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ArmyFit: Frustrating, Then Surprisingly Empowering

I don’t recommend resources to military families without trying them myself first.

So a few weeks ago I sat down to log onto ArmyFit and take the new GAT 2.0 (Global Assessment Tool).  According to the webiste, the GAT 2.0 is a "survey through which individuals are able to confidentially assess their physical and psychological health based on the five dimensions of strength: Social, Emotional, Spiritual, Family and Physical.”

I will not sugarcoat it – I found ArmyFit frustrating!

ARMYFIT

First, registering on ArmyFit felt like I was logging into the Ft. Knox depository. Even with the increased attention on cyber security, the requirement for 14 characters, two uppercase, two lowercase, two numbers, and two symbols seemed extreme.  (Find directions on how to get username and password at the bottom of the page.)

That first night, I spent about an hour trying to set up an account, and then tried to begin the GAT 2.0.

After another exasperating hour, I gave up. Every page took several minutes to load. I would answer a question, leave the room and come back to answer the next question.

I tried again the next day thinking maybe it was a temporary glitch with the server, but the hang-ups were persistent.

In complete frustration, I hit the “feedback” link and sent an email detailing my experience.

Immediate response from administrators.

I was completely surprised to receive not one, but two responses the next morning from the administrators of the program.

Over the next few days, I was cc’d on several emails from people, who were working to correct the issues I had highlighted. A few days ago, I was asked to retake the GAT 2.0.

My second go-round was seamless. I still had to use my super-secure password to log onto ArmyFit, but as I answered the personal questions, I was reassured that I could be honest and my answers would be protected.

The GAT 2.0 has broad and specific questions about emotional and physical health, and took about 15 minutes to complete.

In the end, I felt like the results were both reassuring and empowering. Not surprisingly, I need more sleep, more exercise, and a healthier diet. But, I’m doing OK.

Good to assess the big picture.

I’m confident that the GAT 2.0 would have helped me identify more serious issues as well and sent me in the right direction to get the help I needed. Taking time to sit down and reflect on my marriage, my children, and my personal situation is paramount to assessing the “Big Picture” of my life.

Thirteen years of war have taken a toll on Army families. The moms out there have valiantly kept it all together – oftentimes at the expense of their own well being. This simple tool is maybe just step one in the process of taking a few minutes to ask, “Am I OK?” I want to encourage all Army family members to take the GAT 2.0. Be honest and if the results indicate a need, reach out to your doctor, your friends, or your family and work to make the changes for you to be Army Strong.

ArmyFit and the GAT 2.0 are available online at: https://armyfit.army.mil.  To access the program follow these steps:

1) On the ArmyFit home page, check the "ArmyFit Login" radio button, pictured above with a red circle. 2) Below the login button, there is a link: "Don't have an account?" Click "Sign up". 3) Fill out the form and press Continue, the information you input will be checked against the DEERS database. 4) You will then be able to choose a username and password. 5) Once you have done so, you can login to ArmyFit via the "ArmyFit Login"
Liz Mckenrick is an Army spouse of 26 years currently stationed at Ft. Bliss.

US Army photo.

Editor's note:  There are so many government, nonprofit and local resources for military families.  We welcome your reviews on how they work.  Please get in touch with us at the CONTACT button above.

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