The Dad Pad Diet

14/08/2014 16:58 | Updated 20 May 2015


Starting weight: 14 stone 7lbs

Weight lost so far: 4lbs

Target weight: 13stone 3lbs

Ninety per cent of people who decided to diet at New Year will have ditched their bid to lose weight within a month, according to one study.

So there's the danger that, having lost a tidy four lbs since I gave myself the mission of shedding my own 'dad pad' a few weeks ago, I'll now just give up and go back to my old habits.

As a previously skinny 6ft guy my bulge began to appear five years ago when my wife fell pregnant.

Since then I have struggled with the lack of time to do any exercise and eaten bad food in response to the chronic tiredness that hits every new parent like a train.

Yet I know that for the sake of my own health, as well as the future of my two children, it's time to lose my spare tyre.

I have been attempting to lose weight by simply watching the calories, swapping my usual food choices for less sugary and fatty ones.

I've stopped having chocolate, crisps and flapjacks as snacks and am trying to have fruit instead – spurred on by the shocking statistic that British men eat half the level of fruit and vegetables that their toddlers put away.

I've also stopped having a cappuccino from my favourite café in the morning and am having an Americano. Whole milk is now only going to the 18-month-old in the house, to be replaced in my drinks with the lower fat, semi-skimmed variety.

And when, at a moment of weakness, I ordered a takeaway curry the other night at least I chose vegetable dishes. I also swapped my usual Naan bread for a chapati, saving more than 200 calories.

When I treated myself to a gin and tonic I swapped my mixer for a diet version instead.

Fitting exercise into the busy parenting and work routine seems harder. There's only so much you can achieve by walking a slightly longer route back from delivering the kids to school and nursery, getting off a stop earlier on the bus and spending a few minutes shadow boxing in the privacy of the bathroom.

I've failed to go swimming and bike rides have been out of the question given the weather.

But it's clear that if I want to go any further towards my target weight – and a healthy BMI - then I am going to have to take more drastic action on both the exercise and food front.

In the past I have sniggered at the idea of going on a specific diet plan. My love of bread was never going to make me a candidate for the low carb Atkins Diet - and besides it gives you bad breath.

The Paleo Diet, where you eat like a caveman, just seems like way too much punishment.

And as for the celebrities who have fought the flab by eating nothing but baby food – well I've cleared up too much of that goo in my life to ever want to eat it.

Anyway it's just not in the male psyche to diet is it?

Surprisingly a study by Surrey University found that once they take up the challenge men are actually better at women than sticking to a diet.

Inspired by this piece of research I've decided to do my first ever planned diet, at least for the next three weeks.

Over the last year intermittent fasting has been all the rage with the 5:2 the most popular plan.

The basic idea is that you fast for two days a week – eating only 600 calories in 24 hours - and eat a normal level of calories for the other five days.

I think that's something simple enough for me to handle.

Fast exercise is all the rage too with a raft of exercises around that you can do in 10-20 minutes. So I'm going to be giving some of those a try too, given that as a father I seem to have so little time to work out.

Plus I've decided to keep a daily food and drink diary – with the idea that the guilt of having to enter any of my favourite treats will be so painful that I'll mend my ways once and for all.

A recent survey found that most men that finally do go on a diet are embarrassed about telling anyone they are doing so.

But I don't believe there is anything to be ashamed of. In fact there are legions of dads who should grasp the nettle and admit that they need to get in shape. I, for one, am happy to let it all hang out...


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