Husband's Belly & Man Boobs
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Husband's Belly & Man Boobs

My husband is 49 and still very good looking. A few years ago he was diagnosed with a left branch bundle block -- long story short it's an "electical" problem and when his heart rate gets to a certain point he experiences chest pain, shortness of breath, etc. He doesn't require meds and doesn't even need to be closely monitored as he knows what he can and can't do. He can't run for any length of time and gets light headed lifting too many weights. On the weekend he goes for several long, strenuous walks. He's also constantly working in the yard and doing projects...definitely not a couch potato. His diet is pretty good. Unfortunately he skips breakfast (too stressed before work), he brings a fairly healthy lunch to work, and I make very healthy, balanced dinners. His weakness is cheese and crackers and he bigs out when he gets home from work. The problem is his big gut. He looks ok in his dress shirts, but once he's in a t-shirt or bathing suit it's very noticeable (not to mention extremely unhealthy esp with his heart). I don't think he even realizes that he has a big gut because he will just prance around anywhere with his suit on and not even try to hold it in. Obviously the man boobs are only a problem when he has his top off, but it's quite embarrassing. Aside from eating fairly healthy, he does like his vodka. Sometimes we will have a drink or red wine before dinner (weekends more). I know this really slows metabolism. I've tried to tell him nicely that he has to lose his gut and he just gets hurt. I'm a size 4/6 and my body is far from perfect but then again I don't prance around in a bathing suit like I'm in my 20's. Aside from walking, my husband doesn't really do any other excersizing. He joined a gym last January and after meeting with a trainer nearly passed out, as he pushed him too hard. He's just not into the gym. Any diet advice for a 49 year old male who can't do much exercising? Key foods he should add and/or eliminate? Was I wrong to tell him he has to lose his big gut? Thanks!
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Old 03-27-2013, 06:43 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I can't figure out if your concern is his health (with you seem to down play) or his appearance. I'm sorry for your husband that you are embarrassed when he is less than full dressed.
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Old 03-27-2013, 07:26 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi Br625!

A very easy first step: Go to MyFitnessPal.com and have him enter all of the food that he consumes daily for one week. You will both see if he is getting too many calories, fat grams, sodium...etc. Let HIM figure out that he is either eating too much, or not eating the right foods...or simply needs to exercise more to burn the calories. This needs to be an eye opening experience by him. Be supportive of him and set some goals. Take some "before" pictures of him in his bathing suit, and tell him you want to take more pictures of him after a month or two...this will show progress! Make it fun and workout together if you can.
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Old 03-27-2013, 07:31 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Husband's Belly & Man Boobs

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Was I wrong to tell him he has to lose his big gut? Thanks!
Sometimes you have to stop and think, what it might be like if the shoe were on the other foot,and if he told you the same thing. I'm sure you would want to know if your ass was to big, or your belly was untoned or arms to flabby etc.

Bottom line it should be more of a health concern and less about the appearance. I'm sure when you told him he needed to lose the gut he saw it from an appearance point of view. I think if he had told you the same thing you would see it as an appearance thing too which would probably make you feel bad. I doubt making another person feel bad will get them to do what YOU want them to do.

Choose your words wisely, and be more supportive.
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:04 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Considering the health difficulties involved, I would have him schedule a physical with his doc. Prior to the visit, track his intake for 2/3 weeks (calories, carbs, and protein). Have an honest discussion with doc about what he should and can be doing. Don't be afraid to ask for consults from a PT and nutritionist.
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:06 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Husband's Belly & Man Boobs

He will take the step to change either when he wants to or when he has a heart attack etc. Thats just the way it is for some people, they have to hit rock bottom or have something happen before they open their eyes.
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Husband's Belly & Man Boobs

I think it is best to be honest about these things. It is important to stay in shape for health AND appearance (you want your spouse to be attracted to you!). I have an agreement with my H that we tell eachother when we have gained a few pounds . . . which i had to do last night!

Would your H be able to cycle with is condition? Buy yourselves a couple of bikes and go for long Saturday afternoon cycles. Maybe even join a cycling club.

I also second the advice above about discussing with the doctor.
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Old 03-27-2013, 11:01 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Husband's Belly & Man Boobs

Carbs, sugar and alcohol are usually the things to cut down on.

Maybe instead of crackers and cheese, he could do veggie sticks and cheese. Keep yogurt in the fridge and put it in his lunch bag so he can have some kind of breakfast when he gets to work. If he's going to drink, make sure he alternates a drink with a big glass of water.

