Six weeks following the birth of my new baby, I had two medical appointments at the local Army medical clinic. The first was the typical six-week post-partum check-up. The second appointment, however, was far from typical for me. I had a nutrition and fitness assessment at the Army Wellness Center.
Upon showing up for my wellness appointment, I was handed a questionnaire to fill out detailing my lifestyle choices. Turning the completed packet in to the receptionist, I sheepishly commented, “Go easy on me, I’m a work in progress.”
“Don’t worry. We all are,” was her empathetic response. I was already feeling good about my decision to make this appointment.
I’m fortunate enough to live at Ft. Leavenworth where the Army medical command has established one of their Army Wellness Centers. My New Parent Support Program counselor (another Army program) told me about what they offer and it sounded perfect for getting back on track with an exercise program after baby.
I’m sitting right in the middle of the demographic of most of my fellow Army wives. I had two babies in three years. I’m in my mid-thirties. I recently reintegrated after my Soldier’s deployment. And, I had an international PCS thrown in for good measure. Formerly fit in my youth, my fitness routine had become a mess before I got pregnant with my second and had become non-existent as I inched toward my due date. I had a pretty good diet but deviated to convenience food more than I should.
In short, I was the perfect Wellness Center client.
What I learned at my initial visit was huge for me. I found out I was within the window to make important changes that will help prevent chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. But, I also learned, that window isn’t open forever.
I’d always logically known that taking steps to eat better and exercise more would make a huge difference in my quality of life, for the rest of my life. Being a master procrastinator, I always put off those major changes. However, the wellness counselor’s motivation for sticking with their plan is what really hit home for me. “You’ve got to work to be healthy for your boys,” she said. “Starting tomorrow or next week or next month might be too late. You have to start making changes today. Right now.”
They gave me a customized fitness and nutrition plan and a follow-up appointment. It’s been easy to follow with small, incremental changes in the way I eat and real, practical workouts. More importantly, they gave me the motivation to make time for these changes.
So here I am, a work in progress. But, I’m proud of my new healthy habits and excited every time I add a new one.
Have you recently started health changes of your own? How did you get started?