Pitfalls of the Modern Dad Movement

Pitfalls of the Modern Dad Movement

Our generation has seen a definite shift in expectations of the man of the house. It’s not uncommon for dads to be much more involved with their children than our fathers before us. In addition to being the main bread winner for the family, modern dads are accustomed to playing more of a part in the household duties and bucking the stereotypical trends of yesteryear.

It’s a far cry from my upbringing.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to give you a sob story. My upbringing was fantastic albeit tumultuous at times with respect to the old boy. Admittedly, I was a very sensitive and highly anxious child and Dad’s parenting style involved strict adherence to the old-school views of masculinity (a direct result of his own upbringing) which didn’t lend itself to my sensitive nature.

“Harden up. Stop being such a pussy“.

I didn’t connect well with my dad during my formative years. He did shift work at a coal mine so I didn’t see him much. I know that memories can be easily screwed but I don’t often remember him being involved with my sport or school life. I can’t remember him cooking or cleaning much and I had to battle to spend time with him. When we did spend time together I often felt myself trying to prove my masculinity to him, and failing dismally. Having grown up and experiencing what it means to work and provide for my own family, I now understand a little better that he would have only been working hard to do just that. He was probably just exhausted all the time but that’s not what a child sees.

However, at times I absolutely needed a firm hand to help force me out of my comfort zone. A good example is when I was too afraid to swim in the local public pool because I genuinely believed it was shark infested after seeing the swimming club logo of a shark on a sign next to the pool, which my young mind considered a warning sign. This was a problem because I was supposed to be competing in club night and it would have caused mayhem amongst my peers had I warned them of our supposed impending doom.

Dad’s solution was to simply hurl my tiny, frightened body directly into the (non) shark infested pool.

In what can only be described as a manic frenzy, I worked my way to the edge of the pool completely unencumbered by any form of marine life (emotional scars, on the other hand, were inflicted). It seems cruel but it is exactly what I needed at that time and I spent the proceeding years winning numerous swimming competitions. Dad’s action was the catalyst for lessons I learnt in the importance of hard work and discipline. Whenever I needed an extra boost whilst competing, I would imagine I was being chased by my Dad.. riding a fucking great white.

In stark contrast, let me introduce you to the Modern Dad. He works full time, cooks dinner, changes nappies, washes clothes, plays with the kids, gets involved with their learning and also tries hard to be a good husband. He’s a top bloke and family is his number one priority. He’s also exhausted and under an immense amount of pressure to perform in the mantle of a ‘Modern Dad’. Sound familiar?

Then, we have the Modern Influencer Dad. This guy can be seen publicly performing household duties whilst brandishing a child attached to his body with an overpriced human carrier, via his social media page. He posts lovely blurbs about how amazing his wife and kids are, everything is perfect, he has heaps of money and well-known brands like to provide him with complementary products to prove that he is a fantastic dad, and you could be too. His name is Steve.

Whilst he’s a top bloke and loves his family, Steve’s a bit of a problem for the average Modern Dad.

I have personally struggled with the expectations of the Modern Dad. It’s tough because obviously I want what is best for my family but I also don’t want to completely lose myself in the process. It’s difficult to find that balance. For instance, it is difficult for me not to feel guilty when partaking in my hobbies because I should be doing something that benefits the whole family. A quick scroll on social media has left me feeling deflated because other dads appear to be better fathers to their children or husbands for their wives. Ultimately this just leads to a nasty cycle of feeling inadequate or a little lost.

Our kids are watching and learning from our every move. Whilst it’s important to exhibit the desirable characteristics of the Modern Dad, we need to make sure we are also taking care of our own wellbeing. Importantly, our kids will learn from that too.

No dad is perfect. The best thing we can do as fathers is be present, learn from our mistakes (we will make many)and look after ourselves in the process.

dadBod to dadRig: Dealing with Fitness Failures

dadBod to dadRig: Dealing with Fitness Failures

Part 2 of the dadBod to dadRig Series

Catch up on the on from the introduction to the dadBod to dadRig Initiative. The series will also include a number of supplementary articles to inform, entertain and help keep your motivation and discipline maxed out .

