If you are carrying extra weight, losing it and keeping it off can be one of the best things you can do to protect your health. The best way to manage your weight is to eat wisely and be as physically active as possible.
To help Veterans manage and lose weight, VA offers MOVE!, a national weight management program.
Through individual counseling and group classes, Veterans learn how to improve their eating, exercise and behavior habits. Class topics include setting goals, meal planning, label reading, stress and emotional eating, recipe modification, shopping at the grocery store and budgeting, eating at restaurants and exercise.
“We always hear that it costs too much to eat healthy, so we show them how to shop and plan ahead,” said Melinda Smiley, JCMVAMC MOVE! Program Coordinator. “We talk about eating out and how to make better selections, and how to make things ahead of time so you don’t always have to eat out.”
Each MOVE! group class also involves five to 10 minutes of voluntary exercise using Thera-Band Latex Exercise Bands. The exercise bands help Veterans build body strength for both rehabilitation and fitness.
“We started doing Thera-Band exercises as a way for our patients to get just a little bit of exercise each week and it helps to motivate them to do more exercise at home,” said Smiley. “I think it just helps them realize ‘oh, I can do something.’ They really caught on to that and they like it.”
Veterans who complete the 12 week MOVE! Program are given a free Thera-Band Exercise Band as an incentive and to encourage them to continue exercising at home.
“It’s an incentive to keep them coming to group because our goal is to get them here every week for eight weeks,” said Smiley. “If they come every week for eight weeks, that helps them keep that weight off and be more motivated.”
Veterans who complete the program will also receive a certificate and a weight loss graph showing their progress.
If you’re interested in starting MOVE!, talk to your VA Primary Care team. To learn more about MOVE!, visit http://www.move.va.gov/.