Allow me preface this discussion with the following: I do not personally know anyone my age who looks like the individual in the above photograph.
Yesterday I was standing in the meats section of a grocery store when I noticed a man in his mid-50’s sporting what is commonly referred to as a “pot belly.”
In the upper thresholds of obesity, it most closely resembles that of a pregnant woman at full term, which is 39 weeks to 40 weeks and 6 days.
Like women in such a condition, the protuberance is surprisingly hard, and as round as a basketball at 4 times regulation size, but similar pressure.
As I stood there waiting for him to finish ordering his 22 pounds of heavily marbled red bloody meat, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if the butcher hacked it all off in one fell swoop.
Would the man thank him?
See, if it weren’t for the Volvo-sized anomaly situated at his midsection, the balance of his anatomy would appear completely normal.
This is why people think these things.
Kids do it all the time with Legos, so stop judging.
Without formal medical analysis, I feel comfortable speculating that he and men like him suffer type-2 diabetes, impotence, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and depression, the later of which having paved the way for the aforementioned 4.
With this in mind, some people eat when they’re depressed.
Why they do this is beyond me.
When I was depressed I would run, swim, bike, and lift weights – sometimes all day – and often, night – until the demons went back to bed.
Not only was this a successful ritual, but I came out of it looking and feeling better.
Of course, this has been my ritual for the better part of my life, including all of it.
So what the hell happened to the guy next to me?
After age 40, the natural reduction in testosterone means excess calories are often stored as visceral fat. We also naturally lose muscle mass as we age, the key word here being ‘naturally,’ because if you do nothing we will lose everything. This also applies to money, if this helps.
If we exercise, however, we can pretty much check that one off the list.
Unfortunately, most men don’t exercise regularly, so they lose muscle mass, and their metabolisms stop burning at a solid rate. When you lose muscle — about 1 pound per year after age 30 — your metabolism declines, and it becomes easier to gain fat, which often goes straight to the belly in men.
With these facts in mind, if a man were largely [no puns] inactive his entire life, and at age 40 his testosterone levels started to slip, he’d get hit like a bag of bricks.
Not only would he have no lean muscle mass to keep pace with the hormonal attrition, but the necessary adjustments to his lifestyle would be as tough as substituting heroin for treadmills in the mind of a junkie.
I do know a couple of large men who are big enough overall to pull it off without completely embarrassing themselves.
One of them, in particular, was a collegiate athlete with a commanding presence.
He, like Chris Christie, is an achiever with an otherwise full life.
This is rare. But in spite of their relatively healthy self-esteems, health still takes a hit. A big one.
I once heard a Bariatric surgeon say that fat is genetic, and therefore, men who are obese can’t help themselves without lap-band surgery.
At this writing he is anorexic after beating his own fat addiction.
I assume genetic includes psychiatric predispositions.
1] Contrary to popular opinion, the first order of business is to seek guidance from a psychiatrist.
2] The second order of business is to find a good Internist who will run complete blood analysis followed by a stress EKG and heart scan.
3] Third order of business is to go back to the psychiatrist and give him or her the results. You will start from a low baseline from which you will rebuild what has been lost since childhood.
4] Your spouse will not understand any of this and in many cases pay a hit man to kill you if any of this starts to work and you rethink your living will [and marriage]. Understand that part of your therapy will involve your life choices, including your choice in mates. It’s all tied together.
5] Once you get a handle [no puns] on who you are – and as a result, what happened along the way – you will realize that while your genetics played a role in all of it, your mental health sealed the deal.