Weight Gain in Men
While the cause and effect relationship is not absolutely clear, it is apparent that there is a strong connection between weight gain in men and andropause related hormonal imbalances. Low testosterone and high cortisol seem to increase body fat, especially in the midsection, and decrease muscle mass in men. This body fat seems to further the hormonal imbalance by converting testosterone into estrogen. Male weight gain coupled with muscle loss means more weight to carry and less muscle to carry it with, resulting in fatigue and low energy levels.
Specific Hormonal Causes of Male Weight Gain
Weight gain in men is affected by high stress or cortisol levels in the body. Prolonged heightened levels of cortisol put the body into survival mode and induce the production of fat cells and the decline of metabolism to store food for later use. The cortisol also increases appetite in order to procure energy for ‘fight or flight.’ Male weight gain naturally follows.
High cortisol levels further diminish levels of testosterone, which already suffer during andropause. Low testosterone can cause low energy and fatigue, meaning less physical activity and weight gain in men. Thyroid disorders, particularly hypothyroidism, and low levels of the human growth hormone (HGH) often cause weight gain by way of decreasing the body’s metabolic rate.
Weight Gain and Mid-Life Crisis
In most people, the hormonal changes during andropause might be accompanied by the emotional transitions, associated with midlife crisis. A high degree of stress during this time in your life can lead to emotional eating and an overconsumption of calories, causing weight gain. Children growing up and leaving the home, a change in career, dealing with an aging body or disappointment in not having realized lifelong dreams could be possible reasons for feeling sad or frustrated during midlife.
For some people who suffer from a midlife crisis, motivation may be at an all-time low. Feelings of regret, loneliness or hopelessness may lead to depression. When people are depressed, binging and emotional eating are ways to find temporary relief from feelings of sadness or melancholy.
3M Technique for Fighting Weight Gain
If you would like to keep your weight under control in spite of the hormonal and emotional complications during andropause, or at the very least minimize its impact, there are just three 3Ms you should be aware of - mind, muscle and mouth. If you want to keep a healthy weight then the thing you should do is avoid stress at all times, and positive thinking does the trick in this case. Get yourself to ditch negative thoughts, and losing the pounds should become easier. It is easy to say “Be positive”. It is more complicated to actually be positive no matter what, overcoming negative health and life time changes, characterizing this period. While our society is overall negative about ageing, that doesn't mean you have to be. Middle age is a time of great change, and that can mean beneficial changes too. You have a chance to review your life so far and to alter its direction in a positive way. A crisis can be used as an opportunity to change your life for the better.
One other thing is you should be careful with what you put in your mouth. Watching what you eat is very important now that you are not exactly young anymore. Comfort foods which at one time did provide you with “comfort” are the very foods that can cause many discomforts in your life. Now that you are forty or beyond, it’s time to be wiser and to be more aware of the foods that you are eating. Quality means that you have to take foods that are rich in nutrients and those that are found to be very beneficial to your body such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins like fish and lean meats.
The third “M” which stands for Muscle would refer to exercise programs and weight training that serve to build muscles. Get your doctor’s advice first, though, especially if you are not in the peak of health to begin with. If your doctor clears you, then wait no longer; go ahead and exercise. Just always remember to take things slowly and gradually. Don’t push yourself too hard. By finishing off with exercises, you are sure to keep those pounds off. It's easy just to slob out, especially when you're feeling lethargic and down, but keeping fit will help to relieve stress and mild depression, and work out feelings of frustration. For all-round benefits, try to combine aerobic exercise, such as running, cycling or swimming, with some resistance work, such as weight training. It's vital to get into a routine that you won't find difficult to stick to. Playing a team sport and/or joining a club is a powerful motivator, as you won't want to let the lads down. It may well allow you to meet other men beyond the familiar circles of work and family, which can be refreshing and even therapeutic; chances are, others will be experiencing similar problems.
Knowledge of basic nutrition will help you to make the right choices about the sort of food you eat. A balanced diet contains:
- Some protein such as lean meats, fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, soy foods, pulses.
- Some carbohydrates such as pasta, rice, bread, potatoes
- Some fats such as oil, nuts and seeds
- Some fruits and vegetables.
If you have a healthy balanced diet you should not need to take any extra vitamins or minerals in tablet form. Build some indulgences into your plan. You want a lifestyle diet that works so you need a few sins too.
- Only eat when you are hungry. Never eat unless you are hungry. Eating simply out of habit or boredom will not help you to slim. Don't sit around the table shooting the breeze (and having an extra beer, and eating the rest of what's on your plate). Push away from the table when you're full.
- Make smart fast-food choices. Eat a salad, easy on the dressing. Choose grilled chicken or a small, plain burger instead of a Whopper or Quarter Pounder.
- Cook at home, where you can control the amount and type of fat and other nutrients. That's what the Food Network is for. Notice all the men cooking.
- Remember, there will be rewards even if you reduce your weight by just 10%: You'll lower health risks, enjoy shooting hoops with the kids, improve your performance in the bedroom, look better, and have more energy.
- Don't beat yourself over the head if things go wrong; just re-focus and press on.
Sources and Additional Information: