Thursday, September 19, 2013

Hormones and Amends

And now as another season of the Jewish High Holy Days have come to a close, let's get back to the blog. Actually Sukkot is here and that probably deserves an blog post about holiday eating (or the childhood memory of somebody always bringing Cheez Doodles to hang in the sukkah alongside the fruit). But that will hold for a bit.

This year was more introspective than usual. I attended some quieter groups as opposed to the major synagogue events. Not that I don't love my "shul family," but the transition from clergy spouse to just a "regular" guy has been a little odd when it comes to holidays. Even these few years later, I needed to be a little more quiet about my need to make amends and reflect on what I can do make this year better. And reflect on the changes that have already happened.

Let's jump back to macro level for a bit and talk about other changes, body-wise (which is, after all, the posts many come here to read).
After about a year of major weight training, I began to notice various body changes and not only in my waist and muscle size. It was almost as if I was having some bizarre reaction to drugs or supplements (which I was not taking! This is clean living body, baby!) A check with my doctor showed that my testosterone level had spiked dramatically. Evidently all that intense resistance training can indeed cause that "manly" upgrade. And yes, studies show that to be true. YOU doin'?

But aside from being able to walk around work with that additional "strut factor", I guess it was good timing for a blog post because another recent study has shown that the lowered levels of both testosterone and estrogen in middle-aged men contribute to the fat levels around our bellies (and our waning sex drives). It turns out my "donut" was bound to happen, even if I managed to up the amount of deadlifts and reverse flys. 

So I seemed to have helped myself in ways without even knowing! Good for me! Keeping my donut to pop'em size and keeping my testosterone in the XXL aisle! 

And that's all well and good.  But let's go back to reflection for a moment.

I started this blog after having hit my weight and doing tons of research on weight maintenance. Part of me wanted to share what worked for me and what research I found. Part of me just wanted to be part of a larger group. And part of me wanted to demark this the current chapter of my life.

So, as I continue to reflect on this upcoming year and we near the 2nd anniversary of maintenance, I want to thank all of those who have supported me. Not just in my weight, but in my attempts to be a better person. 

One of my friends said to me during a rather dark Retro Ska Librarian period, "Dan, the thing is that, no matter what, you are an optimist." And it's true. Cynical, snarky, smart-aleck...but an optimist.

You can change your body and your life. You can even change the amount of hormones you produce solely from exercise. But it's hard to change something fundamentally inside of you. 

May this year bring out the better qualities in all of us. And anyone needing some extra testosterone....well, I seem to have plenty!


Finkelstein, Joel S., Hang Lee, Sherri-Ann M. Burnett-Bowie, J. Carl Pallais, Elaine W. Yu, Lawrence F. Borges, Brent F. Jones, et al. “Gonadal Steroids and Body Composition, Strength, and Sexual Function in Men.” New England Journal of Medicine 369, no. 11 (2013): 1011–1022. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1206168.

Tremblay, Mark S., Jennifer L. Copeland, and Walter Van Helder. “Effect of Training Status and Exercise Mode on Endogenous Steroid Hormones in Men.” Journal of Applied Physiology 96, no. 2 (February 1, 2004): 531–539. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00656.2003.

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