New Medicare Card 2018

In an attempt to decrease Medicare beneficiary vulnerability, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 requires that all social security numbers be removed from Medicare cards by April 2019. Each Medicare recipient will now be assigned a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) that will replace their social security number on their card.

New Medicare cards will be distributed starting on April 1, 2018 to Medicare beneficiaries based on the state they live in. The anticipated delivery for Missouri patients is June, but you may receive your new card before or after this date.


  1. How will your MBI be different than listing your SSN?
    1. The MBI will be 11 characters in length, as opposed to the 9 digits for the SSN.
    2. The MBI will be made up of a combination of numbers and capital letters.
    3. Each MBI is randomly generated. They don’t have any hidden or special meaning. They are simply a group of randomized characters to be utilized your insurance identifier.


  1. What do the new Medicare cards mean for you?
    1. There are no changes to the benefits that you will receive. You may start using your new card as soon as you get it. The effective date of the new card, like the old card, is the date you were eligible for Medicare.
    2. Once you get your new Medicare card with the MBI, you can use them to enroll in Medicare Advantage or drug plans. If you do opt to enroll in advantage or drug plans, you will also receive an insurance card for that plan. You should always use the card from those plans when you get health care and/or prescriptions.


  1. What does this mean for you as an OCH patient?
    1. Please make sure you are bringing your updated insurance card to all of your provider visits. This will help us ensure that we are processing your claims correctly with Medicare and billing correctly for your visits. If you have any questions, please talk to the receptionist at your appointment.


  1. Will your card automatically work?
    1. Yes, once you receive your card, you will be automatically eligible to use it.


For more information visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website or click here. To view a timeline of this nationwide project, click here.


When to “Heat It Up” or “Cool It Down”

Ice vs. Heat Blog

A common question many patients have is when to do ice versus when to do heat. The answer to this really depends on the specific injury. Whether it is the arm, leg, neck or back there is a very simple question that can be answered to help determine how you can help take care of the pain.

The big question is, do you know when you hurt it? Generally, acute injuries have a date or event that caused the injury. This includes things like a motor vehicle accident, sports injury or broken bone. These are events a physical therapist can point to as a cause for the current pain that you are experiencing. For these types of injuries, ice will generally give you the greatest benefit.

For chronic injuries, we are dealing with an injury that has been ongoing for several months or years. These injuries have long surpassed their acute injury process and will now best respond to heating. Heat tends to relax chronic inflamed or aggravated tissue leading to general relief.

Whether it is ice or heat a general rule to follow is to put on the pack for approximately 20 minutes at a time. Twenty minutes is roughly the maximum time frame to achieve therapeutic benefit for your body. After twenty minutes, allow yourself one hour before applying the pack again. You can apply the pack for as many sessions as you would like as long as you are allowing yourself a break  in-between sessions. It’s also a general rule to avoid switching between ice and heat for the same injury.


Defining Acute and Chronic: The following definitions and graphics provide some common instances and references on the difference between acute and chronic injuries for ideal treatment conditions:

ACUTE: Generally sudden onset of pain lasting <6 weeks. Pt may experience some swelling that progresses within hours of initial injury or first notice of pain.

CHRONIC: Generally lasting greater than three month. Mechanism of Injury can be known or unknown. Pain can be minimal to severe with swelling also generally lasting for several weeks at a time.

Sudden, severe pain Sustained Swelling
Sudden onset of swelling Tenderness to a limb
Known injury date/onset Pain of >3 months
Fracture/broken bone Unknown date/time of injury
Sudden back pain or stiffness Low back pain of > 3 months
Pain after exercise Pain before exercise
After surgery Osteoarthritis
Tendinitis Muscle Tension
Muscle Spasms


**These are general statements concerning rules for ice vs. heat. Should you have any questions or require treatment for a condition. Please see your doctor prior to the use of a treatment modality you are not comfortable with using.


Dr. Brittany Wright, DPT, joined the OCH team in 2017. She is available to see patients Monday-Friday at the OCH Evergreen Clinic in Springfield, Missouri. Brittany can provide pediatric and adult physical therapy services. She received her education from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri. To contact the OCH Evergreen Clinic to schedule an appointment with Brittany, call the office at 417-823-2900.

Circulation Exercises to Keep you Warm

Exercises to keep you warm through the winter.

