Thursday, June 23, 2016

Dan's Journey to Health: An Introduction

Greetings! 



I am Dan, Gretchen's husband, and I am your stereotypical couch potato.  I am an engineer by day and a _________ enthusiast by night.  I leave that qualifier blank for now because it depends on the week.  One week it'll be binge watching Friends on Netflix, the next it'll be researching ancient Eastern religions, the next it'll be learning as much as I can about wines.  All of these are fun fleeting hobbies, but require me to be in front of a computer screen for most of my afternoons and evenings.  Add onto that my 8 hours of sitting at a desk at work and 1 hour of driving each day, and I'm pretty much on my bum every moment that I am awake.  

I will sit... pretty much anywhere!

You wouldn't know I'm a couch potato by looking at me though.  I'm relatively skinny and frequently wear athletic shorts (because they're comfy!), but before you tell me to go to hell for being skinny while not having to work at it, you should know that I'm not healthy at all.  Gretchen says that I'm "skinny-fat", meaning that I'm dimensionally small but very unhealthy.  I am constantly mentally and physically fatigued, I have chronic lower back pain, and I'm pretty sure my arteries have turned into actual twizzlers.  Gretchen's biceps are bigger than mine and the last time I had a 6-pack was last weekend (unless you don't count craft brew mix-a-6's, then the last time I had a 6-pack was never).  

For some reason growing up, I've always only done enough just to get by.  My grandmother is probably commenting right now about how hard I worked in school and deserved those  A's, but subjects like Math and Science just came easy to me.  For things that don't come easy to me, like Spanish, writing good, socializing, and working out, I'm content with being just mildly proficient and moving on to something new.   If I wasn't naturally good at something, it wasn't worth my time to pursue getting better.  When it comes to my health and being active, that worked fine for awhile when I was young enough to  afford to be lazy.  But now that I'm in what's supposed to be the prime of my life, I can feel my apathy towards working out taking a toll.  My mom and dad both had major health problems by their mid-40s, and most of my middle-aged coworkers don't look ready for American Ninja Warrior, if you know what I'm getting at.  I don't want this to be my fate. 

I wish I could tell little Danny that health is important.

I have a problem... a health problem.  I believe I've just taken the first step to recovery.  Now I want to act.  I want to get healthy and stay healthy.  I am too lazy to do it alone, I'm too antisocial to join a group, and too stubborn to listen to my wife.  That's why I am here right now, confessing to strangers who I've never met.  I do not know most of you, but I know that you are members of a community that help and encourage each other in all things active- and health-related.  If you will let me, I'd like to use Gretchen's blog as a platform for me to share my upcoming journey with you, so that I feel a sense of accountability and push myself to a state of health that I've never been able to achieve on my own.  Somewhere along the way, assuming I'm successful, I hope that I can inspire you, your spouse, or a loved one to commit to a similar journey.  

A bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.  Selma wants to play but I'm being a couch potato!

This is just an introduction for now.  I'll share more of my specific goals with you next time and maybe a little bit more about myself.  I will post no more than once a week and no less than once a month.  I'll throw in some stories and dry humor every now and then.  I encourage any comments you all may have... let me know what you like or don't like about my plan and strategy, what's worked for you in the past, etc.  I'm here to learn from all of you and to share my journey!  Step 1 to getting healthy is now complete.  See you next time! 


Gretchen here- I hope you all enjoyed hearing about Dan!  I didn't ask him to do this- he came up with this idea completely on his own and asked if he could post about it on my blog.  Of course, I was absolutely thrilled that he wanted to change his lifestyle and become healthier.  I hope you will all be as encouraging to him as you've always been to me, and I cant wait to see where this journey takes him!

Does anyone have advice for Dan starting on his health journey?
Have you or anyone you know ever gone through a big lifestyle change?
What topics do you want Dan to cover next time?

linking up with Amanda!

25 comments:

  1. Good for you, Dan! I love that he's using your blog and the community for support, and also to hold him accountable to his new health goals ;) I'll be looking forward to your next post. As far as advice goes- If you're feeling mentally and physically fatigued, like I often do, see if you're eating enough meals a day? One thing I have found is if I don't get eat or snack every 2-4 hours, I start to feel so drained. As soon as I eat, I feel way better. I don't think Whoppers will cut it, but maybe try a protein bar instead. Goodluck!

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  2. GET IT DAN! I wish my brother would have this epiphany.
    My advice for Dan, and it is the same advice that I give all my clients, is to start with a log of what you are doing AS YOU ARE NOW--food journal, activity journal, sleep patterns, whatever--but include times and how you feel. Do that for a few days, even a week. It may be frustrating to wait a week to incorporate new changes and progress into your life, but having that starting point and control base is going to so helpful for you. Then make 1 big and 1 small change at a time, not multiple big ones. Good luck, buddy!

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    1. I LOVE this advice Susie! I'll definitely tell Dan your idea, and I think that would be an interesting post :)

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  3. I love this! Go you, Dan! I had a very similar story of being unhealthy a most of my life because I could. I eventually got sucked into the healthy living life and community and it's been very eye opening and encouraging! Can't wait to see your journey unfold!

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  4. Way to go, Dan! Back in high school, I had quit playing sports and spent most of my time inside as a bookworm. By the time I got to college, I wanted to be more active. The one thing I found to be most important was to engage in activities I actually enjoyed. I (surprisingly) loved running, so I ran. I hated the zumba class I went to, so I ditched zumba. If you don't love it, you won't stick with it. Find something you enjoy doing that keeps you active!

