Author: Christina Landry, Founder of DumBell Fitness 

We get it: Deployments are emotional and stressful for the entire family. Ever wonder what good can come from months of separation? How about self-empowerment, self-love, and even, shall we dare say it, a better life. Sound crazy? Well, it’s possible! You CAN gain a better understanding of yourself during deployments. You CAN learn to love yourself again. You CAN learn to put yourself first every-now-and-again. It is possible to come out of this deployment stronger and more self confident than ever before. And there is NOTHING shameful about focusing on yourself during a deployment. So put down the stressful eating habits and pick up our top 5 tips for getting in shape during a deployment: 

1) Online Fitness

It’s the newest trend for getting fit and it’s perfect for the SAHM or the overworked, pulled in 50 directions, spouse. The great part about online workouts is that they are available anytime and you can do them in the comfort of your own home. Talk about a judge-free environment. (Cue Dorothy from Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.”) You can even use online workouts to supplement your regular exercise routine in times when you can’t find a sitter, when you need to work late, when it’s too hot or cold to run outside, or after the kids go to bed. 

We recommend a site like DumBell 4 Life (vod.dumbellfitness.com) This site offers full length exercise videos, written workouts with demonstrations, health articles and tips, and healthy recipes for less than $20/month. Unlike the fitness DVD’s that get old and monotonous, online workout websites give new material and exercises on a daily basis. Make sure you find an online program that won’t get boring and provides enough instruction to maintain proper form! 

2) Nutrition

During a deployment it is tremendously important. We know you are only making meals for the kids and yourself and it may be tempting to swing by a drive thru every-other-night, BUT DON’T! Also, resist the temptations of making “easy meals” like mac-n-cheese with hot dogs or tater-tots and frozen chicken nuggets. Instead, try exploring new healthy dishes while your spouse is deployed. We love the website 100 Days of Real Food, which gives FREE monthly meal plans WITH the grocery shopping list attached. It’s too easy! If that doesn’t float your boat, then make sure that you are eating at least five fruits and vegetables a day. (Stay heavier on the veggie side. Example: 3 veggies and 2 fruits per day.) 

One tip we cannot stress enough: If you wouldn’t eat it, please don’t  let your kids eat it. We see it all the time: Parents in the fast food line ordering a salad for themselves and chicken nuggets and french fries for their children. If you know greasy food is a bad choice for you, then please understand that it’s also a terrible choice for our children. 

Second tip: Continue making full meals, even during deployment, so you can bank the leftovers. Put them in the freezer to serve up another day, saving you time that you can use to get active.


 

3) Outdoor Fitness

A great option during the summer months! Hit up a park or the pool and workout along side your kiddos or friends. Some parks even have little fitness areas built in to help accommodate, but you can also make your own workouts like doing step-ups on a bench or squats with one leg on the curb. There are endless possibilities! When you take your children to the pool, don’t be that parent sitting out, put a suit on and join them. Swimming laps burns a ton of calories and is a great low-impact workout.

4) Fitness Classes

They are the next best option for getting in shape during a deployment. These classes provide not only a great way to lose weight or gain muscle, but a time to get out and socialize. Classes can usually be found at the base gym or at a gym out in town, but don’t count out something non-traditional! Stroller Strides and Stroller Warriors are great programs that are affordable and allow you to bring your children with you as you workout.

5) Stick to It!

Remember this is not a “diet”, which implies that there is an end. Getting healthy and fit is a life style change. When your spouse comes home celebrate the excitement with fitness activities in the bedroom (wink, wink). Try to avoid too much celebratory eating out and do not let the newness of homecoming derail the new, self-improved spouse you have become. You are worth the continued healthy efforts and chances are your deployed honey will LOVE the new you and encourage the welcomed change. 

Military Spouses, remember: Putting yourself first for a one-hour workout during the day is NOT selfish. It will make you a better person for the rest of the day, and we’re sure the people around you will appreciate the new and improved you. Also, the extra money spent on eating fresh produce and whole foods is well worth it in the long run! Your body should not be a bargaining tool; quantity is not better than quality. Hippocrates wrote, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine by thy food.” Wiser words have never been spoken. 

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/markjsebastian/2820214199/”>mark sebastian</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>

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