Demystifying Dad Bod

dad_bod_headerSeeing as it's the tail end of Men's Health Month, I would be remiss to not mention the currently-trending Dad Bod. 

"Dad Bod" was coined on March 30 by 19-year-old college student Mackenzie Pearson in her article Why Girls Love the Dad Bod.

"The dad bod," she explains,  "is a nice balance between a beer gut and working out. The dad bod says, 'I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza at a time.' It's not an overweight guy, but it isn't one with washboard abs, either."

From what I understand, the dad bod means decent muscle tone and a noticeable - but not huge - gut.

Which is actually kind of refreshing: it's obvious that we hold women AND men to unrealistic body standards, and I see the negative impacts of that pressure in my clinic all the time. 

But there's something about openly encouraging abdominal weight gain that doesn't sit right with me. My end goal is for people to feel great about their lives, and I do that  by empowering them to own their health and well-being. And endorsing a big gut on men doesn't really make the cut when it comes to that.

Did you know, for instance, that carrying extra weight in the form of a gut is actually way more risky for long-term health than carrying it in your thighs or hips? It's actually directly tied to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.

In fact, the fat that's found deep in your abdominal cavity (around your organs) is linked to and increased risk in heart disease, metabolic issues, and overall mortality.

Don't get me wrong - I'm ecstatic that we're moving towards a more realistic version of an attractive body (for men, anyway). Taking some of the pressure off and giving people space to enjoy the occasional indulgence is just as important to health as watching what you eat the rest of the time.

But you know what's sexier than anything? Living a long, healthy, and happy life.