First things first, to any fathers out there reading, Happy Father’s Day! Hopefully you get to spend the day with your children or enjoying your favorite dad hobby whether it’s fishing, golfing, or just relaxing.
I became a father on August 17th, 2011. It was a very happy and momentous day. There is a lot of emotion that comes with being a first time father and it’s also a very overwhelming time because your life rapidly gets thrown into a tail spin.
Flashback to December 2010, my wife approached me with a big smile on her face and pregnancy test in hand. After the initial joy of pregnancy we settled back into our routine preparing and getting ready to bring the little one home in 9 months. I had a moment of self reflection one day (in the mirror) and realized that I was no longer the fit, svelte, young man I used to be. I looked at my waistband in my jeans and saw a number over 40”. I looked at my closet and saw a lot of XL clothes and even some XXL’s. I climbed on the scale and saw that my once lean frame was now carrying close to 235lbs! I am only 5’11” tall, so that put my BMI (body mass index) at a whopping 32.8, that qualified me as OBESE, something I never imagined ever being. My joints hurt, my feet hurt, and sometimes it even hurt to bend over and pull on socks. I made the decision at that point to get back in shape and be a good role model for our child. I signed up for Weight Watchers for men in January of 2011, and begin walking on a treadmill hoping to work my way up to running again soon.
On the day of Noah’s birth I had lost 35lbs and was able to run 5 or more miles at a nice clip. I was slowly getting back into form. Flash forward to today and I am currently at 185lbs and a much healthier (but not perfect) BMI of 25.8. I recently ran the marathon relay with a few of my coworkers here and plan on running the Half Marathon again next year. I am also biking and training to do a sprint triathlon this year as well. I only have a few more pounds to go until my goal weight of 175lbs. My joints don’t ache anymore and my feet don’t hurt even after a 12 hour day at work. My clothes are getting too baggy now, and pretty soon I am going to need to go shopping to update my wardrobe.
Adam asked me to share my story with all the fathers (and mothers) out there because it doesn’t take a special person to do this. I am not special, I am just a normal guy who decided he needed to take his life back from the grasp of obesity. Your kids look up to you everyday and they emulate and imitate their parents because they don’t know any better. Setting a good example for your children is the best gift you can give them.
Healthy changes in your diet are as easy as putting down the chips and having an apple, substituting broccoli for fries, or skipping the second helping. I don’t profess to be an expert or a dietician, but simple changes in how we eat can go a long way. Cutting your portions down can save you precious calories and exercising for 30 minutes a day 4 or 5 days a week can help speed your metabolism and help you lose those pounds.
Are you interested in losing weight? Do you struggle with making the right food choices? There are plenty of resources available to you, just ask your Doctor. Get a physical to make sure you are healthy enough to exercise. Join a program like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig, or download a calorie counting app for your smart phone. There is no magic pill that will make you healthier and there is no prescription that we can provide for you to lose weight without the will and motivation to do it yourself. Sure, there are prescription options available but unless you change your diet for good there is no pill that will ever totally fix the problem.
My father always set a good example for me growing up, he worked incredibly hard (now retired), he came home grumpy sometimes and as a kid I didn’t understand why. But he didn’t take out his frustration on us he took it out with weights and cardio. He religiously exercised after work for an hour to vent his frustration. He would spend hours outside in the yard chasing us kids around, playing run down, catching football, playing frisbee, or competing in obstacle course races that we created. I didn’t have a lot growing up, my family was large and all our money went to food, clothes, and savings. What we did have was a lot of love, two parents that cared more for us than we could ever begin to imagine, and we had each other. We didn’t have cable so my brothers, sister, and I spent a lot of our time outside playing until the streetlights came on. I want to be able to give that gift to my child too, I want him to grow up in a responsible family, and I want to teach him to make healthy choices. I won’t be able to force him to do anything once he gets old enough to think for himself but I do hope that I can show him the mistakes I made so that he isn’t destined to repeat them.
This father’s day I would like to ask all the dad’s out there that struggle with their weight or their fitness to take some time for yourself. Improve your life, take the steps necessary to make sure that you are healthy enough to be a good role model for your children, and someday your grandchildren. Getting up every day and exercising before work or finding time to squeeze in a walk instead of watching TV for an hour every night isn’t glamorous, but the benefits it provides far outweigh the risk of doing nothing. I struggle sometimes to find the motivation to workout just like everyone else. But I also tell myself that I will never regret a workout when it’s completed…but I always regret the workout I skip. Do you need some added motivation? Join me for a run sometime or if you mountain bike or cycle on the road stop by and visit me at the store maybe we can meet up in South Park. If I have time I would be happy to join anyone out there who is looking to improve their fitness. As a pharmacist I interact with the general public everyday, and I see the way being unhealthy and overweight is killing our society. If I can give back to help you out I would be happy to, just stop in and chat sometime with me. I would love to help motivate you to get out and change the path you are on.
If you are interested in following me on my personal blog you can follow me at www.fitdadorfatdad.blogspot.com
Happy Father’s Day,