This is a common story among fathers. What better time than the present for dads to get back on track and work toward a healthier lifestyle. And whatever the reasons for our weight gain, losing weight and maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle proves to be more difficult each year. When was the last time you saw an old high school buddy for the first time in years and he didn’t weigh an additional 20-50 pounds? What about you? Are you in better or worse shape than five years ago?
So, how to get started? First, simply acknowledging our current state of health is essential. Until we recognize that we need to make improvements in our lifestyle, nothing will change.
Ask yourself: Am I eating more than I used to? Do I watch more TV than a few years ago? Do I consider mowing the lawn my weekly workout? Do I ever justify my current health or weight? Do I have a gym membership that does nothing more than provide a nice key tag? What example am I setting for my children?
Second, create one or two small, achievable goals. Preferably ones you could accomplish within a week. For instance, getting some form of exercise three times this week or, “I will use my gym membership for more than a key tag three times this week.” Just getting there, regardless of the workout you do, is what is important. Walk around the block or on the treadmill, try lifting weights, or taking an exercise class. Just get there. Even a moderately intense workout will burn 200-300 calories an hour.
Another goal might be to refrain from second helpings at meals. This alone could cut 500 calories a day from your diet, which in turn will lead to one pound a week of weight loss. You could reduce non-diet soda intake by half. If you drink 48 ounces of soda a day, this equals over 500, sugar dense, nutritionally absent calories each day. Small changes will get you on the road to a permanent lifestyle change.
Third, find someone to be accountable to and possibly partner with. Ask your mate, a friend, a co-worker or — my favorite — a personal trainer. The fact is, you will not succeed without support and someone you feel accountable to. Tell them your goals and update them on your progress.
So, what happened to my 30 pounds? I ate less, exercised more and found people to hold me accountable. For all those dads out there, it’s time to take the steps toward a healthy lifestyle and journey.