Redemption Day has finally arrived, my friends. Some third-grader in South Carolina has coined the term “Dadbod,” and though I don’t often speak in hyperbole, I think it is safe to assume that our lives have changed forever.
Your beer gut and toned thighs have become something of a winning combination overnight. No longer do you appear disheveled and out-of-shape. The temple of your bloated physique is what every man from Portland to Poughkeepsie dreams about at night.
And, having just discovered that I am blessed with such a body, I feel a responsibility to help you discover your own.
Nearly every day, my cravings remind me that I am not yet an adult. I regularly have to talk myself out of walking down the candy aisle at the grocery store. Those negotiations sometimes fail, and when they do, I behave like a kid just home from trick-or-treating.
The most recent run-in with my inner child involved Girl Scout Cookies. In addition to having little self-control, I’m a bleeding heart: I want everyone to win, so when a friend called to tell me her daughter was selling Girl Scout Cookies… I bought a whole case.
I want everyone to win, so when a friend called to tell me her daughter was selling Girl Scout Cookies… I bought a whole case.
A case. Like I’m Oprah. As if the way to save the world is by purchasing 24 boxes of Samoas. I am a 38-year-old, grown-ass man. Why do I need 24 boxes of cookies? Why couldn’t I just be a normal person and offer to buy three boxes? Three is a nice sane number. But no, I couldn’t do that. I needed 24 boxes. That’s 360 cookies, in case you’re wondering. I bought 360 cookies at one time, with no intention of sharing with anyone.
Maybe you’re one of those positive people, and you’re picturing me carefully packing away my loot in a freezer. Twenty-four boxes, that’s a lot—surely he has a plan to ration those cookies for a whole year. Well, thank you for believing in me, but you are so incorrect.
What? I’m supposed to eat a cookie a day for a year, except on Yom Kippur? That’s ridiculous. Who has that kind of willpower? Not to mention, cookies can’t go in a freezer; they don’t wear coats. It’s cruel and unusual punishment.
At first, however, I was mostly responsible. I had a cookie or two after dinner. I’d have a cookie as a random snack. Then I lost my tiny little mind and declared war on that case of cookies.
I couldn’t rein myself in. Here a box, there a box, everywhere a box. I had a box for breakfast. I ate a couple boxes of Samoas while watching Scandal. Three boxes for dinner. I was off the rails. I had cookies as a midmorning snack, cookies in the car, cookies in the bathtub. I was a hot, cookie-addicted mess.
I’m not sure how hunger works for most people, but mine definitely has a split personality. When the food-monster half isn’t sitting in the driver’s seat, ordering fried chicken and eating bags of Smarties, it’s the princess of kale who’s in charge (I call her Gwyneth Paltrow). The two sides duke it out on a regular basis, which I think means I have bipolar eating disorder.
Gwyneth had been sitting quietly in a corner waiting for the food monster to do some serious damage. It wasn’t until she noticed that my pants were fitting a little tighter that she sounded the alarm, going into full-blown “captain of the Titanic” mode. She was raising her eyebrow and wagging the stinky finger of judgment over all of my cookie-filled thoughts.
Once I finished the case of cookies—and yes, I ate an entire case of Samoas without any help, thank you very much—Gwyneth began enforcing very strict rules. What a loser! She clearly has no respect for goal-oriented eating. Agreeing to cut back on cookies wasn’t enough. I had to go completely wackadoodle.
Our first order of business was to completely rid my life of sugar. The princess of kale is evil. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but they don’t make cookies without sugar. At least not any cookies that you would actually want to eat. This was going to be very hard. I had been subsisting on a diet composed almost exclusively of Samoas and Diet Coke, and now I was in Girl Scout Cookie rehab.
I’m not sure if you’re aware, but they don’t make cookies without sugar. At least not any cookies that you would actually want to eat.
Paltrow dragged me kicking and screaming to Whole Foods and forced me to stare at their lush produce. After gawking at piles of dead plants for what felt like an eternity, GP challenged me to prepare a vegetable that I had never cooked before as a way to get my health back on track. I reviewed the options and decided to give beets a try. I choose them because they seemed harmless, and when you’ve been deprived of sugar they look like giant balls of chocolate. Challenge accepted.
I whipped out my phone and turned to the queen of the kitchen: Ina Garten. Ina taught me how to roast a Thanksgiving Turkey. Beets would be a piece of cake—or cookie, depending on your politics. I gathered the beets, fresh thyme, raspberry vinegar, and a large orange, per the recipe’s instructions, and rushed home.
I got right down to work the moment I walked in the door. I peeled and sliced the beets and cut them into quarters. Those little suckers should have come with a trigger warning; they bled all over my kitchen. Beet juice was everywhere. My house looked like the set of slasher film.
I tossed the horror scene onto a baking sheet and the sheet into the oven for 40 minutes. I spent most of that time scrubbing my hands like a surgeon and performing Lady MacBeth’s sleepwalking scene. “Out, damned spot! Out, I say!”
Anyway, the beets were delicious! I felt like a magician, turning those purple mudballs into something worthy of eating. I had eaten beets several times before—and loved them—but this was different. I guess food that doesn’t come from a can really does taste better. I missed my cookie diet, but I was proud of myself for expanding my menu.
The morning after roasting the beets I got up to go to the bathroom as usual. Apparently, taste isn’t the only difference between canned and fresh produce. I had the most gorgeous fuchsia urine the world has ever seen.
I had the most gorgeous fuchsia urine the world has ever seen.
At first I was certain that I was on death’s door and immediately blamed the Girl Scouts and their disgusting Samoas.
It took me a few minutes to calm my panic attack and realize that the beets had given me this little present. Later, on my way to work, I received a text message from my husband: “Thanks for dinner… I have purple pee and poop… disturbing yet beautiful… ”
This cycle should repeat, of course. I find it essential to always be in conflict with myself. Why should those gym rats, with their lackluster midsections, corner the market on body anxiety? Follow my example and your Dadbod will be ready for public viewing come Memorial Day.
Here’s a helpful hint as you build the body you want: Life should be 40 percent cookies and 60 percent beets. Or is it the other way around? I never can remember. Hang on, I think I hear Girl Scouts knocking at the door.
Photo via Sheila Herman/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)