As for exercise, he really needs that kind of advice from a doctor, considering his condition.
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Old 03-27-2013, 03:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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When I reread this before posting, I realized I had come across rather sternly. But I decided to not edit out the word "FAT" from my post. Fat is the right word. It's not as hideous as "morbidly obese," or as pleasing as "plump."

When I was fat (over 260lb, 5'8") my ex-wife told me constantly about how fat I was, and about how embarrassing it was for her to be in public and how I should be embarrassed to be the fattest man in the room, etc. I was married at 20, 165lb. After five years of marriage, I was up to 220lbs, and peaked at 260 or so (I stopped weighing) after 25 years of marriage.

Our entire relationship was falling apart for years, and had been getting fatter for years. I was the victim of verbal abuse by her and this was just another one of her several topics of conversation. I know that I was a defensive eater, and no doubt, I was eating due to depression and maybe even as a way to slowly kill myself. I could (and did) blame her for my troubles, including my weight, which I was in denial about it being a problem. I was "fit and fat." (And, yes, I had man-boobs, before the word had been coined. I though they were just gender-neuteral "tits." Aren't aging hippies, with all their politically correct lingo so "quaint." )

It was not until a friend took me aside and said "Dude, you are going to die if you don't treat losing weight as your #1 priority." (actually, my Dr. also told me the same thing, but not quite so bluntly). I began to diet, and kept at it, until I was around 200. I hovered around there for 20 years, but have recently begun to push my weight down towards 170. I'm at around 185.

My point is, in part, that the derisive words of my ex, "you are fat," "you embarrass me," were less effective then "you will die." Maybe it was the statement of the consequence of my consumption was stated in nonjudgmental terms by my friend than by my ex.

At any rate, I finally left my wife, and eventually married someone who, like me, has battled weight her entire life. We made exercise and health an actual part of our wedding vows and make a point of making sure we get out and walk or ride bikes regularly.

Thoughts about my appearance over time.

I never saw myself as "FAT," even at my peak. I was surprised when I saw that fat man in the mirror looking back at me. I avoided cameras. I never accepted that I was FAT. That perception never changed until I lost 60lbs and saw pictures of me at my peak. Then I realized that I was actually FAT.

Now, people who didn't know me when I WAS fat are shocked to hear me lamenting about BEING FAT. I still THINK I'M FAT. I am surprised when I look in a mirror and see a skinny old man with grey hair.

My point here is that my perception of my own weight has never been accurate. I don't think anyone's perception of their weight is accurate. And there are so many people on the afternoon talk shows who provide ammo for anyone who needs an excuse to not lose weight. They report the slim volumes of studies reporting how the hefty volume of studies are all wrong, and that being fat is actually good for you. There are people who make it their business making people feel good about being fat. And people who make it their business to make it seem natural to eat high calorie junk food at every meal and who want to sell you sugar laden giant tankards of coffee and cola.

I'm not saying one has to outlaw 32oz glasses, or be a bag of bones or become anorexic or eat like a supermodel. I am suggesting that when our own perceptions about what's fat and what isn't can't be trusted, we really have to take a moment and look at the numbers on the scale.

Compare this, perhaps to how much people weigh around the world, and over time. It's alarming.

While you are at it, look at movies from the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. I'm shocked at how skinny people looked back then. Again, not the supermodels, but just the regular folk in the movies, in the background of youtube videos, etc. Pictures from your wedding party, your parent's wedding party, you growing up. The round-faced, multi-chinned, man-boob fancying adults were the rarity, not the rule. OMG, have you been on a cruise ship or to Disneyland? What a slothful civilization we have become. OMG. WTF. ETC.

And, from personal experience: My hip and knees have "gone out," the most likely culprit was carrying 70lbs more than I should have for many, many years. I am having a total hip replacement soon, and feel terrible as I've not been able to keep up my exercise. I am terrified of re-gaining weight.

Now, when I carry a 25lb bag of dog food, my hip is in agony. It points out, with painful, pinpoint precision, precisely what was wearing out while I was stuffing my face, feeling sorry for myself, denying my obesity when I was younger. I can lift a 70lb piece of furniture. I literally stagger with the realization of the price carrying that much extra weight is being paid now as I face going under the knife to undo the damage done in my ignorant youth.
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Husband's Belly & Man Boobs

