I had just hung up the phone and was numb. The Air Force had accepted me—almost. I had passed all their tests, but 27 pounds was in the way. Alone in my own apartment, 2,000 miles away from home, I recalled how I had reached this point in my life.
In my twenties, I was already going downhill. I was overweight and dissatisfied with my job and myself. In five years, I had five different office jobs. It was always the same rut. I had been a clerk-typist, a file clerk, and a bookkeeper. I knew I was capable of more than an office job and being tied to a desk.
Dreaming of greener pastures, I became frustrated. I had to do something, because when I got nervous and frustrated, I ate. My mother's good cooking did not help either. She always kept cookies, cakes, and sweets on hand. I was 5'4", 155 pounds, and desperate to find myself.
A guidance counselor suggested the armed services as a career. I had always been an organized person wanting everything in its place. I wanted a challenge, travel, a chance to meet people, and a career. It would give me a chance to finish college.
The Air Force said I was overweight. I wanted some time to think about it. I knew I couldn't lose weight at home. My mother's criticism and complaints about my eating habits just made me eat more. Having saved some money, I took off for Santa Barbara, California.
My goal was to lose 30 pounds. The faster I lost weight, the sooner I could get into the Air Force. So, I began my diet of no food.
I drank a lot of water and took multi-vitamin pills. I kept busy looking for a job, playing golf, swimming, and drawing. In the mornings I did 15 sit-ups and 50 running in place. There was one consolation about not eating: no food bills. MacDonald's was next door. Smelling those Big Mac's drove me crazy.
A temporary job helped me pass the time. Seven pounds came off the next week. My job was as a typist, so I made the decision to get myself into the Air Force and a different career. The high protein diet was made for me, because I loved meat, eggs, cheese, and fish. The second week of my diet, I ventured to the Los Angeles Recruiting Station. It was no go; I was too much over weight.
Determined, I lost more weight. Two scrambled eggs (no butter), with tea made a good breakfast. I mixed tuna and shrimp. Some chicken, cheese, a hard-boiled egg was another meal. A piece of cheese melted between two thin broiled hamburger patties was a favorite of mine. I had some cottage cheese with it. A take home box of chicken would last for three meals. I took the skin off. Plus, I drank 8-10 glasses of water a day. In three weeks, I lost 20 pounds. My clothes did not fit anymore. There was no way I could afford a new wardrobe (What a delight!). I was looking forward to the Air Force. At the beach, guys started taking notice and so did my friends.
I had new energy and a lust for life. I adapted an exercise program to firm up the loose skin I was getting. Setting my exercises to music made it fun. It took 4 weeks to lose 30 pounds. I went from a size 16 to 11. I had done it. I went for my physical and proudly tipped the scale at 128 pounds. But my induction date was not until September, 4 months away. It meant I had the whole summer to wrestle with my diet and temptations.
I went back to Wisconsin and broke the news to my Mother. It turned out to be a fabulous summer with fresh fruits and vegetables. Every day I swam, went golfing or biking. I was just lazy. Some friends asked for my help to lose weight. Very carefully I watched what I ate and counted calories. With two meals a day, breakfast and supper, I had about 1200 calories. Fitness and nutrition were a new world to explore. It became a passion.
I lost five more pounds that summer and in September. Then I headed for boot camp at in San Antonio, Texas. We marched everywhere and they kept us busy. I lost more weight. I was down to 118 pounds. The next stop was Training School at Kessler, AFB, Mississippi. It was like college. After the training day and duties, we were on our own. We went to meals on our own. I rented a bike and did some golfing.
Everywhere I turned I saw the food trucks and vending machines. I gained three pounds. I was trained as a Personnel Specialist and finished in 10 weeks. It was back to San Antonio and Kelly AFB, where I settled in. My knowledge of nutrition and fitness was growing, which lead me to yoga, and then vegetarianism. I lost three more pounds and was 115 pounds.
Personnel was just another office job, and I worked in a vault. It wasn't until I became a Training Instructor in boot camp at Lackland AFB that I found my true calling. I love speaking and teaching. I was born to it.
The Air Force and my diet helped me turn my life around. I don't recommend the methods I used. I did my homework. Everyone is different with different requirements. If you have the desire and motivation you can do it, and I am dedicating my life to helping people do the same.
Wow! What I difference in my life! Yup! I blame the Air Force for changing my life!