Thanks, Dad, for the Healthy Dose of Inspiration

June 11, 2019

We asked a few friends inside and outside of Withings to share how their dads made them better people—even if we didn’t always appreciate it at the time.

Anyone who calls Father’s Day a manufactured holiday? They are right. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a much-needed excuse to thank our dads if they #1 kept us alive and #2 also passed on a few healthy habits.

Susie with her dad
Susie with her dad

My dad, pictured, was a doctor who loved animals, loved new cuisines, and loved going in the ocean and swimming out so far the lifeguards would eventually give up blowing their whistles and just leave him for shark food.
We three kids made fun him at the time for “being cheap”—because he’d always do stuff like cut open the toothpaste tube to use every scrap, or insist on turning off all the lights before we left the house. But today? Why today, that’d be called environmentally responsible.
My dad’s colleagues made fun of him for always taking the stairs in the hospital, instead of the elevator, but now that’d be called a clever way to get in daily steps.
And we laughed about his favorite “weird” food, like a bowl of ugly nuts you had to really work hard to crack open, and disgusting things, like seaweed, which these days is called a superfood sold as a tangy snack at Trader Joe’s. Our dad was ahead of his time, and we didn’t know it.
So while my dad is no longer with us (and no, the sharks never got him), he left me a legacy. Thanks to him I love swimming, animals, and now I even eat his “weird” a/k/a healthy food. Can’t crack open an ugly nut or crunch seaweed without thinking of him.
So let’s get to some stories of dads among us who did right by us, leading by example. And if your dad is still around, go ahead and at the very least thank him for the keeping you alive, and then bonus points for acknowledging all the other nice stuff he did for you.

Dad helped us go the extra mile

Alvaro's dad made him walk the walk
Alvaro’s dad made him walk the walk

Alvaro Andrade, Support Specialist at Withings, had the type of dad many of us know well—the kind who have a real knack for making even the whiniest and tiniest kids move:
“My dad was all about walking. Anywhere he had to go, he would just walk there, it really did not matter about the distance or how long it would take to get there. Living in an urban area, sometimes he would rather get going on his way than waiting for a bus/train. Me, my two brothers and our little sister—all hated it. We would ask why we just didn’t take the BAT bus, and he would always have some reason why not, like, ‘Oh I have to stop by here’ or ‘I need get something from here’ on the way. Always something! So whenever it was his turn to take us to any appointments, we would be forced to walk alongside him. But although I didn’t appreciate it then, this led us to keep that same mentality of always being on the go, and always being active, which I credit to who I am today.”

Ellen's dad goes farther than most
Ellen’s dad goes farther than most

Ellen Griffith, Import / Export Compliance Specialist at Withings, has a dad who leaves most other dads in the dust:
“My dad’s an ultra trail runner, so I look up to him a lot about running, fitness and mental dedication in general! Dad taught me how to push myself, love running and just put one foot in front of the other when things get hard.”
Lucas Guarneri, Product Designer at Withings, tells of how his father showed him how to explore with intention:
“My Dad has always amazed me by his ability to relax mindfully in the most stressful situations while at the same time never settling for boredom, always planning new trips and outings to satisfy his wanderlust. These adventures always include some kind of sport but he’s never been performance-driven: instead he taught me to enjoy every moment as an opportunity to learn by opening my eyes to different environments, while at the same time stargazing into my own thoughts and dreams. A healthy mind in a healthy body.”
Jill Twiss, writer at Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and author of two children’s books, including the just-released The Someone New, had a dad whose healthy habits were hard to replicate—but also hard to ignore completely:
“My dad used to get up every single morning at 6am and go for a run. This did not teach me to get up every single morning at 6am and go for a run, because I would literally rather stab myself in the face than do either of those things. But it did teach me the importance of regular exercise. My thing is lifting weights because you get to rest almost as much as you exercise! My dad also used the word ‘roughage’ a lot, which is gross, but it did remind me to eat salad as often as I can. So all in all? Good work, Dad. I’m going to go eat some roughage.”

Dad Silverman with his crew
Dad Silverman with his crew

Shana Silverman, Chief Production Officer at Overit, is one of four children. Her dad (who, full disclosure, I know personally and wish I saw more often) now lives in Florida, but in the 70’s he was a contractor in upstate New York who rocked the house with enthusiasm and a healthy tolerance for noise:
“On Sunday mornings dad would blast music and we’d dance around the house to Jimmy Osmond, Jackson 5. We also had a circus act we all did we dubbed ‘The Flying Silvermaninos’ that was encouraged by dad.”
Note: When asked about the graveyard photo, seems nobody had died, and it wasn’t an album cover… it was just a good place to bring four kids for aerobic activity because no noise, not even one of the Osmonds, could’ve bothered the tenants there.
And finally, our friend Emily Jillette sent word of her “super active” and vegan dad who is recently retired. But what was he dishing when she was a kid? He was serving up wisdom via unique audio/visual roughage, and don’t you miss that excellent picture of him below:
“My dad is a gastroenterologist. He is an atheist. He was practical, funny, and smart. He taught us to think about taking care of ourselves and our health. Don’t use insurance for bills, use it for heart surgery. He put pictures of diseased livers in our notebooks for us to find; to grow strong to gross things. He would take us to ERs to see accident victims. He would take 16mm movies of puppies being born, thread them backward and show us the puppies going back inside. And this picture tells you everything about his personality.”

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<figure class=Valeria's dad with a friend
Valeria’s dad with a friend

So many great dads. Thanks to all for sharing. Will share one more—leave you with a short but sweet contribution from Valeria Gonzalez-Gomar, Logistic Specialist at Withings. She shared something that sums up what a good dad should do to help their fledglings thrive outside the nest:
“My dad taught me how to love life and take care of all living things.”
Awwwww, who’s crying? I’m not crying, you’re crying.
If you have a story about a dad who made you healthier and happier, tell us! Ping us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Susie Felber

Susie is a writer and producer who has worked in nearly every medium. As the daughter of a hard-working M.D., she's had a lifelong interest in health and is proud that she continues to lower her 5k time as she ages.
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