by Tammie Moore, Fort Meade Public Affairs

Kerry Watson adjusts a metabolic testing mask on Michael Crossett, both Army Wellness Center health educators, before beginning his assessment. Watson is learning how to use the equipment to run manual assessments. The staff recently received HEPA filters for the mask which allowed them to resume metabolic testing without a risk of coronavirus transmission. The assessment measures resting metabolic rate to provide tailored strategies for weight loss, weight gain, or maintenance.

AWC staff offers tools to achieve wellness goals

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. – It is common for people to start each new year with resolutions to improve their health, it is also common for those goals to fall to the wayside as the newness of the year fades.

The Army Wellness Center on Fort Meade offers programs and services designed to help service members, retirees, dependents 18 and older, and Department of Defense id card holders achieve their health, physical performance, and readiness goals.

“Everyone has new year's resolutions, but what is your plan?” said Noelle Austin-Jones, AWC director and lead health educator. “People start exercising in January but by February they have given up. That is where we come in. We look at how we can turn a resolution into a habit. The more specific we can get with a plan, the more doable it becomes.”

When someone visits the AWC, they are not only getting services, they are also getting an expert staff. The AWC staff members hold a variety of health and nutrition degrees and certificates.

The center offers a gambit of virtual classes and individual consultations focused on achieving goals ranging from increasing metabolism to managing stress. Other areas of support include topics such as tobacco awareness, performance optimization, healthy sleeping habits, goal setting, nutrition.

“Everything we do is patient centered,” Austin-Jones said. “(Let us know) what do you want to work on (and we can find ways to help you) do those things.”

For those who have fitness and weight-based goals, the staff can conduct body composition testing to establish a baseline for tracking healthy weight and body composition management. They offer metabolic testing to determine caloric needs for weight management. They can also perform fitness testing to measure cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength and flexibility.

“All assessments are designed to help clients understand their current health and wellness levels and find out how to develop a SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based) goal to improve their results,” said Shelby Beattie, AWC health educator. "With each assessment, clients will be able to work with their health educator on developing a plan of action and accountability checklist to reach their health and wellness goals whether it is to improve VO2, lose or gain weight, learn proper education on macro and micro nutrients or manage stress.”

The AWC staff members stress the need to focus on a whole person.

“Our stress management program is an excellent way to also start the health and wellness journey by learning different relaxation techniques to destress,” Beattie said. “Stress can ultimately affect nutrition, activity and sleep habits.”

Austin-Jones believes healthy sleep habits and management stress are the foundations of nutrition and fitness.

“I think the stress management training is under utilized,” she said. “On Fort Meade we have a lot of high stress and sedentary jobs. It is really hard to make healthy choices with food when you are tired or stressed. It is really hard to motivate yourself to want to engage and exercise when you are tired or stressed.”

The AWC staff is on hand to help new clients achieve their goals. To learn more about their services, visit their Facebook page AWCFortMeade or their Instagram account awc_fortmeade. To schedule an appointment, call 301-677-2006.