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Some time in the late 1980s when I was still in New Orleans, I went to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. It was becoming a big deal. It started from nothing and got bigger over the years. Needless to say, New Orleans knows how to throw a party. Trust me, the Jazz Fest is a great party. What used to be one weekend has spread to two. People all over the world attend. You get the best of the best when it comes to music and food. In true New Orleans fashion, everyone is fat, happy and usually drunk. Something else I liked about the festival: It happened in the spring. It was right around when the weather warms up. Women wear a lot less clothes. It’s not unusual to find bikinis or bikni tops. They catch a little sun, and hock their wares. The guys did the same thing, and I was no different. I lost my shirt as soon as I walked into the area. I was walking around with a friend of mine, Renee. She noticed I was getting some catcalls from drunk women. She said something that has stuck with me to this day. She said “No matter how much working out you do or how much dieting you do, by the time you hit 30, you won’t look like that anymore.” What? She continued, “No matter what, you’re going to have love handles.” I told you that to tell you this. There’s a term you don’t hear much anymore….”Middle age spread.” Maybe it’s because words change. Maybe America got so fat that we just go right to a gut and not the middle age spread. We don’t say “golly” and “gee” anymore. We don’t say “page me” either. We say “E-mail me” or “Text me.” Why would we keep “middle age spread” around? For those who have never heard it, I’d like to give a brief definition. As we get older, both men and women, begin to lose their hormones. Men have less testosterone, women have less estrogen. As we get older, men begin to look like women, and women begin to look like men. I’ve always said both Robert Redford and Paul McCartney are beginning to look like Angelea Lansbury, yet they don’t look like each other. But I digress. As women and men lose these hormones, they begin to lose muscle mass and bone mass. When this begins, you generally see an increase in fat around the waist. Men get those ever-so attractive man boobs. It looks like y0ur body is spreading out, thus the term. There are a couple of solutions. The easy fix is to go to a doctor and get hormone replacements. I wouldn’t suggest it. Just like most drugs, the hormones fix one problem and create a myriad of other problems. There’s another way to combat this problem of aging, or I guess you can say aging as a disease. It can be done with weight lifting. Not only does it maintain that pound of muscle you would have lost per year after your 32nd birthday, but heavy enough weight lifting has been linked to causing your body to produce human growth hormones naturally. Research says it only happens momentarily, but that’s better than nothing. If you want to fight it further, you can add three to five hours of aerobic activity per week. This will cause you to sweat out electrolytes like calcium and magnesium, which your body needs to build strong bones. Supplementing is highly encouraged. As far as what my friend Renee had to say about my love handles…I didn’t get them at 30. I didn’t get them at 40. I’m knocking on 50, and they’re nowhere in sight, Renee.