Posted by: hoppybottoms | June 19, 2011

Passing on the Message and Keeping Dad Healthy

My Dad is a funny guy. He is very tuned in to nature, exercise, and health. The problem, just as with anyone who hasn’t really looked into it is, his idea of what is healthy wasn’t entirely accurate. So, he is/was doing the right thing but in a wrong and uninformed way.

For starters, he is hypoglycemic. This means if he doesn’t have some sort of food every 2-4 hours, his blood sugar drops and you better stay away from him because he might just bite your head off. It also means, eating a muffin, which is composed of sugar and simple carbohydrates, will make him worse. He knows this and he knows this very well. He stays away from white bread and recently has started avoiding white rice. The day after a family gathering, he will call and tell me about his “Sugar hangover” from all the appetizers and desserts. Another thing to add is that he really likes desserts, particularly chocolate. At birthday parties when there is chocolate cake, he is first in line.  

He also works crazy hours, and spends a lot of time rushing around eating quick meals. This includes fast food a couple of nights a week, and pizza for lunch, very frequently. In his mind, pizza has cheese so it will keep him full and two times a week isn’t over doing it with the fast food. In the next breath however, he will tell me how he feels like crap the next day and he knows it is from the fast food.

He thinks that meat is the best source of protein, as you can imagine, I have been trying to educate him about that little factoid. And, while I may never be able to convince him that we shouldn’t eat meat, I have been able to start re-shaping his thinking about how to eat and take care of his body so that he doesn’t have to worry about fast food hangovers.

For instance:

“Well I need to eat, and if I don’t get out of work until 8pm and then I have to head somewhere else right away, what else can I do but hit the drive thru?”

“You can bring something with you. But, I am not even saying you have to rid your life of the drive-thru. But instead of a greasy burger and fries, that you admit to making you feel crappy, how about a big salad with chicken and nuts?”

“Oh, I guess I can do that.”

(This conversation moved into a discussion about salad dressings being unhealthy, initiated by him. I told him to avoid anything creamy, and go with anything that sounds light. I sometimes skip dressing or only use half the package myself.)

Something as simple as suggesting salad at the drive thru (and by the way I suggested the same thing for lunch instead of pizza) is maybe the best gift I can give him.

I also had him flip through The Kind Diet a few weeks ago. I can’t change his mind about meat, but he did really absorb information about whole grains. He now makes brown rice for himself occasionally and oatmeal for breakfast.  He admits that he feels more energized and full. I got him that book for Father’s Day (along with The Happiness Project- he likes that kind of stuff ) so that he can really understand his diet a little bit better.

There is no greater gift I could give him (or me), than promoting a MORE healthy lifestyle in addition to his already active lifestyle. I feel like I could be helping him to make big, important changes in his life… Happy Father’s Day. 🙂

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