Volunteer Training: A Gift for Life

“The experience is a game changer,” says Ridgefield resident Maureen Bohrer (below, right), referring to the 16-hour training she attended as part of her RVNAhealth hospice volunteer orientation. While some prospective hospice volunteers find the hours daunting, Bohrer considers it a gift.Continue reading

So You Want to Go on a Diet?

Understood. Us too! Just a good re-set to lose weight, get back on track, break some recent habits, feel better, and start the year off right. There’s just one problem. Our RVNAhealth registered dietitian, Monica Marcello, MS RD, won’t let us. 😊

Why Not?

“To be clear, explains Marcello, “I am not anti-weight loss. But I am anti-deprivation. And deprivation is a key element of most diets.  As a registered dietitian, I want you to EAT! I want you to eat the foods that are going to make you feel great, give you energy, promote good health, and still allow joy in your life. That is going to be different for everybody.”

Here are Marcello’s concerns about diets:

  • Diets set you up for failure by neglecting your individual needs and promoting an unsustainable approach.
  • Diets don’t work. Studies show that many dieters regain more weight than they originally lost.
  • Diets are often expensive. Specific diet food plans may cost between $100-500 per week and dietary pills and supplements may cost between$50-$200 per package.
  • Diets and healthy eating are not synonymous. Low in calories does not mean high in nutrition.
  • Diets can mess with your metabolism. When you’re dieting and in a moderate to extreme calorie deficit, your  body learns how to adapt on fewer calories and can therefore stunt weight loss prematurely. Not only is this counter-intuitive to your goals, it can also add frustration and mental fatigue. 

Why the Diet Appeal?

“Diets continue to intrigue people for many reasons,” says Marcello, “in part, I believe, they’ve been part of our culture for a long time, and we’re just programmed to think that if we want to lose weight, a diet is the place to start.”

But there are other reasons too:

  • Diets are big business and have been for decades. According to marketresearch.com, diets were a $78 billion dollar business in the United States in 2019, and that number is on the rise.
  • There’s a certain quick-fix appeal. If this, then this, and all will be better.
  • Deprivation for a finite time sometimes seems easier than moderation for a lifetime.
  • The jumpstart effect. Sometime people just want a wholesale change to interrupt current habits and put themselves in a better position quickly.

What’s a Dieter to Do?

Assess Your Goals.

If you really want to lose weight —for good — a diet is not the answer. You need a plan that works for you, your lifestyle, your goals, and your personality.

Through sustainable and healthy weight loss, done right, you can learn long-lasting tips/tricks that do more for the body beyond weight loss. You can improve your health and wellness by recognizing and responding to your internal cues and realities — hunger, fullness, food likes/dislikes, time for cooking, budget, sustainability. If it’s going to work, it needs to work for you and your life.

Weight Loss 101

Whether your motive is good health, weight loss, or to manage a health condition, there are certain basic tenets to remember:

Foods First. Foods First is an evidence-based approach that encourages individuals to eat intuitively and consume a variety of foods that assist in achieving good health

Prioritize nutrition over calories and the rest will fall into place —if you’re patient and approach correctly!

Try not to make weight loss the absolute priority and only goal. Let other aspects of your life be the guiding force for changing your diet.

Back to Basics.
There is evidence-based research that supports a common eating style: Unprocessed, Plant-rich, Whole foods, High nutrition. All of the conditions below can be managed by adhering to these essential concepts. 

    • Family history of high blood pressure, heart disease, Alzheimer’s
    • Struggling with mood and mental health disorders
    • Stomach or bowel issues
    • Diabetes and prediabetes
    • Skin
    • Inflammation and joint pain
    • Energy and brain fog
    • Creativity

I still want to diet to reset my habits. It’s worked in the past for me.

Oh, for goodness’ sake! You’re incorrigible! Let’s talk. If you must diet, you’ll want to do it as healthfully as possible, and be sure to transition from your diet to a subsequent plan that will reward your hard work.  If you have a particular diet that’s interesting to you, we can review the benefits and pitfalls; identify what to watch out for; plan for what to do when you’re ‘done,’ and consider other lifestyle habits that might help you along.

What Next?

If you’re serious about losing weight, getting healthy, managing a condition, or dieting safely, get in touch!  The first 25 people to click the link below will receive a 15-minute nutrition consultation and $50 off your first visit.  

A Gift from NCL to NFP

Valentine's Day is coming up and the Ridgefield Chapter of National Charity League (NCL) has been busy creating "Luv You Bags" for the Moms and Babies in our Nurse-Family Partnership program.Continue reading

It All Starts with the Feet

And not all feet were created equal.  Which is exactly why RVNAhealth is now offering custom and semi-custom orthotics.

The importance of a good foundation has long been established.  Be it a skyscraper, a novel, a wedding cake, or an education, it’s that which comes first that provides structure and stability to that which follows.

The human body is no different, with our feet playing a critical role as our foundation. “The fact is,” says Kate Campbell, DPT, Outpatient Practice Manager at RVNAhealth, “the importance of our feet is paramount, yet they are often overlooked — and entirely unappreciated! Each foot is composed of 26 bones, 30 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments. From our very first steps, they bear the brunt of every stride and skip, every leap and bound, every stub and twist. Our entire body lies above them, and any imperfection or deformity in the foot invariably impacts the whole body, often manifesting in pain or issues elsewhere.”

