Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday Motivators (Father's day edition): My Daddy

This is my dad, Greg. He's 58 years old and my favorite man on the entire planet. He knows me BETTER than the back of his hand and sometimes it's like he can read my mind. When I'm having a crap day, it's like he has Dad ESP and knows to call me and let me vent or just say something awesome to cheer me up. 

I freaking love my Dad. 

My dad and I, however, share a special bond beyond the traditional ones shared by father and offspring. My dad and I are both fat and we're both "grazers." This website really hit the nail on the head when it comes to the way my dad and I both overeat:  "Grazing overeaters eat continuously all day, not letting themselves experience hunger. They eat because it's there, they eat to avoid things they don't want to do, they eat because they're bored, they eat because they're uncertain. They have a hard time telling when they're hungry, so they create a rule: when it doubt, eat." BINGO. 

Holidays at my parents' house consist of menus made a week+ in advance with what will be eaten at every meal, plus what will just be "around." My dad is a cheese connoisseur along with a crackers and dip kind of guy. We almost always have seafood dip, about 4 kinds of cheese, about 3 types of crackers, pimento cheese and quite possibly some kind of smoked meat hanging around when holidays and/or my trips home come around. It's a special occasion! Why NOT have delicious food on the counter for us to indulge in - it's CHRISTMAS! A cracker here, some cheese spread there, three Toll House cookies later and of course a delicious meal of seafood gumbo, roasted oysters, delicious london broil or hell, just a burger. We EAT.

Now - I'm not complaining. I love that my family is full of people who love food. I just wish we liked BETTER food more and we weren't the type to just eat because it's laying there on the table looking at us. I guess I should feel lucky that I also have athletic genes that make it somewhat easy for me to do physical things well. 

Our family is genetically blessed to be big. My dad is 6'3, Mom is 5'11, my brother, Brian is 6'5 (Dad's kid) and I'm the short one in the family at about 5'10 and a half. We're all just big people. There's a lot of weight on our big ole frames. I tell people what I weigh and their first comment is always "but you're so tall! You carry it well!" I might carry 230 lbs well, but I'm still a fatty, so, while I don't look AS bad since I'm so tall, it's still no bueno.

My entire life, my dad has said things like "Kid, you gotta watch your weight" and "it only gets harder as you grow older" and "you got a little gut there, baby." I typically grumbled and said "yeah, Dad, I know" - but dammit if he wasn't right - it IS harder as you get older to get rid of extra weight. And it freaking SUCKS to try to fit working out into your daily routine if you don't just make it happen. 

My dad understands how hard it is to have my body. He's had it his whole life. We call our waistlines "The Family Curse" and it's a pretty legit name. 

Now, after AAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL of that - on to why my Dad has earned a spot as a "Monday Motivator." My Daddy will call me and say "did you run today?" or "take time for yourself, go on a walk, go work out, MOVE" and I let it roll of my back because I'd much rather lay in bed and read books sleep all day. But thankfully, he's still persistent with the gentle kicks in the rear because once I do get out the door, I feel AMAZING.

When it comes to being that guy that gives me a swift kick in the ass when I need one - my Dad is it. When I want to talk about how much of a badass I feel like after a run - I call my dad. He's been on literally every diet ever and he's gone up and down in weight and it's rough and he knows what it's like to feel AWESOME and then put the weight back on like I've done. He ALSO knows what it's like to get back on the horse and MAKE IT WORK.

I'm hoping that by reminding my dad that he motivates me, he'll let me motivate him to get back into his gym room that he built for himself and hop on the treadmill and walk. Maybe one day I'll get his butt in a 5k with me. Or maybe be able to throw away his "fat pants" for good. 


Friday, June 7, 2013

Guest Blog Post: 5 Fun Exercise Activities and a Healthy Recipe for Your Family

There's a first time for everything and I guess it's time I add some Guest Bloggers to the rotation! Carolyn from Full-On Fit sent me this great post about getting out and moving this summer - check it out!

