As we approach Father’s Day, I’m inspired to share how a small change in lifestyle has made a huge impact for my two dads.
Yep, I have two.
First, I’ve often said that I am blessed my parents divorced because I got two dads out of the deal, and I love them both equally.
Dad #1: My biological dad is a navy veteran, a patriate, a loyal company man, a collector of memories, and a lover of gadgets and technology. His passions: camping, exploring, campfires, conversation, and family time. He’s savvy with managing money and he’s passed his knowledge of finances along to his children so that we can live the abundant life he wants for us.
Dad #2: My second dad is a general contractor, a building inspector and a carpenter who loves to work with his hands. He repurposes and creates beautiful things out of seemingly nothing. He’s a fierce protector, a history buff (he’s the one who taught me that Christopher Columbus gave the Indians syphilis), a dog lover, and he is wise beyond this lifetime, truly a gentle soul.
I love both of these men so much and 19 years ago both walked me down the aisle on my wedding day. One on each side of me. Equally sharing the honor of “Father of the Bride”.
That’s just a quick sketch of how much I love both of my dads, and a glimpse into how much they love me. So, you can imagine how fortunate I feel to have the gift of two.
We’ll start with Dad #1: He’s struggled with weight control most of his life. The man loves to eat! He taught me to enjoy fine food for sure! He’s pretty disciplined from his military days and can drop weight by cutting down quantity. The problem is, his weight goes back up when he falls off the wagon. Sound familiar? We know counting calories doesn’t work for permanent weight loss.
About a year ago Dad #1 really started incorporating some of the strategies I had been teaching about inflammation. The weight literally dropped off of him. And he’s maintaining! And under 200 lbs for the first time I can remember!
Now for Dad #2: I remember the day my mom came home one day and said, “okay, kids, things need to change around here. Dad’s doctor says we’re getting rid of butter, red meat and all the saturated fat”. It was the eighties and my second dad had been diagnosed with heart disease.
At the time, the trend was to eliminate eggs and swap butter for margarine. His doctor told him he could have all the sugar he wanted because he wasn’t overweight. Mom changed everything that western medicine told her to and it still didn’t prevent him from having massive bypass surgery fifteen years later. The bypass failed and he had stents placed multiple times.
Then, a few years ago he was diagnosed with cancer, two types of cancer actually.
That’s when I really started thinking about his health: all the sugar, vegetable oils and inflammatory gluten were probably hurting him. After a quick chat, Mom eliminated all of it.
Within two months of changing his diet, for the first time that I can ever remember in my life, dad didn’t have excruciating heartburn and abdominal pain. His appetite increased, his energy levels went up and his cancer markers leveled off.
Watching my Dads’ transformations, I realized I get to be a voice for Lifestyle Medicine. I started thinking, about my husband, my daughter and even myself. Then I started to think about my friends, colleagues, my neighbors and my community. What would our health be like ten years from now? Twenty years from now?
You’ve heard me talk about this before: I am a sugar addict and also a huge dairy eater. I knew I was chronically inflamed because I couldn’t lose 10 pounds, I was tired in the middle of the day, and had brain fog each afternoon.
I did something about it. First I got rid of sugar which increased my energy levels. Then 6 weeks after eliminating dairy, I lost 10 pounds.
It’s not simple but it’s easy.
Permanent dietary change takes some serious soul searching.
For people who say, “I’m too busy”, I say you are never too busy for your health.
In fact, you get to stop that conversation in your head because you get one body, one life.
I want both of my dads to be around for a very long time. I have a vested interest in their vision, which is partly my vision for the future. I want them to be alive and well and able to spend time with their grandchildren.
I have made myself and my health a priority, an example for them, and for each of you.
I invite you to make a decision. Decide today that you can be successful and transform your health.
My dads did.
Happy Father’s Day!
Take Good Care,