My son was born eight months ago. I weigh 228 pounds. It’s the most I’ve ever weighed.
As the kids would say, “weird flex.” But that’s the problem. Right now, I do flex weird. I’m fully in the throws of “dad bod” — that cutesy, semi-sexist, colloquial term for any Dad with a kid and a gut. And I feel shame. Not body shame, regular shame. Because I did this to myself.
When I became a Dude Turned Dad, I stopped exercising and started stress eating. For eight months there was no time to work out, but there was time to eat a full pizza and wash it down with a pint of ice cream. I medicated with food. It was my “me” time. Except I wasn’t alone. Ben and Jerry were always by my side, giving me LIFE… and slowly killing me.
This is a familiar story. Parents gain weight from lack of sleep, stress eating, and time management. After my son was born, my lizard brain was in full effect: “You can’t get up early to work out. You need sleep.” “You work all day and then take care of the kid. When are you supposed to work out?” “You deserve a treat. Dip that hot dog into that gelato.”
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I needed to be awoken from my dad-induced food coma. Time for drastic measures. I decided I was going to work out every day from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Every day I would hit the gym and eat something green. Did I have a solid plan? No. I was like you. I did some haphazard internet research and started.
As with all workout and diet plans, things started out well. I stuck to it, ate well, squatted and sweated and burpeed. And then… well. You can probably guess what happened, but I won’t spoil it for you.
So what did I learn during my “Dad Bodyssey?” Time management woes are real. I would hit the gym at 6:00 AM and turn right back around in the middle of a workout to feed a bottle to my son. Momentum and schedule were hard to keep. The best I could do was to remain flexible and use the time each day that was presented to me. If that meant going to the gym on Friday night at 9 PM, so be it.
I also learned that fad diets and 30-day challenges are not what’s going to turn me from a dad bod to dad god. I need a lifestyle overhaul. Just like the one I went through eight months ago. I need to change the way I relate to food and exercise. Start small, build new habits, and take it one day at a time.
There is no miracle workaround for dad bod. But there is motivation to change. Dad bod leads to dead bod. And I have someone who needs me to be in good shape. He doesn’t care what I look like with my shirt off, but he does need me to be able to chase him around the playground.
It’s 2019. People are hitting the gym and dieting. So what’s it going to be? Dad Bod or Dad God?
I know which one I’m choosing.