A friend of mine named Tom joined the Air Force a few-years-ago. He has never really been sloppy fat, but he does tend to put on a few ponds from time to time. He wrote me and told me that during basic training, he had been sent to the “fat farm.”
At the fat farm, recruits are fed a special low-fat, low-calorie diet and their exercise regime is increased substantially. It begins early in the morning when you have to get up and run several miles before breakfast. One way or the other the military will get you in shape.
Tom then shed a few pounds, and since he was losing weight, he eventually got out of the fat farm. He told me that if he had regained the weight, he would have been sent back to the farm. If he had done it too many times, he would have been discharged.
Being fat and being in the military do not go together. I guess gaining weight would be one way to get out if you decided that military life was just not for you. But what about those soldiers who want to make a career out of the military? Well, some of them are now going to extreme measures to make sure they stay at the ideal weight.
According to CNN:
“About 24,000 soldiers were discharged between 1992 and 2007 for failure to comply with weight standards, according to a military fitness report. Weight can kill military careers making them ineligible for promotions, leadership positions or professional military schools.”
So what’s a poor recruit to do? Some of them are turning to starvation diets, body wraps, preparation treatments, and liposuction to get the weight off. Some are even popping weight loss pills and sitting in saunas for extended periods.
Since we have become the fattest nation on earth, and subsequently more and more fat young people are joining the military, maybe we ought to reassess our weight standards for the military. This ought to get a lot of support in Congress, because a lot of them are fat.
Fat soldiers would probably do well in situations where they would have to go for a long period of time without food and in extremely cold conditions they would have a lot more insulation. Besides, more and more military operations are becoming automated and we all know that fat kids are the best at video games.
As for Tom? He still works for the Air Force, but now it’s in an office as a civilian mapping coordinator. And he’s gained a whole lot of weight since his enlisted days.