Like most people, I love food. Yet, it is my enemy. In the Army, there are weight restrictions that are based upon age, sex and height. I am short, so this is an added challenge as the shorter you are, the less weight you can/should have naturally.
My entire 14 years in the Army Reserve has been a battle with weight. I am often over the weight limit, which then requires me to do a body fat test. Again, the percentage of fat is based on age and sex. So, the allowable percent varies per person. I am almost always precariously close to the edge. And a few times, I have been over.
When you are over, it is not a good thing-at all. It is almost a scarlet letter. For you can get “flagged,” which will limit you from going to schools and missions and stop you from getting most awards. Now, if it is time to deploy though, that is ok. Being overweight will not stop you from that.
It all makes sense when you really think about it. You have to have Soldiers who are fit and able to move around the battle field. You have to have Soldiers who represent America’s best. And, if being a little overweight was a way to get out of a deployment, you may have some folks who suddenly get big. So, yeah, the rules make sense. They are just often a struggle for us women. Particularly women who may have a large chest and butt. That is just more weight to add, and if you are getting taped, having a large rear end does not work in your favor.
The worry of this weight/body fat limit has been a constant concern for me. It is like constantly living on the edge. I used to joke around that if I could still pass the physical fitness test (2-mile run, pushups and sit-ups) while being “fat,” I should be awarded not flagged. Why you ask? Well, theoretically, fat should hold you back, slow you down. So if I can be fit enough to haul my fat butt around at the “skinny/fit standards,” that means I am even stronger than I need to be. Some people didn’t think that was fun. That’s ok. I did, lol.
Anyway, to make it even more fun, I have a slow thyroid on top of that stress. Ugh. Yes, so the fear of a few pounds here and there are not just about how my jeans fit, but about my job security. Three years ago I was over the body fat limit by one percent. Unfortunately, it was around the time my evaluation was due. Therefore, my evaluation has a black mark on it. If you read everything, it is a glowing recommendation of my work efforts, but there is still a box checked for an issue. And when promotions are held, if there are 10 people being considered and one has a black mark…guess what the odds are that someone will actually take the time to read the evaluation to see what black mark is about and read that they are a truly great working Soldier. I don’t know the official statistics, but I think it is pretty safe to assume, the odds are low. So no matter how amazing my work is and wonderfully I have performed in my job, I screwed myself over with this weight issue back then.
Such is life in the Army though. It is part of the deal, the environment. And I can’t blame anyone but myself really. I am sure I could work out harder and eat less. Apparently, I just love living on the edge of danger though.
Maybe if I photographed food more than I ate it, I would get further away from that borderline.
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