PRT Airman credits diet, exercise in achieving her weight-loss goal
Senior Airman Roza Kowal, Provincial Reconstruction Team Paktya supply specialist from Chicago, works out on an elliptical machine at Bagram Airfield Oct. 28, 2011. When not running, Kowal, opts for other cardio workouts such as the elliptical machine and biking. Since the beginning of her deployment, Kowal has lost more than 40 pounds. (Courtesy photo)
by 1st Lt. Cammie Quinn
Provincial Reconstruction Team Paktya Public Affairs Office
11/2/2011 - PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Senior Airman Roza Kowal, a Provincial Reconstruction Team Paktya supply specialist from Chicago, has been described by her friends as professional, intelligent and organized.
Now, thanks to her deployment to Afghanistan, she can add 'athletic' to the list.
Kowal, an Airman deployed from Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.., has taken advantage of her time in Afghanistan to focus on a goal she's had since she began pre-deployment training.
"I am a very competitive person, and was the slowest person during pre-deployment training," she said. "I didn't want to be the one who slows down my team, so I felt I had to do something about it."
Since deploying almost four months ago, Kowal has run more than 250 miles. Whether she runs for an hour straight, or focuses on speed drills with strength training, Kowal said she has short term goals she hopes to achieve. These goals keep her motivated to continue exercising, during her most tired days.
"Even on days when I'm worn out, I still go to the gym to walk on the treadmill," Kowal said. "On the days that I work on speed, I also work on my pushups and sit-ups."
Kowal said she has come a long way from when she started her routine. She began by walking, then slowly worked her way up to running for an hour straight.
"I do take a day off from the gym, but I don't have a set day, it just comes to me," she added.
Kowal's biggest challenge is her diet, she said. While she doesn't follow a specific plan, she said she now eats in smaller portions.
"When I want to eat unhealthy food, I will have one fried chicken wing instead of ten, and I have five French fries instead of 25," she said.
She said she often divides her food in half and removes it from her tray so later she is not tempted to eat it.
"Still, every meal is a big challenge and I argue with myself on what I want, and what I should eat," she added.
As of her last weigh-in, she has reported losing more than 40 pounds.
"I'm very proud of the progress Kowal has made in the time that I've worked with her," said U.S. Army Capt. Derrick Grover, PRT Paktya supply officer from Plainfield, Ind. "She works hard and remains focused both on her work, and her personal goals of improvement."
Kowal said she has days where she'd like to throw in the towel and give up, but every time she is tempted, she looks at old pictures and her previous physical fitness scores.
"I do not want to go back to that time in my life," she said. "It's stressful being in military and being overweight."
Kowal credits the friends she's made on the deployment as the key to her success.
"Through all the dieting and exercise challenges I've faced, I'm grateful to say I have a great team of females who keep supporting me and helping me out," she said.