3

votes

Pot belly and Methuselah

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 03, 2013 at 1:35 AM

Two weeks ago, I accidently stumbled across this site and have been lurking ever since. I find it to be a curious mixture of wisdom, contrarianism, hypochondria and perhaps the best source of health advice to be found anywhere. I have recently decided to become healthier so I am soliciting your advice.

I notice that most posters in need of global advice give some background. I am sixty one years old, five foot nine and weigh one hundred and fifty pounds. I have broad shoulders and would be considered well built except for a rather pronounced pot belly that has crept up on me in recent years. I have a regular physical every year and although my doctor does not share my numbers with me, he always gives me a clean bill of health. I have never been in hospital, had any illness nor engaged in any physical activity other than walking.

I retired last year after thirty five years as an accountant with Salt Mines Inc. The first thing I did was to walk a thousand kilometers across northern Spain (Camino Santiago). Although most people developed blisters, joint ailments and other assorted problems, I was pretty much immune.

I smoke a large pack of cigarettes a day and have done so every day for the past forty five years: have not noticed any ill effects. I have binge drunk (eight beers) twice a week for the last forty years: have noticed interrupted sleep for the last ten. No other bad habits to report. I take an hour???s walk every day.

My diet for the past few years has been three cups of coffee and three cigarettes for breakfast; bacon, eggs and toast for lunch; and fatty lamb and vegetable over rice for supper, except for fish on Friday and roast on Sunday.

So my question is: How do I get rid of my pot belly?

and incidentally, it would be nice to live as long as Methuselah.

Medium avatar

(624)

on March 28, 2014
at 03:34 PM

I'm always an advocate of baby steps and a strong opponent of cold turkey. Especially at your age and with such a compulsive history, your body will have adapted to what you're doing. @Dragonfly's advice is simple and sound but don't jump in head first. Acclimate over the course of 2-4 months at least. Unless cold turkey is the only way you can change your habits... then just do it and suffer for a little while.

89fa2da4805b0b4e54b77a5a20a2e206

(2097)

on April 03, 2013
at 10:17 PM

maybe Ron has this - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorian_Gray_syndrome

C07939fb80c1f445cbb5b0469d665a8e

(470)

on April 03, 2013
at 07:34 PM

've experienced weight loss using that, per the advise of a friend, but it could have been some other factor that caused a reduction in BF. I don't have a clinical background and was only trying to help to the best of my knowledge, and I am not so far against anecdotal evidence which I've found can sometimes be ahead of the science. Not saying I couldn't be wrong.

C07939fb80c1f445cbb5b0469d665a8e

(470)

on April 03, 2013
at 07:31 PM

I've experienced weight loss using that, per the advise of a friend, but it could have been some other factor that made switching my meals around that. I don't have a clinical background and was only trying to help to the best of my knowledge, and I am not so far against anecdotal evidence which I've found can hold true regardless of any peer-reviewed research on a subject.

32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on April 03, 2013
at 12:44 PM

Not sure about 969, but it seems one common factor among centenarians is bacon, so you're on the right track there. Although there is a niggling thought in my head that you might be related to Bill Bailey and his search for immortality...

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on April 03, 2013
at 03:50 AM

You want Ron 'wants to live forever' Rosedale for that last point ;)

Medium avatar

(39821)

on April 03, 2013
at 02:15 AM

Clinical Broscience, 3rd ed.

8f2d9842fdfec224a425c0f77c4ee34d

(1241)

on April 03, 2013
at 01:57 AM

I disagree with the idea of carbs close to bedtime causing fat storage. What's your reasoning behind this?

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11 Answers

4
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on April 03, 2013
at 01:49 AM

Drop the beer & toast (potbelly) and cigarettes (longevity) and eat a whole-food lacto-Paleo diet.

More diet info at www.marksdailyapple.com

Medium avatar

(624)

on March 28, 2014
at 03:34 PM

I'm always an advocate of baby steps and a strong opponent of cold turkey. Especially at your age and with such a compulsive history, your body will have adapted to what you're doing. @Dragonfly's advice is simple and sound but don't jump in head first. Acclimate over the course of 2-4 months at least. Unless cold turkey is the only way you can change your habits... then just do it and suffer for a little while.

