Must I give up my quarter pounder with cheese?

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. James W. Greenlee
  • 42nd Communications Flight first sergeant
Well they have gone and done it. They are going to start fitness testing us twice a year. I think it's a good move. I mean I'm not one of those people who wait until a couple of months before I'm due to start training. I work out three times a week. OK, OK, I don't always get in three workouts a week, but the point is I am working out regularly.

My problem is I like, no make that love, quarter pounders with cheese. Throw in an ice-cold beer and I'm totally set. That's not a big deal, right? My guess is that those of you who ride the wave from 80 to 100 percent should have no problem with the new "two-a-years."

It's those of us who live in that zone between 75 and 80 percent that could develop a problem. Everyone says it; diet and exercise are the keys to a healthier, fitter you.
Seriously, working out is not a problem. The Air Force gives us plenty of time for physical training. It provides facilities and equipment that are more than adequate to exceed current AF standards.

What most of us don't take advantage of is the myriad of services offered by the Health and Wellness Center, or HAWC. They have fitness, nutrition and wellness programs designed to assist us in meeting health and fitness goals. Stressed out? Go over and talk with our partners at the HAWC.

We have the tools; we just need to use them to our advantage. I use FitLinxx to track my workouts and the HAWC even turned me on to a Web site that will help you track not only your workouts but also the calories you eat, weight loss and more at I'm no doctor or fitness expert, but in my mind there must be something else that is keeping us from adding "Fittest Air Force in the world" to our résumé. Could that something be diet?

The evening news reports have a regular feature on how "fat" Americans are, and I think maybe the current fitness program has allowed me to put on a few more pounds than the old one. The new program should at least help me stick to my three workouts a week.

The point is, when I put on my uniform and look at my self in the mirror, can I say that I present the image of a fit American Airman? I had a conversation with the new 42nd Mission Support Group Chief, Chief Master Sgt. Shelia Knox, and we got to talking about fitness. Fitness will definitely be on her list of priorities.

She stressed the need for vigorous fitness programs in our squadrons/flights and an increased focus on our Airman's diet and nutrition. I mentioned my concern on having to give up my favorite lunchtime snack. "Go ahead, have your quarter pounder with cheese, just add another workout to compensate for the extra calories you picked up." It's about balancing the calories you take in versus the calories you burn off.

No, I don't believe our Airmen have a problem exercising. We have a problem making healthy choices. It's hard to change from a fast food to a health food life style. I asked my sister, retired Air Force master sergeant and cancer survivor, about having to give up my favorite burger. She went on to tell me about how diet is extremely important, especially considering the percent of Americans who are obese; the heart problems, high blood pressure and diabetes that run in our family; and most importantly, the example that I must set for my children to follow when it comes to diet and nutrition. There is no question. To survive in the new cyber force we must make healthy lifestyle changes.

I think that the new fitness program will increase our Airman's fitness levels in the long run. Our challenge is to implement a healthy lifestyle change that includes diet and nutrition in our daily routine. That means no, I don't have to give up my quarter pounder with cheese as long as I am willing to "run the extra mile!"