The Road Back to Badass

A few posts back I wrote about exorcising 2016’s demons and weight gain. I actually started gaining weight in 2014 during Esther’s pregnancy.  I always thought stories of expectant Dads gaining weight during their wives pregnancy was bogus, like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster—until it happened to me.

Over the past two years I waited for some kind of event or trigger to snap me into weight-loss mode.  Oddly enough waddling around after a hyperactive toddler and a closet full of tight-fitting fat clothes didn’t do it for me.  Three weeks ago, a bathroom scale saying 242.2 provided the much-needed wake-up call.

Make a Plan and Own It
– I’ve done many diets and weight-loss plans over the years, including Atkins, South Beach, and Weight Watchers, with mixed success.  I never, ever, not even once, wrote my goals down on paper or any form of electronic device before starting any of them.  Not until now.

The Good Men Project called me a badass because I’m over 50, run marathons, and am a first-time dad.  It’s been awhile since I’ve felt like a badass so getting back there that tops my list.  Losing 50 pounds is a close second. I also want to run another marathon, and cross the Empire State Building Run-Up off my bucket list.

I interviewed for my current job as at an art college in September.  For the interview I was unable to button the jacket on any of the suits — I have four of them.  My department is responsible for the school’s graduation ceremony in May.  I thought about buying a new suit but not any more.  My new goal is fitting into one of the suits currently sitting in my closet.

Find a Partner in Crime
– The minute I stepped off the scale, I knew who this was — she stepped off the scale about a minute before I stepped on.  Big goals seem daunting without having a partner with similar goals.  It makes things easier for both of you.

Misery Loves Company
– No I’m not talking about my marriage.  Three weeks ago Esther and I joined Weight Watchers — it’s an excellent program that’s worked for us.  Spending the first ten days or so detoxing, as our eating habits changed from pizza and fast food, to healthier foods brought some crankiness to our home.  Why do they insist on running commercials for cooking shows and burger joints the night before the weekly weigh in?

Set Short-term Goals – Finishing 12 marathons and two ultramarathons, taught, me to break a big goal into a series of smaller ones.  I break a marathon into three pieces, 13 miles, 18 miles, and the finish line.  Since my stating weight was 242 pounds, I wanted to get under 240 as quickly as possible.  After that I’m focusing on getting to the next five-pound increment.

Set Long-term Goals – After Thanksgiving I noticed many of my clothes fit way too tight but I refused to buy new ones.  Maybe it’s because I’m cheap, stubborn, or knew changes were coming after the New Year but buying bigger clothes seemed like surrendering.  My first goal is fitting into smaller clothes.  I’d also like to start running five-mile training runs, pushing Cristian in his jog stroller as I go, and racing again.  I have a ways to go before I get there.  For now it’s one day at a time, one step at a time, one meal at a time.

Esther and I after I finshed the Long Island Marathon. Running another another marathon is one of my goals.
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The Baby Whisperer

Me finishing the 2010 National Marathon. © Brightroom Photography
Me finishing the 2010 National Marathon. © Brightroom Photography

As a runner it took many races and many training miles until I learned the subtleties of running a marathon.  I’ve run 12 and I’m still learning.  Patience, experience and good coaching are useful—a little luck doesn’t hurt either.

Shortly after Cristian was born I learned parenting coaches exist—Baby Whisperers.  I’ve mentioned them several times since I first wrote about them in March.  Like Coach Maria, my running coach, they offer wisdom and guidance to inexperienced parents.

Not sure if you know one—sure you do—they’ve been helping new parents since the dawn of time.  She’s the aunt or friend sitting on the couch at a family gathering with a baby in her lap.  Multitasking, a Zen-like calm, and an encyclopedic knowledge of all things baby are just a few traits they possess.  Hungry babies, cranky babies and blowouts are dispatched as easily as breathing.

Titi Luisa, the Gold Standard for Baby Whisperers brushing Cristian's hair.
Titi Luisa, the Gold Standard for Baby Whisperers brushing Cristian’s hair.

Esther’s aunt, Titi Luisa is the Baby Whisperer prototype.  Meeting us at the hospital when Cristian was born she instantly put a pair of anxious new parents at ease, dispensing wisdom as she cradled my son, she even brushed his hair into a Baby Mohawk.  (See my last post regarding Cristian’s hair).

She’s babysat for us—instinctually offering a breather when needed.  A crawling toddler getting into everything doesn’t faze her at all.  She’s mastered the ability to cook dinner as Cristian crawls around the kitchen.     Titi Luisa remains the gold standard but since writing my original post I found Baby Whisperers in unexpected places.

Throughout my life, I’ve been a few steps behind the pack—running my first marathon at 44, getting married at 46, and becoming a father at 50.  A lot of my friends were married and had kids in their 20s and 30s.

A few months back my boss called me into work for last-minute training, leaving me scrambling for a babysitter.  My friend Michele stepped up offering to watch baby for the day.  With one son in college, a second planning his freshman year, and a husband whose inner child runs the ranch, she was a perfect choice.

After dropping off Cristian and his supplies, usually resembling a military drop, she assembled his playpen, when I couldn’t before sending me off to work.  She quickly figured out his quirks and habits, texting pictures throughout the day.

Michele and Cristian spending the day together.
Michele and Cristian spending the day together.

Moving back home was an eye-opener.  We moved in so we could help Mom, but she’s helped me with the baby.  Feeding him breakfast and lunch she’s taught me subtleties, like sniffing out a diaper change—literally.  Laughing as he knocks over her walker to play with the wheels, she’s taught me—enjoy this time with him because it passes quickly.  I guess that makes Mom Baby Whisperer Emeritus.

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