The Army Weight Loss Plan

The Army is so succinct in their weight management program. I thought that the following from the Army Regulation 600-9: The Army Weight Control Program was interesting. Maybe something good would have come out of it if I'd stayed in ROTC. Their two part plan sounds easy, but trust me, there is more to this process than a couple of bullet points.

a. Invest in yourself.
(1) Make a decision to lose weight and shape up.
(2) Get motivated.
(3) Develop a strategy (diet, exercise routine, lifestyle changes, and so on).
(4) Carry out the strategy.

b. Enjoy the payoffs:.
(1) A healthy appearance.
(2) An improved self-image.
(3) A sense of accomplishment.
(4) A feeling of pride.

I also enjoyed their comparison between sound nutrition and crash diets as summarized in the following table:

Table C–1
Sound Nutrition: Provides all required nutrients
Crash Diets: Most often lack some nutrients

Sound Nutrition: Gradual loss of body fat (1 to 2 pounds per week)
Crash Diets: Rapid loss of body water and muscle mass—not body fat

Sound Nutrition: Reinforces a good mental outlook
Crash Diets: Symptoms of grumpiness, headaches, anxiety and fatigue

Sound Nutrition: Improves health
Crash Diets: Can cause depression, dehydration, potential serious illness and a slowdown in your body’s metabolism (the rate your body burns calories)

Sound Nutrition: Gives a sense of accomplishment
Crash Diets: End in eventual weight loss and failure

Sound Nutrition: Develops permanent good eating habits
Crash Diets: Encourage unhealthy eating habits of temporary duration

Then we come to making an actual plan:

C–4. Basic strategy checklist—a plan for making the right connection
a. Good attitude. Having a good mental attitude is necessary to succeed in any program. To lose weight, a good mental attitude helps self-discipline—an important ingredient.

b. Sensible nutrition. A diet of adequate essential nutrients is necessary to prevent mental and physical fatigue. Crash diets don’t work in a permanent weight control program.

c. Regular exercise. Exercise promotes physical fitness. It improves flexibility, strength, endurance and weight loss by speeding up the body’s metabolism. It has also been proven to help supress the appetite.

d. Diet and exercise master plan. Create your own daily food intake and exercise plan. Keep a record. Make adjustments. You are in control.

e. Rest. Adequate rest improves attitude, posture, and appearance. Lack of rest and sleep can weaken resistance and will power.

f. A set goal. See a long range objective, then get going by setting easier-to-reach short-term goals. After the first few goals are met, the objective will be in plain view.

C–5. Balance check
If you need to lose weight, it’s time to check your energy balance to see what’s tilting the scale. When your energy input (calories) is greater than your energy output (activity), you store the extra calories as body fat. To stay in balance:
a. Increase exercise (frequency and intensity).
b. Decrease calorie intake.
c. Combine exercise with calorie reduction for best results.

See it's that easy. And yet millions of Americans pay billions of dollars on diet books. Just Google "AR 600-9" for the Army's weight loss plan.