Enhancing combat readiness in 30 days part two

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jonathan Bass
  • 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
*Editor's note* This is part two of a five part series on an Airman's journey to sustaining combat readiness.

Two weeks down, two more to go.

So far, this Daniel Fast hasn't been too difficult. I do miss the foods I'm not allowed to have. You never know how much you enjoy something until you're not allowed to have it.

I like to say that I don't have a sweet tooth, I have sweet teeth; and I'm definitely an omnivore, I love beef and bacon. Not eating some of my favorite food and drinks makes The Daniel Fast a task, but thankfully it's not an impossible one.

I'm still able to enjoy food. Fruit quickly became a go to; having fresh strawberries, blueberries, apples and bananas really satisfies the cravings that I would normally satisfy with chocolate milk or some other sweet treat.

As far as nutrition goes, I've been told that I need to eat between 1,700 and 1,800 calories in order to allow my body to burn fat, while not destroying muscle.

I've accomplished this by leaning heavily on whole grains and plenty of vegetables. Whole grain brown rice with stir fry vegetables fills my stomach and provides the necessary vitamins and minerals while also tasting delicious. Black bean and guacamole tacos with fresh vegetables on whole wheat tortillas satisfies the desire for meat in my diet.

Most of this diet plan comes down to self-discipline, which isn't my strongest suit. But that's good, because this gives me the opportunity to practice. The temptation to eat foods that are not in this plan is strong, but the choice to be honest with my plan is growing stronger every day because of the last day's success.

Like with our jobs as Airmen, each day's successes build our confidence in our abilities to accomplish the mission set before us. Whether we turn wrenches on jets, drive fuel trucks, prepare food, or dispose of unexploded munitions, the knowledge that we succeed at our jobs pushes us toward success.

I want to deploy, I would love to go down range. But I need to make sure I'm more than ready to be down range. The success I achieve during these 30 days will directly translate to my ability to accomplish my portion of the deployed mission.

This correlates back to the diet, because now that I have experienced some success I can see that when I would normally eat a cookie, I now have hummus and celery. Instead of drinking a soda, I drink 100 percent fruit juice. Each time I make a healthy decision, I strengthen my resolve to continue on this course. My combat readiness is increased as my resolve is strengthened.

The most difficult part of the fast is the increase in working out. Increasing my workout regimen by 66 percent wasn't easy. Luckily I have some fun physical activities to help me out.

I play on our squadron's volleyball team and burn calories with a group of Airmen. Working as a team to achieve a victory keeps me motivated and not focused on how tired I am.

But I absolutely hate running, we fly super-sonic jets and for some reason we keep doing this whole running thing. I understand that the Air Force says it's mandatory though, which is why my wife and I go running to get some fresh air and exercise together.

To finish off my new regime I lift, do push-ups and sit-ups to increase muscular strength and prep for my physical fitness test in June.

Enhancing combat readiness isn't easy. But if it was easy, it probably wouldn't be worth it. As Airmen, we strengthen the entire force when we strengthen ourselves. When we work toward a common good, the result is exponentially increased with the successes of each individual.