You’re Not As Healthy As You Think

I’ve always considered myself “athletic” but never “healthy”.  Often times, many people think the 2 are interchangeable but I’m here to tell you they aren’t.  Sure, I’ve been able to play soccer but there were times that I jumped into a game only to feel the painful effects the following day or the next few days for that matter.  When I actually played a season, it would take me at least 3-4 games to get into game shape.

I mention all of this to you for a couple of reasons.  First, many of you might be aware of the lifestyle change I’ve been going through since September.  I’ve been participating in a competition at Oakland Christian set up similarly to NBC’s Biggest Loser.  In that time, I’ve lost weight, stepped up my exercise, and made lifelong changes to how I look at food and how I eat.  Second, as a country the trend is going in the wrong direction.  According to the CDC, over one-third (35.7%) of Americans were obese in 2009-2010.  If you look at the trend since the late 1990s, you will be even more alarmed.

I never really paid attention to these statistics before.  I assumed I was somewhat healthy and healthier than the rest of the U.S.  Boy was I wrong.  It wasn’t until I stepped on that scale in early September that I realized I needed to get serious.  I’ve done the up and down with my weight but was never able to maintain it for an extended period of time and when the scale registered 201.1, it was time to get to work but I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it.  Fast forward to November 9 with a weigh in of 176.3 and a total weight loss of 24.8 pounds.  In just over 2 months, I’ve been become the healthiest I’ve been a long time, I’m able to post good run times for me, and now I play soccer without worrying about “saving my energy” in games.  So how did I do it?

My Weight Loss Progress since September

You have to have a goal.  For me, when I stepped on the scale and saw a weight that disappointed me, the goal was to lose the weight.  In my head, I wanted to drop at least 20 pounds but as I got into the program, I increased the weight loss goal to 32 pounds for a goal weight of 169.  With anything you do, have a purpose or goal.  You have to know WHAT you want to accomplish and for me, I had data to back up the need for me to start shedding some pounds.

Once you know why you want to lose weight, you can focus on the how but before I share with you the tools I’ve been using, I also wanted to mention that if you do a program like this, do it with other people.  Being in community with people holds you accountable.  It motivates you and if you’re in a contest, who doesn’t want to compete?  This has been one of the biggest motivators for me as I want to encourage but I also want to win!  Now on to the tools.

Nike Fuel Band

Nike released their Fuel Band earlier this year and I was hooked.  Not only was it a cool piece of technology but it tracks my activity with steps, calories and Nike’s own metric, Fuel points.  Each day, you set a goal for Fuel points and your activity earns points to achieve that goal.  On top of that, you can see how you rank with friends that also have the Nike Fuel Band with a fully integrated iPhone app and badges you earn for achieving goals and milestones.

My Fitness Pal iPad App

The My Fitness Pal iPhone app has truly become my best friend.  With this app, I was able to document the food AND portions I was eating to make sure I was achieving my calorie goal each day to support my weight loss targets.  Throughout this entire competition, I’ve learned that what you eat and how much of it contributes to the success you’ll have in getting healthy.

I have 5 great reasons as to why I did this.  Their names are Julianne, Gina, Joshua, Jessica and Luke.  Since turning 40 this past March, you begin to notice the subtle aches and pains.  You notice it takes a little longer to recover from any activity.  You also realize, your kids are getting older and they want you to play with them and that means being able to keep up with their energy and participate in their activities.  I could do this before but I just couldn’t do it well.  What this also has done is given Julianne and I a “project” to do together!  We now can encourage each other by eating well, going on runs or bike rides, and enjoying the progress we are making by losing weight.

Finally, this experience will also be a good teaching opportunity for my kids to value their health and what they eat. If we as parents are modeling a healthy lifestyle to our kids, they then have an example to follow (hopefully) that will give them the tools they need to live and eat healthy and hopefully pass that on to their kids and future generations.

I’ve learned a lot about myself in these 2 months.  Yes, exercise and diet are the main focus but you also need to be motivated and don’t give up easily.  It’s not a quick process and as they say, “results very”.  Since I’m all about sharing my experiences with you, this is what I’d like for you to take away from this rather long blog post about my health kick.  It’s pretty simple.

  1. Have a goal
  2. Track your goals
  3. Be in community with people to hold you accountable and encourage
  4. Don’t give up
  5. Pray and give thanks to Him for your success.  I wouldn’t have been able to do this without God’s help and the people He put in my life to encourage me.

This is serious business everyone.  The health of our country is going in the wrong direction.  If you live in Michigan, you will be happy to know that we are the 5th most obese state in the country.  My hope is that you will think about what I’ve shared with you and not be accepting of these trends.  You can still eat what you want but you also need to balance it with exercise and how much you eat.  Once you’re able to get past this being a “diet” but rather a “lifestyle” you’ll succeed.

As we approach the end of 2012, why not consider making a drastic and healthy change for 2013?


