At the end of 2009 I was obese. I’m not anymore. Since then I’ve lost over 60 pounds and become an off road endurance athlete all while juggling a busy family and work life. It has not been easy and it’s been a lot of hard work, but it has been oh-so-worth-it! I started AthleteDad.com to tell my story and experience, and as a resource for other folks (especially dads) who are where I was – wondering how to juggle everything and somehow try to stay healthy.
I know that once you have a family, things get crazy. Juggling a career, marriage, kids, house repairs, etc. can feel like an uphill battle and it’s hard to find time for yourself, let alone stay in shape. I have 3 kids, a marriage, a job, a mortgage, etc. I know that in all the controlled chaos that is adulthood it’s really, really easy to put on a pound here, a pound there… until you wonder what the heck happened and why none of your clothes fit anymore. But, taking care of yourself is one of the best things you can do for you and your family. And the reality is that it doesn’t have to take a ton of time. Most of us can make anything happen in the time we sit in front of the TV each night. It’s a matter of priorities and persistence. If your family is important to you than your own health and wellness should be a priority.
A decade out of college with a family of 5 and a career of my own, I’d packed on 70+ pounds. If you’d told that version of me that only a few years later I’d be completing Off Road Triathlons or swimming the Finger Lakes (all of them) – I would have laughed at you! But here I am. This can be done.
I am now an outspoken wellness advocate and I continue to do this to bring attention to the health issues facing our society – to encourage people to take control of their own health – and to show people that adventure is right outside our own back door. In a modern world where we aren’t active enough, where we allow media to think for us, and where we increasingly eat too many bad-for-us things – it’s a radical message to suggest to folks that they can take control of their own lives and make a change. But I deeply believe that life is what we make it and that life is far too short to waste. Get up, get out there, make it happen!
- You be you. Don’t worry about what you think other people want you to be or become. Figure out you. And than be you. Me? I’m not the fastest guy in the pack and people aren’t arriving at the finish line early to watch me win. But considering I went from being obese -to- running offroad trail ultras in the span of 2 years, I hope that that’s inspiring to folks on some level. And that’s me. I want to be out there pushing myself and inspiring others to do the same. And if I ever get to the point where that means I start winning some races? Just icing on the cake.
- It’s all simple math. 3,500 calories = one pound. You’re either eating more than you should or you’re not. Figure it out, make the right choices.
- Get off your butt and get out there! So many folks know they need to take better care of themselves, but do nothing about it. Get up, get out, get moving! You’ve got to start somewhere even if it’s nothing fancy. Going for a 5 minute walk every day is a far better start than thinking about running 5 miles and never doing it. Enough excuses. Get moving!
- Eat real food. Processed foods have ruined our lives (is that blunt enough?). Read medical studies and you’ll see they are as addictive and damaging as hard drugs. Seriously. I’m not saying that you have to go all organic or vegan. Just eat real food. Use common sense. If you don’t know where it came from or if the ingredients list sounds like a chemistry lesson than you shouldn’t be eating it. The more real (i.e. – less processed) your food is the better it is for you and the better it’ll taste (an added bonus for those of us who love to eat)! Educate yourself about what is in your food and make smart choices.
- Have a goal. Find out what you enjoy and set a goal. Enjoy hiking? Make it a goal to be in good enough shape to scale a mountain you’ve always wanted to climb. Like basketball? Tennis? Scuba Diving? …you get the idea. Make it yours.
- Make Your Own Adventure. This one is near and dear to my heart. It drives me nuts when I hear, “If only I’d lived in the golden age of exploration,” or, “If only I lived closer to the Rockies,”… You can find and make your own adventure wherever you are. There are no excuses not to. We live in an amazing world full of adventure right outside our own back doors. Take your kids hiking/camping. Kayak a 100 mile river. Bike an entire rails-to-trails system. Find out what’s in your area, get out and explore!
- Have fun! This one should be self-explanatory.
If you find AthleteDad.com to be a helpful resource, please help spread the word by connecting over on TWITTER and FACEBOOK, consider making a donation, or feel free to drop me a line at athletedad[at]gmail[dot]com.
-Ben Murphy, Athlete Dad and Founder TheFatherLife.com
My 3-year-old and I at Canandaigua Lake, NY.
Southern Tier Trail, New York.
© 2012, Ben Murphy, All Rights Reserved.