My last tour of Iraq, I went from 208lbs to 159lbs, then back to about 175lbs all within 14 months.
During my initial drop, it had nothing to do with what I ate since my diet really didn't change from here in the states other than switching from Dr Peppers to Diet Cokes. I di drink more water than usual just because I had to (I normally don't drink ANY water). I was down almost 50lbs within 4 months because I actually worked my ass of in 120-140* heat, sometimes in chemical suits, 12-14 hours a day. It was a given that I would drop weight. I still ate about the same, though.
My second 4 months, I began working out a little and eating more fruits/veggies and almost nothing fried. I even went to just a few Diet Cokes a day and drank more water and/or Crystal light. My work-out was mostly cardio (35-45 minutes) then a few sets of 3 or 4 different weighted work-outs (rotating schedule). Every day. I gained 15-20 pounds and still lost another inch or so on my waist. It was actually the best shape I was in ever.
My last 6 months, I backed off work-outs to every once or twice a week, if that. Jumped back on the Diet Coke thing and worked less (physically) because our base was moving into a sustainment mission and all the hard work was pretty much done, not to mention we had a lot more people working. I gained a few more pounds, but you could tell my muscle mass was shrinking dramatically and my waist filled up again.
I was in the States for three years and downing Dr Peppers like they were going out of style (heaven forbid). Ate more than I ever did before, got a cush management job (little labor, but some walking). Ballooned up to 214lbs and had to buy new clothes. I eventually went BACK to Diet Cokes and during a 10 week bet with some people at work, I managed to starve myself down to 183lbs. Been about that way until April 08.
I've been in Iraq over a month now. I came into country 187lbs. I'm still crushing about 8 Diet Coke cans a day, but I'm drinking more water too. I haven't cut back on the eating and my work-load is more of an administrative position (consultant) than anything, except for emergewncy responses. I'm hitting the weight room daily (sometimes twice) with very little cardio. My problem is that I'm dropping weight, but not growing in muscle mass like I did last time. I have a good all-around rotation going for weights and I try to lift as much as possible while maintaining 3 to four sets of 8 reps. If I go lighter, I'll increase my # of reps, but I want to build a little more mass. If I go heavier, my reps will go down. I'm definately losing the waist, but I've been mostly focusing on chest, shoulders, arms, legs and back. I dedicate a couple days a week to a little more cardio and abs, but I feel it's at least needed to keep somewhat of a balance.
Is my only other alternative some sort of muscle mass chemical drink or something? That's been the only suggestions I've got from here. This place reeks of protien shakes and Decca.