NEWS | Feb. 4, 2015

NHCC can help in achieving weight loss goals

By Petty Officer 3rd Class Caralyn Mulyk Naval Health Clinic Charleston

Making resolutions is easy, keeping them is hard.

Research suggests that only 8 percent of people actually achieve their New Year's goals. Weight related resolutions account for 38 percent of New Year's resolutions, but only 64 percent of people will maintain their resolutions past the first month. Only about 19 percent of people who make New Year's resolutions actually stick to them for two years.

Now that it's February, and the frenzy to get fit has fizzled, Naval Health Clinic Charleston has a weight loss resolution solution for its beneficiaries.

Her name is Linda Washington.
Washington is a nutritionist who has turned some of NHCC's patients into the "Biggest Losers," and now she wants to teach more weight-loss warriors how to win the battle of the bulge.

The first step in her platform is to make sure her clients are primed for action.

"First of all, the person has to be ready," said Washington. "If they aren't ready, it's not going to happen."

Washington equips her clients with nutrition plans based on their current weight and activity levels, recommendations from the patients' primary care physicians, and goals the patients set for how they want to look and feel in the short and long term future.

"There is no one plan for everyone; it's all individualized," said Washington.

For anyone following Washington's nutrition plan, no food is off limits, but calories may be restricted.

"Her mantra for food is, 'Is it worth the calories?'" said Teressa Armstrong, a retired Sailor who has lost more than 100 pounds by adhering to Washington's nutrition plan, which requires Armstrong to eat 1600 calories or less a day.

"I had to totally rethink the way I ate," said Armstrong. "I went from eating out at lunch and eating whatever I wanted, to thinking about everything that I ate. It was difficult to eat five meals a day. It was even harder to resist eating the way I was at all the work birthday parties and events with food."

In 2011, Armstrong's doctor at NHCC told her that her body weight and cholesterol were at unhealthy levels. She considered lap-band surgery.

"Then I went to Ms. Washington's nutrition class," said Armstrong. "I dropped the weight, and I've been keeping it off ever since."

So how do Washington's clients get such amazing results?

"She offers weight-loss tips that really work," said Chancellor Massey, a Navy spouse who also lost more than 100 pounds under Washington's guidance.

"She isn't into the fad diets and doesn't push you too hard," said Massey. "You're not going to hear Linda suggest losing 5 to 7 pounds a week, but she will give you attainable, achievable goals."

"I never really tell them what to eat or what to do," said Washington about her clients. "I emphasize what they are doing right and use positive reinforcement rather than punishing them for what they might be doing wrong. I emphasize the positives."

Washington also calls attention to the health consequences for not eating right, she said.

"Diabetes, hypertension, stroke, arthritis, sleep apnea, breast cancer, and other cancers are all linked to obesity," she said. "People want to look good too. When you want to lose weight, you must always continue to fight, because sometimes it takes a fight to win. But when you win, it's a wonderful accomplishment."

To schedule a consultation with Linda Washington, call (843) 794-6917.