Winter is in full swing in The Ozarks! These frigid temperatures may cause significant circulation issues for many individuals. As we age, our body systems have to work increasingly hard to supply our body with all the nutrients and oxygen that it requires to perform the vital functions that we all need.

“Impaired circulation may cause significant issues with elderly individuals when you combine poor circulation with things like heart disease, diabetes or a lack of exercise. With the use of the above exercises you can help give your body the boost it needs to make it through this winter season.”

  • Dr. Brittany Wright, Physical Therapy

Here are three simple circulation exercises that have been shown to increase blood supply to assist with improved day-to-day health.

#1 – Supine Ankle Pumps – Begin lying on your back with your legs straight. Slowly pump your ankles by bending and straightening them. Try to keep the rest your legs relaxed while you move your ankles.

Supine Ankle Pump

# 2 – Supine Quad Set – Begin lying on your back with one knee bent and your other leg straight with your knee resting on a towel roll. Gently squeeze your thigh muscles, pushing the back of your knee down into the towel. Make sure to keep your back flat against the floor during the exercise.

Quad Set

#3 – Supine Glute Set – “Penny Pinchers” – Begin lying on your back with your hands resting comfortably. Tighten your buttock muscles, then release and repeat. Make sure not to arch your low back during the exercise or hold your breath as you tighten your muscles.

Glute Set

The above exercises have been recommended by the OCH physical therapy department as an easy and convenient way for adults to help pump blood through their body. This is not medical advice.


Springtime Tips when caring for your Feet

Springtime Feet

Spring is fun, but can be tough on your feet. Before you trade your boots for strappy sandals and bare feet, make sure you follow these simple tips, courtesy of Kory Miskin, DPM. No matter the time of year, good foot health contributes to your overall health.

Below, podiatrist Kory Miskin, DPM, shares a few tips on how you and your feet can enjoy the sunshine.

  1. Going barefoot increases the risk of injury to your feet. Walking without the proper footwear in a public area can expose you to infections like plantar warts, athlete’s foot and ringworm.
  1. Remember the sunscreen. Sunburn is very common as we approach the warmer temperatures in the spring. To prevent getting sunburns, make sure to apply sunscreen all over your feet. It’s especially important across the top and front of your ankles and don’t forget to reapply after you’ve been in the water. Aloe Vera or Silvadene cream are great options to use in case you do get sunburn on your feet. They help to relieve those painful sunburns that you may accrue.
  1. Increases in activity can increase foot injury. Everyone is itching to get out and enjoy the warmer temperatures, which leads to increased activity overall. This can lead to blisters forming on your feet when walking/running/biking. To reduce the risk of developing blisters over time, try to wear moisture-wicking socks. Also, the use of moleskin can help prevent rubbing in those areas.
  1. Remember to warm up before you get moving. As you become more active, stress fractures, planter’s fasciitis and other generalized foot pain can develop. To limit this from happening, allow yourself to work into a routine that will allow you to stretch your feet and other muscles.
  1. Shoe gear is important. Make sure to get your feet measured regularly, as they can change size. Measuring them at the end of the day is the best time. Having an appropriate fitting shoe can help limit injury to your feet.

Good foot health contributes to your overall well-being and spring is a fantastic time to start enjoying the outdoors again! Remember to start slowly, gradually increasing your activity. Regular stretching, and warming up is very important. If a foot/ankle injury does occur, don’t hesitate to see a Podiatrist for help!


Dr. Kory Miskin joined the OCH Health System in December. He is available to see patients Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the OCH of Gravette Specialty Clinic and every other Wednesday at the OCH Southwest City Community Clinic in Southwest City, Missouri. Dr. Miskin can provide medical diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle problems. He received his education from Brigham Young University – Provo and from Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine. He is currently is a member of the American Podiatric Medical Association and American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. To contact the OCH of Gravette Specialty Clinic, or schedule an appointment, call the office at 479-344-6870 or fax 479-344-6865.

