Dad bod or rad bod? My take on weight and body confidence

A father doing exercises with his daughter by lifting her in the air.

As I’ve said a number of times recently, I’ve changed a lot since becoming a dad. For the most part, this is in terms of my outlook on life, but there have been some physical changes too.

I’ve definitely put on a little weight in my eight years of parenting and it started pretty early on. I don’t know whether this is down to finishing off food my kids leave – I hate waste! – or simply because I’m now on the slippery slope to 40.

My weight has fluctuated but not by a significant amount and I’ve actually got physically stronger from carrying children around. I have developed a bit of a dad bod though!

To be honest, I’m not particularly concerned about this. I play five-a-side every week and we don’t have a car so all school runs are on foot.

A father and daughter doing an exercise routine together. The father is in a 'plank' position with his daughter giving a high five.

We have a healthy diet too so I’m not in bad shape. That said, there’s always room for improvement! Losing a few extra pounds and toning up would serve me well.

I’m not alone in this. According to a recent survey by LighterLife Fast, half of new dads put on weight within their first year of becoming parents. Furthermore, one in ten gains more than two stone.

With less time on their hands, 28% get less exercise, 8% have quit sports teams and 20% don’t have enough time to prepare healthy meals. Meanwhile, 57% admit that their top free-time priority is sleep.

I can sympathise with a lot of this. I used to play five-a-side twice a week but dropped to one game once oldest was born. This was because I wanted to be around more, so I abandoned midweek games as they were at a more inconvenient time.

A man doing exercises with tinned food as weights.

We indulged in takeaways more often in the first year of being parents too. It’s understandable as we were permanently tired, although I did feel guilty for suggesting them so often. Eight years and two more children later, sleep is still very much an obsession – as it is for a great many parents.

Another headline statistic is that of the famed dad bod. Just under a third feel less body confident since having children. This figure rises to 51% for those under the age of 29.

The physiques most respondents wanted to have themselves include those similar to David Beckham, Dwayne Johnson and Tom Hardy.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m not too worried about the way I look. While I’ve never been one to go shirtless, I feel okay about my appearance. Sure, I’m not as skinny as I once was, but I feel just about right for my age and height.

A father doing exercises by using his toddler daughter as a weight.

Personally, I don’t think we should aspire to look like celebrities and should instead try to be the best versions of ourselves. And help is at hand here.

LighterLife Fast has worked with The Dad Network to develop a workout. Called Dad Bod to Rad Bod, it’s completely free.

Not only that, you can do the workout from the comfort of your own home and involve a little one.

As you can see from the pictures in this post, I’ve tried it out with help from youngest. It was great fun, good exercise and meant quality time with her too. Now that can’t be bad at all!

If you’re looking to fit in more exercise, it’s a good solution if time is an issue for you so it’s well worth a go.

Fellow dads: what is your experience with weight and body confidence since becoming a parent? Do you get as much exercise as you’d like?

LighterLife Fast® is an intermittent fasting brand with a range of meals for people who either wish to lose a little weight or who want to manage their current weight more effectively. The plan works by following the Fast Philosophy; fasting two or three days per week and eating two 300kcal meals along with a meal of choice on the other four or five “smart” days.

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post.


  1. Tim Bonner

    At the point I gave up work to look after the kids I was my unhealthiest. The Friday pints after work and no exercise were the things that did me in. At one point I weighed in at 16 stone.

    About 3 years ago I decided enough was enough and started running. First with Couch to 5k, then 10k races and now half marathons. My weight is stable at 11.5 stone now, although I’d still like to lose another half a stone. I’m 6ft so it’s in the middle of my BMI range.

    Now I go running around 5 times a week since the kids are both back at school. I may go back to work next year though so that might need to be cut back a bit. I don’t ever intend to stop running though because it helps me clear my mind and is such a good stress reliever.

    In terms of body confidence, it makes me feel good that I can fit in clothes that a few years ago I never dreamt I’d be able to wear. I kept a pair of jeans from when I was my largest to remind myself I never want to go back to that point!

  2. John Adams

    I’m quite fortunate with weight but I know I need to do more to keep fit. recent months have been a dreadful time for me for concentrating on such things because of the house move. I need to do more!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.