Today I feel better than I ever have before. I completed a 30 minute jog and was not winded at all by the end of it. After spending half an hour jogging at a speed of 12 kph I walked back to the change room of the gym feeling stronger than ever. I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt this fit and healthy. I weighed myself today and came in at 215, which is the lowest weight I’ve been in three years. I’m still 15 away from my goal, but I’ve already lost 18 pounds, and the rest of the way does not seem so difficult. While I was lifting weights this morning, I saw the same father and son that I see every day working out on another machine close by. I have a strong respect for them as they come to the gym every day (early in the morning) and work out together. That is something I really hope to share with my son. I was a little surprised today though. The father and son look a lot like me, glasses, a little lanky, geeky looking, usually wearing sweatshirts and track pants. I thought it was great that they are trying to stay healthy together. Today however, the father was just wearing a t-shirt and wowza, he was ripped. Like solid muscle. I was completely taken aback. Here is a father of who looks like a 20 year old, cut and fit like he was 20 himself. It motivated me, it inspired me to continue this journey, to not give up even when its tough. I want to be that fit, strong dad that my kids can feel safe around no matter what happens. I’ll keep at it, this feels great!
It’s no secret that men gain weight in the first year of your marriage. Or maybe it is, and if so then try to eat more vegetables. It’s also no secret that men tend to gain weight when their wife is pregnant. They call it “Sympathy Weight” I call it an easy excuse to snack at 2am because my wife (and baby) wants pizza and ice cream.
Compound both of those lovely times in to the same year and you have yourself a full blown case of #Dadbod in no time. I’ve gained a surprising 30 pounds in the past year and it’s finally become noticeable. For a while I saw the number on the scale moving up, however it wasn’t until a pair of pants I was wearing (a pair of pants I’ve been wearing for years) finally couldn’t take the strain and the little button that finally couldn’t gave up and flew off in a mass exodus of freedom. To where it has gone, I shall never know, but I thank that little button for doing what it had to do.
Stress has always been a factor in keeping weight off a person. And over the past few years I’ve had truckloads of it. This past year, and the year preceding it have been pretty much stress free. Just the excitement of building a life together with my love, and that’s more exciting than stressful. I’m also getting up in years so that metabolism that would let me eat a large cheese pizza every day doesn’t just work itself off anymore. I’ve developed what is recently been coined a #Dadbod.
At first I wasn’t too concerned about it, actually I was pretty offended by the term. However after struggling with other tight fitting clothes and seeing my image in pictures today versus 2 years ago, I’ve come to understand, and represent the term quite well. Not that I am proud of it, but becoming a father and suddenly sporting a #Dadbod did bring a little realization that I’ve reached a new stage in my life. A stage I didn’t think I’d ever get to.
Being a father, preparing to be a father for the first time, I envision all the things I will need to do, to say, to teach to my little one. Picking up my child, carrying them around, running with them, teaching them how to be healthy and active, yep, I’m not going to be very helpful if I’m winded after climbing a set of stairs. There is a serious need for me to shape up. Fortunately, babies are small and just need to be picked up and held for the first little while so I’ve got some time before that running around that I keep hearing so much about.
Getting rid of the #Dadbod is necessary to ensure that I can be there for my child. If we were out living in the wild, the father is the protector, the hulking beast that defends and scares away predators and other threats. A big belly is not going to scare away anything other than flirtatious women (and I don’t have to worry about that anyway). But I also pictured my dad as that big strong guy that was always there for me, the invincible giant that could move mountains and fight bears. I want my kids to see me like that, not some blob that can make waves with their belly.
The time has come to fight the #Dadbod and start becoming the strong guy that my children should be able to feel safe and rely on on the instinctual level. More running, more weights, (let’s be honest, let’s just actually start doing these things again. Though more than nothing is still more). The battle against #Dadbod has begone and this new journey will ensure a longer, more enjoyable lifetime for both myself, my wife, and my children. #DadBodNoMore
The last few weeks I’ve been working with the Og Mandino Scrolls, featured in his book “The Greatest Salesman In The World.” The book is designed to teach you lessons that will help you improve your job performance and your life performance as well. It features 10 ancient scrolls that have been passed down from Mentor to Protege over generations helping people improve to eventually become The Greatest Salesman in the World, which is really a metaphor to becoming The Greatest Person You Can Be, sales performance is just a great side effect.
Anyway, the exercise that is proposed in the book, is to read just one scroll, 3 times a day for an entire month, then when you have mastered that lesson, you can build and move on to the next. The scrolls are full of uplifting messages that should help you stay focused and motivated throughout the day.
The month of November has been the first scroll for me, which is about forming Good Habits and getting rid of bad habits. Reading the scroll itself is the lesson as I have to read it three times a day, which will form a Good Habit for when the other scrolls are read and new lessons to be learned.
I’ve enjoyed the experience and realized that everything I want, needs to be broken down into a habit so I will do it automatically. I want to be able to wake up early every morning, I need to make that a habit, exercising when I start my day, I need to make that a habit, eating better throughout the day, I need to make that a habit, remembering my yearly vision, I need to make that a habit, feeling grateful for my life as it stands, I need to make that a habit, completing my Man 2.0 tasks and even writing regularly, I need to make them a habit.
Habits drive our lives, especially in today’s world when there seems to be so much going on and so much that could distract you from your goals. But the more your actions become habits, the more they will become natural and the better chance you will succeed.
“The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting goals and achieving them. Even the most tedious chore will become endurable as you parade through each day convinced that every task, no matter how menial or boring, brings you closer to achieving your dreams.” – Og Mandino
One of the things I know that have slipped during my downfall and my present journey to becoming a man, has been a lapse in my focus towards my appearance. I used to always take meticulous care with my hygiene, always wore fresh, pressed, crisp clothing, clean shaven, and and perfect (in my opinion) hair.
