How the Army helped me establish a healthy relationship with food

I can honestly say that I have never been on ‘a diet’. There have been well-intentioned attempts, but as soon as I try and restrict something I just want more of it, especially chocolate! But also, I’ve never really cared much for dieting. Apart from a brief stint at university when I decided everyone was prettier, and thinner and fitter than me, I’ve never had a reason to diet. But I know that spending time in the army also helped me have a healthy relationship with food.

Here are the top three things the army made me realize when it comes to food:

FOOD IS FUEL – EAT WHAT YOU NEED

  • If you are constantly marching around, exercising and running somewhere to be five minutes before five minutes before then if you don’t eat enough, you will fail! As simple as that.

FOLLOW THE 80/20 RULE

  • Get what you can, eat all of it, carbs, protein, fat, you name it, and don’t waste anything, because you may be on rations sooner than you thought! OK, so this isn’t as comparable to real life, and nowadays I don’t eat as much dessert as I did whilst training at Sandhurst, or in Afghanistan, but I do still happily eat a whole range of foods, and I do eat cake. The army taught me not to restrict, and I have taken that on with me into my civilian life. Just that now the food I eat is in my control, I try to make healthy choices 90 80 70 60% of the time, and so far I’m doing OK.

STAY HYDRATED AND YOU MIGHT NOT BE HUNGRY

  • Water really does make all the difference. During the first five weeks of training, every morning we got up at 5am, sang the National Anthem in the corridor with the rest of the Platoon, then drank a litre of water as quickly as we could. It was a nightmare for my ridiculously incapable bladder, but it was so important to stay hydrated when running around all day and nowadays I feel sluggish, lethargic and headachy if I don’t drink enough water.

So there you have it, my top tips to have a healthy relationship with food: eat enough to fuel your body always, eat a large variety of food with few restrictions and drink water. A lot of it! Simples!

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