It is truly a shame that society overlooks dads when it comes to parenting. Not only are dads regarded as babysitters who should “help out” with their own children, but they're never given the chance to experience the pressure to lose weight and look better — err, I mean, support to be healthy — that moms experience regularly. Not a day goes by that I don’t see some "fitspiration" on Pinterest or Instagram, promising foolproof diet tips for busy moms. But where are all the diet tips for busy dads?
“What about Teh Menz?!” After all, I see the comments and hear cries from dad and soon-to-be dads, typing on articles about how society can make life better for moms and women more generally, asking, "But what about me?" Well, I agree and never fear: I’ve got you covered. After all, if we're going to start treating dads the same way we treat moms, we need to knock off all that silly body acceptance stuff and start making dads who gain sympathy weight during their partners’ pregnancies (or a lifetime of Monday Night Football) feel like bad parents whose next cookie may very well orphan their children or shine an unforgiving light on their inevitable laziness. If it’s good enough for moms, it’s good enough for dads, too.
The following tips are for dads who are serious about diet and exercise, not folks who simply want to accept their #dadbods and discover reasonable ways to have more energy and feel their best. A body positive approach to food and health might make you feel great and even live longer, but as any body image activist can tell you, when it comes to diet and exercise, “health” is often code for “looking acceptably thin.” So now that we’re all speaking the same language, please feel free to unflinchingly adhere to the following tips for the good of your “health.” Alternatively, you could just click on postpartum hashtags or look at social media ads directed at new mothers. After seeing all the ads for weight loss products that prey on new moms’ deepest insecurities and fears, if you respect or care about women at all, you’ll probably lose your appetite completely.
Stop Making Excuses
“No excuses” is a popular mantra for folks targeting overworked moms with weight loss imperatives, so I’m making sure to include it here, too. The fact that only a handful of American adults have managed to pull off significant weight loss, yet a majority of American adults are considered overweight, must mean that the majority of adults are lazy and making excuses. It couldn’t be that there’s no set “ideal” weight, or that folks are up against entrenched systemic problems. “Not having time to cook or exercise because you work multiple jobs” is an excuse. “Not having the energy or extra money to trade the cheap processed foods that are everywhere in favor of healthier options that are only available in certain places,” is an excuse. Parents are superheroes, right? Just put on your cape and lose that weight.
Ignore How Your Body Actually Feels
Hunger is a myth, just like the need for rest or relaxation. In the interest of equality, learn how to pretend you’re not hungry when you are, or how to pretend that a cup of yogurt is as satisfying as a scoop of ice cream. Ignore the moments your body actually feels good after eating well and moving more, because if you still haven't lost much weight those moments clearly don't count. Yes, this is all supposed to be about health, but we all know there's only one way to be healthy, and that's to look like a flawless, able-bodied fitness model.
Make Time For Exercise
Seriously, make time. Manufacture it from thin air, so that you can hold down one or more paying jobs, commute to said jobs, do your fair share of the household chores, spend quality time with your children, sleep, and do a full boot camp session every single day. Moms are supposed to do it, so you can, too.
Make As Many Small Substitutions As You Possibly Can
I mean, yeah, you could trade your soda for water, or take the stairs instead of the elevator, or run around with your kids instead of watching them from the bench. But, like, that will only make you feel better; it won’t necessarily make you lose lots of weight.
Remember: “healthy” looks like this, not like this. Instead, make alllll the small changes you can possibly think of. For example, you could walk to work instead of driving — that’s 15 miles one way for the average commuter. Go to boot camp class instead of cuddling on the couch with your partner at the end of the day. Motorized vehicles and quality time with your loved ones are for lazy excuse-makers.
Try A Detox
Toxins are everywhere, apparently, and the human body can't process them effectively because Big Pharma or whoever has basically turned off our livers, kidneys, and the rest of our excretory systems. Probably through vaccines, I bet. #DoYourResearchSheeple. The jury is still out on what, exactly, counts as a “toxin” versus a naturally occurring chemical but, to be on the safe side, just follow a detox plan where you don't consume anything except apple cider vinegar, cayenne, and positive affirmations. If a woman whose body just made a whole person should be able to survive (and even make milk) under these conditions, you can too.
Look For Other Hidden Lifestyle Traps
A lady from one of my online mom groups who always makes sure to search for the Real Truth before making any choices said that vaccines could be the root cause of obesity epidemic. Also autism, and allergies, and the fact that today’s wimpy kids aren't even tough enough to survive smallpox anymore. Use the time manufacturing machine from the third tip to go back in time and undo all the bad choices you and your parents made. Now you can finally start living “clean.”
Try A Mud Wrap Or Whatever
I mean, if these wraps can make a mom look like a fitness celebrity in just a few days after giving birth, imagine what they could do for dads. (No, seriously, you have to imagine what they can do if you try it, since I can't find any evidence that they actually work.)
Start Counting Calories
Eating when you're hungry and stopping when you're full is for suckers. If you're really serious about losing weight, you need to calculate the exact amount of calories that go into your mouth and the exact amount of calories you burn every day. Since you're busy, find an app that can help with all the calculations you should somehow find time to do, even if it means ignoring the other people you're eating with.
Stop Doing Other Kinds Of Math
Calorie counting is the only important math to do on your diet plan, so save time by never checking to see if it's actually possible to do all the meal prepping, cooking, kitchen cleaning, and intense workouts in the short amount of time diet plan promoters say it should take to change your life.
Distract Yourself When Cravings Strike
If the rigors of raising children and working aren't sufficient to quiet your hankering for cake or beer, as they apparently aren’t for most adults, find other ways to keep your hands too busy to put food in your mouth. Take up a new hobby, like crafting or commenting on online articles. You'll find plenty of support there; by the looks of things around The Internets, most of the other commenters are all really hungry and tired, too.
Editors note: unhealthy diets (like crash diets or liquid diets or intense cleanses) are potentially dangerous and can even be life-threatening. The unending social pressure to fit the arbitrary and often harmful definition of "beauty" shouldn't be something mothers or fathers (or anyone) should be burdened with. Body positivity, body confidence, body acceptance and a healthy relationship with food and exercise is what every parent (and every person) needs and deserves. If you're struggling with an eating disorder or know someone who is, please get help or talk to someone online.