Recap

Failure is a part of life. It’s how we deal with those failures which determines the true nature of our character. Let me tell you, I have failed dismally with my fitness goals so far this year and I’m going to share that with you despite my embarrassment.

Since the big launch of the dadBod to dadRig initiative back in January, I have gained 2kg and my work clothes are so tight that it’s uncomfortable to wear them each day. If I look down from a standing positing, I can only just see the end of my dick. I’m not even 30 years of age for goodness sake.

The point is, this is real life. Losing weight is difficult and set-backs, life circumstances and old habits will take time to overcome.

Many blokes struggle with their weight and body image and it is easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others and feeling like you are the only useless fat fuck who can’t see his own dick. It’s much easier to feel sorry for yourself then to act and work hard to achieve your goals, and that is exactly what I have done over the past few months.

The Comparison Cluster-fuck

The problem with comparing ourselves with others is that there is no comparison. We are all individual and we all have our own unique set of circumstances, values and problems.

Take Chris Hemsworth for example. Frankly, I love the bloke. He is built like a brick shit-house, he’s a philanthropist, seemingly good parent and an iconic Australian larrikin. My wife seems to be a fan too.

It is completely unrealistic to compare yourself to a bloke like that. Obviously, he works incredibly hard for the life and body he has built for himself. However, with a net worth of $130M, a personal trainer on tap, excellent genetics and a personal chef preparing nutritionally optimised meals, comparing yourself to Chis Hemsworth is like comparing films produced by Marvel Studios with films produced by DC. It’s simply not a fair comparison.

Remember, he is also already in peak physical condition, unlike us mere mortals. It’s like comparing an elite runner with an amateur table tennis player. It’s chalk and cheese.

The Resilience Resurgence

Now that we have established that comparing yourself with others is counterproductive (although difficult to avoid), it’s time to focus on ourselves.

I failed to achieve my goals because life got busy and I completely lost sight of goals. Work has been horrendously busy, and as a result I prioritised drinking beers as quick-fix for post work relaxation instead of prioritising good nutrition, exercise and sleep. I visited the servo hot box for deep fried processed foods instead of preparing healthy whole food meals.

We were also forced into a snap COVID lockdown where I was required to live at the site camp for a few days which also threw out my routine of travelling home each day.

I fell off the wagon, hard.

That’s ok. Just need to re-focus and have another crack. That’s resilience and it is very important because your best efforts will often be challenged by what life has to throw at you. Your mission is to maintain focus on your goals and deal with the adversity as it comes so you can remain consistent and ultimately achieve your goals.

For me, this is a matter of ceasing empty promises and taking action. As such, I have revised my goals which will be used to measure my success.

Goal Status (revised)

My overarching goal is weightless with a view to transition into performance based goals in the future.

GoalTypeTimeframeStatus
Loose 1kg each week for 16 weeks (in time for anniversary get-away 27/06/2021)Fitness20th June
Run 5km – Run 3 times per week progressively increasing distanceFitness25th April
Complete 3 resistance training sessions per weekFitnessWeekly
My weight-loss oriented health goals

Physical Metrics

This part is a bit scary because although I know I’ve let myself go a bit, I have now quantified how much I’ve let myself go. Again, it’s an important step to take and I’m deciding to use it as more motivation rather than deflation. Here are my metrics and some photos which will be considered the baseline for all progress I make. You can learn more about tracking physical metrics by clicking on this link where you can also download the excel spreadsheet I use for tracking – complete with sexy graphs.

Starting weight: 103.9kg


Physical metrics tracked using the Quintessential Dad Physical Metric Tracking Excel Spreadsheet Template

Summary

In the coming weeks I’ll share further details about my workouts, nutrition, inevitable struggles, progress and informative (hopefully entertaining) articles pertaining to health and wellbeing – specifically for dads.