How to Combat Childhood Obesity

Combat Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is an epidemic in the United States that hinders the future health of Americans. Being overweight or obese can affect a child’s emotional and physical well-being. Obesity represents an excess of body fat relative to lean muscle mass. Here are some quick statistics regarding childhood obesity:

  • According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2011-2014), 36% of adults and 17% of youth are considered obese. In this study, there was no difference in the incidence of obesity between boys and girls.
  • One in every three kids, ages 2-19 years, are considered overweight.
  • Among all children with Type II Diabetes Mellitus, 80% were obese.
  • Eight percent of children ages 8-17 had a total increased total cholesterol of greater than 200mg/dl.
  • Obesity increases the risks of developing chronic diseases such as Type II Diabetes Mellitus, Hypertension, Cardiovascular Disease, Depression and Sleep Apnea.

It is important to have your child assessed by a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist to determine if he or she is at risk for obesity, in the meantime, here’s what you can do at home:

  • Know the risk factors that are out of your control: A lot of different factors can lead to childhood obesity and weight issues. These include:
  • High birth, infancy and adolescent weight – If this is a concern, speak to your child’s pediatrician.
  • Age of solid food introduced – The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not introducing solid foods until after 6 months. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that children be breast or bottle fed for the first 6 months of life.
  • Obesity in one or both parents.
  • Family history of Diabetes Mellitus II, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular disease
  • Poor Sleep – It is important to establish a regular nap and bedtime schedule.


  • Know the factors that are in your control: There are several things you can do to combat obesity in your child.
  • Do not use foods as a reward or punishment.
  • Know the correct portion sizes.
  • Eat and prepare meals together as a family.
  • Avoid watching television or playing video games while eating.
  • Slow down, don’t eat too quickly and eat in a calm setting.
  • Do not force child to eat when not hungry or clear plate.
  • Avoid high fat and high sugar foods.
  • Do not encourage one child to eat differently than another.
  • Limit eating out: Portion sizes have increased over the past 20 years. Studies show that children eat an increase in calories when eating out. Restaurants have healthy options but most teens and adolescent choose foods that are higher in fat, sugar, and sodium.
  • Breakfast is the most important meal: Eating breakfast will help your child avoid overeating throughout the day. Those who eat breakfast have better school attendance, fewer stomach problems in the morning, concentrate better and have better muscle coordination and improved problem solving skills. Snacks should not be replacements for meals.
  • Encourage physical activity: Sports participation helps reduce the risk of obesity. Activity helps metabolism, brain function, and burns calories. Plan active family activities. Limit time in front of the computer and television. Youth ages 6-17 years need 60 minutes of physical activity/day including aerobic, muscle-strengthening, and bone-strengthening activities.
  • Snack smart: A healthy meal plan includes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Have these foods readily available for snacks. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, for ages 7-14 years of age less than 10 grams of sugar, at least 2 grams of fiber, and less than 2 grams of fat per snack is recommended.

By monitoring your child’s eating behaviors, controlling their environment, encouraging physical activity and portion control can reduce the risk of childhood obesity. Remember, it is important to set a good healthy example for your child.  A healthy lifestyle involves the entire family and can help your child achieve a healthy life. Happy eating!

Kristin Wargo Roeder is a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist with the Ozark Community Hospital Health System’s Integrated Care Department. The OCH Health System Integrated Care department provides a higher level of quality care to help improve health, while lowering health care costs for patients. OCH Health System’s Integrated Care department offers healthy eating classes year round. For more information about OCH Health System’s Integrated Care department, or any other services, visit

To See or Not to See: The Truth About Diabetic Eye Health

Diabetic Eye Imagte

The eyes are windows to the soul, or so it has been said. This may or may not be true, but what is certainly true is that the eyes can speak wonders about a person’s health and well-being, especially with regard to diabetic patients. Diabetes is a sneaky disease. It wages war on arteries. Arteries transport blood that carries nutrients and oxygen throughout the body. Initially, diabetes attacks small blood vessels and, over time, the larger vessels are damaged, as is any organ fed by these vessels. The eyes, being very dependent on small blood vessels, are often first to experience damaging effects from diabetes.

