Updated: May 7
Today, we start small; every day, we start small. Every single day, start small!
Welcome back, we are into part two of the well-balanced dad diet, and today we will dive in and start filling our TOOL BAG with some small tools. You have to start somewhere, right? Let me re-introduce you to the idea of the reason behind the diet. You, like myself, searched for relatable content that was easy to digest. It is NOT another "ra ra, the motivational piece" you read everywhere that doesn't relate to you. If you're a dad, you're setting out to read each of these pieces and listen to their accompanied podcast/video that goes with them. You likely want to improve and be a better dad; we should always work to improve ourselves for our kids and those we care most about. You're curious, "what the heck is the well-balanced dad diet?" It's a 12-part (for now) series of changes, ideas, and challenges for you as a father to find some balance within the day-to-day craziness that is fatherhood.
First and foremost, I want you and I to admit there is no magic pill or formula to being a dad, a parent, and an excellent partner to our significant other. We need to punch in a cheat code. There are no how-to guides on any of these things. If there was, wouldn't that be amazing? This series of blogs/podcasts is intended to give you a tool bag full of tools I have learned from brilliant people and other dads who have gone through their journeys of growth, development, mental health, and other forms of adversity. However, there is no magic pill or magic formula for you to find your situation and figure out what will be most beneficial to you.
Every day, you wake up, moan, groan, roll over, kiss your spouse, or on those special days, you've jumped on by your favorite little humans as their internal alarm clock is going off well before your physical one. What's the first thing you do when getting out of bed? Your feet hit the ground, you likely tend to the dog, go to the bathroom, and then look in that mirror. When that reflection hits, are you happy with the person staring back? Is that someone that is where you want them to be mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually? Are the mind, body, and soul all connecting how you want them to? If they aren't, I want to ask you to do one thing, CHALLENGE ONE; ask your self "why?" That's it; that's the challenge. I want you to start questioning why aren't you where you wanna be in these aspects and keep digging until you can't ask why anymore. When you ask why a lot, you begin to live with more intention in everything you do, and you slowly realize the areas where you care too much and should and where you don't show enough care that you need to.
The next is to build on asking yourself why constantly, questioning why you aren't where you want to be. I need you, your kids, and your partner need you to be present and be in every single moment. Be fully there. I need you to go from moment to moment and nothing more. Remember, we're taking small steps. As you go moment to moment as CHALLENGE TWO. Moment to moment is a small step that we need you to take. SLOW DOWN; it's okay; you'll be okay if the mess is there later, which means the kids played and had fun. It's okay if the laundry didn't get done or all the chores didn't get done; you spent more quality time with your partner or out of the house being active and present. When you slow down and live moment to moment with the intention, you start to smell the roses honestly, see the color in life, and see smiles and create memories you rushed through before; your perspective starts to change, and you start to change as a person.
Your next challenge to take one here, CHALLENGE THREE, is when you feel down, inadequate, like you're failing like you're not enough. I want you to ask yourself why and, on top of that, "are you okay right now? Do I need to talk to someone?" The answer is likely yes, don't bury those feelings, don't run from them, and don't keep them at a distance. OWN THEM, own them like you own your car, your home, and your material possessions; own them like you do when you make a mistake, and take complete and intentional responsibility for not being okay and when you need to talk to someone. Remember, IT AINT WEAK TO SPEAK! If you are in a healthy relationship, your partner wants to be that person for you. They should be. You can always talk to a family member, friend, or anyone you know who will listen and give you the support you need. Whether it's talking about it, giving you space, or giving a distraction. Just let it out; take care of yourself. Feel free to dig a little deeper; ALWAYS dig deeper.
We have touched on the mental and emotional, and we have yet to touch on the spiritual; now, this area will be different for EVERYONE. For some, this might come from a connection with religion and the bible or other religious texts. For others, this might come from a deepened belief in the universe, the power of manifestation, and the natural healing powers.
I was raised with the bible, developing a relationship with Christ as my Savior and turning my life over to Him. I carry this faith as a Christian and would happily share my faith and some of these core beliefs with you; if interested, contact me. However, if you find yourself spiritually to be that, spiritual, YES, I love it. The universe is a powerful being and holds so much in store. You get out of it what you put in. Regardless of where ever you lie with the spiritual side of life, I fully support you as long as you feel you're getting the most of it for you as an individual; if you're not, I challenge you to ask why and to possibly explore new options and find what's best for you.
We have covered the mental, emotional, spiritual, mind, and soul. Lastly, we talk about the physical. Now, this again will be different for you and me. I love physical activity, and I have dedicated time and money to this aspect as I have seen a change in my mindset, clarity, thought process, ability to move, and how I feel regularly. Please don't hear what I am not saying. I want you to be physically active; it does not mean you have to go to the gym, get a spendy gym membership or transform your garage.
If you are physically at a high level, build on that. Next, if you are on the other end of the spectrum, I need you to START SMALL. How small? Go and walk 20-30 minutes outside around the block, take the stroller, grab the dog, grab the family, and walk. That's it, get outside, leave the phone, disconnect, and get active. I need you to start where you are at. Meet yourself where you are now, don't try and go meet that version of yourself that is 21, fit, active, and moving without pain the next day. That you are gone, meet you where you are today, listen to your body, and do what feels good to you now. Do exercise and activities that you enjoy and, most importantly, have fun doing.
Ultimately, when you get active, you find a few things. You find a version of yourself that is less stressed, has fewer worries, is more focused, and, most importantly, more present. To bring this back to myself, I have done a few things; I am using the Zero App(not a sponsor) to do a 16:8 intermittent fasting, and I added in a greens powder/drink that adds nutrients and vitamins that I wasn't getting from eating greens since I'm not too fond of the texture, I am going to the gym 3-5x a week, I use the sauna for at least an hour a week and cold plunge for about a 10min a week. Again, this has given me results in the short term; I have been calmer, warmer, more relaxed, focused, and present with my kids. I have found a level of self that I wasn't at previously, I can give more to my kids as I am working on the best version of myself, and that is the point. Remember, what works for me, might work better for you. I started small; I started with gym, added in the fasting, and added in the greens. Now all of these things are part of my daily blueprint. What is yours going to look like? It's time to start.
You can't be that fantastic father, parent, or partner you might want to be that they all deserve if you aren't working on being that person. If you aren't taking the time to pour into your cup to grow and heal mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. You cannot be that person if you don't put the effort in on your end. You aren't going to miss out, you aren't going to lose your family, and you are going to gain a whole lot more long-term by giving them the best you; that is what they truly deserve. The moral of the story, pour into your cup, for once, please. Just do it; the benefits outweigh your fears, excuses, and doubts. Start with SMALL STEPS! Ask why, ask yourself if you're okay, talk to people you love and trust, feed your soul what it wants- religion or spirituality in some other form, and get your body right. Take leaps of faith, and take a chance on yourself- for them!
Personal recommendations of things you can do for yourself to help you in these ways:
Read a book- One per month
Have a budget, and stick to it
Cut your screen time by 1/4- 1/3
Write in a journal
Cry, seriously, cry, get that energy out of your body
Talk to someone, find a distraction, and take your space to process
Read a book on the kind of spirituality you want to explore
Read a faith-based book- Bible, Koran, or another similar text.
Cut artificial out of your diet, and add more supplements to get the vitamins your body might be lacking
Get blood work done if you can see exactly what you need to change.
Walking, Running, Gym, some activity
30minx3-5 times a week
Powder or real greens
Cut the sugar, red meat, gluten, and dairy as needed.
Cut your sugar waaaaay down
One gallon of water per day
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