Disclaimer: Views expressed in this interview are those of the individual only and not those of the Department of Defense (or Department of Homeland Security for member(s) of the Coast Guard).*
Autumn…a season filled with cool crisp breezes, intoxicating pumpkin spice aromas, and the indulgence of delicious, calorie-ridden holiday foods. The cooler weather months tend to transport more than roads paved with flaxen and citrus colored leaves. Some unexpected changes can appear as a direct result of seasonal dietary consumption. Although the number of health conscious individuals are slowly increasing as the years progress, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that “more than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults have obesity”. A taxing work schedule, coupled with family and other miscellaneous factors can seem as justifying reasons to exercise poor eating habits. Unfortunately, that is a habit that some individuals cannot afford to adopt. Spc. Isaiah Gibbons is a United States Army solider on active duty who has committed his life to serving the country, and progressing his eating habits to reflect a health positive lifestyle. Gibbons shares his personal tips and practices on how develop healthier diet routines.
What are some of your best practices for maintaining a healthy diet with a vigorous military schedule?
What I do is try to make sure I eat breakfast every day. Eating a full breakfast really helps keep my metabolism working and it also helps with my workouts. What I eat for breakfast depends on the day. One day for breakfast I may have fruit, a grain [grits or oatmeal], and protein. The next day I may have a lighter breakfast such as, fruits and a bagel with juice. For about 6 months, I skipped breakfast and ate heavier lunches and dinners. I noticed that by not eating breakfast, I gained weight quickly! Once I added breakfast back into my routine, my metabolism stabilized and I maintained my weight. I also added light snacks in between my meals which helped to curb my hunger throughout the day.
How long did it take you to develop those best practices? What steps did you take to get there?
It has taken me years to develop a lifestyle I consider to be healthy. I started modifying my diet and health practices after football season in 2007. I’m not exactly where I would like to be, as far as meeting all of my health goals. I believe that working on living a healthier lifestyle and having good eating habits is a constant work in progress. Living a healthy lifestyle is not something that happens overnight. If someone wants to change their eating habits or fitness routines they have to continuously work at it.
Do you have a fitness regimen that coincides with your diet? If so what do you do?
I work out, 7 days a week, for about an hour a day. It’s usually a mix of cardio and strength training. My heavy workout days are Monday through Friday and my lighter days are on Saturday’s and Sunday’s. For anyone just starting, I recommend committing to 3 days a week and building from there. Just remember, a healthy lifestyle starts in the kitchen, focus more on what you eat.
What advice would you give to people who are struggling to choose healthier eating options due to busy schedules?
A saying that I developed over time is “you don’t eat for a moment, you eat for life”. That’s kind of what I live by to help me make better choices. When I was in high school I wanted to gain weight. Whenever I would talk to my grandmother she would tell me “just keep living, the weight will come”. When the weight came I had to educated myself on how to eat to modify and maintain my weight. I learned what worked for me. It’s really all about finding the right balance for yourself. Small changes over time equate to big results down the line.