If he needed a Halloween costume, Bryan Frederick could pull off priest pretty well.
Appropriately, visiting him for the first time in 7 weeks Tuesday, I felt like I was in confessional.
It's been almost 6 weeks since our twin girls, Anna and Elise, changed our lives forever. One big thing that changed from my diligent pursuit of lifestyle change during my summer series, The Naturals, was my calorie counting. As in, I wasn't doing it at all.
That's not true, actually. I tried about 2 weeks ago, but struggled. So little time, so many freezer meals selflessly prepared by family and friends. They're tough to track on My Fitness Pal.
However, I'd noticed my weight continued to drop while on paternity leave. It actually reached 171.5 (almost 20 pounds svelter than the 190 I began at in mid-June) last week. The funny thing? I think going back to work hurt me. Our first family trip back to Milwaukee for a wedding whose parties are made up of beer connoisseurs didn't help. I'm pretty sure I put 2 pounds back on this weekend.
See, being a new daddy of twins actually means being very active. Yes, I have snuck in some pushups and crunches here and there. And Dexter (our black lab) and I get out for walk/sprints about four times a week (pro tip for new dads with dogs: Spoil them as often as you can. Dexy's actually draped over my left forearm as I type this. It's tough for man's best friend to endure a slip to No. 2 or 3 on the totem pole.)
But my most effective workout has been bending over, cradling, burping, etc. We're doing something that feels as masochistic as it feels environmentally sound in using cloth diapers. Ergo, I spend at least an hour a day bending over a crib or changing table.
Anyway, it's pretty neat to think being dad can make you as active as you need to be. I say that because I weighed in at 174 pounds, down 3 pounds from our last appointment. My body fat is down almost 2 percent to about 25. But the biggest thing is my lean mass went up a pound from 129 to 130.
Just by being dad - albeit sleep-deprived, zombie-like dad - has seen me increase my lean mass.
That said, I also have seen the benefits of this program. While I haven't tracked calories, I've learned to eat sensibly. I know when a portion is too generous. During the three or so feedings during the night, I lean toward a half-dozen pretzels (about 90 calories) rather than a granola bar (about 170). It's all cumulative.
And that brings me to a final thought. It's been about a quarter of a year that I've been doing this, and I've dropped about 5 percent body fat. The way I look at it, I've got about 60 years to go but, in the more immediate sense, about three-quarters of a year until I'll really take the results to heart.
My goal, at my 1-year anniversary, is to be down to 165 pounds, 135 of them being lean mass. That would put my body fat at about 18 percent. I'll check in with Bryan - ever the gracious host/educator - monthly and blog about it here.
Enough about me. What are your goals? How are they coming along? If you've got great results, we're still looking to shoot more videos for The Naturals. Get in touch. Inspire someone today.
Christopher Heimerman is the assistant sports editor at Sauk Valley Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @CHeimerman_SVM on Twitter.