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Wed May 23, 2018
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Remember your feet? Nice to be reacquainted, isn't it? It can be tricky continuing the battle of the bulge once your spouse returns home from deployment. But it isn't impossible. It just takes some determination and self-control. You've made it this far; you can overcome this hurdle, too.

Setting Goals
Just because your hubby is back from afloat doesn't mean your life ends. Continue to set goals for yourself. Talk with your spouse about what you want to achieve. Here are some tips to goal attainment:

  • Write down your goals. Go over your list with your spouse.
  • Develop a timeline. It isn't enough to say, "I want to lose 30 pounds before Thanksgiving." Break it down into mini-goals. A more specific goal is "I want to lose 10 pounds over the next two months."
  • Take it one step further; write down exactly what you need to do to achieve your mini-goal. How you will eat (keep a food diary), how often you will exercise, etc.
  • Reward yourself with something new (like a new pair of shoes, new scarf, that great red sweater that will fit you now) each time you reach a mini-goal.

Working Out the Workouts
Once you have your goals and have shared them with your spouse, develop a lifestyle plan that will work for both of you. Be certain it includes your goals and your spouse's goals. It is important that no one be left out of the process.

Develop a workout schedule that allows both of you to get in the required amount of exercise per day. Maybe you will work out together after dinner. Maybe he works out in the morning, while you watch the kids, and you work out in the evening, while he watches the kids. Make sure it fits into your life and its many demands. Otherwise, you won't stick with it.

Find an activity to do on the weekend that gets you out of the house. Weekends tend to be hardest for people to stick with the plan. It's the time for BBQs and parties, dinners and movies. An occasional bag of popcorn and a hot dog won't kill you, and getting out and about will benefit you in the long run. Set aside one day for something physical, such as hiking in a National Park, walking by the ocean, or biking around town. You will be amazed at what some fresh air and getting sweaty does for your marriage.

Handling the Hoover
Ever notice your spouse can always win the pie-eating contest and not gain an ounce? Meanwhile, you sit on the sidelines cheering him on, and you gain 5 pounds. You're not alone, scale-scrutinizing sister. Don't hate him for his metabolism. The beer gut is only a few years away. Fend it off with these healthy eating tips for two:

  • Restaurants. Have the waiter box up half your meals before you begin eating. This way you won't be tempted to overeat and you'll have lunch for the following day. Better yet, ask if they offer half-portions (not always on the menu).
  • At home. Start dinner with a fresh salad. The pre-packaged salads are just as good and have been pasteurized, so there is no need to re-rinse. Just tear it open and throw in a bowl. Chop up some veggies and munch away. Toss with a great vinaigrette or other low-fat dressing, and leisurely eat and talk with your spouse. Some nights, you may not even be hungry for the main course.
  • Educate yourself about portion sizes.
  • Keep healthy foods on-hand and ready to eat in case of munchie emergencies.
  • Good food isn't just bean sprouts and tofu. Learn how to create healthy and satisfying meals for you and your family.

Who Can Help on Base?
Most major bases have a registered dietician available to anyone who asks. Talk with your primary physician for a referral. Together, you can develop a healthy eating plan and exercise schedule that fits your needs.

Many gym facilities on base also have a physical trainer on hand to help you design an effective workout regimen. Consult with your physician first, so you know your limitations, and then schedule a meeting with the trainer. Discuss your goals and your time schedule. Most gyms offer everything from free weights to kickboxing to spinning (a bike machine that doesnt go anywhere).

Changing to a healthy diet from a fast-food diet or a meals ready to eat (MRE) diet will take some adjusting. It is important not to cut out everything you love from your diet. Enjoy an occasional ice cream cone. Share a large fry some Friday night.

And you cant' shock your spouse as soon as he sets foot on soil. Introduce new, healthier foods gradually.

Remember, fad diets are just that: fads. You may be able to loose 20 pounds in a month eating hamburgers without the buns, but it isn't best for the long run. Just like you wouldn't be caught dead in those red, pink, and orange striped legwarmers (hey, you know you still have them). Believe that your health is worth more than that. Follow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food pyramid that is recommended by your physician and develop a safe workout plan that fits your life.

Good luck, have fun, and see you at the walk-a-thon.