5 Fun Exercise Activities and a Healthy Recipe for Your Family

March was National Nutrition Month, and even though we are now sweltering in the summer heat, it’s still important for families to review various ways to stay healthy. With obesity rates in children and families still on the rise, and with summer finally here, many people are especially eager to get fit. Unfortunately, this is also about the time of year when people tend to let go of their New Year's resolutions to exercise and eat healthy. Your year doesn't have to be this way. With the following exercise ideas, you can keep your entire family healthy through the warmer months and beyond.

Hiking in Sand or Soggy Ground
Hiking is excellent exercise for the entire body, and it can be an adventure for parents and kids alike. While some places are already warm enough to start strolling the beach, other locations are still drying out from soggy winters. In either case, hiking can be made more interesting and challenging. Walking on a hard sidewalk is stable and easy, but walking any distance on soft dirt or sand is another story. You'll get an excellent workout, and your kids will have a blast walking on these new surfaces.

If you want to keep your entire family at a higher level of fitness, start a family running regimen. Running has numerous benefits, and there are plenty of ways to add variety to a running program, including races, track running and cross-country. For example, try charity races for a boost of positivity or even run a half-marathon if everybody is up to it. Indoor tracks can be convenient when it's too hot to run outdoors. Cross-country running at parks or nature reserves brings stimulating adventures every time.

Start Gardening
Gardening can provide exercise for everybody, and it can also bring a healthy harvest if you plant fresh fruits and veggies. By switching jobs during the workday, each family member can get a full-body workout. For example, one person can dig holes while another prunes plants. Other jobs include mixing fertilizer, sand and mulch into the soil, weeding plant beds and planting or transplanting additions to the garden. To enhance the family feelings of togetherness in this activity, include everybody in the planning from the beginning. Then, give each person the chance to work on bringing his or her idea to fruition throughout the season!

Get into Fitness
Don’t be afraid to branch out a bit and try some different kinds of fitness classes. You can visit a local gym for a class like Zumba, Kickboxing, Pilates, or Yoga. Or, you can rent some DVD’s and try some of these exercises right in your own home. My cousins love to come over and do Yoga with me on the weekends, which is great because it benefits all of us. According to orthopedic surgeons at St. Joseph’s Orthopedic Center, yoga increases one’s flexibility, balance, posture, overall strength, and bone and joint health – all things I want to increase, and definite benefits to my young cousins who are still developing!

Urban Hiking
Whether you live in a large city or small town, you can enhance an exercise program with foot treks around your area. This can be far more enjoyable than the same old circuits around the neighborhood. Walking
several miles through different neighborhoods and parks will enhance your appreciation for your area and might stimulate your interest in future long-distance walks to see what else is nearby. In small towns, you may be able to circle the town to get a fascinating feel for its scale. Afterwards, your family might feel inspired to regularly walk to the store, school and other places instead of driving.

Recipe for Exercise Recovery
Staying fit will require plenty of healthy calories to refuel the body. Here's a quick recipe that you can serve after an exercise session to keep your family nourished and happy.

Totally Healthy Tacos

- Non-GMO corn tortilla shells
- Reduced-fat shredded cheese
- Frozen lean chicken breast strips
- Arugula
- Fat-free re-fried beans
- Organic taco sauce
- Extra-virgin olive oil

Heat the chicken breast strips in the oven as specified on the package. If desired, toast taco shells in the broiler. Finely chop arugula for spreading over tops of tacos. Fill tacos as desired with chicken breast strips and re-fried beans, add cheese shreds and arugula and drizzle the tops of the tacos with healthy olive oil. Serve and enjoy!

The activities above will help you and your family stay healthy throughout the year. Always focus on keeping things fresh by trying new activities that everybody will enjoy. If your regimen never goes stale, you'll look forward to your exercise time instead of dreading it. By getting started now, you can count on looking better for the spring and summer months, and your kids will start making healthy habits that will serve them for a lifetime.

Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has been known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at!