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Naval Hospital Bremerton ShipShape Program Something to Smile about

Story by Douglas Stutz

Naval Hospital Bremerton

For Cynthia Blinkinsop, there was a need to regain her smile that had been missing.

Naval Hospital Bremerton’s (NHB) Health Promotion and Wellness Department’s ShipShape Program provided just the resource to make Blinkinsop’s happy expression return.

“I didn’t laugh as much as I used to. My granddaughter makes me smile and I want to be able to keep up with her. The ShipShape Program has given me a creative and supporting environment to improve my overall health to be able to do that,” exclaimed Blinkinsop.

The ShipShape Program is the Navy’s official weight management program that assists active duty, reservists, beneficiaries, and Department of Defense civil service workers with making healthy behavior changes in order to lose weight. The program consists of eight sessions with two online sessions and six in-person group sessions that can be taken in any order. The program focuses on three important components for weight loss: mindset, nutrition, and physical activity. The goal is to equip participants with the skills and resources necessary to jumpstart a healthier lifestyle.

“We’re fueling the body and mind of those enrolled by providing a lot of information on everything from weight control and strengthening muscles to reducing stress and improving sleep. ShipShape is designed to enhance a person’s health and wellbeing and increase their chance of having a longer life,” said Patricia Skinner, NHB Health Promotion and Wellness Department Health Educator.

There were over 100 beneficiaries, retirees and dependents enrolled last year, along with 25 active duty members.

“We are seeing more and more beneficiaries, retirees and dependents getting more involved with our classes due to more providers throughout the hospital taking part in referring those patients to us,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (Fleet Marine Force) Matthew Oberg, Health Promotion Leading Petty Officer and Active Duty Shipshape Coordinator.

“I noticed the program listed on the Health Promotion calendar of events and after caring for my husband I decided it was now time to care for me. The group provides accountability. I like meeting with like-minded individuals and brainstorming on ways to improve on things I think I know and on things I should know,” Blinkinsop said.

According to Oberg, there are multiple overlapping benefits associated with the program for those who enroll.

“It’s about an ongoing lifestyle that includes long-term changes in daily eating and exercise habits to help each person reach and maintain a healthy weight for life. This can benefit anyone both personally and professionally by increasing readiness, enhancing peak performance, and building resilience. Facilitators work to help design customized action plans that address nutrition, physical activity, and psychological readiness, and apply weight loss concepts to daily living. We ensure everyone has the right mindset, nutrition, and physical activity to meet their goals,” explained Oberg, noting that the program’s effectiveness stems from being informative as well as interactive throughout the entire eight-week course.

“I’ve already mentioned that we focus on mindset, nutrition, and physical activity. Some individuals may know how to portion their meals, but may not know how to conduct physical activity to maintain or lose their weight. This is an excellent program to show members how to do that,” added Oberg.

The mindset portion of the class consists of asking program participants questions such as, ‘what motivates you to adopt a healthier lifestyle?’ ‘Have you, or could you, make working out or increasing your physical activity a priority in your life?’ ‘What have you done, or should you continue to do, in order to modify your environments to support healthy behaviors?’

“Based on the member’s answers to the questions, we’ll guide them in the right direction to help them stay on track and meet their goals,” said Oberg.

The nutrition portion of the program has each person tracking their food intake, and researching nutritional information from available sites such as the United States Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database. In the Psychology of Weight Management portion of the program, the goal for enrollees is to find a healthy alternative to one of their ‘craved’ foods.

The physical activity portion consists of establishing a workout plan, evaluating the plan for balance to ensure it includes elements of cardio, strength training, and flexibility. Oberg advocates that a workout should include 200 to 250 minutes of exercise a week distributed over four to six days.

“After the member has been working out for at least a couple of weeks we evaluate their program to see if it’s working for them. We help them identify a quick and easy physical activity that they can do vice eating when they know they aren’t really hungry, such as going for a walk or doing some air squats. Every little bit helps,” Oberg stressed.

Program enrollees will even learn smart tips on shopping for groceries.

“We’ll take a field trip to some place like one of the commissaries and explain just how a grocery store is laid out and what sections and aisles to avoid and the best way to shop. What we’re doing is not concentrating on the scale as much as being able to feel if someone’s clothes fit looser. ShipShape is a change in lifestyle by replacing some old habits with the new. It’s not about being on a diet,” Skinner said.

Program Date/Time:
Mondays: 1200-1:30 p.m.
Tuesday: 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Wednesday: 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Thursday (except first Thursday of month): 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Friday: 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.

For more information on this class and others, please call 360-475-4541. For appointments, call Puget Sound Military Appointment Center at 1-800-404-4506.

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