5 Bogus Excuses Men Make for not Taking Care of Themselves

Posted on: May 31, 2017

By Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RDN, CDN

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This year marks 20 years since National Men’s Health Week (NMHW) was passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton. This week is also special because it marks a time when we can tell men about how they’re not taking very good care of themselves and get away with it, without them just turning the TV up a little louder. (Okay, I may be stereotyping, but you must know someone who does that!)

When a woman comes to my office to talk about her husband’s, father’s, or son’s diet, she usually comes armed with lists of medications, copies of labs, a roster of doctor’s names, and a detailed medical history. The man, on the other hand, could be counted on for counting the minutes until the session is over, or perhaps he might admit that he hadn’t been to the doctor since his middle school camp checkup.

Most men feel that their families rely upon them and that they have to “be there” for everyone. But the reality is that if the man of the house gets sick, everyone else will suffer along with him. One of my dad’s favorite expressions was, “Health is wealth,” and as an investment, you can’t lose with putting your money on taking care of yourself.

There are lots of reasons why men don’t take the initiative to delve into self-care. They may focus on the way they look, but this type of outward attention could be analogized to that paid to a car: It may look good on the outside, but that doesn’t speak to what’s going on under the hood! As with a food package, the outside label may look attractive, but it’s what’s inside that really counts.

So, listen up, guys! If any of the following excuses sound familiar, it’s time to get your health issues on your to-do list today:

  1. “I don’t have time to go to the doctor.” With pop-up 24/7 clinics everywhere, it’s easier than ever to find a doctor that has office hours that jive with yours. Your body requires maintenance even more than your car does. An annual check-up including some simple blood tests might take an hour of your time today and save you years of discomfort later on. There are four numbers in particular that could save your life, all of which could easily be measured in one visit.
  2. “There’s no time for the gym — I don’t want to take away from family time when I’m not working.” Your significant other, your kids, and even your dog needs exercise. Get fit together by riding bikes, taking walks, gardening, or even dancing. Getting fit will make you feel alert and exercising can help you blow off a little steam and squash stress.
  3. “I don’t need any veggies — the steak is enough to fill me.” If your steak is as big as the size of your plate, you’re filling up on the wrong foods! Just as balance is important in life, it’s important on your plate, too. By cutting that steak in half and filling the other half of you plate with veggies, you can save hundreds of calories. Better yet, have a quarter of that meat and make the other quarter of your plate a grain (like brown rice or whole wheat pasta) and the other half a combo of veggies and fruit. You’ll save money and gain value from all the nutrients you’d be missing out on if you stuck with a mono-meal (eating only one type of food.)
  4. “I don’t feel sick and I’m not in pain, so why should I go to the doctor?” Your skin is not transparent, and therefore it blocks you from seeing what could be brewing below. Not all ailments present with uncomfortable symptoms; you could have high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol and blood sugar levels that could lead to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. This could lead to a erectile dysfunction, impacting the smallest arteries in your body by restricting blood flow. You need to look at the big picture here, so to speak.
  5. “Nothing is bothering me.” Of course, this is a huge generalization, but… women are more likely to talk about feelings, good or bad, than men are. Men often fear that they will be seen as being weak if they admit that they are upset, stressed, or not feeling well. Whether it’s a spouse, a friend, a buddy, or a doctor, find someone to confide in. Your mental health is not necessarily something that give you an obvious ache or pain, but emotional problems could chip away at you in ways that are not as obvious, causing depression, a lack of sleep, impaired sexual function, and fatigue.

With a hubby and three young men to care for, I take men’s health very seriously — and so should you. Like dominoes, if you don’t take care of your own health, all else could fall. For further info, please visit: MensHealthNetwork.com

The YMCA is here to help and is the perfect place for men to begin, re-commit, or continue an exercise routine to strengthen spirit, mind and body. We’re friendly, smart, caring, and excited to work with you on your health goals. And all YMCA staffs are CPR and first aid certified.

Here at the Y:

We have classes and programs that burn calories and get your pulse racing. Our expert wellness center instructors and personal trainers can design a personalized cardio and/or strength training program just for you. If you like shooting hoops or enjoy adult sports we have that too. And we offer a long list of choice classes like Tabata (interval training), Power Cut, Body Pump, Group Cycling, RIPPED, Yoga, Turbo Kick, Water Fitness and many more on land or in the water* (*at selected locations) so you can find the classes that suit you best — high-intensity & high impact to low-intensity & low impact — we have classes for all fitness levels. We even have nutrition consultations at some locations.

The YMCA suggests you check with your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to begin your exercise plan.

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