Becoming a dad, especially for the first time, is a celebrated occasion.
What’s not as celebrated is the "dad bod" that can follow in the years to come.
Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Dan Allan said weight gain, especially in the abdomen, is more than just a physique problem; it can lead to real health concerns.
“Weight gain around the middle is especially dangerous for diabetes and metabolic syndrome,” he said. “It will increase your triglycerides, your blood sugar, inflammation; it also is associated with hormonal changes.”
Allan said watching diet by not overeating carbs, avoiding processed foods and sugar-sweetened drinks can go a long way toward avoiding weight gain.
And while it’s sometimes easy to overlook, a big contributor to the "dad bod," is alcohol.
“Alcohol is notorious for going right to the middle and turning into visceral fat, which creates inflammation, which causes negative health effects,” Allan said. “People say they’re having a ‘cold one’ -- and I usually tell people, ‘Just try to stop at one,’ because it is a lot of empty calories and it is not good for your health.”
Allan said dads should make a point to get any kind of movement into their day -- and it doesn’t have to involve going to the gym. Anything that breaks a sweat or gets the heart rate up is going to help ward off weight gain.
For brand new dads, Allan said it’s important to be realistic and realize it’s OK to give yourself a break every now and then.
He adds that it’s a good idea to have a plan to get back on track, though, because the more time that passes and weight that’s gained, the harder it is to get yourself back to a healthy weight.
“Real life is messy and it’s not always really easy to be regular with your diet and your exercise,” Allan said. “There absolutely are periods of your life where you’re going to slide, and that’s OK. You just don’t want a week to turn into a month, turn into a year, turn into a long time.”