There are many risks in life that we cannot control, but there are some we can control.
It is a little sad that it took a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) to start that train rolling for me, but here it is. In 2007, I exhibited some troubling symptoms and had them extensively checked out. The end result was MS. I am one of the lucky ones, I guess, since there have been no issues for me since the original event. With the shock of the diagnosis, I started eating better and slowly regained my interest in exercise.
But then, a position change at work and the arrival of our first child began to keep me very busy and my renewed focus on my personal health was pushed to the back of the line. As this work stress and new family stress increased, I slipped back into poor eating habits. I justified these habits by saying that I had a lack of time to prepare healthy meals. Now, I can stand up and say that my name is Dan and I am a stress eater. In the blink of an eye, I was over 350 lbs and my body hurt. I couldn’t kneel down to play with my children or walk with my family without extreme effort.
Jump forward to a change in employer and a new, supportive environment for workplace health. I could feel my sense of control increasing. I wanted to get active again but I struggled with going to a gym – it was not working for me. It took me a long time to realize what type of exercise was a good fit for me. I thought back to my university days and to playing on the rugby team, which had eventually led to me joining a men’s rugby team and winning three provincial championships. Then it hit me: right from high school (Go Prince Rupert Rainmakers!), I had always excelled at team sports in group environments. That’s what I needed back in my life to motivate me: groups and social support!
Fast forward to group fitness classes. I joined a gym to test the waters. Some old injuries resurfaced and tried to demotivate me, telling me “don’t do it, just rest.” But the functional fitness classes worked for me. I found a home and, wouldn’t you know it, the old injuries that I had relied on to stop me from getting off of the couch disappeared. I can now walk, run, and play with my kids and it feels great!
All of the things that I did in life that appeared as work when I was not healthy became easy and fun again. The weight loss that I achieved was not a goal of mine but a side effect. My story reminds me that there are always life and work events that pop up to slow down or turn back the progress to our personal health, so roll with the punches and plan your next move. I want to be around for a long time, not only for me, but for my family.
For more information and resources for men’s health, visit Northern Health’s Northern BC Man Challenge.
About Dan Bomford
Dan finds motivation through the effort expended by others. Group style fitness fits him well, as indicated by a long history of involvement in team sports: basketball, rugby, baseball, and handball. What fits you best? Finding the perfect work-life balance takes time and often risk. Currently, Dan is focused on his personal health and the health of his children and family. Cooking healthy meals for kids aged 5 and 2 is one of the most difficult tasks for Dan these days.