Fighting the dreaded dad bod – to the death

Aussie dad Stephen Corby has been locked in a war with his own body’s desire to melt into full dad-body weariness for several years now. Here’s why he keeps going.

fighting the dreaded dad bod

Few pieces of internet flim-flam have made me as happy as the swathe of articles now suggesting that a dad bod is, in fact, sexy.

So much so that Ken, as in Barbie’s Ken, is now available in dad bod spec.

The very idea that fate could be so fantastically awesome as to bring attractiveness to me, while I sit on the couch doing nothing, just thrills me.

But although a dad bod is apparently now easy on the eyes, it certainly isn’t easy on the dad.

You don’t have to be a doctor to realise that a dad bod — overweight, under-exercised and lacking in sleep and proper nutrition — puts you on the not-so-fast track towards early death.

For this reason, I’ve been locked in a war with my own body’s desire to melt like a candle into full dad-body waxy weariness for several years now.

As I’ve noted here before, it’s not easy, but it is vital.


Dead bodies aren’t sexy

Amid all the lauding of the rounder dad bod, research clearly shows that those extra pounds will drag you down to an early grave.

A recent study from the Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health found that weight gain in early and middle adulthood increases your risks of disease later in life.

Even men who pile on just a few kilos (to and a half to ten) before the age of 55 increased their risk of chronic disease and, the big one, premature death.

The higher the weight gain, the greater the risk — so Homer Simpson should really be dead by now.

If you actually know someone who has a healthy BMI, take a look at them: they’re going to live longer than you.


Why is this bod happening to you?

The answer ‘because life sucks’ would seem a neat fit here, but it’s quite likely that the reason you see little dad-bellies everywhere is down to more than just beer consumption. (If you have got a proper beer gut, you know exactly what to do about that.)

Here are three reasons you may be suffering:


1.   You’re a sensitive, sympathetic guy

Yep, that does sound like a cracking excuse, but it could be true.

Some dads are now known to go through the symptom of sympathetic pregnancy, or couvade syndrome, which leads them to crave ridiculous foods, put on weight, feel tired and even suffer morning sickness.

Many dads put on a few kilos before the baby even arrives, but this might also be due to issue number two kicking in.


2. You can’t even remember what a good night’s sleep felt like

Bodies that don’t sleep don’t process food well and don’t have enough energy to exercise. (And who has the time to go for a run when they’ve got a baby anyway?)

All that broken sleep also plays merry havoc with your metabolism, and suddenly you’re not burning off fat effortlessly, the way your pre-baby body did.


3. You’re not eating well

Once your main mission becomes getting your child to eat and sleep properly, little things like your own nutrition fall by the wayside.

You may find yourself snacking more and preparing complex, nutritional meals less often. This is partly because you just don’t have the time, or you’re too tired.

It’s easy to see how the whole thing quickly becomes a vicious cycle and those kilos starting sneaking onto your waist while you’re not looking.


How to fix your dad bod

The answers are fairly simple (we’ve exhaustively detailed them here), just remember: move more, eat less. Finding the time to exercise might be hard, but it’s necessary. Just do it, as they say.

In the end, the biggest problem with the dad bod — aside from people telling us on the internet that they’re attractive — is the shrug. So many of us just acknowledge that we’re getting one and shrug it off.

But it’s not healthy, and I don’t really buy this idea that it’s attractive, either. All you need to check the proposition is a mirror. Or ask a few random women about it, as I did, and you’ll hear that real people are not keen at all on “hairy daddies”.

So, do it, go and beat the bod.