Soda, by StockSnap

Dear Son,

One thing I really hope is the case is that most of your memories of me will be of me as a pretty fit father… maybe a little thick abut the middle, but strong and trim.  Most of my life I have struggled with obsesity.  There are a lot of different factors involved in my weight problem.  A lot of it cam from swallowing feelings when I was young – I overate to fill in the empty spaces and to numb the pain.  And I drank an endless supply of sugary soda.

People really didn’t understand when I was a boy just how much damage a poor diet could do.Over-seasoned and over-salted convenience foods were brand new, and microwave ovens were invented just as I was starting school.  People had just really gotten to the point where both parents had to work to support a family, and eating badly really had just become a trend.  As a culture we didn’t see what damage this was going to do until it was a real problem for boys my age.  My generation was the first wave in an epidemic of poor health.

Not that this was an excuse, either.  Even when I was getting overweight, I was more interested in video games than getting fit.  I didn’t ask for the help I needed to process my feelings, I just kept on swallowing feelings down.  And so I got unhealthier and unhealthier as I went.

By the time I was into my thirties and ready to make the big changes, I had a lot of challenges – a damaged metabolism, low testosterone, migraines, sleep apnea. The past five years have been an uphill battle for me.  And I have not always tried as hard as I would have liked.

My hope is that by the time you are old enough to really learn from me, I will already have lost much of that excess weight, and that I can teach you how to make sure you never struggle with it.  You have a strong genetic risk for obesity, and you will have to work extra hard to be active and to eat right from the start.  I want you to be healthy, because that will ensure that you are also happy, son.  And that means that I have to set a good example.

But like a good coach and a good father, I won’t ask you to do something that I won’t do.  I promise you that I will try to be as active as I can to set a good example.  I push myself so that I will be able to teach you a way of masculinity that is physical and that loves its body.  I definitely plan on roughhousing us both to a good burn every chance I get.



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