3
32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on April 03, 2013
at 02:24 AM

Are you asking if you should quit smoking or drinking? Or which one might cause your potbelly? Or given that all your other habits are very healthy, are they really as deleterious as most would think? I kind of feel like you are on the George Burns health plan. :)

If it was me, and my goal was to drop the potbelly, I would first drop the beer, or at least try out some gluten free versions to wean yourself. Substitute in some more paleo friendly liquors. Here is one paleo alcohol guide: http://www.paleoeffect.com/alcohol-guide/

I would also look into some weight-bearing exercise. I can tell you that at my crossfit gym we have many men exactly your age, in the same sort of shape. Here is one guy that we have really enjoyed watching as his potbelly disappears; when he started 9 months ago he had the full "beach ball belly." http://www.crossfit904.com/3252013-member-spotlight-jerry/

Smoking? Here's one blurb I found:

"Smoking directly affects the endocrinal system, changing hormone levels and causing body fat to be stored abnormally in the areas around the hips and waist. This leads to heavy smokers developing a pot belly, though they may otherwise be thin. It is also worthy of mention that these particular fat deposits are some of the most difficult to work off and sculpt even after cessation of smoking and adoption of a regular exercise regimen." http://www.ehow.com/about_5039174_visible-signs-smoking.html

I think that a true paleo diet would go a long way to restoring hormone disruption, if you really want to make that commitment.

3
8f2d9842fdfec224a425c0f77c4ee34d

(1241)

on April 03, 2013
at 01:48 AM

My advice is don't even think about changing diet until you've lowered the amount of smoking and drinking. Smoking has been known to cause inflammation and beer is mostly empty calories.

1
Medium avatar

on April 03, 2013
at 02:19 AM

I'm guessing it's the result of a decline in testosterone secondary to your poor sleep and possibly some cumulative nutrient insufficiencies like zinc and magnesium.

0
Medium avatar

(20)

on March 28, 2014
at 12:35 PM

whatever happened to @ConroyEvans and his new way of life without a potbelly?

0
89fa2da4805b0b4e54b77a5a20a2e206

on April 03, 2013
at 10:16 PM

beer-> estrogen -> belly fat and other junk .. see here-

http://www.alive.com/articles/view/22625/bust_that_beer_belly

you can quit smoking :) you feel good now but imagine how much even better you can feel. An entire pack a day must leave your lungs feeling heavy. ive been quit 2 1/2 years. quitnet.com helped me alot-check it out :)

0
Bfddc0ab925c8ea0e0c2e87198514907

on April 03, 2013
at 01:50 PM

Quite a bit of semi-moral objection to alcohol and cigarettes going on here. If you want advice about cigarettes, I would switch to an additive-free brand.

Drop the beer and toast for the bloating, but if there's a thick layer of fat around the navel, quitting beer and toast probably won't finish the job.

Swap the beer for cider and/or wine.

Swap the toast for potatoes.

Swap some of the muscle meat for seafood and/or organ meats.

Best of luck. and let us know how you get on!

QUESTION: do you have milk in your coffee?

0
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on April 03, 2013
at 09:12 AM

You're of the generation that thinks that smoking is a harmless vice because that was the culture and conventional wisdom of the time. I really don't think that it is. My parents, both smokers from a young age, both died young of smoking-related lung cancer. My mother literally on her death bed insisted that smoking wasn't bad for her and she had no idea how she had gotten so sick. My dad was in perfect health with ideal weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. and bragged about it whenever he could. He seemed to be in such good health that my brothers and I were worried that he'd outlive us. Then he got lung cancer and died.

So I feel obligated to mention that. Other than that you seem to have a pretty good routine going. I wouldn't worry too much about the beer, but 16 beers a week leads to a pot belly. I'd rather have a pot belly and a few nights out per week than a flat stomach, but that's just me.

0
Fbe8ba94208cc98ab5600065a95a4007

on April 03, 2013
at 08:55 AM

You guys are amazing. Ask and you shall receive. But in a few hours!

Phenomenal

Hi Dan,

Good advice, but easier said than followed. Not sure I would agree with dropping the smoking and drinking (both challenges for me) before improving the diet. Surely any improvement in any area is for the better.

Drop the beer: no problem: begone! vile fruit of hops, I never liked you anyway. When I think of all the hangovers and embarrassment you have caused me over the years. (No, I’m closing my ears, I would’ve have gotten lucky with all those women without your help…...) I’m a fairly sociable person and I like to go to the pub with my good buddies. I’ve always thought that social conviviality was good for the heart and even better for the mind. The pubs in Canada have now matured to the extent that if I were to delicately sip a glass of red wine or hard liquor while the good buddies were knocking back their beers, it would not be thought untoward. What do you think?

What is inflammation? Sounds bad. How does smoking cause it? Does this cause a pot belly?

Hi Dragonfly,

The beer and I parted ways on Dan’s advice.

Consider the toast to be toast. And all you other grains except for you my darling rice, listen up! Never darken my kitchen doorway again with your false Neolithic smiles and beguiling ways. And you my exotic quinoa and you too my, oh so wild, wild rice…. fare thee well.

I don’t know about the cigarettes, Dragonfly. That’s a really tough one for me. Surely paleolithic man in Europe must have spent a good deal of time during the Ice ages huddled around the fire in their chimneyless caves. Fire was invented a million years ago so we always kept close to it breathing its toxins: more than enough time to adapt to smoke. And having lurked around here for two weeks, I seem to recall a reference to several studies that indicated that nicotine was in fact beneficial. And it’s kinda strange that smoking has drastically declined since the sixties while cancer rates have increased.

