Healthy Living

Healthy living isn’t always easy! Demands on our time such as work and family can make it difficult to take care of our bodies. These tools and resources will help you think more about your current health behaviors and provide information about how to make healthy changes.

Continuing the Conversation

Continue thinking about topics raised in your local WoVeN group, or join a discussion with other women Veterans through our National Social Network.

Questions for Reflection

  • Women competing with men in sports and physical activity has often been controversial throughout history. What was it like to be in the military and basic training alongside men?
  • What was your experience with women’s healthcare while in the military?
  • Have you ever done a fad diet? Was it successful? Why or why not?
  • How do you change an unhealthy habit? What gets in the way of making health changes?

Toolbox

Dive deeper into this theme with these self help tools.

What keeps you from being more active? Complete this self-assessment to understand barriers to increasing your physical activity

After you take the self-assessment to understand what gets in the way of being active, take a look at this chart for ideas on how to overcome your specific barriers.

If you are having trouble sleeping, here are some tips. Pick some behaviors you want to try changing and use the chart below to track what you tried and how well it worked.

Thinking through the pros and cons of making a behavior change is important. If you decide to make a change, then looking back at the pros of making this change can help when you want to give up! Use this tool to identify the pros and cons of making a behavior change.

Cool Stuff We Found

Check out these recent articles, podcasts, and book recommendations handpicked by the WoVeN team.

This New York Times article highlights K.V. Switzer, the women who became famous when she hid her gender and was the first woman to complete the male-only Boston marathon in 1967:

In this TED talk, Matt Cutts, an engineer at Google, offers an idea about how to form new habits:

What the Science Says

Learn about important research that relates to the lives of women Veterans.

This study looked at the ways that how long you sleep length impacted medical, psychological, and health risk behaviors among 1,640 Veterans (20% women).

Study Findings:

    • The majority of the sample (72%) reported that the quality of their sleep was poor.
    • Veterans who, on average, slept ≤ 5 hours/night or ≥ 9 hours/night were more than three times as likely to have posttraumatic stress disorder and depression as compared to Veterans who slept ≥ 7 hours/night.
    • Veterans who slept ≥ 9 hours/night on average were more likely to be a current smoker.

We Conclude:

  • Sleeping either too little or too much is associated with a variety of psychological problems and poor health behaviors, so getting the right amount of sleep is important!

Citation:

Swinkels et al. (2013). The association of sleep duration, mental health, and health risk behaviors among U.S. Afghanistan/Iraq era Veterans. Sleep, 36, 1019-1025.

This study examined the influence of PTSD on the effectiveness of a weight management program offered by the VA (i.e., MOVE) among 20,819 Veterans (12% women).

Study Findings:

      • Veterans with PTSD who enrolled in the MOVE program, a weight loss program offered by VA, participated in the program just as much as Veterans without mental health problems.
      • Veterans without mental health problems had more clinically meaningful weight loss 6 months after enrolling in MOVE than Veterans with PTSD (28.7% vs. 23.7%), but there were no differences between the groups at 12 months.
      • Learn more about the MOVE program here: https://www.move.va.gov/ 

We Conclude:

  • Having PTSD didn’t affect Veterans’ ability to lose clinically significant weight (losing ≥ 5% of body weight) during a weight loss program over the long term.

Citation:

Hoerster et al. (2014). Weight loss after participation in a national VA weight management program among Veterans with or without PTSD. Psychiatric Services, 65, 1385-1388.

Find More Info

Follow these links to find additional information about related topic areas.

For more information about a variety of different women’s health topics, including menstruation and the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause, see the fact sheets available through the Office on Women’s Health:

If you want to start walking and/or running but are not sure where to start, check out these training plans:

For more information about how to quit smoking see the following resources:

For more information about alcohol use and health see the following information from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:

If you are worried about your drinking, check out the following free, confidential online program, VETCHANGE, that aims to help Veterans cut down on their drinking:

There are a lot of misconceptions about infertility. Get the facts here from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development:

If you have you had a baby in the last year and are worried about your mood, check out the following free online postpartum depression treatment program, MumMoodBooster, for Veterans from the VHA Office of Rural Health:

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