Over the past few months, my attention to detail with myself has definitely been lacklustre. I’ve put of shaving for 3, sometimes 4 days until I look scruffy, I don’t seem to care about what I wear anymore, just throwing on whatever clothing I can reach in my closet, or from the top of my laundry pile, which may or may not have been done that week, I shower every other day now, and my hair has been a disaster.
To be blunt, I look like crap compared to myself a year ago. I compared a picture of myself from one year ago to what I look like today and I was very surprised by the result. I looked tired, older, slightly dishevelled, and clearly disorganized.
I mentioned before that one of the first things to go when you are going through depression and rough patches in your life is your fitness. Well, I just realized that your appearance follows suit as well. I’ve been neglecting my outward image and although it isn’t a priority at the moment, it does take a toll on my personality and overall wellbeing.
I need to look good to feel good. I don’t need others to comment on my appearance to sustain my confidence, but I do need to be impressed by what I see in the mirror to feel confident, and right now I don’t.
I’ve got the tools, I’ve got the experience, I’ve got the skills. I just need to get back into it. I need to get back into paying more attention to my outward appearance and let it slowly sink into my inward feelings.
Look the part to feel the part.
They say that the only constant thing in life is change. On a daily basis, we are too close to the action to see the small things that are different to notice. But take a step back and see what has happened over a period of time and the changes pop out and smack you in the face! The important part is to not forget to step back and see what has been happening.
I’ve been on a role lately for doing what I am supposed to be doing at this point, working away, saving money, living a better life, but I’ve been a little stagnant when it comes to change. I haven’t been trying to improve anything else, getting stuck in to a routine that is figuratively death for those that are dedicated to change themselves. There should not be a time when you stop the process. Getting in to a routine is easy for humans, habits drive us, but they also get us into trouble as we forget why we were doing something in the first place and just do it.
I have been incredibly happy with my life and proud of myself for making this far already with my change, but there is still plenty of work to be done and I need to be more accountable to myself then I have the last few weeks. I need to crack that proverbial whip to get back into things and make sure my journey continues.
It is nice to stop and smell the roses, and just enjoy the moment, but I need to stay focused on the big picture. Let’s keep going!!
This past weekend marked the end of something I never thought I’d never have been involved with in the first place. This weekend I had my final session with my counsellor.
The end of this chapter was meet with bitter sweet feelings. I actually developed a great, trusting relationship with my counsellor, one where I was actually able to open up and talk about things about myself that I have been silent about for my entire life. I saw some great progress working with my therapist, and it helped me get through some very difficult times. I was also able to share great joys as well, and it was an uplifting experience to be able to include another in the secret that has been my life.
It does feel a little like I’ve just lost a close friend though. I never thought I would have benefitted from therapy. I am the kind of person that has always thought they knew best for themselves and my inability to trust people made growth counselling a near impossible feat. It took me many months just to start opening up, and I almost gave up a few times because it seemed hopeless. I’m sure my counselor was frustrated with me more than a few times. But my counsellor was persistent and patient, more than I’ve seen in most people, and eventually that persistence and professionalism paid off.
When I did open up, it was like a dam had burst. I had so many emotions, thoughts, and fears bottled up that I felt like I had been broken apart and like humpty would never be put together again. But, as time passed, and we continued working together, I discovered more about myself, and learned ways to control and even change certain behaviours, and it stuck. There were things we tackled that I didn’t even know I had issue with. the more we talked, the more I felt I knew myself. And that felt great.
I never would have thought Id have been able to go through this experience, but now I wonder how I was able to get by so long without it. I never thought that when we started, Id be sitting here feeling completely at peace with myself and feeling nothing but hope for the future.
It is okay to admit that sometimes you cannot handle something on your own. You may go through times where you feel nothing but hopelessness and despair. But you must remember that even if you feel you are all alone, even if you do not have any friends or family to rely on, as long as you have breath in your body, you have the power to change things.
Seeking professional help to deal with my life issues was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I encourage you to seek out assistance yourself if you feel like there is any part of yourself or your life that makes you feel unhappy. You can find that happiness. There is no shame in asking for a hand to hold.
I’ve gotten to the point in my journey where I am now able to focus on things that I’ve been neglecting or wanting to improve, but never took the leap. I had mentioned in a previous post that I wanted to improve my health habits and this included the daunting task of cutting back my coffee consumption.
My challenge to myself began by reducing my exorborant consumption from 5-6 large cups down to 1-2 medium cups per day.
The first few days of May went so well, I had easily reduced my consumption right down to one cup of coffee rather than two. I felt so good that I decided to try to go an entire day without coffee. Which I was able to achieve. With this new found confidence in my will power, I made the decision to up my challenge and cut out coffee completely for the rest of the month.
I’ve tried this before, but I’ve never been able to last longer than a week when I’ve put this challenge to myself in the past, but my new positive attitude was giving me the motivation I needed to believe I could succeed.
The first few days were a walk in the park. I didn’t crave coffee, and I didn’t experience any of the effects of caffeine withdrawal. However, yesterday I caught myself staring, not glancing, starting for an uncomfortable amount of time at a gentleman drinking a starbucks coffee. Although he never said anything, I’m sure he noticed my lingering eyes.
Even worse than just the craving, I starting suffering from a withdrawal headache yesterday. It was painful and I started bargaining with myself so I could allow one cup of sweet java. I didn’t break though. I fought against the urge, and the pain and eventually both subsided.
This is going to be a very tough month, but I will be incredibly proud of myself if I can do this.