The Beauty of Belts

Regardless of what kind of shoes you wear, try this: bend down and pretend you’re tying your shoes. If you can’t see the toes of your shoes, there’s a good chance that your testosterone level is low. And, you could probably be healthier. When weight goes up, testosterone goes down. And belly weight is really not the healthiest weight to gain.
So what, you say? You wear loafers or slip-on Converse All-Stars anyway. Ah, but the threat is still there: central or abdominal obesity is associated with heart disease, high blood pressure cholesterol issues, diabetes, erection problems and infertility, things that I see daily in my clinical practice.

Belly Barometer

When I last visited the Middle East to tend to the Royals and teach and operate, one thing really struck me. Most men wear traditional long cloaks (Bisht or Mislah) and not shirts and pants. Perfect for the arid climate and a lovely nod to the deeply embedded nomadic tradition. But no belts.
I am no fashionista, but I do like belts.  Belts keep your pants up. They hold things too, like geeky cell phones and manly gun holsters. They are also a barometer of belly size. Gain some belly fat and the belt notches go out. At some point, you have to either buy new pants and belt or try your best to maintain your weight.
And this kind of reminder is a good thing, as belly fat is the body’s worst kind. In the words of Dr. Sean Bourke, weight loss expert, “Having a paunch is more about ‘adisopathy’ than just plain ‘adiposity.’” In other words, not all fat is alike in our bodies; abdominal fat is “sick fat” and is most closely associated with metabolic disease. In my practice, waist circumference is the 5th vital sign, ranking up right there with blood pressure.

A Manly Balance?

So how do testosterone levels relate to belly fat? Easy. More fat means more aromatase enzyme. More aromatase enzyme means more conversion of testosterone to female hormone (estrogens). More female hormone means less testosterone. Less testosterone means more sexual health problems like erection dysfunction, infertility and low sex drive. Need I say more? If you are not a Sumo wrestler (whose lifespans, by the way, are 20 years shorter than the average Japanese man), then lets get rid of it!