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  5. Yay Dan! This is hysterical and I'm dying because Mark is also an engineer and I'm pretty sure his arteries are actual twizzlers clogged with sweet tarts, but the frustrating thing is how fit he looks too! Maybe one day he'll become more health conscious, but everyone does have to choose it for themselves. I'm so excited for you and can't wait to follow along!

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  6. Go Dan! I'm similar to you in that I can eat a lot of junk and stay thin (skinny-fat), but once I started working out more regularly and eating more fresh food, I really did start feeling better. Do I feel perfect? No. But I have some more energy, less anxiety, and I sleep a little sounder. Small things, but it feels so good. My advice: drink lots of water!

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  7. Don't pigeon hole yourself into thinking health is running. Lots of people run, but if you don't love it, you won't stick with it.

    If your style is more learning all you can about something & then moving on, maybe class passes on Groupon or short term memberships to a gym would help. You could cross-fit for a month & then go to spin class for a month.

    Figure out what health looks like for you & then do those things. :)

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  8. LOVE this idea!!!!! Best of luck Dan!

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  9. How funny, my honey is also an engineer named Dan(iel). :) My Dan really likes CrossFit, so maybe Gretchen's Dan will too, and then the twinning will be complete, hahaha.

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    1. So funny! Dan's not really a gym type guy so I don't think he would like CrossFit :(

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  10. It takes a lot of courage to write a post like he just did! That's a huge first step in a changing lifestyle! I'm excited to follow along with his journey!

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  11. This is so great Dan! We are all here cheering you on!

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  12. Dan I'm so proud of you for wanting to make a change!!

    My biggest tip is to not try to change everything at once; make small changes every week (or even every other week). Trying to change everything at once will only amount to discouragement.

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  13. Yes, Dan! The first step to change is acknowledging that there is a problem. My advice is: do it one step at a time. If you try to implement too many changes at once, you're bound to fail... but taking it step by step will ensure that you'll feel accomplished and make progress towards your goals. Definitely here cheering for you.

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  14. Dan, you are very wise. You can get away with ignoring your health while you are young but it catches up to you. I'm proud of you making yourself accountable and putting it all out there. Advice....dump the junk food and find foods you love. Maybe take some kind of fitness class or play racketball. Having fun while exercising is the key to keeping with it. I can't wait to hear more about your successes.

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  15. I love this Dan, because it means that's it's something you decided to do yourself. And I agree with Jessie, that running isn't the only healthy exercise. Find something you enjoy and it's usually something that is a lot easier to stick to, rather than something that makes you miserable. :) God made us to move, and that's cool that you are getting on the MOVE happy train! :) And yes, Health looks so different for everybody, so it will be fun to follow your journey.

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  16. Yeah, Dan!! I think I'd say to find a kind of exercise that you love. It makes working out a little better when you dont dread the activity. Also, make small changes and dont just make a bunch of huge changes all at once. Slow and steady wins the race! Cant wait to hear about your health journey!

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  17. First of all, way to go Dan for wanting to make a change! This is SUCH a great post!

    Recognising that there's an issue is the biggest step of all - too many people live in denial or feel like they'll "do something later" but you're already on the right track!

    I think my biggest tip is to remember that it's a lifestyle change - not a diet. You've got to find what works for you and your life!

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  18. Yay Dan! So nice to virtually met you! I will be cheering you on! My best advice for getting healthy is to not give up and focus on how the changes you are making is making your body feel! I know Gretchen will be a great support system for you so you already are at an advantage with that. Goodluck & can't wait to read more!!!

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  19. Dan, this is awesome! Thank you for sharing and I think so many people can benefit.

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  20. This is inspirational! Can't wait to hear more.

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  21. This is my husband to a T! The similarities are crazy. I got into fitness (mostly running/triathlon) about 5 years ago but he never really had an interest. I swore there had to be *some* type of exercise we'd enjoy, and after approximately the millionth time I told him that, we started taking boxing lessons together a few months ago (his suggestion). We just moved so we had to stop boxing, but we have been going to our apartment's gym together a lot and I even got him to start swimming with me, and now he's registered for his first tri in September. I don't think he'll ever enjoy working out quite the way I do, but I know he feels better making positive changes for his health. Good for you for recognizing that being at a normal weight doesn't necessarily mean you're healthy, and for doing something about it! Excited to see where this journey takes you - thanks for sharing!

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  22. aww congrats to Dan! this is awesome! i am overgeneralising i am sure, but i think it's harder for people who don't *have* to work out to stay thin, because society really makes us believe weight is more important when of course we know that's not the case. so good for him to make a commitment to focus on his health! my advice would be to start small. little progress is better than no progress, and it all adds up! also, i don't know what he's like at all, but it can be very overwhelming when your spouse is super healthy and has been for most of their life, so don't compare or feel like you should do this or that because they do. i'm not saying he feels like that, or that you are that spouse haha, but just in case. KC has been exercising and focusing on health and eating right since he was a teenager, and he has that drive that i never did. his mother is overweight and he saw lots of family members have health issues, whereas i didn't, so i didn't really have that to work against, you know? my family has skin cancer and lung cancer, not really something you can avoid with exercise and eating right (well, you know what i mean). but anyway. congrats to dan and good luck!

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