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This Is What Happened When I Tried To Lose My Dad Bod With A One-Week Diet

The following was syndicated from The Huffington Post as a part of ‘The Daddy Diaries’ for The Fatherly Forum, a community of parents and influencers with insights about work, family, and life. If you’d like to join the Forum, drop us a line at [email protected].

What’s that? You don’t know what a Dadbod is? Don’t feel bad. I’d never heard of the Dadbod either, until I woke up the other day and realized I couldn’t see my toes.

Despite having been the one who carried the baby in her womb, Michelle somehow snapped back to her lithe dancer’s figure a few months after giving birth, but I still look like 10 pounds of chopped meat in a 5-pound bag, only less delicious.

Scrubs

Scrubs

For the 35 years before Lev was born, I worked out 2 or 3 hours a day, and while I never looked that good, I did manage to stave off the usual vagaries of aging and gravity to some degree. But being a new dad comes with a Dadbod, which is like your old body but it doesn’t fit into any of your clothes, and doesn’t look good when it’s not covered up.

This is especially problematic since my niece Sonia is getting Bat Mitzvahed in 3 days, and the only suit I own is something I had custom-made while I was in Thailand 2 years ago, when I was on a tour of Thailand’s kickboxing camps. I kick-boxed my way across the country, studying with various Muy Thai masters from the Islands on both the east and west coasts of Thailand and grimy gyms on the back streets of Bangkok. That was awesome, except the part where I got punched it the face a lot. While I didn’t become a Muy Thai champion, one positive result was that when I went to get measured for the suit, I was in the best shape of my life.

I went to the Thai tailor with a friend, and both he and the tailor kept suggesting they make the suit tighter and tighter, until I looked like Ryan Seacrest wrapped in Saran Wrap. Ultimately, when I tried it on for the first time, the suit fit okay, I guess, except you could see my veins bulging through the fabric. And I knew that if I gained even one centimeter of girth, the suit would not fit.

I woke up last Saturday and realized I had one week to lose the Dadbod or I would be unable to wear the only suit I own to my niece’s Bat Mitzvah. At the same time, my ankle started hurting, so I couldn’t rely on my usual workouts to lose weight — running, jumping rope or kicking the heavy bag. And so, with my main sources of exercise off the table, for the first time I decided to try a diet.

Instead of my usual egg and cheese on a bagel, for breakfast, I would eat only oatmeal. For lunch, salad. For dinner, salad. No beer.

How hard could that be?

Being a new dad comes with a Dadbod, which is like your old body but it doesn’t fit into any of your clothes, and doesn’t look good when it’s not covered up.

By 9 AM on day one of the Dadbod Diet, Michelle had locked herself in the bathroom, and was hiding with Lev while I was banging on the door with a spatula in one hand and drool running out of my mouth yelling, Get in my belly. Technically, I’m not a cannibal but I was so ravenous, the couch was starting to look tasty and trust me, the couch does not taste good. I tried it.

Rather than eat the furniture, Michelle and Lev, and because the bathroom door is stronger than it looks, I relied on old-fashioned will-power. I made it until 9:15 AM. I was in the elevator on the way to 72 Street Bagel, when I caught a glimpse of my giant bloated face in the mirror. I looked like John Travolta if you left him in a swimming pool overnight. And somehow the combination of self-loathing and shame and hating John Travolta was strong enough to get me to turn back and stick to the diet for another few hours.

Somehow, I made it through the day, a grumpy hungry fatty, and the next morning, I stepped on the scale with both eyes closed. Like a man about to read a biopsy report, I slowly opened one eye and glanced down. Boom. I had lost 7 pounds overnight! Suit saved, Bat Mitzah fashion nightmare averted, Dadbod vanquished!

Then I opened the other eye and realized there was a decimal point on this damn scale. I had only lost .7 pounds. Still, reason to celebrate.

And what better way to celebrate than with lasagna. If the Lord hadn’t wanted us to wear sweat pants to a Bat Mitzvah he wouldn’t have invented mozzarella.

 Dimitri Ehrlich is a multi-platinum selling songwriter and the author of 2 books. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Spin, and Interview Magazine, where he served as music editor for many years.