  • The eyes allow arteries to be examined directly: A person’s eyes are the only place in the body where arteries can be directly examined without a person first being cut open or an IV catheter or other procedure. In the clinic, special instruments are used to examine arteries and other parts of the eye. During this painless exam, the eyes speak their special story. And of particular interest, this story may foretell of potential danger lurking ahead.
  • Eye damage from diabetes can appear at any time: Some people may go years before showing damage, while in others, the progression can be much faster. In early stages, most diabetic patients may experience no adverse vision symptoms, all while the vessels that feed the tissues of the eye are being slowly strangled and damaged by the disease.
  • Get your annual eye exams: At least once a year, regular diabetic eye exams can help detect changes in the eyes. Certain eye changes can indicate that other organs relying on small vessels are equally being damaged, including the kidneys and the brain. Therefore, the eye exam may help uncover signs of a lurking stroke or kidney disease or other major health event.
  • There is help: Treatment is available for eyes suffering with diabetes. Diabetic damage can be irreversible. Vision saving treatments are much more effective if instituted when changes are discovered early. If it’s been more than a year since your last diabetic eye exam, it’s time to schedule one. Your eyes will thank you.

Brendon Delport, DO, attended Evangel University and earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology. After graduation he moved to Kansas City, Missouri and attended medical school at the University of Medicine and Biosciences. He then completed an internship at Forest Park Hospital in St. Louis, followed by residency and an oculoplastics fellowship at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. In 2004, Dr. Delport returned to Springfield and established his practice with the OCH Health System.

Dr. Delport sees patients with Medicaid, Medicare and Tricare in both Springfield and Nixa. To learn more about Ophthalmology services offered through the OCH Health System, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Delport, contact the OCH Medical Offices Clinic at (417) 837-4239 or visit for more information. 

Colon Cancer 101


Jeopardy Contestant: “I’ll take Types of Cancer for 400, Alex.”

Trebek: “It is expected to kill more than 50,000 people in the U.S. in 2012 and there is a slightly greater than 5% chance you will get this in your lifetime.”

Jeopardy Contestant 2: (Buzz) “What is liver cancer?”

Trebek: “That is incorrect.”

Jeopardy Contestant: “What is colon cancer?”

Trebek: “Correct for 400.”

What is Colon Cancer?

Colon cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the colon. The colon is part of the body’s digestive system. The digestive system removes and processes nutrients (vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water) from foods and helps pass waste material out of the body. The digestive system is made up of the esophagus, stomach, and the small and large intestines. The first 6 feet of the large intestine are called the large bowel or colon. The last 6 inches are the rectum and the anal canal. The anal canal ends at the anus (the opening of the large intestine to the outside of the body).

Risk Factors Signs & Symptoms

Risk factors can be broken down into four separate categories:

  • Average Risk: Age 50 or over with no other personal or family risk factors
  • Increased risk: Previous colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps and family history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps
  • High risk: Inherited Lynch syndrome (hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer or HNPCC) and inherited familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or attenuated familial adenomatous polyposis (AFAP)
  • Lifestyle risks: Obesity, smoking, heavy alcohol use, lack of exercise, diets high in fat and red or processed meat, few fruits and vegetables, low levels of Vitamin D from sunshine.

Some of the most common signs & symptoms can include: A change in bowel habits, for example constipation or diarrhea that lasts more than a couple of weeks, a feeling that the bowel does not empty completely, bright red or very dark blood in the stool, black stools that may indicate hidden blood and stools that look narrower or thinner than normal. Abdominal discomfort such as frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness, or cramps are also considered symptoms of this type of cancer. Weight loss with no known explanation, constant tiredness or fatigue and unexplained anemia (low number of red blood cells) are common symptoms as well with this type of cancer.

How to Detect Colon Cancer

The most common way for health care providers to detect colon cancer is to perform a procedure called a colonoscopy. A Colonoscopy lets the physician look inside your entire large intestine, from the lowest part, the rectum, all the way up through the colon to the lower end of the small intestine. The procedure is used to look for early signs of cancer in the colon and rectum. It is also used to diagnose the causes of unexplained changes in bowel habits.

Types of Treatments Include

Surgery (removing the cancer in an operation) is the most common treatment for all stages of colon cancer. A doctor may remove the cancer using one of the following types of surgery: Local excision, resection, resection and colostomy, radiofrequency ablation, cryosurgery, oncology, radiation therapy, biological therapy. Follow-up exams may help find recurrent colon cancer earlier.

Prevention Methods

Research suggests that up to 35 percent of cancers are related to poor diet. By modifying what you eat and being active, you can reduce your risk of cancer and other health problems.