Get Involved

I encourage you to get involved and share your story so we can support each other in prioritising our physical and mental health as busy dads. You can easily get involved by connecting via one or all of the avenues below:

  1. Connect via Instagram: @quintessentialdadau
  2. Connect via MyFitness Pal: quintessentildad
  3. Subscribe to this blog by submitting your email via the contact page to receive the content direct to your inbox
  4. Get in touch with me directly so we can share your story and inspire ourselves other dads to achieve our health goals

#dadbodtodadrig

Achieve Goals with Metric Tracking

Achieve Goals with Metric Tracking

How do you know if you are on track with achieving your fitness goals?

Tracking metrics such as weight, body measurements and Personal Best achievements is a great way of measuring progress of achieving goals. In fact, without this essential component of a S.M.A.R.T goal, it is impossible to Measure progress or success in achieving your goal.

Tracking metrics has also been a great way for me to stay motivated. I made bold promises in my Dad Bod post, claiming to be on the verge of a total health transformation. It didn’t take long for me to forget those promises and my beer induced stomach protrusion continues to sustain it’s own gravity.

I decided I needed something more than relying on motivation alone to help shrink the gut and generally be fitter, healthier and happier. I wanted a visual representation of my progress. I’m a bonafide spreadsheet nerd, so naturally this called for one.

Download your Template

The spreadsheet I created allows me to see my improvement even though physical changes to my body aren’t yet visible. This works so well for me that I wanted to share the template with readers who are looking for a tool to keep motivated and track goal progress the template can be downloaded via the link below:

This template allows you to track physical measurements, running distance/pace and resistance training including PB’s. A sample of the spreadsheet can be found below:

Preview of the Physical Metric Tracking Spreadsheet

Tips for Tracking Physical Metrics

Below are some easy to follow instructions for tracking metrics which are also contained within the spreadsheet for reference:

  1. Remember, the number on the scales doesn’t tell the whole story. It is important to record a number of physical metrics to track your overall progress. Our bodies are complicated and weight alone isn’t an accurate measure of overall health/fitness.
  2. In addition to tracking metric measurements, take a front and side photo of yourself. This is a great visual measure of the changes your body goes through as you achieve your fitness goals. Insert this in your spread sheet for some extra motivation.
  3. Try to take physical measurements in the same position each time to ensure accuracy. You can even use features on your body to help, for example I use a mole on my right bicep as a marker for measurements.
  4. The spreadsheet is intended to be used as a tool for measuring progress of achieving your own fitness goals. Feel free to change it any way you see fit to suit yourself.
  5. Add a fortnightly reminder on your phone to take measurements and weight yourself. Weight especially fluctuates so much that if you weigh your self too frequently, it may be disheartening and is likely to be de-motivating.

Yes, nice to mole you–meet you! Nice to meet your mole! Don’t say mole.

Austin Powers, Goldmember

As always, if you have any pointers of your own to share or improvements to offer up for the spreadsheet template please feel free to share in the comments. Remember, Quintessential Dad is a community for sharing experiences and knowledge so we can become better blokes!

dadBod to dadRig: Week 1

dadBod to dadRig: Week 1

Part 1 of the dadBod to dadRig Series

Righto legends, it’s time to put my money where my mouth is and well, stop shoving so much junk food and alcohol into my mouth and get my pasty white rig moving again. Following on from the introduction to the dadBod to dadRig Initiative, the following article will form the basic template for future posts which will be published each fortnight inline with my metric tracking measurements. There will also be a number of supplementary articles to inform, entertain and help keep motivation up.

Before we get into the nitty gritty, I figure a good starting point is to reflect on the reasons for wanting to improve my health and wellbeing. Millennials call it, ‘finding your why?‘.

I call it no longer wanting to be a fat fucker and actively working to improve my self-confidence, improve my mindset, live longer for my family, set a good example for my kids and lead a more active lifestyle. I encourage you to take some time to think about this, write it down, and put it somewhere you will see it every day so you are constantly reminded of your reasons to make positive changes in your life.

