Time to reawaken myself, Dad

Hello my name is Shaun and I am a father of two and a husband to one awesomely open women who looks at the world as half full. Where I see it half empty at first but am working to see things differently.  I had the same job for ten years, did the same thing, day in day out, and I was okay leading that life. I worked long hours and I was happy enough but their were times that I wasn’t that thrilled with my occupation. The problem I was having was cyclical and everybody goes through something similar.  It’s common to go through life’s ups and downs but something else was beginning to drag me down besides the daily grind.  It was my health!  My family health, personal health, self-esteem health, monetary health, business health, and I needed an overall boost to all areas of life. Plus, I want to give my family some of the values I wasn’t afforded from all life’s avenues to create balance.

The problem was I wasn’t traveling down the right path, it wasn’t a bad path just not the most rewarding.  The path I walked down included deep-fried food to the max, sitting at a desk, and watching my pant size continually increase.  Like I said it wasn’t all bad.  They do make comfortable chairs, waist bands that stretch, and if you read billboards there is a fast food restaurant on every corner.  With my current image I was quick to knock the ultra healthy and exercise enthusiasts even though in the deep recesses of my mind I was jealous.  I would watch movies with my wife and she enjoyed certain actors with bulging muscles.  She would tell me she liked the way I looked with flabby arms that wiggled in the breeze.  She could say all the right things and I could hide my insecurities under white dress shirts fluffed up to cover my dad bod but something inside wanted to change.

Besides eating unhealthy and a lack of exercise, I was still missing other huge aspects of life, my wife and kids. Although I wasn’t a completely defective parent and I was working hard for their benefit. So, everybody in the world was doing the exact thing as me, trying to make their family’s life better. But I was missing the big picture here, maybe making money wasn’t the happiness they needed. Don’t get me wrong in some cases money can buy happiness but you can always make more money and you can’t always make more memories.  Time is precious and you can’t go back and redo your children’s memories. The moments with your family are priceless, building a stronger path for them is priceless, and showing them a different side to life will have a long-lasting impact on them.  It’s not about showing or telling them what to do but rather lead by example.  So with that in mind I began fixing my perceived shortcomings and I went off the main path to follow a small, overgrown, barely visible path looking to break from tradition and find my type of promise land. And that land isn’t just a good-looking body in the mirror but a healthier, happier version of yourself with a stronger family prepared for the future. So with all these positive feelings I was ready to embark onto untraveled terrain.

Working on a foundation

How would I lead my family when I was broken?  What would I need to do to right my own ship?  Where would I find the energy to march against the odds and push against society’s norm? Like any story there is a beginning and I was hitting the reset button on my past’s gluttonous ways. You always hear that you feel better after you exercise but that isn’t always the case.  I was trying to get in a new workout routine so after work I would eat dinner and then go for a run.  By that time it was already past 7 at night and nobody wants to run after you have a full belly. Though for me running seemed to be the least resistant path. The problem I was having is I kept asking myself will just exercising help get me to the top of hill.

I talked to friends, family, and co workers about exercising.  The typical annoying workout guy or health nut is probably what they were thinking.  I was trying to get some insight about losing weight and if exercise was more important than diet?  I thought that maybe it was a 50/50 deal with eating and exercising and it is but I discovered that eating is more like 80% and 20% is exercising. Finding that news was depressing because I had always ate what fancied me at that moment. I noticed that I didn’t become any larger just exercising. Although, with that in my mind I also hadn’t realized how large my chin had grown before my epiphany.  So now it was time to mix in some healthier eating habits too because combining the two seemed to be critical.  Which meant it was time to become a tough guy because this was going to be hard.  I had to knuckle down. It was time and I wanted to do it for my kids and wife.  I knew they would have a better life with health and fitness being important from early on.

Brick by brick reconstructing

I knew what had to be done.  So I downloaded a couple apps to keep track of the calories I was consuming.  Counting calories was like doing ten things I didn’t want to in one. I had laughed or made fun of people who seemed to be obsessed with it and now I was like them. I never even knew the premise of a calorie other than eating around 2000 calories a day seemed to be normal.  Growing up no one ever talked about health or exercise in my family.  I was raised on a strict meat and potato, ramen noodle, and taco diet.  With candy, chocolate, and soda always ready to be grabbed.  So now I was trying to learn about this when I was over 30 and my learning curve was sharp.  I wanted to balance it all and was expecting a complete new self sooner than was ever going to happen.  Maybe 10 to 15 years earlier I would’ve snapped into shape quickly without even eating better.  But that window had closed and now I was trapped inside a slow metabolism person who had lost his way.

