The deployment yo-yo diet
During deployment many sailors beeline it to the gym when they’re not on the job, letting off steam and filling dead time. Working out distracts their minds from loved ones they miss and the life that seems to be passing them by back in the States.
Another result: weight loss and gaining muscle, sometimes in extreme amounts.
These sailors, fit and healthy when they return, often regain weight and lose strength when back in their everyday routines at home.
When the next cruise comes around, the yo-yo continues with more weight loss and body building.
My introduction to the yo-yo
Adam deployed on an aircraft carrier while we were dating. His ship stopped at several ports in the Western Pacific, so he flew me out to meet him in Thailand for a few days during leave.
This was the first time I learned about the drastic weight loss some sailors experience.
In our conversations throughout the previous months, I knew he spent a lot of time working out. Between standing bridge watch at all hours and his daily tasks, the gym was a sweet release.
But I didn’t know how much weight he had lost.
After my cross-pacific flight got in, I hurried to the hotel to await his arrival. I paced with excitement around the muggy hotel lobby in Phuket, alternating from sitting on the plush chairs to standing to sitting again.
He would be there any minute!
I hadn’t seen him since May, and the September heat swirled around me as I saw car, taxi and another car pull through the circle drive. My heart jumped– Is it him? — every time someone got out of a vehicle.
I began to question if I would even recognize my boyfriend after this long.
It seemed like 40 months rather than 4 since I last saw him. My eyes and mind played tricks on me as I impatiently waited… and waited…
How To Support Your Sailor’s Fitness
Before I finish my story, let me say: We can support our sailor’s fitness efforts from home and help them maintain a healthy lifestyle, even when faced with ship food and difficult environments.
When you send a box full of nutritious foods it helps them avoid excess weight loss, while still providing important nutrients and healthy calories. This supports their health and gives them extra strength for their grueling schedules.
Extra bonus– care packages help you make a personal connection which boosts their mental and emotional health.
Below are 40+ healthy care package ideas. You can pick and choose from the list below to put together the perfect box!
40+ Healthy Care Package Ideas To Skyrocket Your Sailor’s Fitness
- Stretch/tension bands
- Exercise ball with pump
- Yoga mat
- MP3 armband case
- Microfiber towel
- Workout shorts or top
- Foam roller or foam ball
Vitamins & Minerals
- Individual vitamin or mineral bottles
- Fiber gummies
- Dissolving vitamin tabs
- Applesauce cups
- Fruit & veggie snack pouches (puree)
- Fruit cups
- Dried fruit
- Fruit chips
- Sweet potato chips
- Veggie chips
(don’t let the Twix box fool you– this has healthy stuff inside!)
- Water filter Brita water bottle
- Dissolving flavored drink tabs
- Juice boxes
- Protein powder
- Green juice powder
Protein, Nuts & Seeds
- Individual trailmix packets
- Homemade trailmix
- Peanut butter- (Justin’s has fun flavors like maple & chocolate peanut butter)
- Chia seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Beef jerky individual packs
- Protein bars
- Kashi bars
- Kind bars
- Breakfast bars
- Organic boxed mac & cheese
- Instant oatmeal packets
- Canned tuna
- Limited Ingredient Healthy Recipe book
- Eggcrate foam mattress (I sent this to Adam and he loved it!)
- New pillow
- Mini lotion with essential oils/aromatherapy
- Travel Pillow
- Book or list with sleep tips
When my handsome man’s taxi pulled up at the hotel, I could barely contain my excitement.
He stepped out of the car and I sprinted into his arms.
I noticed he looked fit and thinner than I’d ever seen him, and he explained how the gym filled the dead time while at sea. By his own admission, he was a bit underweight. (He still looked amazing to me!)
The yo-yo at home
It took time to figure out the yo-yo when he returned, because it was hard to avoid. Their lifestyle during deployment is so different than it is at home.
The ship returned to San Diego a month after my visit. He lived in a tiny box apartment on Coronado, and I lived in Little Italy. Since we lived in the same city for the first time, we got to date like a normal couple.
He took me out to all the amazing San Diego restaurants. We sampled cakes for our wedding (we got engaged in Thailand) and tasted ice cream from every parlor. Neither of us ate the most nutritious diet.
It’s taken time as a couple to learn healthy habits together and then to help each other continue them across the distance. Now I send nutritious items and fitness aids to help Adam maintain better habits throughout deployment. Now its not such an up-and-down assault on his body.
Enjoy using these healthy care package ideas to boost your sailor’s fitness to new heights!