Goal Setting

Now that we understand the deeper drivers behind our desire to strive for health and wellbeing (rather than simply wanting to fit your into your favourite jeans again), we need decide on what improvements we are actually working towards and set some goals. My goals are listed in the table below and are currently weight-loss oriented. These goals will be statued each fortnight to ensure I am still tracking along well. This will be a good way to check-in and reassess if the goals are appropriate and if I am doing everything humanly possible to ensure I am going to crush them. Once I am comfortable with this, I will shift my focus to performance based goals and focus on some more specific detail.

GoalTypeTimeframeStatus
Loose 1kg each week for 16 weeks Fitness26th AprilTBA
Complete 2 guided runs per week (using the Nike Running app)MindfulnessWeeklyTBA
Complete 3 resistance training sessions per weekFitnessWeeklyTBA
My weight-loss oriented health goals

Importantly, I’ll break these goals down into ‘micro-goals’ on a day-to day basis to achieve some small wins, keeping me motivated and focused.

Physical Metrics

This part is a bit scary because although I know I’ve let myself go a bit, I have now quantified how much I’ve let myself go. Again, it’s an important step to take and I’m deciding to use it as more motivation rather than deflation. Here are my metrics and some photos which will be considered the baseline for all progress I make. You can learn more about tracking physical metrics by clicking on this link where you can also download the excel spreadsheet I use for tracking – complete with sexy graphs.

Starting weight: 102.5kg


Initial physical metrics using the Quintessential Dad Physical Metric Tracking Excel Spreadsheet Template

Energy Deficit

After reading Not a Diet Book by James Smith, I learnt that creating an energy deficit is a fundamental requirement for weight loss. So one of my focus areas will be tracking food energy using the MyFitness Pal app and exercising in accordance with my goals above.

In my post The Key to Reviving Your Health and Fitness, I touch on the importance of small wins, making sustainable lifestyle changes and abstinence from alcohol which are also key elements.

I’ll cover all of these topics and more in much more detail for future posts as part of this series.

Summary

In the coming weeks I’ll share further details about my workouts, nutrition, inevitable struggles, progress and informative (hopefully entertaining) articles pertaining to health and wellbeing – specifically for dads.

Get Involved

I encourage you to get involved and share your story so we can support each other in prioritising our physical and mental health as busy dads. You can easily get involved by connecting via one or all of the avenues below:

  1. Connect via Instagram: @quintessentialdadau
  2. Connect via MyFitness Pal: quintessentildad
  3. Subscribe to this blog by submitting your email via the contact page to receive the content direct to your inbox
  4. Get in touch with me directly so we can share your story and inspire ourselves other dads to achieve our health goals

#dadbodtodadrig

dadBod to dadRig Initiative

dadBod to dadRig Initiative

New Years Shitalution

It’s that time of year again when we reflect on the past year and relish the opportunity to hit the reset button so we can wake up on the 1st of January with a whole new lease on life, ready to tackle life’s many challenges and resolve our personal shortfalls (again).

It’s a chance to say Salada Biscuit (Australian for ‘see you later’) and thanks for all the fish, or chicken, or aardvark, or whatever other innocent animal we can blame for instigating a global pandemic.

We are all guilty of setting ourselves entirely achievable goals for the new year only to experience a disappointing fail before we’ve even finished gorging ourselves on the Christmas lunch scraps. Our big dreams and aspirations shat and pissed on as a result of hefty self-sabotage. A big ol’ fuck you to yourself for even thinking you could improve yourself. Life still exists on the other side of the holiday break remember, ya numpty.

Now what?

Enter the dadBod to dadRig Initiative.

What is this rig bullshit, I hear you ask?

Well, I’m glad you asked. Basically, since becoming a father I have gained weight at an alarming rate and amount a number of factors I believe this is because the moment we become a dad, we loose the element of selfishness that actually works to preserve our health. With no sign of self-confidence on the horizon (I can just hear my wife’s sigh as I write this since I have made this claim on numerous other occasions) I’m ready for a change and I know you are too, dads.

Obviously, new year resolutions are bullshit and they don’t work. New Years Shitalutions. The dadBod to dadRig Initiative is my attempt to inspire meaningful and sustainable change and provide virtual support to other dads who are keen to drop some kilos and represent a mean, lean DadRig. Ultimately, this is about improving our mental and physical health which are intrinsically connected elements of our being and should be more of a focus for dads in general. If our mental and physical wellbeing is not maintained, the detrimental impacts propagate through every aspect of our lives and our kids are clever enough to notice.

