Keith Ching, a 77-year-old Vietnam infantry Veteran, yearned to get back into shape and move better. He didn’t need to get back to the 130 push-up days of his youth, but he wanted to live a healthy and long life where he could keep up with his family.

Ching first learned of Whole Health Coaches at Move!, a weight management program he was attending at the Sierra Nevada VA. Coaches could help him decide on specific goals that were measurable and provide resources and structure to help him reach them.

He knew much of his success in the military stemmed from structure. To him a coach was the perfect solution, someone to not only encourage him and find resources so he could succeed but to also hold him accountable. That someone was Samuel Mitrovich,  Army Veteran and VA Navigator who helps Veterans navigate VA and their Whole Health plan.

Manageable goal with self-imposed structure

“Sam is a positive force and a Veteran who understands other Veterans,” Ching said. Whole Health Coach is a great resource to help you create manageable goals with a self-imposed structure. The goals don’t need to relate to your physical health. New hobbies, giving back or nearly any interest can become a goal.

“Whole Health goes beyond traditional health care and centers on what matters to the individual Veteran. We want to help Veterans be more involved in their health care and as a result, more proactive rather than reactive in their care,” Mitrovich explained.

Though a Whole Health Coach can be an accountability partner, Mitrovich says they can also be there for support, leaving the Veteran to be accountable to themselves. An initial meeting will typically include talking about what goals a Veteran wants to achieve and why they want to focus on those goals, why those goals matter.

“You can succeed!”

They’ll then work to make the goal Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based, also known as a S.M.A.R.T. goal. Mitrovich tries to meet with each Veteran weekly, determining what short-term goals can be completed in that time to help the Veteran achieve their overall goal.

Ching encourages all Veterans to let VA support you and your goals. “No matter where you come from, you can succeed,” Ching said.

By Ryan Coverdell is an Army Veteran and a public affairs officer at the Sierra Nevada VA

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Published on Feb. 20, 2022

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  1. John Hatcher February 27, 2022 at 4:59 pm

    I’m in Altamonte Springs, FL. Where’s the nearest VA facility offering the VA Move program?

  2. Dora February 24, 2022 at 7:57 pm

    is the program being offer in Houston Texas? or in a VA hospital near Spring Texas?

  3. Steven Lee February 21, 2022 at 7:43 am

    Sounds great, and I am happy it works for him. I enrolled, did the initial interview, and then nothing. I was never contacted again in any way.

  4. Donald W Jett February 20, 2022 at 6:52 pm

    I’ve just started with move. My ptsd/mmd challenges me in the wrong way! But the move program helps me understand how to make better choices with the amount of food I intake. And how to spread apart my meals without adding to excessive calorie intake. Even small efforts can make a huge difference overall!

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