It may seem that your only resources for health information are available on the web or in your doctor’s office. You’d rather not spend an exorbitant amount of time in a paper gown, peppering your general practitioner with questions, so you stick with the web, accepting that there are no other options. But there are. Professionals, events and classes are all around you. You can easily find the answer to your questions with a quick search and an addition to your calendar. To prove it, I did a quick google search for health events in the suburbs surrounding Philadelphia (the city seemed to easy) and wound up last Tuesday evening in a seminar on nutrition at Doylestown Hospital.
The lecturer, Amy, was a nutritionist who, at the hospital, worked with people to help them maintain weight, lose weight or gain weight, depending on what was desired and healthiest. The class was the third in a series of six that examined nutrition in conjunction with various goals, such as weight management, which was the session I attended. The group was small – only 15 people, including myself – but that allowed for Amy to be more personal, to address issues she knew the students had and to create, much to my surprise, individualized meal plans for each person.
She began by stressing the importance not of weight but of fat. The goal, she said, was not to reach any so-called normal weight but instead, to achieve the ideal body composition – a ratio of fat mass to fat-free mass that would lead to optimal health. The only way to do this was to first and foremost exercise, combining aerobic and strength training routines. Once you introduced activity into your life, you could focus on food, on the number of calories you needed daily and on what types of food you should eat. Your best diet would incorporate meat products (poultry, beef, eggs, cheese etc.), carbohydrates (starches, fruits and milk) and fat (good fat, please). You didn’t want to ban anything. You did want to know your limits, which were explained and reinforced with handouts throughout the lecture.
Over the course of 2 ½ hours, we were taught the ins and outs of nutrition and weight management. When I left, it was with a sense that I had learned something and that I wasn’t alone. The students, who were clearly invested in the information, left with a far better understanding of how they should eat – something that they could apply to their daily life and use to better it. Overall, the experience was educational and rewarding, and it only took me five minutes to find.
Health information is readily available to you, if you take the time to look. Check out local hospitals for classes. Keep an eye on the paper for events. And be prepared to be surprised by how much is out there. Your own backyard is filled with opportunity. Go discover it and learn.