One of the most terrifying things about growing up is balancing health. And becoming a dad, you are all of the sudden in charge of another person’s life: your child’s. So while worrying about your kid’s health, it’s natural to kind of forget about your own.

And that’s what’s terrifying me about getting older. I’ve hit the age where my friends and I have more frequent conversations about whose mother or father had died, or which of my graduating class (1998!) was the first to have a heart attack. I’ve got an incredible group of friends, online and off – and it terrifies me when I more frequently hear about them “hitting that age” where health is starting to catch up with them. I wonder when it’ll catch up with me.

But all of this fear I’ve got isn’t worth it. I’ve got to do something with it, and I just want to make sure that I’m part of the conversation with my friends, not the topic of the next grim conversation.

When you grow up, you think you’re invincible. And I certainly always felt that way. But I’ve felt less invincible lately. I’d started working out, and it felt good, but we moved and I wasn’t able to get to the gym anymore. So now, here I am, as heavy as I’ve ever been, and starting to feel sick of it…

I’m sick of asking other big guys which big-and-tall undershirts they prefer because it’s so hard to find t-shirts that stay tucked in.

I’m sick of being afraid of belts because they cut into my stomach while I’m sitting.

I’m sick of having only one chair in my house where I can tie my shoes because I just don’t bend that way anymore.

I’m sick of knowing how to position my hands and body in pictures so that I look natural, while disguising my size.

I’m sick of knowing how to flip anything up off the floor with my feet and into my hands so I don’t have to bend over.

I’m sick of mystery pains that none of my thinner friends ever have.

I’m sick of wondering what the weight rating is for office chairs, plastic yard chairs, step stools and ladders.

I’m sick of going to the park and thinking I’d get stuck in that slide tube (to be fair, I think most adults think this).

I’m sick of trying to find the one store in my area code that carries clothes in my size.

Basically, I’m sick of coming up with lifehacks for my weight.

Don't Die Doc

My son is persuasive.

I’m not telling you this so you’ll scream “okay, then do something about it!” I know I need to do something – and putting it here, on the internet, where it’s written and cached forever – it’s a promise. I promise to take care of myself better, and I promise to work on these things on my list-of-shame – and if that’s not enough pressure, I’ve got to work on them before my son learns to read. Because if he sees this and I’m still in the same shape as I am today, he’s going to let me have it in the worst way. You know how kids are.

I’ve always been scared of the health care process. Even when I was on job-provided health insurance, I never knew which doctor to see or when. Is this mystery pain serious? Are any mystery pains not serious? What’s that knob of meat on the top of my head? Can moles on your neck kill you? Should I be worried about…anything?

When I went to look for a doctor, I had no idea how. Who do you call? How do you know if you’ll like them? How do you know what it’ll cost? What does insurance cover? What do they not cover? Can I just go in any time and ask about those mystery pains?

For me, and other lost souls like me, Anthem Blue Cross has answers. They’ve got incredible future-boy technology solutions for people who are terrified of the process. These are the things they offer that blow my mind:

  • Video chats! The LiveHealth Online app connects you with U.S.­‐based, board certified doctors via video chat, and it’s available 24/7 – 365 days a year.
  • 24/7 NurseLine! Nurses are available around the clock and can tell you whether that pain you’re having is serious enough to see a doctor or if you should be rushing to the ER or an urgent care center.
  • Anthem Mobile App! Need info now? Don’t look for an old bill, just log into the mobile app. You can find an in-network doctor in your area without having to call office after office.
  • Figure out what you owe before you owe it! Right?! Why’d it take this long! Demystify your bills before they happen with the Estimate Your Cost tool. It’ll let you compare costs for different facilities and even estimate out-of-pocket expenses.

Plus, Anthem Blue Cross also offers all that old-timey stuff you’ve come to know and love: individually-tailored plans, emergency services, mental health coverage, oral care, vision care, and pediatric care.

If you feel the same as I do about anything I’ve mentioned, I’m not asking you to work miracles. I’m not asking you to buy into a fad diet or a piece of exercise equipment. What I’m asking is that if you identified with anything I’ve said, just think about it. This stuff’s important.

Do you want to win a $100 Amazon gift card?

XY Media is sponsoring a video contest on the #HealthyDad Facebook page. Go there and enter your own Instagram, Vine or YouTube video for a chance to win one of FIVE $100 Amazon gift cards! Remember to use the #HealthyDad hashtag in your video description. Full rules can be found on the #HealthyDad Facebook page. Go check out already submitted videos for inspiration.

Here’s mine:

Sigh. Good times.

Here’s to being a healthy dad for years to come.


Disclosure: Thanks to Anthem Blue Cross, which compensated me for this post, 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.