Most little boys look up to their dads. I know I did. I remember at recess when I was in elementary school, the boys would all say how their dad was the strongest and the best.
As new parents, my wife and I are constantly adjusting to new things, and honestly—some struggles. But each day is better than before and the struggles are worth it thanks to our very special gift from God—our baby boy!
One of the struggles has been maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I’m sure many new dads, or even seasoned dads (and moms) can relate. After all, where do you think the term “dad bod” came from? The reasons for my new “battle of the bulge” are:
- Lack of sleep: There just aren’t enough hours in the day! By the time my wife and I get to bed, we usually only have about 6 hours of rest (usually even less of actual sleep), and that’s on days I don’t get up even earlier to go to the gym!
- Lack of time: This one is obvious. A baby is—rightfully so—demanding of our time. Because of this, my wife no longer works full-time, but part-time. This gives her some time to spend with our son and try to catch up on work around the house. Even with her reduced work commitment, we are still very, very busy. You know all of those popular shows on Netflix and the networks? I’m not sure we would watch them anyway, but we don’t have time to if we wanted to. So, it’s often very difficult to find the time to make it to the gym or to fix healthy meals.
- Lack of movement: I love my job, but it’s a mostly sedentary role. Sitting for hours on end, combined with the fact I don’t exercise as frequently as I used to, contributed to my back going out pretty severely back in August. Since then, I have been going through chiropractic treatment and physical therapy—both of which have helped me to recover. My back problems completely sidelined me from the gym for about two months.
- Lack of energy: My energy levels just aren’t what they used to be. I guess after reading this list, you can see why!
- Lack of self-control: I haven’t been avoiding bread with meals for quite some time now. It’s good. I want it. I eat it. But I used to try to avoid eating bread most of the time, unless it was on a sandwich. I need to get back to that. But I may just wait until after the holidays to do that. 🙂 It’s also been harder to avoid sugar in general lately. Pray for me!
So for a guy into moderate bodybuilding who recently had 18-inch plus cannons for arms, the last several months have been quite the change! While my arms have lost a good half-inch in size, my waistline picked up every bit of that half-inch and probably more! Most of those suits I used to wear on TV no longer fit!
18+” arms earlier this year:
While it’s easier to completely give in and accept the “dad bod” phenomena, I keep trying to resist it. I want to set a good example for my son, and I want to be able to be active with him for years to come. If I just give up, let the pounds pile on, blood pressure rise, etc., how am I helping him to want to be active and eat healthy as he grows older?
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” ~ I Corinthians 6:19-20
But there is hope, I think! My goal is to focus on the positives and build on those.
“…Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” ~ Philippians 4:8
- Awareness: At the very least, I’m aware of the factors that contribute to an unhealthy lifestyle and I’m thankful for that.
- Times change: I’m enjoying seeing our son grow and develop, and even wish he would slow down some, so I can enjoy it longer. I also know that the struggles of this time will be replaced by successes and struggles of times to come. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
- Remember our many blessings: Our son has been a healthy, happy baby so far, and for that, we give thanks to God! He is blessed with wonderful grandparents who live nearby and are able to help take care of him so we can work. He is blessed with an aunt, uncle and cousins who adore him, and even great-grandparents who were the best grandparents to me I could have wished for. We thank God for all their help and encouragement! My wife and I both have jobs we like that help provide for our family. As the song goes, “We will remember the works of Your hands. We will stop, and give You praise, for great is Thy faithfulness.”
- Focus on current successes: I still have been mostly successful at avoiding sweet tea and sugary sodas and keeping up with my daily vitamins. Don’t get me wrong, I sweet tea and Dr. Pepper (among others)! But there are some acceptable alternatives if you put a little effort into it. I use a portable bottle of stevia to sweeten tea instead of ordering already sweetened tea or tea with artificial sweeteners. When I buy soda at the store, I buy a six-pack of Zevia as it’s also sweetened with stevia and nothing else. The problem arises when I’m traveling or at a party where such options aren’t usually available. I figure it’s okay to stray from the restrictions at times like these as long as I don’t overeat in addition to consuming the sugary drinks. Plus, I have gotten back into a bit of a workout routine—enough to stop the backward slide and maybe even enough to continue strength recovery.
- Physical strength: I’ve already regained a decent amount of strength since I’ve been back in the gym, though I don’t get to go as much as I used to.
My “not 18 inch” arms in November 2017:
I hope when my son gets into elementary school that he is proud of me and tells the other kids, “no my dad is the best!”
Do you have any tips for those struggling to stay on top of their fitness goals? If so, please comment below!