Story by Dawn Grimes
According to US News & World Report, the failure rate of New Year’s resolutions is about 80% and most people lose their resolve by mid-February. Guantanamo Bay residents losing steam on New Year’s diet resolutions may find 2022 their lucky year!
The Navy’s newest named top Registered Dietitian of the Year is U.S. Navy Medicine Readiness Command Guantanamo Bay’s, Lt. Daniel Chase Williams, Medical Service Corps, who says there is nothing more rewarding than helping others reach their dietary and nutrition goals. “I love to see others achieve what they believed was impossible and I can do that by helping people translate nutrition science into sustainable healthy dietary behaviors,” Lt. Williams said. “Whether it’s for weight management, performance enhancement, or reducing the risks for chronic conditions, I can help people achieve their goals.”
Williams, who grew up in a small town in Tennessee, said balanced nutrition wasn’t really emphasized. “Once I learned to eat properly, I noticed significant improvements in mental and physical performance, all without using a single supplement.” He continued, “I thought the changes were fascinating and wanted to help others in making their positive nutrition-related changes.”
Following graduation from high school in White Bluff, Tennessee, Williams enlisted into the Navy in 2003 and served five years as an Aviation Electronics Technician. It was during this time that Williams discovered his passion for nutritional science. “I was a young sailor and, to be honest, I was looking for activities that would keep me out of trouble.” Williams found himself in a Barnes and Noble, because, as he recalls thinking, ‘reading is something people do to keep occupied.’ Williams picked up a book on medical nutrition therapy. “It was a college text book.” said Williams. “At that time, I never anticipated going to college, but I opened that book and bought it and started learning about all kinds of chronic diseases and ways to counter them with good nutrition.”
Williams said the most beneficial aspect of working with a dietitian is that you can feel confident in the nutrition information and counseling you’re provided. “Dietitians are required to earn a bachelor’s degree in nutrition-related course work, complete an accredited practice program, pass a national exam and complete continuing professional education requirements to maintain registration.” Williams explained “Many of us even continue our education with master’s level programs and board certification.”
For anyone who’s considered getting expert help, but hasn’t acted on it, Williams offered this advice. “Weigh the pros and cons of taking action in your desired change. Identify your “why?” and envision how life will look after changes are made,” Williams said. “Know that there are professionals who are standing by to help you take action in living a healthier lifestyle.”
Service members and dependents interested in learning more about how to achieve diet and weight goals with professional help from a military health nutritionist can contact their local Medical Treatment Facility to make an appointment with a Primary Care Provider. Providers consult with patients with dietary and weight issues to eliminate serious health conditions, before making a referral to a nutritionist.
“When I made dietary changes in my own life before I became a nutritionist, I noticed a drastic difference in my overall well-being, I had more energy and I felt like I sustained the day better and accomplished more.” “Williams said, “When you perform better during the day you sleep better at night so I felt like I was more rejuvenated and that’s a prime opportunity for body repair as well. I feel fortunate that now I have the opportunity to help others find the same benefits for themselves.”
Nominees for Registered Dietitian of the year are considered for their impact in multiple categories including: leadership and management achievements; contribution to Command; impact to operational forces and Navy Medicine; mentorship; innovation and special achievements.
“Lt. Williams is an invaluable asset and leader at this command,” said Capt. Dale Ramirez, Commanding Officer, U.S. NMRTC GB. “He epitomizes the ideal Military Dietitian. He is ready, versatile, and effective in all aspects of his profession.”
As the installation’s only clinical dietitian, Williams completed 106 nutrition consults, a 40% increase over the prior year. Additionally, Williams is responsible for U.S. NMRTC GB’s food service mission and the safe delivery of more than 36,000 nutritious meals to inpatients, dining room patrons, and Special Category Residents living full-time in the Navy’s only home health facility.
Under William’s direction, the department maintained 98% customer satisfaction-their highest recorded score since 2016. Williams led a food service process improvement project that emphasized Lean Six Sigma principles from loading dock to serving line which resulted in a 35% reduction in food waste and $100,000 in cost savings.
Lt. Williams is board certified in obesity and weight management and carries additional qualification designation for Executive Medicine. He was recognized as the Fiscal Year 2019 Officer of the Year for Provider Type II at Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune. He has also completed the Department of Defense Public Health Nutrition Fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. As a Naval Officer, Williams’ leadership positions began with his assignment to Naval Hospital Bremerton as the Head of Nutrition Management Department.
Before reporting to Naval Station Guantanamo Bay last year, Williams served at the larger Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune as the Division Officer and Clinic Manager for Nutrition Management Department. His personal military awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and Navy Good Conduct Medal.