I know there's a lot of stuff in the news about how overweight we are as a country. And I certainly don't dispute that. However. In the military, or at least in the Marine Corps (which is where I've lived the last 12 years of my life), there seems to be a conspiracy of fitness. I'm not saying that this is a bad thing. It is what it is. Obviously, the Marines (and other service-members) need to be in the best possible shape. But what about those of us who only married into the military?
Have you ever seen the Marine Corps Evening Dress uniforms?
They look like this:
Field Grade Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers wear these. So who is wearing these again? That's right. Service-members who are getting older, whose metabolism may be slowing down a bit. But these uniforms are designed so that any extra weight in the torso will make the uniform extremely unflattering. I know because I've seen it. Not often, it's true. But believe me, a spare tire is only accentuated by the cut of these jackets. So once a Marine has spent the large amount of money to buy these uniforms, he or she obviously will want to look good in it and will want to ensure that they don't ever need a different size.
Then for the spouses, there is the issue of the annual Marine Corps Birthday Ball. We know it's coming every year. And we want to look good for it. Heck, it may be the only date night we get all year! Certainly, it's a rare opportunity to get dressed up for some of us who spend our days in mommy gear. Let me tell you, I never met so many women that were into fitness until I married into the Marine Corps. I'm pretty sure the Birthday Ball has at least a little something to do with it. I know that I feel a renewed sense of urgency to lose some weight, firm up those jiggly areas, and generally get into better shape every Fall -- usually when I find out when the Birthday Ball will be held. So even though spouses aren't required to be fit, we're certainly encouraged to be.
Even better, we're often given the tools to achieve these goals if we're on or near a base. Gym facilities, often including various classes are available to us. Free nutrition counseling is usually available at Military Treatment Facilities (aka the military hospitals). And those are just some of the official programs. Often, sports leagues and informal clubs (such as biking or running clubs) can be found for any fitness interest you might have. In fact, one of the many things I miss about being near a base is the access to free fitness classes. I tried Pilates for the first time at our last duty station and loved it (despite complaining my way through each class).
I had a lot less guilt about being a couch potato before I married into the Corps. Now, I've succumbed to the conspiracy and am actually trying to run for the first time in my life. Why is this such a big deal? Because my attitude used to be "why run unless someone is chasing you?"
So, the conspiracy seems to have caught up with me. And that's a good thing.