Discover the Secret to Deployment Weight Loss


The personal trainer was determined to be my new helper. “Call Me! I can help you with your eating plan! We can do a resting metabolic heart rate test right in my office!”

“Can’t wait!” I replied, putting plenty of yippitee skippitee in my voice.

Then I scrambled out of there. Yeah, I’m never gonna call that woman. I totally believe that she could put together an effective eating plan for me. I’m sure that she could make me lose so much weight that I could hang from a wire hook on my own Christmas tree.

Yet I will not be calling her. Because my metabolic resting heartrate is not in fact, my weight problem. Neither is it in the legume/sesame seed/ wheatgrass cocktail she is brewing.  Nor is it my particular body type.

My weight problem is, in fact, a wait problem. I am one of those people who put on weight when my husband is gone.

This is not at all his fault. This is the natural result of these three behaviors that naturally occur while waiting for a beloved to return.

So I am thinking that if that personal trainer could discover the solution to these three problems, we military spouses could storm her office. Hoist her to our shoulders. Carry her off to BUMED where they would crown her Official Wait Loss Consultant to the DoD.

But first she would have to solve these three little challenges to thinness so many of us face:

Leftbehinders. Civilian families often have leftovers after a meal. My military family has leftbehinders. When my husband deploys, I know that he will not be coming home to dine. Somehow that does not change my shopping habits or my cooking habits. It goes something like this:  Look–there is all this food still in the dish! And it tastes really good, doesn’t it? YES!  So why is there so much left over?  Better taste it again to make sure it is still good. AND IT STILL IS!!! Gosh, I feel like my behind has left me bigger than ever.

Procrastineating. According to the Urban Dictionary, procrastineating is the consumption of food undertaken to avoid a dull or arduous task, irrespective of hunger levels or the time of day. Since I think of every duty day, work-up, or deployment day as a dull and arduous task to get through (sinful!!), I count the moments in little bacon sandwiches, bleu cheese crumbles and anything manufactured by FritoLay. Time does pass while procrastineating, so this must be an effective measure, right? Right. It effectively puts the weight right on — like a trowel.

 Leash Bindage. I know that weight loss never occurs without exercise. Dog walking works for me when my husband is home. After dinner I snap leashes on the dogs and we trot around  returning bright eyed and bushy tailed. When the ship is at sea, the dogs are squirrellier than ever. To walk them, I have to convince my son that walking around the block will not fracture a femur. That takes half an hour. I have to force everyone into adequate garments for the weather. Another 15 minutes. I snap leashes on dogs and they proceed to run around us in circles, effectively breaking any spare femur any one of us has going. So far my exercise routine has taken 45 minutes I do not have and I have not yet burned a calorie and must wear a cast.

OK, that’s a little bit of an exaggeration.  I know my weight loss problem won’t be solved by bringing the deployment to a closet.

But the end of my wait problem sure makes it seem like all things would be then possible. Sometimes I just want the guy to come home.

About the Author

Jacey Eckhart
Jacey Eckhart is the former Director of Spouse and Family Programs for Since 1996, Eckhart’s take on military families has been featured in her syndicated column, her book The Homefront Club, and her award winning CDs These Boots and I Married a Spartan?? Most recently she has been featured as a military family subject matter expert on NBC Dateline, CBS morning news, CNN, NPR and the New York Times. Eckhart is an Air Force brat, a Navy wife and an Army mom. Find her at
  • armywife2008

    Losing weight is so much harder when your husband is gone! 6 months into a 12 month deployment I realized the baby weight wasn’t going to take itself off, so this is what I did:
    Totally changed my shopping habits. No more treats, potato chips, or anything I liked to snack on. If it wasn’t in the house, I couldn’t eat it. The kids survived with just having graham crackers for snacks (poor babies). My dinner plans were lighter and healthier. I was less concerned with taste and more concerned with calories. Hey, my husband wasn’t around to complain that the veggies didn’t have butter!
    Quit snacking. My worst deployment habit is putting the kids to bed and eating because I was bored. The new rule was that nothing was eaten after 7. I bought a bunch of yummy sugar free gum and I would chew on that if I wanted a snack.
    2 cups calorie-full liquids a day. i.e. juice, soda, and milk. (yes milk! I ate yogurt and cottage cheese to get my calcium). The rest of the time I drank water or Crystal Light.
    Started exercising more. This was the hardest one for me because I have no motivation to do it at home. I got a gym membership and paid extra for my kids to go to the play center while I worked out with a friend. (I’m a national guard wife far from base so I couldn’t use on base childcare). It was expensive, but it got me out of the house three times a week and I was able to shed the 20 pounds I needed to in about 5 months.
    Hope that helps!

  • I am bad about eating between meals and it adds up. You don’t realize you just at an extra 500 calories from all the nuts and fruit. I used to make smoothies and would at way too much fruit to them. It also adds up. Just watch what you put in your mouth and you will be fine.

  • Yes, there is definitely a link between love and weight loss which is basically what you’re saying. When you’re in love the pounds just drop off and you have a kinda glow. The same goes for miserable relationships. I was in a terrible relationship and tanked on the pounds even though I seemed to hardly eat anything. I think the fat was being stored for self preservation.