Losing my Dad bod was one of the biggest challenges of my life. It took me hours of discipline, exercises and hard work. The results speak for themselves. Here’s my story:
January 2013. I had a Dad Bod. My son had been born six months earlier and it had been stressful. Really stressful. With all the worry and anxiety that comes with a difficult birth and first few weeks of being a Dad, I turned to one comfort I knew well.
The effects were inevitable. Added to an undisciplined diet was a busy work and family life. I gained weight. After just six months, I’d gained eight kilograms (about 17.5 lb) of fat without really noticing it.
I’d still been going to the gym, doing cardio and eating enough protein. But I’d also been frequently eating cakes, high calorie protein bars and high carb meals. My training lacked direction and intensity. I had excess body fat and low energy levels.
Classic symptoms of a Dad Bod.
My wake up call came during a work-based health check. While otherwise healthy, my body fat percentage was pushing into the upper twenties.
January came. I decided enough was enough.
I’m not really a believer in New Years Resolutions. For a long time, I’ve thought if you need to make a change, you do it there and then. But early January seemed like as good a place to start as any. So I started to make changes. My Dad Bod would soon be history.
Overhauling Diet was the First Step to Losing the Dad Bod
The first thing I did was change my diet up. I’d been eating a lot of carbohydrate, particularly in the evening. This had consisted of mainly bread and potatoes with some rice and pasta. I had also been eating cakes with wild abandon – my main weakness.
I found a meal plan online and started to follow it. This meant I made the following changes:
I stopped drinking alcohol
I stopped eating carbs in the evening
I controlled portion sizes for protein and carbs
I cut out most added fats including peanut butter
I went cold turkey on cakes, desserts and all sweets
I also supplemented with meal replacement shakes which helped fill me up between whole food meals. Along with this I took a fat burner, fish oils and a green tea/CLA formula.
My meal plan looked like this:
Breakfast: Eggs and oatmeal or toast
Mid Morning: Meal replacement shake
Lunch: Chicken, wholewheat pasta, broccoli
Mid Afternoon: Meal replacement shake
Evening Meal: Ground beef with tomatoes and onions, mixed veg
Before bed: Low fat Greek Yogurt
I started to lose fat quickly. At the beginning up to one kilogram in a week. Because I was eating well, I was only really hungry at the start when my body was craving all the junk I’d cut out. Once I got through the first few weeks, I was less hungry and more energised.
I pre-prepared all my meals when I was out traveling or at work. I cut out things like protein bars, many of which are vegetable fats with a little bit of protein. I also drank three to five litres of water a day.
As I was eating relatively low carbohydrate meals, I would have a re-feed every two weeks. I would loosen up my diet and eat more carbs. This wasn’t a cheat but a way to make sure my body was getting the nutrients I needed.
Being Disciplined in my Exercise Programme Helped me Shift my Dad Bod
I didn’t just want to lose weight. I wanted to get lean and fit at the same time. In the years before become a Dad I’d trained in Muay Thai, trail running and the gym. I wanted the leanness of being a fighter back. And I wanted to keep as much muscle as possible.
I trained six times a week which consisted of three to four cardio sessions and two to three weights. For cardio I would either go running or do a body weight circuit. My runs consisted of either Fartlek (interval) training or hill sprints. In the weights room, I did and upper body day and a lower body day.
One feature of this 12 week period is that I didn’t miss a single training session. I would go running, even in horizontal sleet, rain, wind.
If I had a busy day ahead, I would get up early and train before my wife and son were awake. If I traveled, I took either running or gym clothes.
I was motivated to succeed and this motivation manifested itself in a discipline where failure was unthinkable. During the 12 weeks, I didn’t miss a single training session. I didn’t miss a meal or cheat on my diet once. I was totally focused on the goal.
Dad Bod Loss: Maintaining Balance vs Overdoing It
A few weeks into my diet and exercise programme, it was clear I was overdoing it. I was losing weight very rapidly (2.5 kilograms in one week) and feeling lethargic.
So I started to re-introduce a small amount of fat in the form of peanut butter and a little regular butter on the days I ate wholewheat toast. My weight loss slowed to a more sensible level and energy levels got back to normal.
If you are inspired to make a similar change, remember to listen to your body. Sudden, rapid weight loss and very low energy levels can be a warning sign that you are over training.
If this happens, stop and think what you need to do to fix it.
Adding in a few extra calories or getting to bed earlier may be the best solution. Don’t overdo it and don’t over train. Otherwise you risk illness and Dad burnout.
Final Thoughts on Fast Dad Bod Loss
Hopefully this story can inspire you to make a change. Fad diets get fast results. 12 weeks is a short period of time to lose the amount of fat that I did and that’s not the way for everyone.
Make your change the first step in changing your lifestyle to a fitter, healthier, happier one. Your body and your kids will ultimately thanks.
Also don’t feel that you need meal replacement shakes. Whole foods are always better. I used shakes for convenience and as a little indulgence. Real food will always be more satisfying.
The most important thing is that you make a change for the better. Don’t settle for the Dad Bod. Strive for something better. Strive to be more. There are plenty of Dads who don’t care if they have a Dad Bod.
But this Dad does.
P.S. Liked this? Good, because I’ve compiled this post into a FREE fat loss e-book that you can get by clicking here.
P.P.S. Check out my other articles on fitness and nutrition: