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Revealed: Secrets to healthy living

YOKOTA AIR BASE, JAPAN - The Healthy Base Initiative—operating under the banner of Operation Live Well—is a Department of Defense-wide education, outreach and behavior change initiative designed to improve the health and well-being of members of the defense community. From active duty and reserve service members, to military children, spouses, retirees and DoD employees, the Healthy Base Initiative aims to help the defense community strive for ideal health standards in support of the National Prevention Strategy. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Senior Airman Michael Washburn/Released)

(U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Senior Airman Michael Washburn/Released)

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Tired of seeing infomercials and magazine clippings about diet pills and quick fix plans that promise fast weight loss but don't work? Sick of investing time and money in supplements and fads that shed a few pounds, but the weight comes right back?

Well look no further. The secret to not just weight loss, but a healthier lifestyle has been discovered. The answer to this renown phenomenon is exercise, balanced nutritious meals and water.

Though fad diets, pills and other alternatives offer a world of different results, the best way to combat weight gain or generally lose weight is to maintain proper nutrition and to be active.

"Everyone always wants a quick solution, that's part of the society we live in" said Tech. Sgt. Vanessa Arthur, 51st Aerospace Medicine Squadron health promotion flight chief. "People are more into instant gratification, so they rationalize their not having time to go to the gym, or not eating right and look for fad diets that will help them lose that ten pounds in ten days or the wrap that the will trim two inches off their waist. Reality is that most of those diets deprive your body of nutrients that it needs, and some eliminate food groups all together. The weight they lose is mostly water weight and lean muscle, so they trim the weight and then gain it back plus some."

For a short time, certain diets can be beneficial in helping someone learn to incorporate healthier foods, or eat smaller serving sizes. They are not, however, meant to be done for more than a few weeks. The best way to determine a time frame and health benefits of any diet, is research.

"Most people go by word of mouth or by what's popular at the time and don't do their research," Arthur said. "All diets aren't good for you, and some can even have long term effects on your body if done for too long. The HAWC is here to help provide information. If they need, we can research a diet and make sure members have all the correct information about it prior. It's all about taking care of yourself now. If you eat healthy and are active year round, then you don't have to worry about waiting to the last minute to get in shape or losing a surplus of weight."

According to the American Dietetic Association, proven ways to lose weight and keep it off include:

· Set realistic goals. A safe rate of weight loss is one-half to two pounds per week.

· Choose a diet low in fat that provides fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy foods, lean meats, fiber and whole grains.

· Eat three smaller meals and three snacks daily.
· Control meal portion sizes.

· Limit fast food, high-fat cheese, butter, fried food, high-fat snacks and desserts to once a week.

· Weigh yourself once a week and keep a food diary of what you eat.

· Find ways to be more active in your daily life, such as taking the stairs and parking a block away from your destination. Also, choose an exercise plan that you can stick with.

Being active can be one of the single strongest predictors in determining whether a person loses and maintains weight loss. Just 10 to 15 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week can make a visible difference.

"Make working out a goal, even if you don't feel like it," said Darick Alexander, 51st Fighter Wing chapel assistant. "Even if it's just running around the track or lifting a few weights, it's a choice and it has to be part of your life. Find ways to motivate yourself to stay healthy. It's important to take care of yourself."