Improving health wealth--Proper nutrition balances mind, body

FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- While many people take extreme measures to lose weight or get in shape, Sgt. 1st Class (P) Jeffrey Herzog maintains his health by balancing food consumption and exercise.

The Noncommissioned Officer Academy instructor and certified personal trainer said evaluating his eating habits and changing his lifestyle helped him obtain his health and fitness goals. The now slender Soldier was 240 pounds half a decade ago.

After much research, he trained his metabolism and fueled his body with necessary nutrients daily. Herzog said his key to success is dividing his protein, carbohydrate and fat consumption between four to six small meals each day and eating the proper types of food at peak times.
He suggests similar routines for Soldiers and other active individuals. Training one's metabolism takes about two weeks' dedication, he noted.

Herzog said he eats a small meal about 45 minutes before his morning physical training - typically bread with peanut butter or a bagel. After fasting through a long night's sleep, the extra calories allow him to workout harder and longer.

Following PT and his morning routine, he eats a well-rounded breakfast. He recommends egg white omelets with ham, a banana - packed with potassium and vitamin E to settle the lactic acid buildup from PT - oatmeal, cereal or toast and yogurt.

"It seem(s) like a huge meal, but it's very balanced," Herzog said, referencing the carbohydrates, protein and essential nutrients.

He consumes a sandwich on multigrain bread - without cheese or creamy dressings - and plenty of vegetables for lunch. To satisfy a sweet tooth, he likes yogurts, fruit bars or fruit cups. For those wishing to add a little crunch to their lunch, he recommends baked chips or homemade, roasted French fries.

A mid-afternoon snack is important to bridging the gap between lunch and dinner, Herzog said. He advocates peanut butter crackers, yogurts, fruit or nuts - all filling, healthy items.

Herzog recommends six-ounce meat portions for evening meals - including steak, fish, chicken or pork. Fat should be trimmed before cooking, and the healthiest ways to prepare any meat include baking, broiling or grilling. Carbohydrates may include potatoes, rice or whole wheat pasta. The last necessary element for any dinner is lots of green vegetables, he emphasized.

Finally, he consumes a small snack before bedtime. Herzog dispels the myth that tells individuals they should never eat after 8 p.m., saying if nutritious foods are consumed, it doesn't matter when.

Herzog coaches Soldiers regarding nutrition for free. To schedule an appointment, call 255-3844.

Installation physical fitness facilities' staff also assists Soldiers and Families in maintaining healthy bodies.

Diet and physical fitness go hand-in-hand, and true healthiness cannot be obtained without focusing on both, said Caroline Driscoll, fitness program coordinator. Trainers at Fort Rucker and Fortenberry-Colton PFFs help clients in creating and maintaining personal fitness plans. She advises clients to visit Lyster Army Health Clinic professionals for dietary needs.

When it comes to healthy eating, Driscoll agrees that balance and simplicity are essential. Crash diets are counterproductive, she said, and people must make long-term changes to be effective.

"Fad diets are popular, but in the long run, it's your lifestyle (that matters)," she said.

Everything in moderation is also important. Allowing occasional treats is acceptable, she said, as long as people don't consume excess sweets.

Breakfast is the most important meal, Driscoll said, noting it gets a person's metabolism started for the day. She stresses the importance of three to five servings of colorful vegetables a day, and suggests people search online for food pyramids and nutritional eating tips.

Maintaining food diaries also keeps individuals accountable for their eating habits, Driscoll said. Writing down every bite she takes is a practice she's upheld for years.

"It's more empowering to you. You have control over what goes in your mouth," Driscoll said.

Drastically reducing calories to lose weight is unhealthy because the body will store what little food it does eat as fat, she said. Ideally, people interested in shedding pounds should multiply their goal weights by 10 and consume that number of calories. Those wishing to maintain their weights, or who are very active, need more.

A final tip Driscoll offers is consuming sufficient water. Diuretics such as caffeinated tea and coffee and sugary drinks do not count. Adding lemon or orange slices jazz up water's flavor, she said. She also suggests people carry water bottles wherever they go to ensure they sip liquid throughout the day.

Personal training sessions at either post gym are available, Driscoll said. Single sessions are $20 and double sessions, with two people, are $35. To register, call 255-3794.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16