Friday, August 30, 2013

How I became a #SuperMilkMan

I have struggled with weight issues my entire life.  I once weighed more than 230 pounds (I stopped weighing myself when it became too overwhelming), and I am proud to say that I am 39 years old and I currently weigh in at 169 pounds.  I weigh almost 30 pounds less, as I prepare to enter midlife, than I did when I graduated high school!

Synchronicity. I had taken this summer off from my page and from blogging, for the most part, to focus in on health and wellness. I checked the email for The Cook At Home Dad on Sunday,  planning to re-launch the page this week, as my girls are all now in school full time.  It was with great delight and appreciation that I found an invitation from Life of Dad, LLC to be one of 25 bloggers to be featured in a new #SuperMilkMan campaign.  Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has joined forces with Milk and has a campaign about the many health benefits of milk.  The Rock-- actor, producer, athlete, and author knows the importance of protein to fuel his days. Much like me, The Rock juggles work, family time, and fitness.  Check out for more details! 

Each blogger is being compensated by Life of Dad, LLC for their contribution to the #SuperMilkMan campaign;  however, more importantly, the winner of the contest will get to meet the Rock in person!   Compensation and contest aside, though,  I am compelled to share how milk played an integral role in my journey.

I procrastinated for months about "the start" of adopting a healthier lifestyle.  I made lists of plans to make lists of plans to get in shape.  Month after month, these lists would become longer and longer, and little action was done on my part.  One day, finally fed up after three failed attempts (if you don't start on Monday, you can't possibly begin any new habit), I woke up and looked in the mirror.  I looked at my bloated, cocooned self and literally said out loud: "if you don't fix this now, it won't get fixed."  I was broken and I knew it.  I had allowed myself to become sedentary and less than my potential.  I had reengaged in my roller coaster yoyo, and was well on my way back to my max weight. 

There was something different about this particular Monday, in the way I typically would perceive myself in the mirror.  It may have been because I am going to turn 40 next year.  It may have been because my role as a stay at home dad was coming to an end after almost 10 years.  I think, more likely, it was because of what I thought about as I looked at my pudgy and swollen gut, undeveloped muscles and overall fatigue.  My issue was no longer about fitting into a smaller pant size, looking good, or being "hot."  I looked at my body and thought about blood pressure, cholesterol, and risk.  I thought about my three young children and how much they need me to be here--healthy!

I went into my kitchen and pulled out a bowl, a cup measure, cereal, and low fat milk.  My stomach turned as I poured the milk, so early in the morning, on the dried blah that I knew I had to ingest.  I am historically a once a day eater, and then a late night snacker.  I knew I had to start somewhere.  I force fed myself breakfast, and found that by lunch time I actually wanted to eat, though my body did not want to cooperate.  I again force fed myself yogurt and nuts and cheese.  I then continued to eat whatever I wanted for dinner, so long as the portion size was no bigger than my fist (the size of your stomach), with unlimited fruits and vegetables on the side. 

This routine of forcing myself to eat during the day went on for two weeks. I dreaded each meal, but made myself eat.  Finally, at the start of the third week, I found myself craving breakfast as I awoke.  I continued this plan for another week and then did the unthinkable:  I weighed in!  I had lost 10 pounds with doing little more than incorporating breakfast and lunch with cereal and milk, and yogurt, nuts, and cheese.  I lost TEN POUNDS!!!

click here to see "#SUPERMILKMAN"

Needless to say, this elevated my motivation a thousand fold.  I began to publicly dare myself to set goals on the pages I admin on, and felt accountable to not only meet, but surpass those goals.  I started a dare and do challenge where I dared others to join me.  It morphed into a health/wellness group I co run "CAHD/Sarcasmom's Dare and Do Challenge,"  a group of over 300 people challenging themselves to the same type of  health and wellness goals.  I went in thinking I was going to inspire people, and I think I did.  More importantly, I found myself inspired. This group is comprised of people trying to do everything from lose 100 pounds, to tone up, to build muscle...they INSPIRE ME!!   I have made amazing friendships, met kindred spirits, even soul mates.  We GOT THIS!!  The most important part:  my ACTIONS and this group  inspired my wife and my older daughter to DARE AND DO!  My wife, and then my daughter began to try the different exercises I was doing, and adopted the eating pattern I had started.  As a family, we lost 53 pounds in the past two months!  I have to admit, at the end of the day...I do feel a bit like a #SuperMilkMan.  My family and I start each day with milk and cereal, have at least a serving of yogurt a day, and have at least on 8 ounce glass of low fat milk after playing (and workouts)! ;)

I am not quite to my goal yet, though in terms of 'scale weight,' I am only four pounds shy of goal.  I have incorporated weight lifting and strengthening my body and I work out six days a week.  It is essential after each workout to give our bodies protein.  As a stay at home dad, I had been limited to evening work outs. After a long day of parenting, domesticating, and then working out at nine o' is the last thing on my mind.  So, after each workout, I enjoy a glass of ice cold low fat milk.  Each 8 ounce serving of milk contains 8 grams of protein, more protein than an egg.  It provides nine essential nutrients, including calcium, protein, phosphorus, potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, niacin, and riboflavin. 

I will now work out during a more appropriate hour.  I will still continue to drink milk as the go-to protein my body needs after every work out.

Each "after" shot I have been posting (or #SuperMilkMan video) inspiringly becomes a "before" shot, as I realize I am not heading towards a destination.  I am on a journey to being a healthy and well middle aged man.  I highly recommend, to anyone who is where I was for all those months "planning to plan":  next Monday (regardless of when you read this blog post), when you wake up grab a cup of cereal, add some low fat milk...and begin!!  YOU GOT THIS!!!