What do you do when you need to make a major change in your life?
For my son, the time came for him to make a change for his health and identity. With my guidance, he did just that.
When my oldest son was an infant, he almost died from rotavirus and it was incredibly impactful for me. Now, he is 18 years old and going into his senior year in high school. In March of 2021, he had an extra 60 pounds of too much body fat and was a big guy already standing at 6’4. He had broad shoulders. I am not sure where his genes came from, but it was definitely not from the Zagrodzkys. He was overweight.
One of my approaches to parenting is that I do not judge my kids.
Their outcomes are not my identity. I always tell my kids, “I am your God-appointed life coach.” When I see something they do not see, I ask them for permission to coach them, and they can say yes or no. In this case, my son said yes.
I said, “Okay, son. I am not going to tell you what to do. I am not going to make you do anything. From what I am seeing is that you are starting to gain a lot of body fat. Nobody weighs 350 pounds overnight. People usually gain half a pound per week and then a couple of pounds per month. Over the years, they become really overweight. As you know, this could start to lead to some damage that cannot be undone. I do not want that for you. If you are ready to make a change, I have some advice for you.”
“I’m listening,” he said.
I explained to him that he already knew what to do. I said, “You live around me. You see what I do, but you are not doing it. The reason why you are not doing the same thing as me is that it is not your identity to be healthy. It is not your standard to not eat carbs. You know how to do it. You have listened to Tony Robbins speak. I have sent you to many of these events with me. It really is the decision you have to make.”
The next day, he came downstairs and said, “Dad, I have set a new standard.” I replied, “Oh yeah, what is that?” My son then said, “I am the guy that does not eat carbs.” That was about four months ago. Today, my son weighs 203 pounds. He went from 264 pounds to 203 pounds. He started school today. I said, “Well, did anybody notice you have lost weight?” He replied, “No one recognized me, dad. Everyone said, ‘you are Austin, right? Oh my gosh!’ They could not quite tell it was me and said, ‘what has changed? I do not even recognize you anymore.'”
The other day, he thanked me, and it felt good because one of the ways I feel significance is when my children thank me. That is congruent for most parents. Austin then said, “I do not know where I would be without parents like you and mom. I feel amazing. I can jump higher and run faster without getting tired. I did not even realize how bad I felt. This is a standard I am going to keep my entire life.”This is a standard you can choose too. You have to make the decision of who you are.
What is your standard?
Remember, the ‘how’ does not really matter that much. There are a lot of great ‘hows’ out there. I have my way of staying fit and healthy, but there is a lot of fit, healthy people that do not do what I do.
Pick which health strategy interests you most, and do that one.
Set your standard, and you are going to get results.