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I've Waved Goodbye To My 'Dadbod' - Just In The Wrong Direction

Esquire (UK) logo Esquire (UK) 6 days ago Stuart Heritage
a man looking at the camera: Why children are the worst thing for you waistline © Kat Pisiolek Why children are the worst thing for you waistline

Two weeks ago I had to buy a suit. So I went to Zara, because god knows I love anything that’s been irreparably spoiled by unnecessary piping.

I tried on a large suit. And it didn’t fit. So I tried an extra large suit. And that didn’t fit. And then I found an abomination called a ‘comfort suit’, which is basically a suit made out of stitched-together jogging trousers, and I tried one of those, and it just about fit because it had an elasticated waistband. So I bought it. I could only just squeeze into the biggest suit that Zara sold. This is where I am now; three Jaffa Cakes away from having to abandon an entire shop.

Remember the dadbod? God, I loved the dadbod. The dadbod was briefly fashionable in 2016, inspiring endless articles about the appeal of men who’d put on a little bit of weight after becoming a parent. The dadbod was Matt Damon. It was Seth Rogen. It was Chris Pratt. And it was me.

Photo Taken In Sakon Nakhon, Thailand Photo Taken In Sakon Nakhon, Thailand

Pre-2015 I managed to stay decently athletic; fit, broad, lean. But when my first son came along, everything began to atrophy. My sleep suffered, and I started to rely on the quick-fix of sugary snacks to keep me awake, and I couldn’t quite square the notion of abandoning my new family for selfish as exercise. And so I developed a dadbod. And it suited me. My paunchiness told the world that my priorities had changed; the softness of my torso belied a priority more important than simple vain fitness. I was built for comfort, not speed.

But now I’m not even built for comfort any more. I’m built for the cardiac ward. You couldn’t realistically look at me as I am and say I had a dadbod. Dadbod is a pinprick in the rearview. There’s no hiding it. Things have got worse and now I’m just a Fat Dad.

upset overweight businessman looking at vegetables while working in office upset overweight businessman looking at vegetables while working in office And it sucks. There’s so much of me to haul around, and it’s all huge and flabby and badly defined. I saw a photograph of me sitting in a cinema chair recently, and it looked as if someone had tried to ram a bucket of marshmallows into a thimble. My head looks like a pea balanced on a barrel. A shiny pea, too. One that constantly secretes a thin sheen of grease. I labour quickly. I have no energy. I find it hard to get enthused about anything at all. In short, I have been eaten by my own body.

The biggest issue I have is that my time is no longer my own. With a job, a wife and two kids, it’s hard to shoehorn even a moment for myself. During the week I start work at 6am, cramming in as much as I can before finishing at lunchtime so I can take the kids until bedtime. It’s gruelling, it’s wearing me down and now the effects are showing.

So no more excuses. I’ve joined a gym.

Overweight, Medical Exam, Dieting, Waistline, Nutritionist Overweight, Medical Exam, Dieting, Waistline, Nutritionist I think, if I’m smart and efficient and willing to give up one evening a week, I can get to the gym enough to halt the decline. It’s one of those gyms that’s just a hollowed-out industrial estate unit full of scaffolding and dubstep and men who shout at you, so my hope is that it’ll scare me into thinness. 

I went for the first time yesterday, and the trainer threw a gigantic medicine ball at me. “This is how much weight one of our clients has lost since joining”, he shouted. It was massive and heavy and unwieldy, and if I want to get anything like back to normal, I’m going to have to lose four of them.

Unhappy overweight man looking at his mirror reflection in gym, diet and sport Unhappy overweight man looking at his mirror reflection in gym, diet and sport But it can be done. I know it can. Look at Chris Pratt. On Parks and Recreation he was a giant of a man, but he put his head down and worked hard and lost 30kg. I only really need to lose half of that, but he is living proof that anyone can get thin, become famous, make the worst Jurassic Park film, leave their wife and slowly become more and more uncomfortably religious in public. It just takes dedication. 

So it can be done. If I eat right, schedule my time better and really dedicate myself to this thing, then in six months to a year I can luxuriate in the comfort of a dadbod. Zara, I’m coming for you.

Gallery: How to find the right weight-loss plan for you

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