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Healthy Changes: A New Course Offered From MHCC

A new year is on the horizon. And while many of us are gearing up to make those resolutions of a better year focused on any number of goals, quite a large percentage of those we know will attempt this being the year for being healthier. It's a noble goal, and one many of us will attempt at some point in our lives. The goal of making healthy changes in our lives is one we encourage, and this year we are making it a group effort!

At Memorial Hospital of Converse County, we are rolling out a program designed by the Centers for Disease Control for the entire year of 2018. The Healthy Changes class is primarily designed to help those who are considered pre-diabetic or are at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. But even those folks who are a little bit overweight, maybe not as active in their lifestyle; people that are just interested in a more healthy lifestyle and more healthy living and making a whole lifestyle change instead of only a phase change.

We interviewed Registered Dietitian Ashley Littleton about the class, what to expect, how the course is formatted and how it can help all of its attendees make healthy and lasting changes!

The classes are offered in a group setting, and this becomes an important element for many, "We are social creatures as humans. And when you have other people around that you see are making good progress, it's nice when they're in a similar space as you. It's nice to see some of the things that they're doing that have been helpful for them and just supporting each other where you are," noted Littleton. "The goal of the program is to get people and meet people where they are right then and grow as a whole group together."

The class is open to those who have either tried everything out there to those who this is their first foray into the world of healthy lifestyle choice. "We anticipate that most of the people that come to class, this might be the first time that they've tried to get healthy, this might have been the tenth time that they've tried to get healthy," said Ashley. "Our goal is just to try to encourage a healthy lifestyle throughout the whole program and to have the support of other people, besides just the instructors, is always really helpful and beneficial."

Diabetes is a growing concern amongst healthcare professionals, with the numbers each year rising steadily of those considered pre-diabetic or newly diagnosed with Type 2. "In Converse County, we have a higher incidence of diabetes than a lot of the state of Wyoming. We are the fourth highest county for diabetes incidents. About ten percent of our residents have diabetes and so our goal as a whole program and hospital and community provider, is to try to reduce that number of people that get diabetes."

The program designed by the CDC and endorsed by the ADA (Americans with Diabetes Association), looks to blend both higher activity levels with nutritional and dietary improvements to provide a whole health approach to those who attend. "Diets work for some people, and they don't work for others. Or conversely, this diet works for this person, and this diet doesn't work for this person. With the program, we hope to find the balance of things that work for the individual. The whole program is going to have a little bit of structure, but the greatest part about the program is that as instructors, as the coaches, we will be able to learn what works best for Suzy, but doesn't work as well for Jim. And then we can find out what works best for Jim and have some individualized treatment even though it is a structured program."

The classes will meet weekly for the first sixteen weeks then switch to a maintenance bi-monthly meeting style. "Every week we are going to go over a different topic, but the best part about these group classes is that the topic is going to go where the group wants it to go!" said Littleton. "The goal is for the coaches to be available and be the same coaches throughout the year and the sessions. Getting to learn that folks that are involved in those classes are really imperative. We hope that everyone finds a coach that they like. There will be a few coaches teaching, not just myself. But, I am going to be one until I'm gone for a little bit. Hopefully, we just can find the struggles that someone is having through group discussion and then find the solution that might work best for them instead of blanket statements that this will work for everybody."

If you would like to register or find out more information be sure to reach out to Ashley Littleton at our Medical Office Building by calling 307-358-7300!