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A comprehensive health improvement program is coming to Chatham.

Have you been told by your medical provider to “lose weight”, “exercise more”, “drink less alcohol” or make other therapeutic lifestyle changes? Often an individual is given 6 months to make changes before returning to their medical office for a new medication or an increase of an existing medication. The expense orstigma of taking pills lead many to seek alternative approaches. Where does one go for help? Information provided on the internet is where many turn to first. Unfortunately, these sources are often biased, trying to sell you trendy products and supplements and based on pseudo-science. It is difficult to obtain evidence-based information. Medical research spends only 3.4% of their funding on nutritional studies annually but the majority is focused on revenue producing supplements. The food industry is interested in wealth rather than health. So what IS a healthy diet? Despite the sea of information it is hard to sort out what foods to eat, and if supplements help at all.

One answer is a program led by Nurse Practitioner Carol Penfield that can provide you with sound medical and behavioral advice to guide you to weight loss and a healthier you! It is the Complete Health Improvement Program called “C.H.I.P.” which has helped over 65,000 people during the past 25 years. The CHIP medical and nutrition experts continuously review medical studies and sort through evidence-based literature in order to provide sound information that is easy to understand and follow. It is a comprehensive program that leads to lifelong change and may be covered by your insurance.

Learn more about the CHIP program at the following

FREE information session open to the public:
Sat. Jan. 3rd at 11am.
Only at the Chatham Health & Swim Club.

The CHIP program is a safe and successful opportunity you don’t want to miss!

What will your last 10 years look like?

Weight and Blood Pressures are dropping at Chatham Health & Swim Club

The annual 6-week “Weigh to Better Health” Team weight loss program has helped 80 participants lose 521.7 pounds this year, making a total of 2978 pounds spanning 5 years.  Not only that, but this year many lowered their blood pressures too.  For example, H.K. dropped her BP from 186/92 to 144/82, M.M from 153/84 to 118/74 and A.C. from 138/98 to 108/72.

Sure, weight loss can assist with a drop in blood pressure, but more immediate changes were noticed.  How? By practicing a 1:2 deep breathing technique introduced by Nancy Samotis, MFA, LicSW and RYT (Staff Restorative and Seated Yoga Instructor and psychotherapist) during one of the weekly nutrition and lifestyle medicine workshops.  Each participant’s blood pressure was measured by Dr. David Penfield (co-owner & ER physician), then Sally Moore coached the 1:2 breathing practice and a follow-up blood pressure was obtained after 3-5 minutes.  “It was amazing to find that it didn’t take long to see a significant difference in almost everyone’s blood pressure” stated Dr. Penfield.

There are multiple forms of yogic breath, but “1:2 breathing” is easy to practice and helps calm the nervous system.  The breathing technique involves inhaling through the nose for 2-counts and slowly exhaling through the mouth for long controlled 4-counts.

Practicing this style of breathing during times of physical or mental stress helps to manage the “fight or flight” response to negative stress and lower blood pressure. Taking fewer but deeper breaths each minute temporarily lowers blood pressure and calms the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for generating stress hormones. The mind and body are very intimately connected; when the mind is completely at ease, the whole body also gains complete relaxation.

Other key components of the weight loss program included weekly educational workshops and ongoing support to help the participants to:

  • Choose a personal form record/log keeping
  • Minimize daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 mgs per day,
  • Increase daily exercise to 30 – 60 min./day  or 10, 000 steps/day
  • Eat at least 2-1/2 cups of vegetables
  • Take fun new classes such as indoor rowing or water interval classes

In addition to learning how to sustain healthy behaviors each week, a cooking class was included this year.  Chef Dana Dunbar, owner of Beach Plum Chef in Brewster demonstrated unique and tasty ways to prepare vegetables with minimal usage of salt.

Interested in learning the 2:1 breath?  Come try a Restorative Yoga class Thursdays 5:30 – 6:15pm or a Seated Yoga class on Fridays 10 – 11am.  Drop-ins are welcome at Chatham Health & Swim Club.

Thank you to our event T-shirt sponsors:

Acupuncture with Hope,Cape Cod Ambulance, Cape Cod Chronicle, Cape Cod Emergency Assoc., Chatham Candy Manor, Chatham Village Market, Jennifer Eldredge Stello Photography, Kinlin Grover Realty, Pine Acres Realty, Schumacher Properties, Stello Construction Ent. Inc., W. Vernon Whiteley Plumbing & Heating

Weight and Blood Pressures are dropping at Chatham Health & Swim Club

How to make healthy changes you CAN live with.

By Carol Penfield, M.S., Nurse Practitioner

How you live your life day to day directly affects your health and quality of life.   Most people realize this and recognize the need for changes in their behaviors. The challenge is how to obtain “sustainable” changes.  The most common initial motivating factor is fear.  Some individuals may stop drinking after an embarrassing event, others may stop eating high fat foods after a heart attack. Too often after a few weeks or months denial returns and former habits start to trickle back into the daily routine.

Re-programing the mind to change from the “fear of dying” to the “joy of living” is helpful but can be challenging.  Dr. Dean Ornish demonstrated in his research that in order to maintain healthy changes the process must be fun, enjoyable and target the interest of the individual. Each person is unique and developing successful strategies for change involves many factors.

Are there changes that you would like to make such as; exercising more often, eating more vegetables or avoiding stress-eating?  Then ask yourself the following two questions:

1)    “How important is it to me to change?” 

            Using a scale from 1(not interested) to 10 (very eager),

            My number = _________.

2)    “How confident am I that I can change?”

            Using the same scale, 1(not at all) to 10 (I am very motivated),

            My number = _________. 

If you find that changing your behavior is important but you are not motivated, then your goal setting should be modest.  If changing is important and your confidence is high, then now is the time to take action. However, if both answers are below 4 then ask yourself, “What would it take to get my score up above 5 in both categories?”  These questions are examples of tools that can help you start the process of creating healthy changes in your life.  

It is important to remind yourself that even small changes can have a large impact on disease management and prevention.  For example, these are two impressive and motivating studies;

1)    The “EPIC” study followed 23,000 people and those that adhered to 4 simple behaviors (not smoking, exercising 3.5 hours per week, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy weight) showed 93% of diabetes, 81% of heart attacks, 50% of strokes and 36% of all cancers were prevented.

2)    The “Nurses’ Health Study” of 238,000 nurse-participants showed that 80% of all heart disease and 91% of diabetes could be eliminated if women adopted lifestyle practices including exercise, normal body weight,  simple nutritional changes and smoking cessation.

According to Dr. Dean Ornish, “When you make healthy choices you feel better quickly. When you feel better you enjoy making healthy choices.”


Get the support and guidance you need to help YOU lead a healthier lifestyle.

Carol Penfield will be hosting a FREE Lifestyle Medicine workshop addressing; proper nutrition, fitness, managing stress, and improving sleep on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012 from 9 – 10 am. at Chatham Health and Swim Club. It is open to the public, but space is limited.  Call Chatham Health & Swim Club to reserve: 508-945-3555.


Carol Penfield, M.S., Nurse Practitioner has opened a medical practice specializing in Lifestyle Medicine.  Her private office is located below the Chatham Health & Swim Club, and she accepts most medical insurances. 508-945-7761