BY RYAN WELLICOME
Alberta Health Services (AHS) is offering a series of weight management sessions to Lacombe County residents beginning Sept. 7th at the Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre.
The Weight Wise workshops run for nine monthly sessions with the goal of informing participants of the benefits of physical and mental health and how weight plays a role, while providing tools to implement change.
“The Weight Wise workshops are to help people learn some tools and get some strategies to help them manage their weight for the long term,” said Carmen Olson, a registered dietician who works with the Alberta Healthy Living Program.
The first workshop titled ‘Getting Started: Planning for Success’ teaches participants about obesity, its causes and treatment options including bariatric surgery. The workshop runs Sept. 7th from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m.
According to Statistics Canada, in 2014, 54% of Canadian adults – over 14.2 million – were classified as overweight or obese by Body Mass Index (BMI) standards along with over 400,000 youth (23%).
Subsequent sessions cover topics like implementing lifestyle changes that will work and how to cement them in the long-term using strategies like prioritization, journaling, problem solving and goal setting; the importance of physical activity and its benefits and challenges in addition to tips and setting activity goals; little known affects of stress on physical health, emphasizing stress management techniques and mindful eating; and nutritional knowledge such as strategies to eating out, planning grocery store runs that align with nutritional goals and learning to evaluate and plan eating habits.
AHS has broken up the program into nine different workshops, in part, because of the breadth of the material but also in order to offer options for participants. “Depending on the individual, different people have different things they may need to concentrate on,” said Olson.
Olson’s specialty is nutrition, which encompasses four of the program’s workshops, and she said that nutrition’s role in healthy weight management is an important one.
“We know that (nutrition) plays a very big role. I usually say that I think weight management is about 80 per cent diet and about 20 per cent exercise. But that depends on the individual and that’s why we have all the different sessions so that you can figure out what works for you.”
Workshops generally run two and a half hours and are offered as part of AHS’s Alberta Healthy Living Program, designed to offer health support and help Albertans educate themselves regarding chronic disease prevention and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
The program is tailored specifically to communities within the five zones of AHS which include Calgary, Edmonton, Central, North and South. AHS holds sessions and workshops throughout a number of communities in the Central Zone.
“We find there’s a real interest. There’s a lot of people out there that are interested in managing their weight,” said Olson.
The first four workshops are already scheduled for September through to December. The remaining five are planned for the New Year.
For more resources and information regarding health sessions in the Central Zone go to www.albertahealthservices.com.