The Color Run 5k in Ventura, CA
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The Colors of a Healthy Dad

It used to be that the skip in my stride was measured only by the pound of heartbeats and the growth of shadows flying straight from the sun. Then my legs lost their lean and I found myself hitting walls and leaving marks upon them like a well-fed Kilroy, brick by brick, and I felt them all come morning.

Those were the years where weight no longer waited, and my frame expanded to claim space that was once available for all to enjoy—my silhouette grew to block more from the scene, and all you could do was dare to peer around me.

When the boys were born it became obvious, suddenly, as important things tend to do, that I had let myself go, inch by inch—my breaths grew labored, my steps less fleet, and the only thing heavier than my excuses were the folds of my lap that turned to soft hills from even softer furrows whenever I took the strength to stand and found the will to let them.

The kids were active and I talked the talk as I walked beside them, encouraging them to take another lap while I stood in the grass and thought about it. The yard grew thick around my ankles, leaving a montage with me in the middle, giving like a tree and throwing shade as I rooted.

By the time my illness struck I was as heavy as I had ever been, and if the diagnosis held anything like a silver lining it was in the trimming of the fat that I had long accepted. I lost over 40 pounds in just a few weeks, and I had the obsolete closet to prove it.

Fortunately the loss has leveled out, somewhere equivalent to the awkward skinniness of my junior year in high school, but with less hair and more debt. I have found a way to survive on a weekly calorie count that most people consider a decent day, and there are times, when my hopes are high, that I have managed to make the most of it.

Yesterday the entire family ran a 5k, the Color Run, in which we moved steadily along the beachfront through morning air and clouds the stuff of rainbows. It was more than I should have done and exactly what I needed. It was good for all of us.

I will be well soon enough, there is a surgery on the horizon and beyond it a second chance at better health and greater happiness—something my family began while I watched from the sidelines, long before I had good reason to do so. I have grown tired of cheering from a distance, for now is the time to run it, and that is a path that we will take together.

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XY Media is sponsoring a #HealthyDad video contest on Facebook and you might win one $100 Amazon gift card (5 winners in all). Just make a #HealthyDad video (like my two examples in this post) and enter it here: for your chance to win (rules on page).

Here’s to being a #HealthyDad:

Thanks to Anthem Blue Cross, who sponsored the #HealthyDad campaign, for including dads in this important discussion about family health care. My views are based solely on my experience as a parent, and not as a medical professional.

Whit Honea is the author of “The Parents’ Phrase Book” and co-founder of the philanthropic organization Dads 4 Change. He is the Social Media Director/Community Manager of the Dad 2.0 Summit. His writing can be found at Fandango, GeekDad, Disney, Today, Good Housekeeping, City Dads Group, Stand Magazine, The Washington Post and several other popular publications. He previously covered travel for Orbitz, CBS and AOL, and served as Editor of Family Travel for UpTake. Deemed “the activist dad” by UpWorthy and one of the “funniest dads on Twitter” by Mashable, Whit has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and is the 2015 winner of the Iris Award for Best Writing.

3 thoughts on “The Colors of a Healthy Dad”

  1. the folds of my lap that turned to soft hills from even softer furrows

    I might have to refer to my own furrows and folds in a similar manner or maybe just say I am preparing a refuge for a hobbit or kangaroo to live in. 😉

    This aging thing isn’t for the faint of heart.
    Jack recently posted…Finding A New Home

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