Welcome to Week 8 (yes, I know I skipped Weeks 6 & 7). I’ve been here, just not HERE. When my husband is home off the boat I spend as much time with him as possible and as little time on line. He’s gone three weeks and home three weeks, so the time with him is precious.
When he’s home, my job of planning healthy meals becomes a task. Where I will eat most anything, including an array of vegetables, he won’t. He was raised a meat and potatoes boy. And at 6’4” and 287 pounds, he shows it. Trying to get him to change his habits is hard. Here at home, I can help by at least fixing healthy meals I know he’ll eat, educating him on proper portion sizes and eating regularly. But three weeks out of six isn’t a ‘lifetime’ change. The three weeks he’s on the boat he works a six-hour shift and is off six. Part of his six hour off time is spent getting something to eat and winding down he so he can sleep for maybe four hours before he has to get back up, shower, fix something to eat and report to the wheel house for crew change. In that hour on either end of his off time he barely has time to fix a meal, let alone a healthy one. If he’s lucky when he gets up, he has time to eat something AND put something in the oven or the crock-pot to slow-cook before taking his duty. He’s on a small line-boat, which means there isn’t a cook. The crew fends for themselves. As Captain and the main shopper for his rotation, Bob tries to make sure there is a good assortment of foods that can be slow cooked or fixed on the fly. Unfortunately that means lunchmeats high in sodium, drinks loaded with sugar and caffeine and snacks they shouldn’t eat. Think of guys’ boat tour as a 3-week long bachelor pad.
With this kind of lifestyle, it’s easy to understand why a guy develops “Pilot Paunch”. Once a crew member works himself off the deck where he is hauling hundreds of pounds of heavy rigging for his 6 hour shift, up to the wheel house as Pilot or Captain he gets zip for exercise. Bob always promised he wasn’t going to develop Pilot Paunch but there just isn’t any way to avoid it. I just pray by the time he’s able to retire, it isn’t too late to save him.
And the Journey continues…