Army Strong Verses You Healthy

On Behalf of Mike Chitwood
| May 5, 2023
Category: Inspiration

For years a mantra for the Army was, “Army Strong!” This phrase is spoken daily by those who train to fight our nation’s wars. The stronger a Soldier is, the greater the force is to engage in any worldwide conflict. With this aim toward strength comes a downfall; many Soldiers push themselves too hard and become injured. I forced myself far too hard for years to maintain the Army standard. Rarely, if ever, was I “Army Strong,” but post-Army, I’m glad I’m “Mike Healthy.”

Pushing myself too hard to meet the Army’s standards continued my injury cycle. Often I would start healthy, test myself, become injured, rehabilitate, become healthy again, and repeat. From genetics to bad luck, there are many reasons why I remained unhealthy. Essentially I reached a point where my body could not catch up due to one specific injury that compounded pain in the rest of my body. A change was necessary.

Eventually, that change was a medical retirement from the Army. Fortunately, after nearly two years of transition, I’m in a place where I’ve been able to focus on my health. As a result, I’ve lost all my COVID weight; I’m down 30 pounds from my heaviest, am slowly transitioning my diet, and am working towards further changes. Primarily I’ve achieved this by eating fewer simple carbs and walking a lot (my injuries don’t allow me to run). Eventually, my goal will not be solely on weight loss but on body mass index. Before then, I need to lose some more weight but consider myself “Mike Healthy” for the first time in years.

What, then, is “You Healthy?” Where are you mismatched in your life? It could be with yourself. It could be another’s standard forced on you. That entity may be your work, a social group, or even family. No matter your influences, discover what is “You Healthy” as I found what is “Mike Healthy.”

Start by setting a goal, then make that goal into smaller goals. Next, find exercises you like and can do consistently. For example, I love riding my bike, but my body won’t let me do it every day. However, I can walk 5-plus miles daily, so I strive towards that standard. Then, if I can add my bike on top of it, I will go for a ride. The same is valid for diet too. Remember, it’s about incremental change than all at once.

Sure, universal metrics determine what makes one healthy versus what is unhealthy. However, consider other’s metrics against what is scientifically correct. In reality, my medical separation was essential to my health. Right or wrong, I was trying to meet another’s standard that was not a healthy fit for me anymore. That’s not to say the Army is unhealthy, but that their standards and my body’s needs became a mismatch. Feel free to experiment with different exercises and foods to find what fits you. Eventually, you’ll discover “You Healthy.” When you do, drop me a line for what’s worked for you. I’ll be glad to celebrate it with you.

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The Dogwood Journal is an online magazine produced by Dogwood Media Solutions based out of Montgomery, Alabama.


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