A good friend of mine, Jon Paul, approached me last year because he decided he wanted to be ‘a client’ of mine. He told me his goals and I said, “game on, lets talk!” Knowing his personality, I started with education. I explained carbohydrates, healthy fats, and lean proteins.  Then we looked at his diet and discussed room for improvement based on his new nutrition knowledge. Then we discussed exercise; he was doing what he thought he was suppose to do, but hated it.  So I introduced him to my yoga studio… love at first site!  I am beyond thrilled at not only his progress but his transformation toward confidence, health and excitement around all dimensions of wellness. He shared his story with me to help inspire others. This is his new version of the #DanBod.

 

What I told Katie when we first met was that I hadn’t taken my shirt off at the beach in 5 years. What I did not tell Katie was that I had never really felt comfortable shirtless at the beach.

I was born and raised in San Diego Ca. Easily one of the worlds most beautiful places, filled with many of the worlds most beautiful bodies.  And so the bar was set…very high!  It seemed that unless you looked like an Abercrombie model…well then you best leave your shirt on…’cause there was bound to be at least a few guys at each gathering who obviously made it their job…no really…their job…to commit themselves to the Chicken and Broccoli diet and live at crossfit. This pretty much made the rest of us just shame Pringles while we worked on our personalities…since we were obviously going to have to rely on charm to get a date.

Well…it worked…I charmed one of those beautiful bodied ladies into marrying me.  14 years and 2 children later she was still beautiful bodied…and I…well…I still had a great personality:). Actually, in all honesty, my body was nothing to be ashamed of…it just wasn’t something I knew how to be comfortable and confident in…and that it seems was the problem all along.

While I did not have six pack abs, or big square pecs, I have always had a fine and healthy body.  It was just emblazoned on my mind that there were only a few types of guys who could go shirtless at the beach.

1) Guys who think a meal is protein powder and water…you know…the ones who take slightly homo-erotic pictures of themselves in garage gym locker rooms and post them on Instagram.

2) Ugly Tourists

What I had not accounted for was how becoming a Dad would change everything for me.  As the parent of two little ladies, I realized that I was partially responsible for their body image.  I realized that I would need to show comfort with who I am, and confidence that I am good enough, to model a positive self image for my daughters. I realized this at the same time that I came to terms with the reality that I had put on 30lbs of “sympathy weight” during my wife’s 2 consecutive pregnancies.

This is when I called Katie.  I knew I needed help…I had no idea what help would look or feel like…but I did feel that I could trust her.  Katie helped me in so many ways…she still does.  She helped me to create a mindset of balance, flexibility, and strength.  I have set these as my intentions physically and emotionally.  She emphasized mindfulness, and really made me think about my self care and my health as a priority.  Katie helped me to accept my body as it is, not to judge myself by what other people’s bodies are, or what I think that my body should be like.

So it was last summer that I shed my shirt and bore myself to the beach.  30lbs overweight and pretty much just pretending to be fine with it. And guess what…it worked!  I ran around with my daughters and played with my friends and family.  I drank beer and ate pizza and lived my life shirt free and shame free…and the strangest thing happened…I felt great!  And then I wanted to feel even better.  So I drank a little less beer and ate a little less pizza and I could play a little longer and run around a little easier. In 6 months I was 30lbs lighter and in 1 year I am now in the best shape of my life so far.  Granted…there was some significant effort that went into loosing 30lbs, but it really felt natural and good.  With Katie’s help I found Yoga, I found recipes that I liked to make and eat, I found my way…not back into shape…but forward into a new and better self.

I still do not look like an Abercrombie model…and I still eat Pizza and drink Beer…because I have found a balance that works for me.  I am enjoying yoga and walks, I am meeting my friends for activities rather than meals, I am saving my treats for date night with my wife and birthday parties with my daughters.  And I’m looking at my health differently than ever before.  Realizing that taking good care of myself is foundational to all of the things that I want to be and do as a Dad.

Now when I look at my arms and abs in the mirror, I am thinking of how happy I am that they are strong enough to lift my children.  When I look at my chest, I am happy that it holds a healthy heart that will last a long time and swell with joy at living my long happy life with my family.

And YES…I am allowing myself to be photographed shirtless at the beach!  Not because I am so proud of my chiseled chest, but because I am willing to share my story and to show anyone who wants to see what this healthy #DadBod looks like now that I have struck a balance that works for me. I resisted the urge to over-exercise and under-eat for this photo shoot so that I could look my “best” because the truth is that my “best” is whenever I am in balance, and that will look and feel different on different days.  So today I may have had a great lean day of eating and an awesome workout…or I may have slept in and eaten leftover hot wings for breakfast…because I am a real person, and this is my real body, and it’s great.   No offense to the tanned and toned fitness models out there…I know you, and I love you…but that is not what this is about! This is about celebrating good health and modeling best behaviors for our families.  The best bodies are those that help us to live happy, healthy lives.  So grab a slice of pizza and raise your beer to the new #DadBod.