On Weight Loss For Family Gains, With Terry Harden II
Dadditude Newsletter #25
Dadditude interviews dads (and mums) from different backgrounds, professional fields and ethnicities to get their insights on what it means to be a parent in the current moment.
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Terry Harden II and his wife Nya have 3 children. In November 2019, he attended a physical checkup weighing 430 lbs (195 kg). In that moment, he vowed to try and change his lifestyle for himself and his family’s sake. He started sharing his progress and motivational messages on his @JustaDopeDad Instagram to inspire his followers on their own diet struggles.
We spoke with Terry recently about his weight loss journey, changing the narrative on Black fathers, and finally getting on a roller coaster with his kids.
Please introduce your kids.
I have 3 little ones. My daughter Tya 8, she is my little clone. She looks and acts just like me, is the center of attention and life of a party.
Then there is my Daughter Terryn and she is 6. She is our sour patch kid, miss independent. She is generally chill and to herself but knows how to turn up and have fun when needed.
Then there’s my son T3 Terry III, who’s 3. That’s my little best friend. He’s changed me the most. Raising a son is different. The man that I am is the man that he will become. He doesn’t leave my side. He is a true boy, full of energy!
Tell us more about your weight loss journey.
I have been heavy set the majority of my life. As I got older I would gain and lose weight over the years. I would try every diet out, but nothing seemed to last long as I would go back to my old ways of eating. Being overweight was just my life. I was comfortable in my own skin and still managed to always be the life of the party. At my heaviest I was wearing size 52 pants and 4-5XL shirts.
In November of 2019 I scheduled a doctor's appointment. I got on the scale and saw 430 lbs (195 kg) and it blew my mind. I knew I was big but didn’t know how much. I got off the scale and in that moment knew that it was time to change my life. I scheduled an appointment with a weight management program and immediately changed my diet and started working out 4-5 days a week. I met with a nutritionist who taught me about food, how to read labels, what are good foods, what are not so good foods, and how to make a lifestyle change that would last forever. I was determined, so I worked out hard for 45min to an hour a day. I lost 80 lbs (36 kg) from November until March of 2020 and then I had VSG Weight Loss surgery. Since then I have lost 105 lbs (47 kg), putting me at a total loss of 185 lbs (84 kg) since November 2019.
It was important for me to get healthier and change my life, but also to help inspire others around me. My family changed their ways, and I was able to build an online following by sharing my journey on Instagram @JustaDopeDad as well as through other accounts I manage @MyBroAintHeavy where I inspire other men in weight loss and @DopeBlackDadsLLC where I post daily motivational quotes to inspire dads to be the best we can be.
This year my hashtag and motto is #KeepInspiring. My goal is to inspire others in whatever life journey they are going through! And as a father and a husband, I want to set the example for our house too. The decisions I make impact the pack. I move as if they are always watching, because they always are!
Can you tell us about Dope Black Dads LLC?
I started this during the pandemic. I knew I couldn’t be out marching with everyone, but I wanted a way to give back. I wanted to show and inspire a positive image of black fatherhood. I knew there were many of us, but also believed that the media didn’t show us enough. I found inspiration in daily motivation quotes as a way to start my day every morning. I figured that if I found them useful, so could so many other fathers. I started posting morning quotes. It was my way to show that just because we don’t see ourselves represented, there are Dope Black Dads in this world that truly love their kids and families!
What do you think is your biggest strength as a parent?
Being active. As tired as I am some days, I think it’s important to make time for my little ones. Having conversations with them, asking them about their day, and making sure I show and tell them I love them every day!
What stresses you out the most these days as a parent?
Just trying to make time for everyone. Working full-time, being a social media influencer, having a wife and 3 kids, I feel that I don’t have a lot of extra time nowadays. Family is important to me so I try to give them as much as I can, but it can be tough.
What side of parenthood do you wish you had invested more time and energy in the past?
Being more physically active. Being overweight stopped me from doing more. Once I took control of my health, the possibilities for me to run and play with them became endless!
Can you tell us about an especially favorite/special moment with your kid recently?
A recent highlight was riding a Disney World roller coaster with my daughters. It was my kids’ wish for me to be able to do it. That moment meant more than anything. I shed tears after the ride because the moment was so special!
Thank you Terry!
Fatherhood in the News:
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