence behavior at home, workplace, and grocery store.
The refrigerator at home is a good place to start for the New Year. With the average American household estimated to throw away $2,200 of food per year, Kangiser offers the following tips to reduce food waste and save money, along with promoting healthy eating habits; take the produce out of the crisper drawer and put it at eye level. Make fruits and vegetables easy to grab and go by placing in easy to reach, small containers. Don’t cram the fridge so that’s it difficult to find healthy options.
In a work environment, Kangiser advocates to set structured timing for meals and snacks to reduce impulse snacking and overeating. People who schedule their meals consume approximately 80 calories less than those with sporadic eating style. Also keep individual healthy snacks available to help ward off those less-than-nutritional options.
Before heading to the grocery store, organize a game plan for meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner – during the week. Once the meals have been selected, jot down a shopping list. Kangiser encourages getting familiar with the store layout to organize the shopping list by the flow, such as starting on the perimeter departments with produce, daily, protein before moving into inner aisles. NHB has also set up commissary tours on the third Wednesday of January, March, May, July, September, and November to help all those interested into becoming savvy shoppers.
For additional guidance on helping to reach nutritional goals, schedule an appointment with NHB dietitian at 360-475-4541.