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HomeNewsFort Campbell Army Wellness Center helps Army spouse reach her fitness goals

Fort Campbell Army Wellness Center helps Army spouse reach her fitness goals

Written by Maria Yager
Blanchfield Army Community Hospital Public Affairs

Blanchfield Army Hospital - BACH - Fort Campbell KYFort Campbell, KY – Army spouse Leah Hernandez seemed to be at an impasse. She attended a gym, exercised regularly, watched what she ate, drank plenty of water, but for some reason she could not seem to lose any weight. Frustrated, she turned to the staff at the Fort Campbell Army Wellness Center to see what more she could do.

“The Army Wellness Center offers standardized primary prevention programs for our Soldiers and retirees, their family members and Department of the Army civilians. We are trying to help our population lead healthy lifestyles by teaching people how to make healthy lifestyle changes and healthy habits when it comes to stress, physical fitness and nutrition,” said Jheri Weidensall, Army Wellness Center program lead.

Jheri Weidensall, Fort Campbell Army Wellness Center program specialist talks to participants at a Fueling for Health Class about the variety and quantity of foods they should eat for optimal nutrition and wellness. The class is one of many wellness events offered free at the Army Wellness Center to Soldiers, retirees, family members and Department of the Army Civilians. (U.S. Army photo by Maria Yager)
Jheri Weidensall, Fort Campbell Army Wellness Center program specialist talks to participants at a Fueling for Health Class about the variety and quantity of foods they should eat for optimal nutrition and wellness. The class is one of many wellness events offered free at the Army Wellness Center to Soldiers, retirees, family members and Department of the Army Civilians. (U.S. Army photo by Maria Yager)

“We focus on that holistic approach to health. We want to get ahead of the game – so we don’t offer medical treatment here – we try and prevent chronic diseases, like heart disease and diabetes, from occurring,” Weidensall stated.

The Army Wellness Center staff spoke with Hernandez about her diet and exercise regimen and recommended their metabolic testing, body composition testing and some Health and Wellness classes to start.

“We also do metabolic testing where we are able to test an individual’s resting metabolic rate – what this is how many calories you are burning completely at rest. Based on that test and the amount of physical activity a person does, we are able to give calorie recommendation,” said Weidensall. Rather than a ballpark figure most diet plans provide, the Army Wellness Center is able to give beneficiaries a personalized caloric profile.

Participants examine recommended portion sizes for steak and chicken during the Fueling for Health class at Fort Campbell's Army Wellness Center, May 31. Army spouse Leah Hernandez used the information from Fueling for Health to better understand the fundamentals of nutrition and eating strategies to fuel for optimal health, which combined with physical activity helped her to lose 20 pounds. (U.S. Army photo by Maria Yager)
Participants examine recommended portion sizes for steak and chicken during the Fueling for Health class at Fort Campbell’s Army Wellness Center, May 31. Army spouse Leah Hernandez used the information from Fueling for Health to better understand the fundamentals of nutrition and eating strategies to fuel for optimal health, which combined with physical activity helped her to lose 20 pounds. (U.S. Army photo by Maria Yager)

For Hernandez, the results came as a surprise.

“The main thing I learned was that I just needed to eat more. I wasn’t eating enough. I really thought that I was eating enough food, eating clean, doing what I was supposed to be doing following nutrition guidelines, getting fruits and veggies in, but it just wasn’t enough of it,” said Hernandez.

On the recommendation of her Army Wellness Center health educator, based on her resting metabolic rate and activity level, Hernandez increased her daily caloric intake to 1,900 calories a day and began to see the weight come off. Hernandez attended the center’s Upping your Metabolism and Fueling for Health classes and learned more about portion sizes and eating a healthful balanced diet to fuel her body and reach her goals.

“I think everybody should go through a nutrition class. Having the education on what you’re supposed to eat changes what it is you do eat. It gives you a good sense of what you should be eating and what you shouldn’t be eating,” said Hernandez. “The portions I was eating at home were too small and the portions I was eating when I went out were too big. The visual examples they showed in the class really helped me to get an idea of how big my portions should be.”

Hernandez, a wife and mother, has lost about 20 pounds since using the services provided by the Army Wellness Center combined with her eating and exercise routine. “My fitness level has improved a lot. I feel stronger. My energy level is way different. I feel like I can get up in the morning and I’m not super tired during the day,” she said.

Hernandez now visits the center at least once a month to use its BodPod, which provides a more accurate view of her progress than checking her weight on a scale, explained Weidensall.

“The scale does not always tell you everything. It just gives you a number. Our BodPod gives us a break down of your body composition and breaks down the number for you so you can see how much muscle you have and how much fat you have. It will help you on your journey to whatever your goals are,” said Weidensall, explaining that it doesn’t necessarily have to be weight loss, some users are trying to gain muscle weight, while others may be trying to maintain.

“We don’t want to lose all of our muscle weight. We want to target losing fat. This machine will help you determine which type of weight you’re losing or gaining,” Weidensall stated.

Army spouse Leah Hernandez is now reaching her fitness goals after using the services of the Fort Campbell Army Wellness Center to tailor her meal plan. Hernandez was seeing no weight loss results despite exercising and limiting her calories. After receiving a custom plan from Army Wellness Center, which included increasing her caloric intake based on her activity level, Hernandez lost 20 pounds.  (Leah Hernandez)
Army spouse Leah Hernandez.

We also recommend coming back every month that way you can easily track your changes and see your progress over time because it’s very easy to change your composition in a month,” said Weidensall.

Other services offered by the Army Wellness Center include exercise prescription, stress management, improving sleep habits and individual health coaching. The health educators are also available to go mobile, taking their class to units on post and family readiness groups.

“Coming to the Army Wellness Center helped me see what I was missing, where I was and where I wanted to be,” said Hernandez.

To learn more visit the Army Wellness Center at http://blanchfield.amedd.army.mil/HealthcareServices/SitePages/Army%20Wellness%20Center.aspx

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