  • Once you have made the decision to exercise, choose an activity that suits your personality – if you like the company of other people, choose an activity like a dance class or a team sport. If you prefer solitary activity, then walking or using equipment in a gym may be better for you.
  • Get help: ask for assistance from someone with an understanding of your selected activity – a trainer at your gym, the aerobic instructor – to help you prevent injury and to get the most from your workout.
  • Remember that even moderate exercise has health benefits. Moderate exercise is defined as activity that burns 150 calories of energy a day or 1000 a week. Try walking, yard work or recreational games like tennis or basketball.
  • Work toward 30 minutes of physical activity between three to five days a week.
  • Set realistic goals for yourself based on your fitness level.
  • Go slow and steady so you don’t become disappointed by setbacks.
  • Keep to a regular schedule – you will establish a routine and be more likely to stick to it. If you don’t stick to your schedule, don’t worry. Just pick up again where you left off and start again.
  • Always check with a physician when you begin a new exercise program, especially if you have been sedentary.

How to Make a Realistic New Year’s Resolution About Your Diet


Each year millions of people make resolutions. Some stick, but most seem to fade away after the initial excitement wears off. Perhaps it is because the goal was unrealistic. Or, it could be because the goal was fixated on a small detail, rather than the bigger picture. 

Dieting is a great example of this. If you are planning on making a resolution this year that is health-related, try focusing on just that. Forget the perfect weight or measuring success by numbers on a scale. Focus on your overall health and well-being.

Kristen Wargo-Roeder, OCH Health System Registered Dietitian, shares a few tips on how to realistically carry out this goal for the new year:

  • Track Yourself: Monitor what you eat and drink and record your exercise. You can log in a journal or on a fitness tracking application. Tracking both of these can help you assess and identify behaviors you want to change, and it can help you recognize an unhealthy habit.
  • Grab a Workout Friend: Having a workout buddy can help you be accountable and ensure you exercise. Schedule time to work out together to make it a priority. On average, children and teens should get 60 or more minutes of physical activity per day, and adults should get two and a half hours per week.
  • Start Small and Be Specific: For example, rather than saying I will drink more water, create a specific goal regarding the amount of water you’d like to drink per day. As an added bonus make it a goal to no longer drink soda (bonus)!  This play right in to the next tip.
  • Don’t Drink Your Calories: Drink water rather than high calorie or sugary drinks.
  • Be Positive: Do not judge yourself. It won’t be easy, but to remember you are trying to improve your eating habits, your lifestyle, and the way you feel. If it helps, remind yourself how you feel prior to an overindulgent eating/drinking event.
  • Healthy Food: We all over indulge and overeat. Each day is a new day and an opportunity time to recharge.
  • If you have a setback, get right back on your plan:  If you happen to over indulge, get back on the right track the next day. Do not procrastinate. The quicker you are back to a routine the faster your healthy behaviors will translate into a healthy lifestyle.
  • Focus on Fiber: Incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into your meal plan. At each meal fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
  • Do NOT Skip Meals: Skipping meals can lead to over eating at snacks or next meal.

Make this the year of success! Meet your nutrition goals. Make a plan and remember you can do it. By following these recommendations, your New Year’s resolutions can be part of your healthy lifestyle. Here is to your health!

Kristen Wargo-Roeder is a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist with the Ozark Community Hospital Health System’s Integrated Care department. OCH Health System’s Integrated Care department offers healthy eating classes year round. For more information about OCH’s Integrated Care department, or any other services, visit

Treat Your Feet Well this Winter


Winter can be just as tough on your toes as it is on cars and houses. Don’t neglect ‘em just because they are hidden away! Good foot health contributes to your overall health, no matter the season.

Below, podiatrist Kory Miskin, DPM, shares a few tips on how to be sweet to your feet during the cold weather:

  • DON’T IMPROVISE WINTER SPORT SHOES: If you snowboard or ski, it’s important to only wear boots specifically designed for that purpose. Make sure they fit properly. This means that you should be able to wiggle your toes and the boots should immobilize the heel, instep, and ball of your foot. You can use orthotics (support devices that go inside shoes) to help control the foot’s movement inside ski boots or ice skates.


