From the Logbook:
Flying . . . Is It Worth Staying Healthy For?
By - Jim
ever-changing medical rules in our profession, the Federal Aviation
Administration is trying to close down yet another accident
avenue before it gets a chance to rear its ugly head. They know,
and so do we, that pilots in general do not eat good, nutritious
food and are not necessarily prone to exercise. Consequently,
by raising the medical standards just a little bit every chance
they get, they allow us to drive ourselves right out the door
allowed us to believe that anything can be waived if we start
taking some kind of medication for it, and without even thinking,
that's what we do. Many drugs and medications have created more
problems than they cure, especially in aviation. If you are
slowly falling into one or more of the following six ailments,
CORONARY HEART DISEASE, CANCER, LUNG AILMENTS, LIVER AILMENTS
AND SUICIDE. These six deadly killers are the most prevalent
in our society. Most can be prevented, cured, or at least contained
with the use of proper diet and/or food control, meditation
or deep relaxation, brisk exercise of any kind, chiropractic
adjustments, and perhaps a class in behavior modification. In
some cases, some light medication may also be needed. Still
with me? You must really like to fly or NEED to.
MANAGEMENT, FOOD INTAKE, AND PROPER NUTRITION all come under
the same heading. What it boils down to is whether you are eating
the correct foods for your particular needs in the proper amounts
and whether you are burning up the food or storing it as excess
fat. Some helpful hints might include cutting down your sugar
consumption (especially soft drinks which can contain as much
as 7 teaspoons of sugar per can), avoiding white flour and overly
processed foods, eliminating fried foods and foods cooked in
heated oils from your diet, and limiting dairy products to low
fat or fat free.
eat more fruit and vegetables, 5 servings a day, especially
in season, and stay away from canned, processed and frozen foods
whenever possible. Stop eating fast and/or junk foods such as
burgers, fries, and doughnuts. Eat your last meal of the day
as early as possible. Eat starches and proteins separately;
eat fruits and vegetables separately. Chew your food well and
learn to enjoy the different flavors. Stop eating when your
stomach is half full; the other half is still on the way down.
vegetables should make up as much as 50% of your daily food
intake. Fresh fruit, 15%. Starch, 10%. Protein, 15%. Fat, 10%.
Avoid foods high in saturated fats such as beef, dark-meat poultry,
poultry skin, butter and other whole-milk dairy products. Read
food labels on processed foods. Many proclaim themselves "cholesterol-free"
when in reality they are often made with highly saturated tropical
oils such as coconut, palm, and palm kernel. Snack on fruit,
carrot sticks, air-popped popcorn or low-fat crackers instead
of chips and other high-fat snacks.
this with 2 l/2 quarts of water each day which is about the
amount we lose over a 24-hour period. Your body and this planet
we live on are both 75% water. This is why it plays such an
important role in your lifestyle and health.
helpful hints and do some research on your own. Don't take someone
else's word for your health but find out what is best for you
based on your body's needs. Now, armed with all the facts, you
can design a weight management/food consumption program that
best suits your lifestyle and your needs. As a result, you will
not only feel better but live longer.
it may sound like we should quit eating altogether or at least
give up some of our favorite foods, it's simply just a tradeoff.
What you love to eat has gotten you this far. The question is,
are you happy with where you are?
other hand (the non-greasy one) we all know how hard it is to
give up foods that we have grown accustomed to eating and ordering
over the years, so take small steps in substitution and meal
modification. Try substituting some lower fat foods for regular
ones or, if you just can't stand the taste of the lower fat
foods, limit your portions. Try vegetable stock instead of margarine
when cooking, eat fresh whenever possible, drink lots of water
at mealtime, and, something very important, practice portion
control! Despite the new diets that promote counting fat grams
or eating all the carbohydrates you want, the total amount of
calories you take in still count.
one more thing to hate. Exercise. Start now to make your excuses
and I guarantee that your mind and body will agree with anything
you can come up with no matter how outrageous it may sound.
Equate food intake to putting fuel in your airplane. If you
put in more fuel than the tank will hold, it runs over on the
ground. Same thing with the human body except it runs over on
we get rid of excess fuel? Burn it! Same thing with food; we
have to move around and burn it up. Taking a nap or lying down
to watch TV after a big meal is not a great idea for burning
up an overload of food.
the method that you accomplish for the end result is completely
up to you. Do an activity that sounds like fun and try to break
a sweat. Bad word, sweat. It means that you are going to have
to do more than ride in a golf cart or lie on the beach or watch
a ball game. You are going to have to participate and move around
in order to burn what you just ate. Being thin and healthy doesn't
just come from what you eat; your body has to get in on the
behind this is that after you realize exactly how hard it is
to burn up excess food, you will think twice before taking in
an overload. Example: jogging for one hour burns less than 500
calories; 3,200 calories equal one pound of weight.
have to train for the Olympics, you just have to move, so start
small and work your way to the more difficult. Walking for 40
minutes to an hour at any pace is a start. Make it exciting
like walking in the park on or the beach. Don't live on the
beach or next to the park? Imagine that you do. Get some headphones
and listen to whatever makes you calm down and appreciate being
alive. And little changes in your habits make a difference,
too. Take stairs instead of elevators, park your car a distance
from where you are going, and any time it's possible walk instead
to halt weight gain before it gets beyond your control. When
you're at your ideal weight you will notice right away when
you gain a little bit. Begin to immediately cut back. Losing
the weight won't take long that way because you'll never get
to where you need to lose much. The longer you wait the more
you'll adjust to being heavier and the harder it will be to
get back in control.
have described in this three-step changeover is what most healthy
people do to maintain good health. You know the ones I mean.
They always look healthy and they always eat a lot of salads.
It may look boring, but they generally live forever and keep
flying long after we have lost our medical.
two-step addition to add to your take charge of your life program.
You cannot smoke and drink and be healthy also. If I have ever
made a statement in my life that can be backed up with more
evidence than this one, I don't remember what it was. Stop smoking
and stop drinking (or drink moderately, if at all). A lot of
personal sacrifices have to be made and the only benefit we
can be assured of, besides feeling a whole lot better, is flying
an airplane for a longer period during our lifetime.
. . . Is it worth staying healthy for? Run this article by your
Doctor, see if he agrees. I'll see you at the airport. Always
remember: Pilots that don't fly have no advantage over people
permission from the author required to reprint this copyrighted
ATP/CFI/IGI, was named the FAA/Aviation Industry National Flight
Instructor of the Year for 1997, and the FAA Southern Region
Aviation Safety Counselor of the Year for 1995 & 2005. He still
works full-time as a Corporate 135 Pilot/ "Gold Seal" Flight
& Ground Instructor/ FAA Aviation Safety Team Lead Representative/
National Aviation Magazine Writer. You have been enjoying his
work since 1973 in publications worldwide.
Register on (www.faasafety.gov)
WX BRIEF Just to be on the Safe Side