After years of faffing around and being generally complacent when it comes to my health, I’ve finally joined a gym. It’s a project, a wild journey into the unknown where anything is likely to happen. And I’m calling it “From Fat Dad to Phat Dad”.
Honestly speaking, I have no idea how it’s all going to turn out. The only thing I can be certain of is that it’s going to hurt like hell and that I’m going to bitch about it online. A lot. Which is why I have decided to create a separate Facebook page to share the pleasures and the pains of the adventure. It’s called “One Fat Irish Dad” and I’ll be sharing information on this later this week.
So what has brought me to this point? Well, I’m approaching my 45th birthday but more often than not it feels like my 65th. There’s a general sluggishness in everything I do that involves movement or activity. Frankly this has been preying a lot on my mind, particularly for a number of reasons which I’ll set out below.
Firstly, my son is 8 years old and he wants to play football and do the things kids of his age want to do. A kickaround outside in the garden lasts about 15 mins before I’m utterly bushwhacked. It’s not something he should be seeing in his dad. My fitness levels as not setting the proper example for him. I have the turning circle of an oil tanker and the speed of a tortoise on crutches.
Next on the list revolves around personal motivation and prevention of physical and mental decay. More and more regularly I could go days without shaving or a shower might be pushed back to every 2 or 3 days. These are signs of losing interest in personal appearance or of disregarding my general well-being. It’s probably no coincidence that this all kicked off when I was diagnosed with depression over a year ago and exacerbated when I lost my job in Sept 2017.
The decline is gradual, almost hidden, at least from myself. Your daily life and routines meander onwards like polluted river, oblivious to the slow degradation of body, appearance and mind. I could clearly feel that something was wrong. However, when you’re stuck in a rut, judgement is clouded and the will to kickstart a recovery is non-existent.
Until now. Two things happened in the last fortnight which have triggered this call to action. This brings me to the final reason why I am going, with all guns blazing, to pull my finger out of my arse and get back in the saddle. Someone who cares about me sat me down in a coffee shop and had a “quiet word”. They were apprehensive as to how I would react to what they had to say. Understandably so. It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks, particularly one who is drifting and losing direction in life.
Essentially they opened my eyes to the fact it was highly noticeable that I was letting myself go. The occasional whiff of an unsavoury aroma in company, halitosis from still smoking the cancer-sticks and even the lack of effort when dressed in public. I subconsciously knew all those things myself, but was too apathetic to fix them. It’s amazingly cathartic when it takes the words of someone who loves and believes in you to spur yourself into action.
Rounding things off was the breakdown of a long-term relationship. I’ll speak openly about this relationship in future blog posts but, now that it has ended, a few harsh truths come to mind. It all boils down to this. When the time comes and I choose to throw myself back into love’s marketplace, who in their right mind would want an overweight, unmotivated and lethargic 45-year-old single dad as their partner?
Up and at ‘Em
That’s it in a nutshell. I need to completely redraft my plan, my life course for my kids and, more importantly, for myself. That may seem a little selfish but fuck it. It’s now or never. I know what I’m like and if I cannot muster the enthusiasm and focus to start now then I can envisage myself being lowered into the ground before I’m 60. This mission is about this Fat Dad saying “up yours” to depression, middle age spread and to the part of my brain that’s holding me back.
From Fat Dad to Phat Dad.