None of this New Years Shitalution rubbish. Get after it!

How will it work?

The DadBod to DadRig Initiative is completely free and is aimed squarely at providing dads with support, motivation, encouragement and education to assist with crushing individual health goals. The initiative will consist of:

  1. Series of blog posts, information and motivation to keep us focused on achieving goals distributed on a regular basis. Some of the topics that will be covered as part of the series include:
    • Alcohol and its effects on weight-loss
    • Benefits of exercise for mental wellbeing
    • Healthy recipes and workout plans
    • Practical tips for getting your workouts in – balancing family and work
    • Sharing apps, books and resources which may assist with achieving health goals
  2. Virtual accountability and support provided by yours truly and other dads working towards their health goals. Share your goals, successes and failures with the DadRig team so we can all learn and improve. Instagram, MyFitness Pal and this blog will be the mediums for our virtual community.
  3. I will share my personal progress as I work to lose a total of 16kg, build self-confidence and shift my focus from this weight-loss goal to performance goals via a fortnightly blog post (to coincide with my metric measurements)

Get Involved

The best part about getting involved is the zero cost element. You can easily get involved by connecting via one or all of the avenues below:

  1. Connect via Instagram: @quintessentialdadau
  2. Connect via MyFitness Pal: quintessentildad
  3. Subscribe to this blog by submitting your email via the contact page to receive the content direct to your inbox
  4. Get in touch with me directly so we can share your story and inspire ourselves other dads to achieve our health goals

Alright, legends. Now that we are virtually connected it’s time to make this happen. I’ll be sharing an initial weigh-in, photos and a bit of a spiel about my goals and why I have set them for myself this Monday 4th January, then fortnightly after that. Blog posts will be published on a weekly basis so be sure to sign up so you don’t miss any.

Please do get in touch and share your story so we can support each other in transforming our dadBods to dadRigs both physically, and mentally.

#dadbodtodadrig


For other great dad-related content, head over to Feedspot and checkout the Top 100 Father Blog list: https://blog.feedspot.com/father_blogs/

The Key to Reviving Your Health and Fitness

The Key to Reviving Your Health and Fitness

I just went on a really short run to keep my little health and fitness venture heading in the right direction. I’ve learnt some really important things over the last month which I think could really help other blokes working to get their health and fitness back on track. 

𝐀𝐥𝐜𝐨𝐡𝐨𝐥 has had more of an influence on many aspects of my life than I realised. I haven’t had a drop since the 13th of July (25 days) which is a huge achievement for me. It has been much easier to abstain than I ever imagined since the benefits have been so noticeable. I have experienced better sleep, improved mood and ability to control my emotions, clearer skin and weight loss (which was bizarrely preceded by weight gain). Perhaps the benefit that I didn’t expect is how easy it has been to change other bad habits. Without even realising it, having a beer was the catalyst for a chain reaction of poor diet choices and lack of motivation to exercise. 

The other lesson is the importance of 𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐝𝐮𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 changing habits. In turn this has allowed me to remain more consistent. 

𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐲 is the key. I have had more health and fitness ‘restarts’ than Johnny Farnhem comebacks. This has been hard on my confidence and self-esteem because in the past I have aimed to completely overhaul my diet and exercise habits with only negative outcomes. I smash myself for a short period then end up right back where I started, only fatter. Whilst I did cut alcohol completely, I didn’t focus on changing any other habits. I didn’t start exercising or change the way I ate. In fact, today was the first time I have done any exercise since I stopped drinking 25 days ago. 

This mentality has been a complete game changer for me after years of struggling with my weight and self-esteem. Although I haven’t dropped the 10kg’s I have set out to, I 𝐟𝐞𝐞𝐥 fantastic and have no interest in giving up or slowing down. It’s a whole new mindset for me and it is working. 

