Beyond fitness standards: A Navy retiree’s nutrition wheel

This month, the Army is implementing new Combat Readiness Testing (ACRT) that eases health requirements for troopers struggling to go the previous gender- and age-neutral take a look at. After an extended interval of canceled testing attributable to COVID-19, the brand new Navy Physical Readiness Test (PRT) is being carried out throughout the April 1-Sept. 30 Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) cycle. The Air Force additionally rolled out a brand new PT take a look at in 2022, as did the USMC. The Space Force is anticipated to launch its new PT program in 2023.

Although the brand new health insurance policies purpose to offer safer workout routines and fairer scoring, all branches nonetheless require that service members go weight requirements. *Groan*

During his 28 years of active-duty service within the Navy, my husband, Francis, sweated when the PRT rolled round. Although he exercised recurrently and will go the bodily abilities with flying colours, Francis carried a couple of further kilos. An enormous eater who stretched the boundaries of his Navy-issue polyester khakis, Francis dreaded the PRT’s physique composition testing.

About two weeks prior to every take a look at, Francis would starve himself, hit the sauna and pop diuretics in a determined effort to make weight requirements. He didn’t match into the Navy’s normal top/weight charts, so he needed to undergo tape measurements to find out the ratio between his neck and waist circumference. Francis employed any means essential to endure this humiliating physique composition take a look at, together with sucking in his intestine, bulging out his neck and shamelessly schmoozing the testing official.

Miraculously, he all the time handed.

Upon retiring from the Navy 5 years in the past, Francis lastly skilled life with out army health limitations. Like many recent retirees, he felt a brand new sense of liberation when answering questions like, “Would you want a facet of fries with that?” and “Seconds, anybody?”

Naturally, Francis gained weight. Although his physician ordered him to drop 40 kilos, Francis lacked the motivation to limit his calorie consumption, particularly now that he’d lastly unleashed and expanded his culinary repertoire. After 28 years of Navy weight requirements hanging over his head like a guillotine, Francis wasn’t about surrender his newfound freedom.

But then, his faculty roommate made him a wager that if he misplaced 25 kilos on the South Beach Diet, he’d take him to South Beach in Miami. Soon, packing containers of frozen meals, shake packets and portion-controlled snacks arrived at our home. It value a small fortune, however Francis gained the wager and had a blast in Miami, the place he ate sufficient pork Cubanos and drank sufficient margaritas to achieve the kilos again.

To his credit score, Francis walks 10,000 steps day-after-day, and has created his personal model of the vitamin wheel to maintain his post-retirement well being in verify.

The normal USDA “My Plate” meals wheel recommends a 2,000-per-day calorie consumption that features 5.5 ounces of protein, 2.5 cups of greens, 2 cups of fruit, 6 ounces of grains and three cups of dairy. It warns towards extra fat, sugar and sodium, and is primarily supposed to advertise good well being and longevity.

Francis’ vitamin wheel is considerably completely different. It blatantly ignores energy and encourages cocktail pairings. Like a pizza (which Francis loves), it’s divided into beneficiant slices of Francis’ favourite meals in unrestricted quantities. Some wedges are small, like “Vegetables,” for instance, which wouldn’t be on the chart if it weren’t for onions and tomato sauce. “Fruit” made the wheel primarily attributable to Francis’ raisin consumption.

On the opposite hand, “Meats” comprise a big wedge, usually within the type of cheeseburgers, sausages, bacon, meatballs and Slim Jims. “Grains” are additionally a big piece of the pie, though the included meals — crackers, tortilla chips, hamburger buns, sub rolls, popcorn, and oatmeal cookies — are solely technically related to grains.

Francis’ dairy consumption is roofed by three distinct wedges labeled “Cheese” (eaten with crackers or melted on something), “Half-and-half” (guzzled with espresso all through the day), and “Ranch Dressing, Mayonnaise, and Creamy Dips” (no rationalization wanted). Finally, “Peanuts” make up the final slice, as a result of Francis enjoys the salted legumes each night time in entrance of the tv.

All this speak of slices has me hungry for dinner. Pizza, anybody?

Read extra at, and in Lisa’s e-book, The Meat and Potatoes of Life: My True Lit Com. Email: [email protected]

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