There’s an epidemic among us dad types these days. It’s nothing scary like heart disease or anything; it’s the dreaded Dad Bod.
Do you have dad bod? Urban dictionary defines “Dad Bod” as a male body type that is best described as “softly round.” It’s built upon the theory that once a man has found a mate and fathered a child, he doesn’t need to worry about maintaining a sculpted physique.
You’ve probably seen the signs—it’s that barrel chested, man-boobed, stocky look that left the six pack in the fridge in favor of a keg. I’ll admit it, I’ve even got a case of it. I’ve never had washboard abs, but since my son was born I am definitely sporting a freshman-father fifteen. None of my old clothes fit, and I am sorely wishing that scale would drop about ten pounds.
Some ladies say they love it. Leonardo DiCaprio and Jason Segel are not ashamed of showing off their stomachs on the beach, all while living loud with their supermodel girlfriends. Somehow society is finding this combination of wealthy and chubby a winning combination. But just because some famous guys are rocking it doesn’t mean it is a healthy or attractive life choice. So it’s time: even though winter is coming and I would much prefer to hunker down in my cave with a little extra padding, the Dad Bod has to go.
Everyone’s body goes through changes when you have a kid. My wife, of course, had it way worse, and I would never mean to diminish the challenges of making a person inside her body or try to compare my Dad Bod struggles with losing the post-pregnancy weight. But let’s be real. We eat together, and when mama was eating for two, I tagged along and ate more as well. The difference is that when my wife was using up all of those extra calories while breastfeeding, I still had to kick the nasty ice cream habit I picked up in her third trimester. And working out? Balancing a job, a baby, and a marriage usually means the gym is the last thing on my mind.
So what are we supposed to do? I’m sure if I got cast in Marvel’s next superhero movie I could get ripped like Chris Pratt in six weeks, but the average guy needs a little help.
It all starts with diet. Work together to create a healthy weekly meal plan and limit eating out to just a few times a week. My family gets no meals out until our weekly Friday lunch outing and a couple of flex meals on weekends. Make healthy food choices while at home, though, and limit your serving size to what is right for your daily food intake. And while you are at it, kick the ice cream habit.
Work on your fitness
When you’ve got your food under control a bit, it’s time to work on your fitness. Figure out how the gym or your physical activity of choice is going to fit into life as a parent. My wife and I used to love to go to the gym together. Now that one of us needs to be with the kid at all times, those days are gone. She has taken to going in the early morning before either of us is awake. For a while I was working out late at night after the two of them had gone to bed, but unfortunately I don’t think I have made it to the gym in six weeks. Time to get back on that horse.
Motivate each other
Dad Bod is really hard to fight against, and your hubby needs all the help he can get. Work together to stay healthy and motivate each other. I know in my marriage, we want to be the best versions of ourselves for each other, and staying healthy is a big part of that. Make time in your day to help your spouse get to the gym. Help each other make the right food choices at the grocery store, in the kitchen, and out at restaurants.
Adjust your wardrobe (hide it well)
In the meantime, while you are working on your fitness and your diet, it’s also time to adjust your wardrobe to accommodate your body. Stop trying to fit into the size small T-shirts and 32-inch jeans. You look like a stuffed sausage. Trust me, I am speaking from experience. So temporarily, go out and buy some mediums and larges, and maybe some pants with a 34-inch waist. Be comfortable and wear clothes that fit. Don’t go throwing out all of your old wardrobe yet, though—the goal is to fit back into those shirts and pants again by springtime. Here are some fashion picks to help you in your transition back to your healthy self.
AEO Textured Baja Hoodie
Stay warm and dress in layers while you are working on your abs. Sweaters and hoodies are your friend.
Buy from American Eagle
Center Bar Italian Leather Belt
Be sure to always wear a belt with your outfit. They do much more than keep your pants aloft: they give your body a focal point and help flatten your lines.
Buy from J. Crew
1969 Straight Fit Jeans
Like I said, don’t be afraid to up your waist size. Get some new pants that fit but aren’t too baggy.
Buy from Gap
Men’s Fleece Pants
Sweatpants are having their hey-day; men are wearing them with suit coats to the office. Be comfortable, but don’t look like a slob.
Buy from Old Navy
With a handy knack for hiding love handles, these microfiber vests are great for staying warm and looking stylish.
Buy from J. Crew
After a while, all of these things will become healthy habits again, and Dad Bod will be a thing of the past.
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