I don’t want to be a fat dad. This sentence might sound obvious, but it is something I think about often at the moment.
A love of food
Nothing makes me happier than pizza, croissants and muffins over a weekend. When I get stressed, I sometimes gorge on sugary stuff I find in the fridge. This love provides me with love handles, an affectionate name for my slightly podgy body.
Just to be clear, I don’t have a proper weight problem. But I do fall into that slightly overweight category. The category where you’re not big enough for anyone to formally criticise, but you are fat enough to notice it in the mirror if I go swimming. My weight fluctuates over holidays and around Christmas. Post holiday I lose some weight but I never completely lose my muffin tops.
Being a bit fat
I have slowly gained weight since I was 20, even if I do eat much better now than I used to. I have gone through phases of going to the gym a few times per week with limited success, but I never managed to turn the gym into a habit that was going to shift the food I was eating.
History repeating itself
My dad did the same thing when he was younger, he started off slim and slowly put on weight year after year until he became obese. It feels strange to compare my eating habits to my fathers, but the foreboding sense of inevitability doesn’t comfort me.
As I age, my metabolism is slowing, meaning that I am putting on weight much easier than I used to. I, therefore, need to be much more careful about what I eat. Much more careful than I am now.
Becoming a fat dad
In two months I will be a dad. I will be sleeping less and arguably turn to food to get my energy. Shortly after, I will have the stresses that having a child brings. If I am not careful, I could quite easily start putting on weight and never lose it. I could start my personalised gentle waltz into obesity.
Aside from the obvious health risks of being overweight brings, I am concerned about the behaviours I could be encouraging my kids to have.
Becoming a hypocrite
Surely I can’t preach about the benefits of being active and healthy unless I am fit myself. My children will logically copy my eating behaviours and will see being overweight as a typical normal thing to be.
When my father told me not to get a tattoo even though he had one, I got one anyway. Surely it is hypocritical of me to tell my children to look after their bodies if I don’t lead by example?
Maybe I am over analysing the situation. Maybe my weight doesn’t reflect my abilities as a good role model at all. Plenty of overweight people are great parents, plenty of fit people are bad parents.
Losing a few pounds
Feeling fat is subjective, doing something about it is objective. If I don’t want to be a fat dad, then I need to start taking control of my diet and exercise. I need to learn to prioritise long term health over short term pleasure; only I can do this.
Maybe the visualisation process of not wanting to be a fat dad will finally help me drive the behaviours I want. Afterall, I am not trying to get the body of Adonis; I just want to feel less porky.