Dear Father Hood: should I fear the ‘Dad bod’?

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Great news, value for money fans. Because this query could come from a soon-to-be dad worried about developing a ‘dad bod’ or a member of the public struck down with dadbodophobia, I’m going to provide not one, but TWO answers.

First, let me give any concerned daddies-to-be the bad news. During the opening few months of fatherhood you will go to the gym less, you will eat more crap, you will sleep infrequently and you will not have the time to shave that little cluster of hair round your nipple. Subsequently, you are going to put on a few pounds, feel lethargic and develop a little bit of a belly. Don’t look so down. To paraphrase the late, great Whitney Houston it’s not right, but it’s okay. And it’s okay, because as soon as your little one begins to get on the move you’re in possession of a living, breathing, more-often-than-not pooping human dumbbell.

Before anyone gets injured, I should make it very clear that I am not suggesting that the best way to de-dad your bod is to instigate a nightly circuit featuring your baby as a 10kg weight. I am simply taking off my top, finding a mirror, snapping a selfie and screaming ‘Oh my God, the flab’s gone and I’m back to my pre-baby weight.’

Okay, okay. This is a slight lie. I am actually under my pre-baby weight. It is a body transformation that I’d love to put down to hard work, culinary discipline and improved mental focus, but I’m still hardly going to the gym, I’m still almost single-handedly propping up Haribo’s share price and I still meander around in a daze for a significant proportion of each day’s 24 hours.

So what is my secret? Drum roll, please. It’s… drugs. Only joking, it’s simply being a decent dad who chases his son around the living room, crawls after him at soft play, rocks him to sleep and carries him when we’re out and he starts screaming in his buggy. Really? Really. Fending off the ‘dad’ bod’ is this simple. So if you’re petrified about developing one for a lengthy period of time, just roll your sleeves up and get involved with some of the childcare. It might not win you a Pride of Britain award, but it will please your partner and shred your moobs.

Now, it’s time to address the dadbodophobics. The solution to your woes depends on how crippling your anxiety is. If the sight of a slightly tubby male tummy makes you want to retch or scream, you should see a doctor. But if it just makes you feel a little uneasy, why not face your fears and go in for a hug? It’s a bold move (so best try it on someone you know), but it’s one that should reap instant, warm and cuddly rewards. And if it doesn’t? Try hypnotism or, less expensively, avoidance.

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