Is failure optional?

  • Published
  • By Katie Wichman, RD
  • Malmstrom Health Promotion Dietitian
Should fitness be considered in the United States Air Force?  A recent survey revealed an increase in the number of overweight and out of shape service personnel who were unable to run long distances or perform physical tasks such as pushups.  This poses a direct threat to the ability of the U.S. to defend itself.  Twelve percent of active duty service members are reported to be obese, based off height and weight data, thus costing the military nearly $1.5 billion annually in health care spending.  The cost is partly due to the fact that overweight and slower runners are more likely to be injured than their fitter counterparts. 

These injury rates are often exasperated when you take into account the number of people who crisis manage their fitness and health, often training too much/fast and not allowing adequate time to recover.  Fad diets are often used in conjunction with training to assist in weight loss and help meet physical testing guidelines.  These "quick-fix" plans will only lead to erratic eating behaviors and potentially harmful long term weight gain.  The worst "quick-fix" diets are those focusing on limiting food choices (such as a single food group), detoxing, diets with miracle foods or ingredients, fasting or very low calorie plans and all others that sound too good to be true.

If you've read this far, maybe you're hooked and hopefully you've recognized that attitude drives healthy behaviors.  So in that case what are you doing to influence or improve the environment around you to be fit and healthy?  How many people around you make excuses for their health? For example, "I need to lose weight...I know what my problem is, I drink too much beer on the weekends!  But I genuinely like the taste."  What's wrong with this picture?  YOU - we all know where our weaknesses lie but make conscious decisions every day to correct them or rationalize them.  Which do you do?  If you know what the problem is, fix it!  Excuses will not equal results.  Instead make an objective change in your life.  Increase the number of days you work out per week by one day, or continue to monitor your caloric intake during the weekend.  Either way, it needs to be something tangible and measurable for you. 

Our health builds our force's readiness and ensures our nation's safety.  The next time another excuse pops up ask yourself, "how can I change my attitude and positively affect the attitude of those around me?"  For more information on positive health changes, contact the  Health Promotion Team at the 341st Medical Group at 731-4292.