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The Weight Loss & Testosterone Connection

September 10, 2013 (Updated: August 16, 2018)
Lily Moran

Growing up with three brothers and sports-fan parents, Rick spent his early years eating standard American fare – hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, and all the rest. Not surprisingly, by the time he hit middle age, Rick was flirting with heart disease and diabetes. Diet was a big factor in Rick’s poor health, as was his sedentary lifestyle. Although he had been very athletic when he was younger, Rick’s only “exercise” since turning 50 was using the television’s remote control. I was concerned about him, but my recommendations to eat real food and exercise fell on deaf ears. Rick liked to say that he was a “confirmed burger-holic” and wasn’t about to change.

So I wasn’t a bit surprised when Rick appeared in my office, complaining about lack of energy and recent weight gain.

“I can barely make it through the day without a nap,” he explained, “and even if I do nod off after lunch, I still don’t have any energy.”

As a sales rep for a major beverage company, Rick could not afford to take a nap every day and still keep his job. I had to figure out a way to restore his energy, so we began with a blood panel.

Rick’s blood work revealed that his testosterone levels were among the lowest I’d ever seen, so I recommended a testosterone-based cream with appropriate levels of other hormones for balance. But I stressed to Rick that he could achieve so much more by making a few lifestyle changes, including losing about 15 pounds. As usual, he said he’d think about eating better and exercising, but I didn’t expect him to follow through.

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However, when Rick came in the following year, I was genuinely impressed to see that he had, indeed, followed my suggestions. It turned out that one of Rick’s tailgating buddies, Calvin, had a serious heart attack. Although Calvin survived, he made radical changes to his diet, bought a treadmill, lost more than 50 pounds, and started lecturing his old friends on the dangers of the Standard American Diet and the couch potato lifestyle.

Calvin’s advice led the other members of the group to rethink their own lifestyles. In the end, Rick ended up a convert, too.

“If it hadn’t been for seeing the difference it made in Calvin and some of the other guys, I probably never would have started eating better and walking,” Rick explained.

In the end, Rick managed to exceed my recommendations and lost 25 pounds, which improved his overall health dramatically. Not only was he no longer on the brink of developing heart disease and/or diabetes, but Rick’s testosterone levels were much improved and his fatigue was history.

“I’m sorry I didn’t take your advice earlier,” he confessed, “but I just didn’t think eating better and exercising could make such a big difference. I feel like I’m 20 years younger, and that’s a pretty great feeling!”

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