Making Exercise and Proper Nutrition a Priority Pays Off for CSG 2 Officer

Story Number: NNS110802-15Release Date: 8/2/2011 1:44:00 PM
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By Lt. Jennifer Cragg, Commander, Submarine Group Two Public Affairs

GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- A Commander, Submarine Group (CSG) 2 Sailor finished in the top 10 percent in the Naval Station Newport Sprint Triathlon July 31.

Official results from the weekend race placed Lt. Cmdr. Jason Deichler 20th out of 273 competitors. He had two first place finishes in Naval Submarine Base New London road races earlier this year.

Deichler, a nuclear power officer assigned to the command's material and readiness department, said he has worked hard to maintain excellent physical weight standards, but also has had concerns with how his family medical background could have an impact on his long-term health. Making exercise a priority in one's life has become the motto for Deichler and his family who have taken this motto to heart, literally.

"My father died of a heart attack at a young age and my grandfather, a World War II Navy veteran, passed away of complications from a stroke," said Deichler, who explained a linkage between his family's cardiovascular and diabetic medical histories and the early deaths of his father and grandfather.

He added that another motivator to stay on track is to set performance goals such as road races, triathlons and marathons.

"My family's lifestyle change is very important and integral to our daily lives," he said. "I want to continue being a leader for my family, community and the Navy, today and for many years to come."

Deichler also said that we must understand that the way we treat our bodies today impacts on our health and well-being 10 or 20 years down the road.

Deichler and his wife of 13 years had embarked on a shared weight loss challenge in August 2010 to lose weight and to serve as an example for their four children.

"In August of 2010 we started a portion control and healthy diet regimen. Our intentions were for long-term health, not a short-term fix associated with supplements or fad diets," said Deichler. "We used each other as a support group and conducted a lot of research on the right things to eat."

Through the joint weight-loss effort, he said that he and his wife grew stronger, and realized their teamwork had bigger implications for their four children, who range in ages from 18-months to 11-years old.

"My daughter and sons are into local sporting activities. Since we have started our weight loss and fitness program, our children have worked to emulate my wife and me. This is beneficial to their success as athletes and their future as healthy young adults," said Deichler.

Deichler and his daughter recently ran a 5k road race together. While they didn't finish first in the race, he said they shared valuable life lessons in maintaining physical standards.

"It's a lot more important to see her running the race than winning the race," Deichler said.

According to Culinary Specialist First Class (SS/DV) Allen Williford, CSG 2 flag culinary specialist, balanced nutrition is key to maintaining a successful weight loss regimen.

"Working out, eating healthy, and staying hydrated are proven to increase confidence, productivity, and health. In my opinion nutrition, exercise, and hydrating define fitness," said Williford.

Williford, who is also the command's physical fitness assessment coordinator, added that most people don't adopt this mindset and consequently slow their weight loss success. He serves as subject matter expert for CSG 2 in the Navy Operation Fitness and Fueling series, established in 2009.

"Most people assume since they can perform their day to day tasks and they aren't excessively overweight that they are fit, but I have seen plenty of people who look 'fit' but who can hardly walk the mile and a half, much less run it," said Williford.

He added that Sailors have to understand that when you put something into your body, it is going to affect you in some way. "You're not just getting full, you're getting fuel, how you use that fuel is up to you. It can be used as energy or stored as fat," Williford said.

"In 2009, the Navy assigned subject matter experts to change the way Sailors viewed fitness and nutrition. The SMEs spoke with over 750 sailors and teamed up with the Athletes' Performance Institute to create workouts that increase performance and decrease injury," said Williford.

Williford and Deichler both agree that one key element to staying in shape is to find someone to work out with and motivate you.

"My wife is my best friend and we have supported and motivated each other in our joint weight loss efforts," said Deichler. "The key is to find someone who is willing to work with you when you are unmotivated, and keep you on track."

In the end, Deichler said one of the main motivators for him is being a role model for not only his family, but for the men and women he serves with.

"The men and women I serve with deserve someone that they can look up to," he said. "If I can get out there and motivate them, I know I fulfilling my duties of being a good leader: emotionally, spiritually, technically and physically."

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