Dieting has become synonymous with losing weight. However, that is not the real definition. Technically, dieting is “the practice of ingesting food in a regulated fashion to achieve or maintain a controlled weight.”(1)
Dieting can be used for weight loss but it can also be used to gain weight. Therefore, dieting is more about eating foods that help your body attain a healthy and consistent weight. With proper dieting, weight is stabilized at a healthy level and that benefits your entire body for many reasons. When your body is optimized, you will feel good physically, mentally and emotionally. That’s exactly what dieting means to me. I learned that nearly twenty five years ago. Who taught me these lessons? Surprisingly, the United States Air Force.
I was a string bean of a kid coming out of high school when I joined the military and arrived at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas for basic military training, more commonly referred to as “boot camp”. I was part of a group of young men that was as diverse as you can imagine. We came from all corners of the country. Tall, short, black and white are all appropriate words to describe this band of brothers.
Another one of our diversity characteristics was weight. The range of sizes varied from extremely skinny to obese and everywhere in between. A very noticeable thing happened over the course of the next eight weeks. Each of us individuals transformed our bodies in very healthy ways. The most notable and visible way was our weight. The skinny men gained weight (from muscle) and the obese men lost weight. We all seemed to find our proper and healthy weight during our time at Lackland Air Force Base. Twenty five years later, I am within five pounds of the weight I was at when I graduated from basic military training. Here are two major lessons Uncle Sam taught me that will stick with me my entire life:
- The right foods at the right times of the day.
One of the most memorable events from boot camp was breakfast. We were supplied a generous amount of eggs, cereals, breads, muffins, bacon, sausage, potatoes, milk, juice and water. Breakfast was the largest meal of the day. Lunch wasn’t as big and Dinner was smaller yet. We were always provided a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, meats, breads and dairy products. All meals were prepared with fresh ingredients and generally, we ate at the same times every day. I can’t remember being served any food that was ‘packaged’ or ‘processed’. We were never offered soda pop or served foods with large amounts of sugar. I can distinctly remember many of us going through sugar ‘withdrawals’. We all complained about not having any sweets at first but by the end of boot camp, nobody gave it a second thought.
- Routine exercise as simple as walking.
Required boot camp exercises include push-ups, sit-ups, running and negotiating the obstacle course. While we did all those exercises daily, the thing I remember most is walking (aka ‘marching’ in the military) for extremely long distances. Lackland Air Force base is huge and we didn’t board a bus or get in a car when we needed to go somewhere, we walked to destinations throughout the base each and every day.
Twenty five years later, I still love fresh foods prepared in very simple ways and I make every attempt to eat properly proportioned meals at the right times of the day. In addition to eating right, I still walk (not ‘march’) each and every day. Often times, these walks are planned but I also choose to walk to the store or to the post office rather than jump in the car.
Good teaching and proper guidance are the solid foundations to build a life of health and wellness. Fortunately, you don’t have to enlist in the military to get an education on the secrets of healthy dieting and wellness. The doctors and staff at Baker Chiropractic make it a much more pleasant and enjoyable experience. We invite you to learn more about us and how we have helped others. Then give us a call.
(1) Definition provided by Wikipedia.com