Popular culture has come up with the term “dad bod” to describe a body that is softly round. While the requirements are ambiguous, they include a potbelly and not having a ripped or muscular body. The only six-pack allowed is the beer one might bring home to wolf down with a pizza.
“Dad bod” sounds like a cute and endearing name, but there’s nothing cute about it. In fact, it can be quite serious. A dad bod is a telltale sign that you are carrying excess body fat, and it’s a red flag that obesity and other health problems are around the corner.
If you’d like do drop a few pounds and tighten things up, here are seven steps to put the brakes on a dad bod before it becomes a serious health concern.
1. GET MOVING
Working out may seem like a no-brainer, but you have to exercise more and eat healthy if you want to drop body fat. Lifting weights gives you the most bang for your buck, as more muscle on your body will raise your metabolism— your body’s inner furnace that burns calories— and enable you to burn fat 24/7. Cardio may incorporated to burn even more fat. Depending on your metabolism and current fitness level, you may be able to drop the body fat with lifting weights and a clean diet. Be careful not to overdo the weights and cardio, because you may end up losing muscle and looking like a scarecrow. While any exercise is better than no exercise, you have to train intensely and consistently at least three days a week for best results.
2. EAT RIGHT
Good nutrition is no chump-change player here. In fact, it’s the most important part of the equation. You have to know how to eat healthy— not just to achieve the best results from your fitness program, but also to feel better, function better and have more energy. Food is the fuel for your body, and some food will be a better “fuel” that will be far more valuable to help you meet your goals, compared to other food that is “junk” or empty calories. Consult a nutritionist to determine the best eating plan for you.
3. DRINK LOTS OF WATER
This is a key weight-loss strategy that separates those who are successful from those who struggle. Water will reduce your appetite, and also aid in fat loss as the fat will be expelled in your urine. Drink a gallon of water a day. If this sounds extreme, then gradually build up to that amount but make one gallon your goal. And by all means, know where there nearest men’s room is.
4. DON’T STARVE YOURSELF
You won’t lose weight by not eating. In fact, that will make things worse. For openers, starving yourself or going for many hours without food will slow down your metabolism and cause you to keep the weight on. Eating smaller meals every three hours or frequently throughout the day will do a few important things. First, it will raise your metabolism and make you burn more calories. Second, it will help you maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the day and avoid a “crash.” Eating frequently will also keep your energy levels up so you can function at an optimal level. You will get the best results by eating your meals at the same time every day. Last but far from least, not eating all day can leave you starving at night, and you may be tempted to binge on unhealthy junk in a fit of hunger that can further sabotage your weight-loss efforts.
5. EAT LIGHTLY AT NIGHT
Feel like eating a bagel or crackers before you go to sleep? That will put you on track for a “bread belly,” much like some guys have developed a beer belly. Many nutritionists recommend that you stop eating starchy carbs (e.g., brown rice cakes, oatmeal) after 3:00 p.m. Why? People tend to be more active earlier in the day, so they burn off the calories more readily during that time. If you eat a heavier meal or snack before going to bed, then you literally “sit” on the food— or more precisely, sleep on it. There is zero movement or activity to burn the calories, which will add pounds. And speaking of sleep, get enough of it. Lack of sleep will pack on excess weight.
6. CONSULT AN EXPERT
Not sure how much exercise is right for you, or what your diet should look like? Then talk to someone who knows— a certified personal trainer and nutritionist or nutritional coach who is knowledgeable in all aspects of the equation. There is no one program that is right for everyone, so it’s vital to have a plan designed exclusively for you.
7. SET GOALS
Ask yourself: how long did it take you to get this way? Reversing the process won’t be quick, either. Realize that change will come slowly and gradually, so you have to set realistic goals that you can meet in a given time frame. If your goals are too lofty, that’s a recipe for failure because not meeting those bogus goals will just set you back mentally. Let’s put it this way: no one is going to wave a magic wand and poof, transform you into Mario Lopez overnight. You have to work at it, be consistent and focused, and realize that you are improving yourself every day— and moving closer to your goal each day.
These are general guidelines, not intended to be medical advice. Consult your physician before starting an exercise program. Work with a certified personal trainer to design an exercise program for you and train safely. There are many personalized nutrition programs and coaches available online if you cannot find one locally.