Put Down that Big Mac ®
Eat to Fuel Your Mind and Your Body

While in the military, you ate balanced meals in the chow hall. In the field you had MREs.  You burned through anything you ate through PT (and adrenalin).

Now you’ve returned to civilian life in all its glory, and to help advance your career you may have decided to go back to school. Even if you’ve kept up a decent PT regimen, you may find it harder to keep extra pounds off and stay healthy and fit. Why does that happen?

If you’ve become accustomed to prepared meals or MREs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meal,_Ready-to-Eat), the freedom of eating out or cooking for yourself can be incredible. You can make gravy the way you like it!  You can go to buffets!  Thinking of all the possibilities is enough to make me hungry.

Temptation can be even greater if you’re in an online program and you’re taking classes on your own - at home - within walking distance of your pantry, fridge and microwave. 
The good news is that going to school online can also give you the chance to kick temptation in the butt and take charge of your eating habits. Here’s a few tips to get you started:

Think before you open your mouth.(http://tinytard.tumblr.com/post/2898341589/25-tricks-to-convince-your-body-its-not-hungry). This phrase applies every bit as much to eating as it does to swearing.  It refers to the practice of “mindful eating,” a Zen-like philosophy that calls for the eater to slow down and be aware of what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.  It’s not about giving up food, it’s about actually tasting and enjoying your meals – rather than mindlessly mowing through a bag of mini-donuts.

Plan your meals and your snacks.(http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/meals.html). Own the fact that you will want to snack. When you accept it, you can be free of any between-meal-eating guilt.  And, as an added bonus – you can prepare healthier snack options because you know you’re going to eat them.   

Hydration. (http://www.csgnetwork.com/humanh2owater.html).  It’s pretty simple, really: Our bodies need water, and they take it from the fluids we drink and some foods we eat.  And yeah, we can get water from coffee, soda and juice. But the caffeine, sugar and calories that each of these drinks may contain will start to pile up and can cause trouble.  If plain old water doesn’t do much for you, drop a couple of slices of orange, lemon or lime for flavor and start drinking.

Treat class time as “no-snack” time.(http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20130610/junk-food-bans-help-schoolkids-avoid-unhealthy-snacks-study). In a lot of brick-and-mortar classrooms, food and drinks are not allowed for a lot of reasons.  The crinkling of potato chip bags or candy wrappers distracts other students. Food allergies can be severe for some people, too.  Not to mention the fact that it doesn’t take too long for a classroom to get littered with, well, litter.  There’s no reason why you can’t adopt the “no food or drink allowed” policy in your own classroom to help you stay focused more on schoolwork and less on that tempting plate of nachos.

The “freshman 15” doesn’t care if you’ve spent the past 10 years in the service. It’ll catch up with you wherever you are, when you least expect it. These tips can help you send it packing while you’re taking care of business.  

Have you kept fit since you’ve gone back to school? Tell us your secret in the comments below.

#healthyeating   #onlinelea   #militaryauthority  

REFERENCES:
http://i.guim.co.uk/item-620/sys-images/Business/Pix/pictures/2008/08/06/mac4.jpg
http://blog.usfoodsafety.com/2011/10/27/educated-eating/
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/water/NU00283
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/08/dining/mindful-eating-as-food-for-thought.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 
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