Face of Defense: ‘Lunch and Learn’ Event Saves Airman’s Career

“Lunch and Learn” events have become rather popular at the West Virginia Air National Guard’s 167th Airlift Wing here.

Scheduled during the lunch hour, these events invite airmen to eat their packed lunch while listening to discussions on topics such retirement, finances, legal issues and health.

For one airman, attending such an event in November significantly impacted his life.

“The briefing provided in November saved my career,” said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Robert Scofield, a budget analyst for the 167th Comptroller Flight.

Air Force Capt. Jacqueline Shoemaker, an aerospace nurse practitioner for the 167th Medical Group, discussed the history of the food pyramid in the U.S. and why 70 percent of Americans struggle with weight at the lunch and learn event, the first offered by the medical group. She offered an alternate food plan that optimizes performance, energy and stamina.

Education Improves Readiness

“Our goal in the medical group is to improve the overall health and fitness readiness of the airmen,” Shoemaker said. “The [medical group] has developed educational programs [to do this].”

The food plan limits sugars and starches and can facilitate healing and the reversal of disease.

“Leading up to November drill I had been working out and eating better based off what I thought was best — smaller portions, limit calories, etc. The problem was that I wasn’t losing any weight,” Scofield said. “I was coming to the realization that I wasn’t going to pass my [fitness] test and my military career was coming to an end.”

Shoemaker introduced Scofield to a new way of thinking about food and nutrition.

He went home that evening, did some more research on the nutritional plan and began implementing it the next day.

“I was desperate and unlike other diets this seemed like something that I could really get behind,” Scofield said.

He lost 10 pounds the first week.

“A lot of that was water weight due to the lack of carb intake,” he said. “More importantly, I started feeling much better within the first couple of weeks. I had more energy and focus from the change.”

Since beginning the diet, Scofield has lost 40 pounds and five inches from his waist. He passed his fitness assessment in January and is living a healthier lifestyle, all because he attended a “Lunch and Learn” event.

“The tools are available, and if used properly one can have amazing success. I am so proud of Jim Scofield. This is what health care, healing and serving my country is all about,” Shoemaker said.