Enjoying the Ride

After a little bit of a hiatus, I’ve brought back the “By Dads For Dads” series.  It’s been a while since my last guest post and when I sent out a tweet last week asking for contributors, I was pleasantly surprised at the response!  Through fellow Spartan and previous contributor, Tim Bograkos, I was introduced to Paul Vance.  It is my pleasure to introduce you to Paul!

I recently came across the following quote from Joe Gibbs, the former Hall of Fame coach of the Washington Redskins: “People who enjoy what they are doing invariably do it well.” I doubt this was intended to apply to being a dad, but I believe it does.

I am a new dad, just a little over three months into fatherhood, still learning what it takes to be a dad. And hoping I am doing things right. These early months have not been easy. There are the nights were my son isn’t sleeping (he is sleeping better now), when he is crying and I can’t figure out why, the diaper blowouts, getting peed on and, of course, the spit ups. Yet, I feel like I am having the time of my life.

Before my son arrived, my life consisted mainly of work, watching sports, work, exercising and more work. Finding the necessary balance between my work life with being a dad has been difficult. I often find myself thinking – Am I spending enough time with my son? Am I keeping pace at work? Am I giving my wife enough support? I worry that due to my hectic work schedule and long hours I may not be bonding enough with my son. Despite all the questions and doubts, I have confidence that I am doing just fine. I am making it work and adapting, whatever it takes. Why? Because I genuinely love being a dad. And when my little guy shows me that bright smile of his all those doubts and worries wash away.

So three months into fatherhood, what have I learned? Being a dad is hard work. Finding that balance between work and family is challenging. Those days of taking a quick nap are over. Relaxing and watching television just isn’t going to happen very often any more. In spite of all the difficult times, I have found fatherhood to be the coolest, most rewarding job I have ever had.

When it comes to being a dad, I hope Coach Gibbs is right.

Paul Vance is an associate attorney at Cline, Cline, and Griffin, P.C. He was recently selected by Super Lawyers Magazine as a “Rising Star” in the state of Michigan. Paul was born and raised in Flint, Michigan and currently resides in East Lansing with his wife and their new son, Kellen. You call follow Paul on twitter at @PaulVance_Esq or contact him via email at

If you’re a dad and interested in contributing to this series, send me a tweet to @patrickreyes or click on the “Contact Me” above.

4 Gifts To Give A Child from fellow dad, @dsadlier

After six years of incredible marriage, my family has now grown quite substantially. From our 13-year-old foster daughter who is no longer with us, to my two biological booger pickin boys (Liam, 3 a& Eli 2), and one on the way, our family is growing and here are some things that have been central to it.

One of my mentors encouraged me to think through the non-negotiable gifts that I can give my kids as a Father. These gifts are simply values that we have held central to our family that no one will ever be able to take away from them. Among the list are the following.

• Being my child’s primary principal – We are their primary teachers regardless of formal education setting
• The freedom to fail – See “Love and Logic
• The promise of authentic apologies – admitting failure as a parent

But for times sake I have written about 4 specific gifts.

A picture of risk filled faith
Both Amanda and I have seen adults who speak boldly about their faith and who press their religious beliefs on their kids, but when push comes to shove they do not step into situations where they have to depend on the bigness of God. Above and beyond this it is rare that parents bring their children into situations where the kids are actually forced to depend on God’s faithfulness as well. We have committed to bringing our kids into moments with us where we risk for the sake of the Kingdom, banking on the promise that God will step in on our behalf. The Father let go of his Son for the sake of the Kingdom and in some way, shape, and form we must do the same to give our children glimpses of the raw, primal faith our creator longs to see from us.

Experience with Diversity
Our 3 year old has already been to Africa twice, we have had a foster daughter from the East side of Detroit, and cousins in Zululand. One of the gifts that we wish to give out kids is genuine relationship with people of different ethnicities and socioeconomic situations. We live in a globalized world and we want our family to be relevant to that world with the ability to humbly step into relationships with those that are different than us.

Re-drawing Family Borders
One of the things that Amanda and I have felt called to is always having an open room for those in need as well as adopting/fostering. To do this in a healthy way for our biological kids we will have to stay committed to redefining family lines, ensuring that they know they are not going anywhere, but also that our family extends past a certain DNA.

A Vision for Marriage
Potentially the most important thing that my kids see is that I have not only been created to pursue God with my whole life, but I have been purposed to pursue my bride as well. This is the best representation I can give them of God’s love and His pursuit of us (Ephesians 5). Yet it is also the perfect way to give them vision for a life of commitment, devotion, and resilience.

I know there is a ton to learn on this topic, and these are values I only attempt to live out. I would love to hear from Dad’s who have gone before me. What other gifts have you been able to give your children?

Thanks to Dan for writing this fantastic post about his thoughts on fatherhood.  I’ve known Dan now for a few years but have really got to spend some time getting to know him as a friend.  He is one of the most dynamic and passionate speakers I know.  He believes in our youth and develops programs like Detroit Reverse to help them.  Check out Dan’s blog and follow him on Twitter at @dansadlier