Anyway, I’ve seen 1=N often around here which seems to be a mantra of some kind. I’ve easily smoked several million cigarettes and I’ve never noticed any ill effects. Admittedly, when I did my Camino I had to stop at the beginning for a smoke break while climbing those mountains, but at the end, a month and a half later, I was scampering up the mountain like a mountain goat, smoking all the while.

Methinks I protest too much. But the smoking is my biggest hurdle. As a dyed in the wool contrarian, the more I am told to quit smoking, the more I want to smoke.

Hi RK,

The precise and analytical mind.

Not sure what the George Burns diet is, but appreciate your comments. Agree with the beer. It’s gone and if a beer belly is a pot belly, I will soon be back to the svelte self of yesteryear. As a hippy from the sixties, any form of structured exercise is anathema to me. However, I will research “cross fit”. I did not want to hear that smoking causes a pot belly. Your reference seems unequivocal. The choice is clear: the smoking or the pot belly. Not sure what you mean by “hormone disruption”, but making a commitment to a true paleo diet would be a piece of cake. Never been partial to sugar, grains, dairy or legumes and could eat meat and offal till the cows come home.

Hi Bory,

The beer and toast is gone. Can easily switch the carb intake from supper to lunch, but Dan seems to have another view. Will certainly add some yogurt and sauerkraut to help out the gut flora. (don’t know what gut flora is)

Hi Travis,

Since reading this forum, I have bought and have been taking magnesium citrate. In regard to testosterone if it means what I think it means, I am sixty one years old and have not noticed any decline in vigor. Normally, I sleep like a baby, but when I drink like now, I do not sleep well. Do you think I should take zinc?

Hi Diabeticbinger,

The ultimate cynic.

Of course I’d like to have my cake and eat it too. Who wouldn’t? I’d like to smoke and drink, eat the best paleo food and get rid of my pot belly. But one thing I’ve picked up from this site is not to let the perfect sabotage the good.

So based on your advice, I’ll eat a perfect paleo diet (no sweat here), switch from drinking beer to wine (again no sweat), do more exercise (crossfit) and take zinc. You all agree on the smoking: it has to go.

I do indeed thank you all for your well considered, honest and sincere advice. I will follow it all, except for the smoking which I have to chew on for a while.

Pot belly gone.

So how do I live to be 969?

32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on April 03, 2013
at 12:44 PM

Not sure about 969, but it seems one common factor among centenarians is bacon, so you're on the right track there. Although there is a niggling thought in my head that you might be related to Bill Bailey and his search for immortality...

0
24c27817ad9ac518946dda4a131737b5

on April 03, 2013
at 05:06 AM

Word to the other commenters: I think he wants only combinations of advice that would allow him to keep his sensual habits AND rid him of pot belly.

The habits aren't negotiable (yet) - anyhow, he is invincible to their downsides, he has not so subtly averred.

So it would be futile to start off with the obvious, "I think you should quit/moderate the drinks & smokes."

0
C07939fb80c1f445cbb5b0469d665a8e

on April 03, 2013
at 01:54 AM

Taking out the Beer and cigarettes as much as possible will help reduce the inflammation in your gut. If you can do one less than due one less. Try tapering very slowly if you need to, do whatever it takes so you don't reverse progress.

Also, switching your supper meal and your lunch meal may help significantly, as carbs close to bed will often just be stored as fat.

If you can cut out the toast that should lower your caloric intake and help your digestive system out, thereby possibly reducing inflammation in your gut.

Finally, consider taking a probiotic or some fermented foods to help your gut flora, your digestive system's health is often shown physically around your waist.

8f2d9842fdfec224a425c0f77c4ee34d

(1241)

on April 03, 2013
at 01:57 AM

I disagree with the idea of carbs close to bedtime causing fat storage. What's your reasoning behind this?

C07939fb80c1f445cbb5b0469d665a8e

(470)

on April 03, 2013
at 07:31 PM

I've experienced weight loss using that, per the advise of a friend, but it could have been some other factor that made switching my meals around that. I don't have a clinical background and was only trying to help to the best of my knowledge, and I am not so far against anecdotal evidence which I've found can hold true regardless of any peer-reviewed research on a subject.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on April 03, 2013
at 02:15 AM

Clinical Broscience, 3rd ed.

C07939fb80c1f445cbb5b0469d665a8e

(470)

on April 03, 2013
at 07:34 PM

've experienced weight loss using that, per the advise of a friend, but it could have been some other factor that caused a reduction in BF. I don't have a clinical background and was only trying to help to the best of my knowledge, and I am not so far against anecdotal evidence which I've found can sometimes be ahead of the science. Not saying I couldn't be wrong.

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