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My husband is 49 and still very good looking. A few years ago he was diagnosed with a left branch bundle block -- long story short it's an "electical" problem and when his heart rate gets to a certain point he experiences chest pain, shortness of breath, etc. He doesn't require meds and doesn't even need to be closely monitored as he knows what he can and can't do. He can't run for any length of time and gets light headed lifting too many weights. On the weekend he goes for several long, strenuous walks. He's also constantly working in the yard and doing projects...definitely not a couch potato. His diet is pretty good. Unfortunately he skips breakfast (too stressed before work), he brings a fairly healthy lunch to work, and I make very healthy, balanced dinners. His weakness is cheese and crackers and he bigs out when he gets home from work. The problem is his big gut. He looks ok in his dress shirts, but once he's in a t-shirt or bathing suit it's very noticeable (not to mention extremely unhealthy esp with his heart). I don't think he even realizes that he has a big gut because he will just prance around anywhere with his suit on and not even try to hold it in. Obviously the man boobs are only a problem when he has his top off, but it's quite embarrassing. Aside from eating fairly healthy, he does like his vodka. Sometimes we will have a drink or red wine before dinner (weekends more). I know this really slows metabolism. I've tried to tell him nicely that he has to lose his gut and he just gets hurt. I'm a size 4/6 and my body is far from perfect but then again I don't prance around in a bathing suit like I'm in my 20's. Aside from walking, my husband doesn't really do any other excersizing. He joined a gym last January and after meeting with a trainer nearly passed out, as he pushed him too hard. He's just not into the gym. Any diet advice for a 49 year old male who can't do much exercising? Key foods he should add and/or eliminate? Was I wrong to tell him he has to lose his big gut? Thanks!
Wow...I'm in med school right now...and we just went over Left Bundle Branch Blocks...

Anyway...the DASH diet is pretty much the gold standard. It wouldn't surprise me if you'd had a doctor mention it.

Not fun. Mainly because it restricts salt quite a bit...which is hard for us all ...but we can adjust to like LESS sodium

Anyway, I'd Google that....there's a .org site...which has all the info you could want. Also, if he's not on medications now...that's a good incentive to try to stay healthy and stay off of them.
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Old 03-27-2013, 11:30 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Husband's Belly & Man Boobs

BR625

If your husband is a dope smoker, tell him to quit. Gynecomastia is not pretty. If he doesn't smoke dope, then it's just regular fat and estrogen boobs from being too fat. Ordinary (not dope or anabolic steroid related) manboobs and the distended belly are symptoms of "Metabolic Syndrome" AKA "Syndrome X". The basic problem is way too many fast and/or refined carbohydrates (potatoes, grains, sugars) combined with little exercise. However, about 90% of the solution is dietary, and this is coming from a strength trainer. Do you understand? This can be fixed with very little or even zero exercise.

The first thing to do is eliminate all the booze, with the exception of one or two glasses of red wine per evening. Pinot Noir is a good one. The second step is to adopt a Paleo Diet or a Slow Carb Diet as a lifestyle. There is no need to be hungry at all. I lost a ton of weight on Atkins, then switched to Paleo to maintain it. It's important to get a fairly high fat/high protein, low carb diet to keep your LDL cholesterol, big, fluffy, and harmless and keep testosterone high. Hopefully, he's not on statins. This diet will really change his body, fairly rapidly.

For exercise, he needs to stay away from vigorous cardio and standard weight training routines. I would recommend HIT training once or twice a week for 15 minutes, using the protocols advocated by Doug McGuff MD combined with the walking he's already doing.
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Old 03-27-2013, 11:47 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I LOVE Free Calorie Counter, Diet & Exercise Journal | MyFitnessPal.com !! It works for me
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Old 03-27-2013, 11:49 PM   #13 (permalink)
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So do I...
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:10 AM   #14 (permalink)
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OhhhShiney that was a godda!m fantastic post.
OP i agree with machivelli about the diet. But not HIIT. I think from what you describe that would do him in. Maybe not in 15 minute intervals, as suggested
I will also agree the the key is diet diet diet. Now while i like myself some beers and/or some wine often keep in mind i have the metabolism of a squirrel. As in i HAVE to eat, and often.
Diet diet diet. Maybe also look into the bulldozer regimen. IMO the best thing to burn fat is a furnace called muscle.
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:10 AM   #15 (permalink)
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OhhhShiney that was a godda!m fantastic post.
OP i agree with machivelli about the diet. But not HIIT. I think from what you describe that would do him in. Maybe not in 15 minute intervals, as suggested
I will also agree the the key is diet diet diet. Now while i like myself some beers and/or some wine often keep in mind i have the metabolism of a squirrel. As in i HAVE to eat, and often.
Diet diet diet. Maybe also look into the bulldozer regimen. IMO the best thing to burn fat is a furnace called muscle.
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HIT not HIIT. HIIT is high intensity interval training. Not a good idea for BR625's husband. I'm talking about HIT, the original High Intensity Training originated by Nautilus and Arthur Jones, in this case the slow, super strict form variant.
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