I was determined to cook healthy and was going to keep it up.  At times my kids lost confidence in my meals when I made squishy bean burgers that plopped out half raw beans on their plate. So it continued for a good three months where I went completely overboard and I can go into that later.  My kids remained good through it all and they never realized how many crazy foods there are in the world and I’m sure my parents think the same.  After working out and running for a few months in the summer I started the eating regimen in the fall months.  I hadn’t lost much weight working out but in a few short months of eating healthy and counting calories I had lost over 20 lbs.  I was excited with my accomplishments and at the moment I knew eating better was key.

It was hard at times to continue down the super healthy path with so many temptations to cheat or stop counting the calories I ate. Times I would bring in a lunch when I used to grab pizza, fast food, or go sit down and plow through some fries like old times.  Although, I was determined and that one fact was the difference maker.  When I had quit smoking years ago, I was determined to and wanted to and now the same fact that I was going to see this through was what mattered. Nobody can make you change how you live except yourself.  You will be the person responsible for your actions or inaction and only you can devout the time, power the inner drive to persevere and stick to the new script.

Present, I raise my hand.

Everything was going pretty well but the calorie counting faded and the exercising began to get easier but burpees were still hard as were most H.I.I.T. programs. The plan was going well but I was finding it harder to focus on what really mattered and that was my family.  Sure my new weight loss and exercise were top priorities now but between the job, eating healthier, and exercising I had a scary thought and that was my family had slid down to the number three of four spot in importance.  Now of course that isn’t totally true but I was spending less valuable time with them and my changes in lifestyle included them but not really connecting with them.  My family was in their prime while I was trying to get back in mine. Now I could see what was truly important was staring right at me. I began to make family leisure time 8 hours, work 8 hours, and rest 8 hours to find balance.

With everything going well, I lost my job and was depressed. That fact now seems like it was meant to be and could make my 8 hour plan become reality. Plus the best way to start anew is to tear down everything else and rebuild. But my first thought was to jump right back into a new similar job but for some reason I didn’t. I stopped moving so quickly and thought about my prospects, I had none. I always wanted to be a business owner and now I threw that onto my to do list.  So my path was shaping up by now.  Exercising, eating healthy, putting family matters first, and trying to find what I truly want out of life.  With that I began to carve out a niche in the world and of course it was based on being healthier.

Choosing your own path

Life throws obstacles in your path.  It is what you do with those obstacles and how you over come them on your own and in your own way.  It’s your time, your life, and your results that are on the line so start adding changes slowly and keep them simple and easy steps. I started with reducing outside clutter and focusing on what is important in my life. And it doesn’t take a miracle to realign yourself with new goals. It is easy to focus on your children, wife, or whoever and slowly sprinkle in a meat-free day, walking or riding a bike after dinner or even catching Pokemon.   Things like cooking at home with better, healthier ingredients more often with my miniature kid chefs. It’s fun to teach them about exotic ingredients and different cooking methods while I learn for myself too.

The perfect results you’re looking for are not a reality but building better relationships with your family is something that can’t be overlooked.  At the end of your life would you have said you would’ve worked for more money or would you spend any extra time with the people who mattered most.  I always have placed my family above all else but the clutter, being busy, keeping up with the Jones, can all distract you from achieving true goals and happiness. There are hurdles all along the way from tantalizing fried food, corporate world money, not wanting to get off the couch, or being a work from home dad. Keeping your eyes on the real prize can be difficult if you choose to make it that way.

Flipping the script

This blog is about finding your happy, healthy, and inner awesomeness.  Yes, there is some work involved too.  But the benefits outweigh any challenges along your path.  After all it is your life’s path and you can choose where you would like your path to lead to.  I will throw out tips from my house dude path. The stories will go from trying to build family strength, health, and togetherness.  They also roll over into a business side for myself because doing what you love is a key to happiness. I would never say to start with a clean slate because remembering what didn’t work is good too.  The finish line will always be there and you can choose what goals are most important to yourself.  Do you want to be a better, more present parent?  Do you want to eat and live healthier?  Do you want to build a better version of yourself by tackling your weak spots?  These are what push me to excel and I still struggle daily.  Struggling is not bad at all and it helps build perseverance. Everything can be hard if you choose to make it hard.  Being a stay at home papa while your wife works can spell divorce for many couples but I’ve flipped the script.

Now I still have flaws and I continue to make strides but I can say without a doubt this life is more fulfilling.  I am still working on business ideas, have had success in real estate, and continue to unlock doors everyday that I would’ve never even knocked on before.  I imagine so many ideas and being able to have a chance to make one happen gets me excited. Especially when everything goes against the norm.  I understand a stay at home dad is not totally acceptable but I’m hopeful to see it through and end up looking like my path was right for me.  I will continue to try to remain positive and think about the nay sayers in a different light.  Because I have to realize that they are envious of me, although life is just getting sweeter.  So stay tuned for stories, recipes, tips, and a peek into the life of a man-wife trying to walk down different paths, smelling life’s flowers and loving life one day at a time.