My employer recently sent me the yearly reminder, “If you want to save a good chunk of money on your health insurance, you’ll have to get down to your recommended weight.”
Due to my eternal cheapness, I have to exercise and watch what I eat, two things no one wants to do, to lose those extra pounds.
Fortunately, I spent my formative years tall and skinny. Although, in high school, tall and skinny wasn’t in fashion because just about everybody was skinny, if not tall. It was the 1980s after all, no pop machines in the hallway and no fructose syrup in every food product on the shelf.
The physique I’ve been “blessed” with includes chicken arms, chicken legs and a beer belly. After some research I learned this is not a unique physique, many men suffer from what is known in medical terms as visceral fat (which I recommend the medical community refer to as visual fat).
An internet search of visceral fat tells us men it can lead to cardiovascular disease, colorectal cancer, type 2 diabetes and, get this, premature death from any cause (even an automobile accident?).
So how do we over-50 men win this battle of the bulge?
Step One: Put down the beer.The beer universe used to be small and only consisted of “your dad’s” beers, nothing but hops, barley and water, beers which were easy to avoid if necessary. Now, the universe has made a tasty expansion, and craft beer has delivered a variety of delights to our palate. Some of these are seasonal, only to be enjoyed for a very short time (I’m talking to you Christmas Ale!) which causes us to put our guard down and allow the forces of visceral fat to invade and claim our bellies as their own.
Step Two: Put one foot in front of the other. For some of us, this is harder than giving up beer. Well at least it is for me. Father Time and human evolution have done our lower backs no favor, and it is my lower back that painfully reminds me I’m over 50. You can bypass running for walking, at least I have, because: A. Running can easily lead to injury and bring a quick halt to our battle, and B. Running is no fun, despite what your running addicted friend may tell you.
Step Three: Arrivederci pizza and pasta, hello grilled chicken and salad. Really good, comforting, delicious food is the ultimate weapon of our enemy. The biggest obstacle for me has been overcoming my laziness when it comes to meal prep. Washing lettuce, chopping veggies, dissecting a cantaloupe or watermelon can seem so taxing, when in reality these can hardly be categorized as strenuous activities.
So men over 50, let us heed the call and fight the good fight against the ever expanding belly. Put down that tasty beer, replace it with a frosty glass of water. Let’s tune into our favorite podcast and briskly walk the neighborhood. Let us all put down the steak knife and pick up the salad fork. We over 50, we beer-bellied, we band of brothers, will do whatever it takes to win this, our battle of the bulge.