Page 5 - Friends Newsletter - Fall 2017
P. 5

Healthy Eating and Group Support Go Hand-in-Hand

Sometimes the things we struggle with most are most
familiar to us. Take food, for instance: We often fail to
be mindful of what, when and how we eat. Many of
us aren’t even equipped with the knowledge to make
healthy decisions about food.

Catherine Bardier, Director of Wellness and Community       “Eating is often used as relief from sadness, anger
Health at NLH, along with staff dieticians Birgit           or other strong emotions,” Birgit continues. “As a
Humpert and Elke Melody, designed a free six week           group, we talk about alternative ways to relieve stress
course, Healthy Weight and Wellness, to address this        and reward ourselves. We also discuss eating without
issue. Currently in its fourth session, Healthy Weight      distraction and being mindful of flavors and textures.
and Wellness empowers individuals in the Kearsarge-         We should enjoy the food we eat.”
Sunapee region to make healthier decisions about
nutrition, exercise and stress management. Embracing        Fruit and Vegetable Rx for Use at Local Markets
goal setting and accountability tactics, participants       Healthy Weight and Wellness doesn’t stop with
leave the course with a greater awareness of how            cultivating mindfulness—the program also provides
healthy eating supports physical and mental wellbeing.      participants with easier access to healthy foods.
                                                            Each week, participants are given coupons, or
Fifteen individuals meet each week at Newport Health        “prescriptions”, to purchase fruits and vegetables at
Center and NLH, where in separate sessions Birgit and       four markets in the region: Beaver Pond Farm, Sweet
Elke guide discussions on weight loss, maintaining          Beet, Spring Ledge and the Newport Farmers Market.
healthy weight, nutrition, physical activity and emotional  Birgit and her colleagues even take Healthy Weight and
eating. Participants are challenged to become more          Wellness participants on a grocery store “tour” to help
mindful of their choices by journaling and setting          better understand food labels.
SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and
Timebound) goals that they share with the group.

“Journaling makes us more aware of our behavior,”
says Birgit. “We count our servings of fruits and
vegetables and determine if we’ve met our goals.
Writing can also lead to observations about the
triggers that make us overeat.”

                                                            Birgit loves working with groups because the
                                                            participants support each other. “One lady shared that
                                                            she was able to walk for three miles for the first time
                                                            in 10 years. Another worked her way up to running
                                                            around the Newport track,” says Birgit. The first
                                                            Healthy Weight and Wellness cohort collectively lost
                                                            36 pounds, and all 15 participants said that the program
                                                            helped them address their weight and wellness goals.
                                                            The program has been a major hit leading the Wellness
                                                            Connection team is considering expanding it in 2018.

NLH Staff Dietician Birgit Humpert                          Contact
                                                            or 603-526-5093 to register for upcoming Wellness
                                                            Connection programs.

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