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Postpartum Weight Loss: How Tricare Can Help (Or Not …)

Oh yes, the dreaded baby weight. If you’re like me, nursing didn’t do the trick and, well, I’ve got a few pounds to shed. Once I actually started trying to lose weight, I made a quick trip to my health care provider (I’m on Tricare Prime) and asked how she could help. Unfortunately, she wasn’t too kind, cut the conversation short, and swiftly wrote me a referral to behavioral health.

Since I’ve never needed to lose weight and have always been a health-conscious person, I didn’t think behavioral health would have any life-changing information, but I thought I’d go anyway just to see.

Sure enough – between you and me – her advice was not worth my thirty minutes and arranged childcare. She did, however, give me a big stack of black and white photocopied worksheets. There was some interesting information in that stack about how the Army Wellness Center had specific weight loss programs, but I’ll get to that later.

Now, for those of us who are venturing into learning about fitness and health for the first time, I’d highly recommend behavioral health. It’s a free appointment (and follow ups) with someone who can teach you the basics of a healthy diet, BMI, and calorie counting in a private and compassionate setting. But if you’re already familiar with the basics, behavioral health may not be that helpful.

Check out these healthy living apps recommended by behavioral health: My Fitness Pal, HealthyOut, Fooducate, and Shopwell.

I also was referred to the Army Wellness Center. Their services are definitely a step above and beyond behavioral health. They offer Metabolic Testing, Bodpod, and a Weigh to Live program (which includes a medical appointment and fitness classes).

Keep in mind, Tricare does not cover weight loss products. On special occasions, behavioral health may write a referral for you to go to a nutritionist – but this is the extent of Tricare’s ability to help with postpartum weight loss. While this is unfortunate, and I wish there were more involved options under the umbrella of Tricare, there are many other options as a military spouse. Keep reading.

Tricare Postpartum Weight Loss Checklist:

  • Schedule an appointment with your provider.
  • Discuss your concerns and request a referral to behavioral health.
  • Schedule an appointment with behavioral health.
  • Come prepared with a list of questions and concerns and address all of them with your behavioral health specialist!
  • Get to it and follow up with the specialist for accountability.
  • Download the recommended apps and use them to help calorie counting and altering diet and fitness goals.
  • Visit your Army Wellness Center (or your branch’s version).

After exploring all of Tricare’s options, I took matters into my own hands; I asked a friend to be my accountability partner and we joined the local YMCA together (it has a fantastic military family rate). My husband left for training, and I cleaned out the pantry of all un-clean food items. I put together a basic meal plan for myself and charged ahead. I’m only down a couple of pounds so far, but greatness takes time, right?!

Now, rest assured, I have some more good news. Military OneSource is chock-full of programs and support for we military moms. Health and wellness coaches, resilience tools, counseling referrals, you name it – and it’s all free!

 

 

 

Now, never in my wildest dreams did I ever think to look to the United States Department of Agriculture for weight loss assistance but hey, they have a ton of resources as well.

A couple of other ideas to get you started:

  • Check out your local MWR. Sometimes they offer nutritional classes and fun runs!
  • Is your on-base gym too far or unappealing? The YMCA always offers a hard-to-beat military family discount!
  • Nearly every base offers fitness classes that children are welcome to attend (preferably in the stroller).

To wrap things up, it was pretty disappointing to realize that Tricare has nothing specifically for postpartum weight loss. But if you take advantage of the weight loss programs and support they do offer and complement them with outside support and your own resourcefulness, you can still work toward your goals!

 

 

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