I remember thinking, “Fifteen minutes is a long time.” At least it seemed like a long time to be hooked up to a blue mask, make Darth Vader noises and lie alone in a room staring at the ceiling.
In the middle of reporting from Aberdeen Proving Ground Md., on the Army’s wellness centers — where preventative health tips are dispensed to soldiers and civilian employees — I volunteered to be hooked up to the clinic’s metabolic testing machine.
This was part an abbreviated version of a service available to soldiers and Army civilians. In an effort to cut the potential long-term health care costs of treating chronic illnesses of their employees, and Army is offering preventative care to help them get in shape.
The Army’s goal is to build 38 such clinics by 2017, which would offer tips for getting in shape and more. Read about it in Monday’s issue of Army Times.
For 15 minutes, the device would measure my breathing and at the end, I would know how many calories my body needs to live–and the amount of calories I would have to eat on a daily basis to lose weight.
I took off my shoes, the cheerful staff fitted me with the mask and I laid down. They left me alone in a room that was a relaxing shade of violet. I looked up at a single ceiling tile that held a translucent image of the sky and got mellow.
Between the “chromatherapy” and the rhythmic whir of the machine (timed to my breathing), I got relaxed, but I was still plenty self-conscious.
And then it was done.
As it turns out, I got some good news. They said my body mass index was in the normal range, as was my metabolic rate, and if I cut my caloric intake by 500 per day I’ll lose five pounds in four weeks. Definitely worth the visit.