We are encouraging all the fathers out there to try a different approach to changing their lifestyle so that they enjoy spending more time with family.
They can also become more productive and reach their full potential, regardless of age, economic status and background.
However, it’s not enough to exercise regularly or eat right.
They should avoid pitfalls—the most common mistakes.
Mistake # 1: Using weight as the primary basis of health status
Weight has always been regarded as the predictor of one’s health status, especially if one is at risk of developing health conditions such heart problems, stroke, diabetes and cancer. So men do the quick fix—they drop weight by starving or by following a fad diet.
But studies show that the predictor waist to hip ratio (WHR) is better than body weight. Getting an ideal WHR result means lower abdominal fat, and it can only be achieved by following a well-balanced lifestyle program. You can get a lower weight and still get a high WHR because you might just be losing muscles all over your body and not so much on the abdominal fat.
A father’s better approach: Divide your waist circumference (get the smallest part of your waist or use navel as the landmark) by your hip circumference (measure the widest part of your buttocks) either in inches or centimeters. In women, WHR should be lower than .8. For men, it should be lower than 1, meaning, waist should be smaller than hips.
Start or continue your complete exercise program by getting at least 30 minutes of cardio like brisk walking on most days of the week, and strength training at least twice a week while following a low-fat diet.
Most of all, you should be able to get enough rest and manage your stress well, because studies show that the stress hormone cortisol also contributes to more fat deposition in the abdominal area.
Mistake # 2: Taking too much protein to achieve a bodybuilder’s physique
Most men focus too much on lifting weights, and believe that eating more protein like beef, pork or chicken can improve their strength and physical appearance.
In fact, every individual should follow the recommended nutrient intake to achieve an ideal weight, to improve exercise performance and to avoid health risks like heart and kidney problems.
A father’s better approach: You have more responsibilities at home and at work compared to an unmarried man who can afford to spend more than two hours on his exercise. Do not aim for a bodybuilder’s body, exercise and diet if your lifestyle cannot sustain it.
Eat everything in moderation while following the right recommendations for your weight, fitness level and goals. If you are lifting weights regularly, you need a carbohydrate (whole wheat grains like rice and bread) intake of 2.3 to 3.6 grams per pound of body weight, and just .54 to .77 grams of protein (fish, meat, poultry, egg) per pound, and 20 to 30 percent of fat calories from your total calorie intake.
Mistake # 3: Learning everything about health and fitness through self-study
Most men explore fitness on their own—reading fitness books or searching the Web, because they believe they can manage to be healthy even without consulting a health professional.
Some feel uncomfortable when someone tells them what to do. This egoistic attitude often leads to unforeseen injuries—for instance, they tend to do the improper form and movement pace in their exercises.
A father’s better approach: Prioritize your health since you are the family provider. Get regular check-ups and invest in fitness by signing up for a gym membership, or hiring a personal trainer to guide you especially at the start.
Mistake # 4: Rewarding oneself with food on weekends
A family man is usually used to spending weekends with his family, and he always looks forward to this time especially after long hours of work and doing three times a week of exercise. Today, more and more restaurants are coming up with unique concepts to answer the needs of families who love to try new dishes.
A father’s habit of treating oneself to food on weekends after will just delay or even worsen his health condition—excessive calories are consumed on a weekend. Eating a 1,200-calorie baby back ribs meal at Sunday lunch is almost worth the calories burned during three hours of exercise for the whole week.
A father’s better approach: Be a role model to your family by eating in moderation regardless of days or occasions, and by not using food as a reward after a hard work week. You can treat yourself to stress busters like getting a massage, a facial treatment, a new haircut, new set of clothes or watching a movie with the family.
Practice this weekend habit in the next three to four weeks, and you will notice a big difference in your weight, eating and family bonding.