Find the unhealthy habit that is causing you strife and kill it. Focus on doing so gradually and consistently. Be patient. You will feel the benefits like I have, guaranteed!

Have a crack, and good luck!

The FIFO Conundrum

The FIFO Conundrum

I imagined the FIFO lifestyle would be the ideal working situation. Company funded jet setting across the countryside, racking up the frequent flyer points, set roster, good money and the chance to pursue a fantastic career opportunity on a $150M+ construction project.

The truth is, I really struggled with the FIFO lifestyle on a personal level. I was very unhappy being away from my wife and two young girls. Life always felt temporary, living out of a suitcase, the work was hard, stressful and being in Central Queensland, it was pretty fucking hot.

Temperature in the HiLux on 13th February 2018 (it was at least 5 degrees hotter on site)

It wasn’t easy for my family either. Apart from dealing with my general absence, when I was home, I was not exactly a delight.

When I would arrive home for my 3 days off after working 11, my little family had moved on with life without Dad around and had their own routine. I was an outsider, struggling to adapt to the home routine without completely upsetting the apple cart. I failed miserably at that… apples everywhere.

To my kids, I was the cranky guy who would show up occasionally, try to tell them what to do, then leave. To my wife, I was the cranky husband who would show up occasionally, cause fights, then leave.

I was stuck in a depression loop. I felt sad before heading back to work (not just the typical Monday blues, but properly sad), and I struggled to sleep the first night away. After a few days I would eventually settle into my away routine. This mainly consisted of going to work then back to the accommodation to drink myself to sleep. Then it was just repeating the bad habits until it was time to travel home where I would feel like an outsider all over again.

Repeat.

A consistent and extremely unhealthy cycle. It was time to instigate some changes.

My wife and I decided that the career opportunity was too good to pass up, so I worked on accepting the FIFO component. I started by attempting to establish a healthy routine which I believe to be the key element for improving mental wellbeing.

Alcohol is fantastic for temporarily helping you to forget about your issues but unfortunately in the long run, it only serves to make everything worse (revelation, I know). So, I went cold turkey and participated in Dry July whilst actively raising money for the cause. This really did have a positive impact and I felt generally healthier.

I began exercising in the afternoons after work instead of drinking. Just simple jogging down the road and listening to Nike Training Podcasts. It was a great little stress reliever and mood improver. I continued this habit in my breaks and my wife even commented on my mood improvement following a run in the afternoon. There’s a lot to be said for the link between exercise and mental wellbeing. The exercise habit made me want to eat healthier and the effects of my new healthy routine were compounded.

It had the added benefit of reducing the size of my beer belly.

Results of my evening run – excellent mood improver – runner’s high

To help me get to sleep I began practicing meditation before bedtime. As a self-professed, hardened construction worker, I was extremely sceptical of meditation. I thought it was a hipster wanker trend, but I was desperate and gave it a go. I have to say, I am absolutely converted and meditate using the free guided meditation sessions on the Headspace app nearly every night.

I also actively tried to be more involved with the kids and their routines when I was on my break. I learned more about their habits, the food they liked and didn’t like and just simply spent more time with them. This, along with the healthy habits I worked on while I was away generally improved my mood, and my relationship with my wife who was always super supportive.

My situation has now changed and I am in pursuit of a different career opportunity. Unfortunately, I am still doing FIFO work, but on a better roster (5:2) than the last project. Long term this will also lead to a position where I can be home every night.

So, why do we do it? Why do we put ourselves through this? For me, it was a financial and career path decision. Ultimately, it was the best way I could provide for my family. However, it got to the point where I was doing more harm than good, and something had to give.

During the 2 years on the project, I had the opportunity to speak with many other workers on the same FIFO or DIDO arrangements and to my surprise, every bloke I spoke to was dealing with the same issues as me. Some were coping better than others, but we were all in the same boat and this highlighted the importance of simply talking about it. There is comfort in knowing you aren’t alone and there are things you can do to help deal with the many shortfalls of the FIFO lifestyle.

