Why Girls Like The Dad Bod
When you’re single, it can be hard to figure out what exactly makes your date attractive. Is it their height? Their smile? How they carry themselves?
But if you’ve recently gone on a first date with someone who has an extra layer of fat around them, chances are good you have already figured out how they make you feel. You probably just felt bad about yourself. And that’s because when we see these guys in person, there’s really nothing about them (besides maybe a nice watch) that would scream “sexy.” But our research shows that most women find them kind of… appealing.
“The dad bod is associated with attractive personality traits,” says Dr. Michael Todd, author of The Big Fat Truth About Weight Loss. “It’s associated with a strong sense of humor, a down-to-earth mentality, and a healthy respect for work/life balance.”
In other words, when you look at this guy from afar, he doesn’t appear any better or worse than anyone else. He might not have super ripped abs, but if his heart rate checks out, he could potentially be one of the healthiest people you know.
And yet, despite having no obvious physical attributes, dads with beer bellies do seem to be pretty popular among women. In fact, according to a recent Planet Fitness poll, roughly 55 percent of female members said they had dated someone who was either currently dating a dad with a gut, or had previously been married to one.
So why does a man need muscles to attract women? Turns out, there isn’t much difference between the two body types aside from size. A 2017 study published by researchers at Duke University Medical Center looked at body composition data from nearly 1,000 young adults ranging in age from 18 to 32 years old. They found that while leanness increased with age, the amount of muscle mass actually decreased as participants got older. So, what changed? What gave these guys their so-called dad bods? Well, it turns out that both groups had similar amounts of subcutaneous fat — those fatty layers under the skin. It also came down to genetics.
“Muscle fibers grow during puberty and then stop growing,” explains Jessica Bown, fitness expert and host of America’s #1 Health & Fitness Podcast. “As you get older, your muscle fibers shrink and atrophy. That’s where your dad bod comes from: Your muscle fibers aren’t getting bigger anymore, so they don’t fill up with glycogen [energy] like they used to and they start losing water weight.”
This means that when you go on a run, your legs will be burning calories rather than storing them. Instead of building muscle through exercise, you’re tearing it apart. This may sound counterintuitive given that many people want to build muscle when trying to lose weight, but that’s not necessarily true. Building muscle simply won’t help burn off excess pounds unless you manage your diet and calorie intake properly.
Of course, some people naturally possess higher levels of testosterone than others. Those who are born blessed with more T tend to have thicker waists and larger frames, which leads to higher BMIs. However, it’s possible to lower the amount of testosterone produced by your body using exercise and lifestyle changes.
“You can change testosterone production by changing the way you eat, sleep, and move,” says Dr. Michael Todd.
While everyone’s bodies react differently to hormones, it’s clear that genetics play a role in determining whether your waistline stays small or expands. When your genes kick into gear, you’ll likely experience a greater appetite and seek out food that is high in carbs and fats.
If you want to stay fit and trim long term, it’s important to keep your metabolism running smoothly. To ensure that happens, you should try eating plenty of protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber-rich foods each day. These are all essential components of proper nutrition and help slow the release of glucose into the blood stream, keeping your insulin level low. As a result, you’ll maintain steady energy throughout the day without craving sugary snacks.
A 2014 study led by scientists at St George’s Hospital in London examined the effects of bariatric surgery on obese patients with type 2 diabetes. Researchers divided patients into different groups based on how they responded to the procedure. One group underwent sleeve gastrectomy, which involves removing several inches of stomach, leaving only a narrow tube behind; another group received lap band surgery, wherein surgeons place a ring around the top portion of the stomach to create a smaller pouch inside.
After six months, researchers discovered that patients’ overall health improved after undergoing either surgical procedure. Patients who underwent the lap band surgery were able to significantly reduce their use of medications such as insulin and metformin. Meanwhile, post-op patients who opted for the sleeve gastrectomy saw significant decreases in their LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Another factor that determines whether or not you’ll end up with dad bods is your genetic predisposition toward obesity. If Mom’s side of the family tends to pack on the pounds, you may have a slightly higher chance of becoming overweight compared to someone whose ancestors were thinner. While there is still a lot of science left to explore, it seems that certain ethnicities may be predisposed to packing on the pounds faster than others.
For instance, studies show that Asian Americans tend to develop abdominal fat earlier in life than white Americans due to their preference for carbohydrate-rich diets. According to a 2018 report published by Harvard Public Health, American Indians and Alaskan Natives aged 30 to 39 have the highest BMI levels compared to other racial groups.
To prevent yourself from falling prey to the dad bod curse, it’s important to take preventive measures now. Start exercising regularly to improve your cardiovascular health. Take time to relax and unwind with friends and family. Surrounding yourself with supportive people is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
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