The Dad Bod is one of the reasons I started This Dad Does. An acquaintance of mine was sitting opposite me. He leaned back and patted his growing midriff. ‘I’ve got a Dad-Bod now’, he said with a degree of triumph. ‘It’s what you get when you’re a Dad’.
When did this become acceptable? To see weight gain and an unhealthy lifestyle as inevitable. Or worse – something to be proud of.
If you genuinely think the Dad Bod is OK or something to be proud of, leave. Come back when you’ve seen sense.
In case you needed any persuading, here is Dom Mazzetti’s take on the dreaded Dad Bod.
Disclaimer: If you are easily offended, or don’t understand satire, don’t click on the video.
What is the Dad Bod?
The Dad Bod is mediocrity in Father form. A Dad with the Dad Bod might go to the gym occasionally or ride his bike to work. But he also eats cake like it’s going out of fashion. The closest thing he does to ‘eating clean’ is washing his takeaway tubs before putting them in the recycling.
Some women have even come out and said that they prefer a Dad Bod to a fit, healthy, lean, muscular male body.
They are lying or have insecurities or both. Either way you should ignore it.
“Check your health at the door when the first kid comes along. More than one and you might as well buy those expanding waist jeans cos you’re never coming back.”
This mindset is toxic. It is not ‘OK’ just to accept that an unhealthy lifestyle is an inevitability of Fatherhood. You always have a choice.
2. A Dad Bod is storing up health problems for the future
There is a powerful body of evidence that suggests links between heart disease and various cancers with an unhealthy lifestyle and excess body fat.
Basing a diet around healthy carbs, protein and salads will help combat the Dad Bod.
This is especially true for men who greatly increase their chance of heart disease with extra weight. Weight gain and excess body fat has also been shown to lower testosterone levels and increase levels of estrogen. Nobody wants that.
Added to this is an increased risk of type 2 diabetes which comes with its own bingo card of associated health problems. Still think a Dad Bod is acceptable?
3. It’s a bad example to your kids
When was the last time you saw unfit, unhealthy parents with fit, healthy kids? It’s pretty rare isn’t it? A couple of years ago I was in the Netherlands. I saw a whole school of kids and not a single one was over weight.
When I saw the parents, it was the same story.
If we pass good habits on to our children, does the same not happen for bad?
How often do you see significantly overweight kids accompanied by parents who have clearly passed on their bad habits of overeating and inactivity to their offspring?
Dad Bloggers are some of the worse for promoting this toxic, unhealthy lifestyle. When I called them on it, I got hate and threats.
If kids see their Dad constantly chowing down junk foods, full sugar sodas and fried stuff with cheese, they’ll think that’s acceptable, even normal.
What is the answer to the Dad Bod?
There’s always an alternative. Don’t accept the Dad Bod as inevitable. Instead there are ways that you can defeat the Dad Bod.
1. Choice: When I was newly married, someone said to me ‘Well that’s it Neil, you’re going to put on lots of weight now you’re married’. I was stunned. The thought horrified me. I made a decision that would never be me. As long as I was able, I would be striving to keep myself healthy and my weight down. It’s a struggle every day. But nothing worth doing is ever easy.
2. Get a support network: If you’re the average of your five closest friends, then having friends who share a passion for healthy living and being a good example to their kids is a must. Don’t compromise on who you spend time with. Find some other Dads, hang out, eat and be active together. Take your kids. They’ll learn the value of these things quickly.
If you need accountability, find a forum or a like minded group of guys. There are Dads who read this site who are committed to improving their fitness. Try contacting them or access message boards like those at T-Nation.
3. Make a change: If you don’t like something about your lifestyle or your body. Change it. Don’t wait until the 1st of January or when the time is right. Change what needs to be changed and do it today. You will always be busy, tired, stressed. These are called excuses. Don’t be ruled by them.
If its seen as aspirational or acceptable, then yes. The Dad Bod is a disease.
But if you’ve read this far you don’t buy that any more. You are not prepared to follow the crowd. You will prioritise your health and be a good Dad at the same time. Because that’s what your family and especially your kids deserve.