FIFO is hard – but it’s hard not to appreciate the beautiful views

There is also a fantastic organisation in the Construction Industry called MATES in Construction which provides mental health support to workers and will even speak at toolbox meetings on site: http://matesinconstruction.org.au

If you can relate to this, please reach out either to a work mate or via this forum. You definitely are not alone.


Quintessential Dad proudly supports the FIFO Life app. Click on the icon below to download now!

Dad Bod

Dad Bod

I love beer. Any beer, any time, give it to me and I’ll drink it. Ironically, I am drinking a beer whilst writing this.

Unfortunately, drinking beer excessively, along with poor diet choices and a sedentary lifestyle generally results in obesity. This is what occurred when I became an adult and began making my own lifestyle choices. Add the sleep deprivation, time deprivation and sanity deprivation that inevitably accompanies a newborn baby and the excuses to avoid healthy lifestyle choices will manifest by the 21 piece original recipe bucket load.

My worst fears were confirmed recently, not by the fact that I have upsized my clothes;
or the fact that my fast food bill is outweighing the mortgage repayments;
nor the fact that I have rolls appearing underneath my man-boobs;
neither my belly circumference competing with that of my wife’s 7 month pregnant baby belly; but rather by a visit to the doctor.

Again, the excuses come out of me quicker than the food goes in me: “I need this take away food because I’m too tired to cook” or “I can’t go to the gym today because I woke up early for work and the baby kept us up all night” or my personal favourite, “I’ll start working out next week when my life is miraculously less busy and I have no responsibilities”. This justifies the resultant shortness of breath experienced when walking a short distance or groaning like a wounded donkey when reaching for the TV remote because there is now a ball of jibble where my 6-pack used to be. However, when a medical professional tells you that you have a BMI of 30 and sit comfortably within the ‘overweight’ range, it does increase the pressure to start taking some action.

Typical features of a Dad Bod

It’s no secret that kids are hard work. Even non-parents can appreciate this. Sometimes it feels as though you are the only two people on the planet who have ever had to deal with the stress of keeping a tiny human alive whilst your own ambitions are forced aside. But the fact is, there is always someone who has it worse than you or has had to deal with more difficult circumstances. Additionally, general health is the responsibility of the individual, so although being a parent adds another layer of difficulty to finding time and motivation to exercise, it shouldn’t be used as an excuse at all.

With this in mind, I have undergone multiple self-initiated ‘restarts’ with the ambition of a complete health overhaul, unsurprising with no success. Upon reflection of my many failures I determined some learnings:

  • Previous methods for developing healthy habits weren’t realistic or sustainable
  • Habits take time to form and require on more than a sudden burst of motivation
  • Blow-outs on the booze destroy my motivation
  • Mental health is just as important as physical health, and the two are intrinsically related
  • Sleep isn’t optional
  • Unfortunately, work isn’t either but that shouldn’t stop me from exercising
  • Focus has previously been on restriction rather than focusing on feeling healthier and happier
  • Being overweight does affect mood, happiness and self-confidence and therefore, all aspects of life

There is a myriad of resources available for ways I can rid myself of the beer guzzling growth that has made itself comfortable on my abdomen and with it, the Dad Bod stigma. Generally, the consensus on principals for weight loss are fairly simple:

  1. Weight loss (kg) = Energy Out (kJ ) > Energy in (kJ)
  2. You can’t out train bad nutrition – even if you exercise daily
  3. Eat a well balanced, healthy diet consisting of whole foods
  4. Interval training is proven to support weight loss
  5. Strength training can stimulate metabolism

https://www.healthier.qld.gov.au

In practice however, losing weight is not simple or easy and there is a multitude of factors that influence the outcomes of attempts to lose weight. In the posts to come, I will be delving into details of my experiences with habit forming, motivation, nutrition, goal setting and metric tracking in my quest to lose weight and become healthier and happier.

To sign off, I will gift you some wise words from one of the greatest minds of our time:

“I’ve put on about 6lbs recently, but I have a good reason, which is, I’m a greedy pig who’s been consuming more calories than I burn off. Fucking science. Please fat-shame me to help me to buck my ideas up. Thanks”

Ricky Gervais – Instagram (@rickygervais)