Gigi Weiss, MSPT, RVNAhealth Director of Rehabilitation & Wellness continues, “As physical therapists, our goal — our job —is to resolve the pain and issues of our clients and restore them to optimal strength and mobility. Many times, when a client presents with back, hip, or leg pain — and of course, foot pain —the root issue may lie at the foundation, the foot. In these cases, we can only treat their full condition by addressing their feet.”

For this reason, RVNAhealth has added custom and semi-custom orthotics —inserts placed inside the shoes with the purpose of restoring natural foot function and enabling optimal biomechanics — to our Rehabilitation & Wellness service offerings. “Those who already wear orthotics likely understand their value and how they work,” says Campbell. “But for those new to orthotics, we can help you identify if an orthotic is right for you and walk you through the process from start to finish to ensure a successful end result.  Believe me, the right orthotic can be life changing.”

Here’s everything you need to know to get started:

Does RVNAhealth offer a particular brand of orthotics?
RVNAhealth offers Stride™ Orthotics. Stride is based out of Middlebury, CT, and we think they are the best in the business. We are committed to their product which pairs well with our process of capturing and molding the foot in its natural state, not its deformed state. With this approach, and Stride’s products, we can then build an orthotic that compliments the natural foot to optimize balance and alignment.

RVNAhealth offers both semi-custom and custom orthotics, correct? What is the difference?
Custom Orthotics are built entirely ‘from scratch’ beginning with an extensive evaluation and measurements, molding of the foot, and then designing the orthotic based on the patient’s specific needs (for example, shoe-type like sneakers vs. loafers, or to accommodate specific pains or conditions like diabetes, etc.). Semi-custom orthotics begin with a ‘prefabricated’ Stride orthotic and are customized from there to meet your specific needs. Stride offers six prefabricated models based on six different foot types.

Who needs orthotics? How do I know if I need them?
Honestly, everybody with foot pain, knee pain, back pain, flat feet, too-high arches, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, neuromas, you name it, might need orthotics. Tendonitis, ankle sprainers, Achilles’ heel, etc.  If you are uncertain, we can help you with an evaluation/ consultation.

Why would I get orthotics from RVNAhealth rather than a podiatrist office?
RVNAhealth offers orthotics as a specialty service to help resolve and prevent injury. Our methodology takes time and expertise and includes a detailed evaluation with the gold standard of casting methodology. At an RVNAhealth orthotics appointment, we perform a complete treadmill gait analysis; take digital photos of your feet; review old shoes to see wear pattern; evaluate feet in standing and laying (non-weight bearing) positions. We make a plaster of Paris mold of the foot in a perfect gravity-eliminated state, capturing the foot in its natural state, not its deformed state. Orthotics are intended to prevent further change and deformity in the foot — and in some cases are successful in ‘re-training’ the foot back to a healthier state — and our process successfully supports that intent. The RVNAhealth team currently includes two trained Stride Orthotics Specialists, fully educated on the process with ongoing education and training for the whole staff.

How much do RVNAhealth Stride Orthotics cost?
Custom Orthotics cost $450 and semi-custom orthotics cost $150. Both include evaluation, casting, and follow-up fitting until we know they are right. Re-orders of the same orthotics (for multiple pairs of shoe types) do not require an additional evaluation, hence are significantly reduced. (Actual cost depends on type of orthotic, shoe, etc.)

How long do Orthotics last?
Custom orthotics last for several years if you take care of them or “refurbish” them every year or two. Refurbishment means the orthotic liner is temporarily removed, the orthotic is ‘plumped back up’ and returned to its original shape. Refurbishment is sort of like a tune-up for your car. Semi-custom orthotics ($150) do not get re-furbished. They are replaced every year or two, depending on wear. Semi-custom orthotics are good for kids whose feet grow, and first-time orthotics wearers.

Does RVNAhealth accept insurance for orthotics?
No. Some HSAs and Flexible Spending Accounts, however, do reimburse for orthotics.

How long from my casting appointment until I receive my orthotics?
About 4 weeks.

What if they don’t work?
Getting used to your orthotics takes time and we recommend a staggered wearing sequence for the first few weeks once you start your orthotics. If something still isn’t right after two weeks, it needs to be looked at. We have 90 days to get it right and work with the lab to correct.

Might my child need orthotics?
If your feet are problematic, your children will likely have the same issues. Orthotics are also appropriate for children with Osgood-Schlatter disease; patella tendonitis; flat feet; toe walking; in-toeing; knock knees, and many other issues. If you have concerns, call us at 203-438-7862 and we can work together to figure it out.

Time to Think About Shingles

One of the many rites of passage of turning 50 years old is the need to get the Shingles vaccine. And while this doesn't seem very glamorous, it's a whole lot more glamorous than getting Shingles — a nasty rash which is extremely painful and can have long-lasting effects. Continue reading

Take a Pause with RVNAhealth and WSHU

For several years, RVNAhealth has enjoyed a partnership with WSHU Public Radio, based out of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield. Beginning this month, we're expanding our relationship to include not only our regular on-air sponsorship spots, but also sole sponsorship of WSHU’s weekly micro-newsletter, The Pause.  Continue reading

‘Twas the Season — Warm, Generous, Fun

One of the reasons RVNAhealth is a top workplace year after year is because of the friendships and partnerships we have — both within our organization, and with others. They enrich our days and our work, and are just plain fun. Continue reading

The Precious Gift of Education

The gift of education is a profound one. An investment in an individual that rewards their potential; offers enlightenment; and has the power to influence the course of their life. Every year, select RVNAhealth staff members are fortunate to receive such a gift  — through scholarships offered by Fairfield County Bank and the Couri Family Foundation, both longtime donors and believers in RVNAhealth.Continue reading