Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital
Being Involved in Your Health
Are you struggling with making the changes that you know will improve your health and well-being? Below are some tips that research has shown to be effective.
- Think about the real reason you want to make the change.
Ms. Jones wants to lose weight to be healthier, but the real reason she wants to be healthier is so she can get down on the floor to play with her grandbaby.
- Break down your goal to specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, time-specific (SMART) goals and action steps.
Mr. Smith wants to lower his cholesterol. One way to do this is to eat more fiber. He sets a SMART goal to eat 28 grams of fiber each day for the next two weeks. He will need high-fiber foods, so he sets a SMART action step of going to the store on Saturday to pick up three high-fiber foods.
- Be accountable to someone or something. Consider using a member of your health care team, a friend, a family member, or even a phone app!
Mr. Smith asks his primary care nurse to place him in contact with a Whole Health Coach so he can receive weekly calls to support him in reaching his goal.
- Plan ahead.
Ms. Jones has set a SMART goal to consume no more than 1,800 calories per day for the next two weeks. When planning, she notices there is a birthday party she is attending on Friday. She attends the party, but eats a healthy snack just before so she isn’t tempted by ice cream and cake.
- Celebrate your victories. Don’t focus on your mistakes.
Ms. Jones attends the birthday party, but slips up and eats a piece of cake. She is tempted to wait until Monday to start over. Instead, she decides to get back on the wagon now. The rest of the evening she makes healthy choices and sends a secure message to her Whole Health Coach, sharing the success of getting back on track so quickly.
- Celebrate the unmeasurable!
Mr. Smith has been eating his higher fiber diet for about three months now. He has his labs re-checked. His cholesterol is down, but not as much as he wanted. Instead of getting discouraged, he focuses on the success he had. He thinks about how much better he is feeling and the unintended weight loss he’s had with the healthier diet.
Needing extra support in making changes for improved health and well-being? Truman VA offers Whole Health Coaching, MOVE!, Smoking Cessation, and many other programs that can support you each step of the way. Ask your health care team for more information. To learn more about Whole Health, visit: https://www.va.gov/patientcenteredcare/.