  • BE “SIZE-SMART” WHEN BUYING NEW: It may be tempting to buy pricey specialty footwear (like winter boots or ski boots) for kids in a slightly larger size in hope that they’ll be able to get two seasons of wear out of them. Unlike coats that kids can grow into, footwear needs to fit properly right away. Properly fitted skates and boots can help prevent blisters, chafing, and ankle or foot injuries. Likewise, if socks are too small, they can force toes to bunch together, and that friction can cause painful blisters or corns.


  • KEEP YOUR TOES COZY, BUT NOT TOO COZY: Boots are must-have footwear in winter climates, especially when dealing with winter precipitation. Between the waterproof material of the boots themselves and the warm socks you wear to keep toes toasty, you may find your feet sweat a lot. Damp sweaty feet can chill more easily and are more prone to bacterial infections. To keep feet clean and dry, consider using foot powder inside socks and incorporating extra foot baths into your foot care regimen this winter.


  • IT’S OKAY TO RUN IN THE COLD: If you’re a runner, you don’t need to let the cold stop you! A variety of warm, light-weight, moisture-wicking active wear available at most running or sporting goods stores helps ensure runners stay warm and dry in bitter temperatures. Try and shorten your stride to help maintain stability during icy conditions instead of altering the way your foot strikes the ground. Always remember to stretch during the cold!


  • KEEP YOUR FEET HYDRATED: Remember to keep your feet moisturized on a daily basis, but do not moisturize in between your toes. After bathing and/or showering, make sure to dry your feet in between your toes to avoid cracking/fissuring which can lead to bacterial infections.

As a final winter safety-reminder, remember not to tip-toe through winter snow, ice, and temperatures in summer footwear.  Choose winter footwear that will keep your feet warm, dry, and well-supported to avoid exposing your feet to frostbite or injury.  The good news is, there are plenty of options out there that meet THE criteria (and are fashionable as well).

Dr. Kory Miskin joined the OCH Health System in December. He is available to see patients Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the OCH of Gravette facility. Dr. Miskin can provide medical diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle problems. He received his education from Brigham Young University – Provo and from Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine. He is currently is a member of the American Podiatric Medical Association and American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. To contact the OCH of Gravette Specialty Clinic, or schedule an appointment, call the office at 479-344-6870 or fax 479-344-6865.

How to Avoid Gaining Weight during the Holidays



The holidays are a time of celebration, and they are also a time of overindulgence. The average American will gain about one to two pounds during the holiday season. During this time of year, trying to achieve weight loss may be difficult. But, incorporating a few proactive strategies can help you stay in control. Read below for tips from Kristen Wargo – Roeder, OCH Health System Registered Dietitian:

  1. Be Accountable – Repeat positive thoughts and write down what you eat. The more you are accountable the more consistent you will be.
  1. Avoid Overeating – If you are attending a party or gather, eat small, lower-calorie meals during the day. Enjoy snacks that are low in calorie, but high fiber as this will curb hunger and help avoid overeating. If you are bringing a dish, make it healthy.
  1. Get Moving – Balance calories in with calories out. Physical activity can combat extra calories. After a meal, take a walk with friends and family.
  1. Serving Sizes – Using a smaller plate will encourage you to eat smaller portions. Start by filling your plate with vegetables and salads.
  1. Slow Down – It takes at least 10 minutes for your stomach to communicate to your brain that it is full. Wait at least 10 minutes before returning to the buffet table. Be mindful, eat slowly and enjoy every bite.
  1. Stay Hydrated – Always have water available and drink before you are thirsty. It is okay to have a glass of wine, but if you do, match equal number of glasses of water for every glass of alcohol or caffeinated beverage. You should drink eight glasses of water consistently throughout the day. Staying hydrated will help with digestion and is necessary for proper kidney, heart, and liver function. A glass of water can make you feel fuller at a party, helping you to eat less.

By making a few conscious and consistent changes to your lifestyle you can avoid weight gain this holiday season. Plan ahead and prepare to have success! By doing both, you can have a happy and healthy holiday season.

Kristen Wargo-Roeder is a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist with the Ozark Community Hospital Health System’s Integrated Care Department. The OCH Health System Integrated Care department provides a higher level of quality care to help improve health, while lowering health care costs for patients. OCH Health System’s Integrated Care department offers healthy eating classes year round. For more information about OCH’s Integrated Care department, or any other services, visit