When we had our son just around 2.5 years ago, some of my co-workers at the time joked that I would get "Dad Bod". At 210 pounds, I had already gained quite a bit of weight in recent years (largely due to an unhealthy diet, very long hours worked, and insufficient exercise). So, gaining even more weight frightened me quite a bit. I still remember coming home from work and telling my wife about my fear of getting dad bod. I didn’t want to lose even more traction on my health and fitness.Over the 2.5 years that followed the birth of my son, I actually ended up losing 40 pounds for a variety of reasons, something I would have never forecasted nor imagined. I’m now in the best shape of my life, and couldn’t feel better. Today’s post is a chronicle of my dad bod (a good thing, in my case!) and the strategies (both intentional and unintentional) that have transformed my life. I’m very proud of my health and fitness, so I probably can’t help but brag a little. That being said, the purpose of this post is one of inspiration and positivity. I’m hoping that my post inspires change, helping others regain their youth, energy, and happiness in life!
My Son: My Greatest Purpose In Life
Being a father has been life-transforming. I cannot begin to describe the tremendous sense of purpose that my little guy has brought into my life. My son is also behind my amazing physical transformation.
Now that I’m a dad, I just don’t understand this concept of dad bod. Our little guy is so energetic. I’m always playing with him, chasing him around, and even exercising together. We have so much fun together, and I’m constantly in motion. Being a dad is exercise in itself, and one of the main drivers behind my weight loss. While I used to sit around in my spare time, I now never have a dull moment (unless I’m sleeping). I’m constantly on my feet, having fun with our little man.
This brings me to the point: If one takes an active role in parenting, your child could be a great driver in your own physical fitness, whether you’re the dad or the mom.
Bonus Tip: Doing some dad/toddler squats is one of my favorite exercises. It’s easy: Just hold your child in your arms while squatting. Get in a good 20-30 reps at a time. It’s great exercise and your child will have a blast, bonding with you and laughing!
Running and Swimming: Establishing New Routines
These days, I’m doing everything in my power to challenge traditions and establish new routines. I’m mixing exercise with my workday (during my lunch break), and have experienced a new surge in energy, happiness, and productivity.
Over the last two years, I phased my favorite exercise routines (those that I had largely ignored for years) back into my life: running and swimming. First, I started running (typically between 6-8 miles) once per week. As a bonus, I really enjoy Praying While I Run. And, my wife, son, and I have been Competing In 5K Races.
More recently, we also joined a fitness club with an amazing pool, and I started swimming about 1,500-2,000 yards once per week. I also pepper in impromptu exercise such as pushups and jump lunges a few times per week on my off-days. Slowly but surely, I have phased exercise back into life. While I didn’t do it all at once, I started seeing results immediately. And, things only got better with time.
I’ve now found the perfect routine, one that has helped drive my waist size down from size 38 to size 32. Many view exercise as time wasted, or time that could have been spent working. I am here to say that it is the opposite. Exercise gives me energy. It increases my focus and productivity at work. It makes me a better employee and entrepreneur.
Bonus Tip: Even if you can’t get out of the office, you can stay active. Consider doing some pushups, sit-ups, jump lunges, and squats throughout your day. Don’t worry what others say (or if you look wacky). Just go to a spare conference room or even in your office parking lot. You’ll often find me staring an impromptu set of jump lunges just about anywhere.
The Emergency Room Visit That Changed My Life
Those who used to work with me remember me as the guy that always ordered a soda at lunch. I also enjoyed a variety of unhealthy foods including chocolates, donuts, and sweets available in our office kitchen. To make matters worse, I would get out of the office regularly to visit the local coffee shop, even when I was not hungry. (It was a reason to take a break and get out of the office.)
One day, all of this unhealthy eating caught up with me! I ended up in the emergency room late at night, chocking on broccoli from dinner. It was really terrifying: The food was stuck and wouldn’t pass from my esophagus to my stomach. Ultimately, I ended up going into emergency surgery and the doctor had to "scope out" the food. The doctor determined that my situation was the result of acid reflux, which was the byproduct of my poor diet.
After this incident, everything changed. I had to improve my diet for my son and my wife. I just couldn’t do it anymore. Thankfully, I had all the help and support in the world from my amazing wife. She bought me a game-changing book on transforming to a diet low in acidity, and transformed the foods in our house and kitchen.
Now, I have a very different diet, one that is healthy and low in acidity. In fact, I quit beverages other than water cold turkey! At first, it was a little difficult. Now, I rarely have a craving for low-quality foods. While I took Prilosec as part of my recovery as well (the first 9 months), I am now officially off the medication without issue. My renewed diet has been a game-changer for my health and fitness.
The weirdest part of it all? My acid reflux did not have the typical symptoms (I experienced zero heartburn). I challenge you to truly debate and refine your diet. Even if you feel great now, those unhealthy foods (unless consumed in moderation) can land you in the emergency room when you least expect it, with no advanced warning.
You Can Do It Too
Back when I weighed 210 pounds, I would have never imagined that I’d be down at 170 in only 2.5 years time! (More than that, it was not even a goal of mine. At 210, I was still among the slimmest of my male colleagues and felt reasonably comfortable with my weight.)
Looking back, it has been quite a journey. It has been all about incremental, baby steps. I have implemented one small improvement at a time, sometimes without even thinking about it. I know you can do it too. I truly hope this post serves as motivation for others out there who want to lose weight and/or improve their health. Here’s to our collective health, fitness, and happiness!
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