This content was originally created for audio. Some elements such as tone, sound effects, and music can be hard to translate to text. As such, the following is a summary of the episode and has been edited for clarity. For the full experience, we encourage you to subscribe and listen— it's more fun that way.
Scot: What are some health challenges that you're currently facing, and what are you doing about them? That's what we're going to talk about today on "Who Cares About Men's Health" with information, inspiration, and a different interpretation of men's health. My name is Scot Singpiel. I bring the BS. The MD to my BS, Dr. Troy Madsen.
Troy: Scot, it's great to be here. Happy to be on the show once again.
Scot: Yes. And I'm imagining, Mitch, that we're not going to hear much from Troy on this topic, health challenges you're currently facing, because . . .
Troy: I wish.
Scot: . . . Troy has it dialed in, it seems like. I don't know. That's how I see it, but maybe that's not the reality. And he's a full-on "I care about my health" convert. It's Mitch. Welcome.
Mitch: Hey. I do care about my health, so it's really frustrating that there are still struggles.
Scot: Right. Just because you care about it doesn't mean we don't have struggles.
So this show, "Who Cares About Men's Health," is about guys talking about their health, and a lot of us guys aren't very good at it. I mean, even on this podcast, it's often challenging for me to be comfortable and completely honest when I'm talking about my challenges, because mostly I think they're dumb. What's my problem? Or maybe they're not worth talking about because they're kind of insignificant, or they make me look weak or less than.
But that's really what we're trying to normalize on this show, is guys talking about their health and being honest about it. So today's episode, we're going to talk about those health challenges we're currently facing and what we're doing about them.
And we'd like to invite you as you listen to think about maybe what your challenge is. How do you feel about it? Are you like me, "This is dumb," or, "I don't really want to tell anybody," or, "I feel like this makes me seem less than"?
And maybe your problem is similar to one of ours. Maybe it's something else. But regardless, we hope maybe you'll find some value in this conversation and maybe you can get an idea or two that could help you.
So I've already said it. For me, my challenges are dumb. One of the reasons they're dumb is it's the same old thing over and over and over for the past 20 years, right? And maybe labeling it dumb isn't helpful, and maybe we'll talk about that. I don't know. But it's losing this kind of excess body fat that I have.
Now, I'm not a tremendously overweight guy. If you were to look at me, you wouldn't think, "There's a fat guy. There's a guy who I'm concerned about has too much fat that's impacting his health." I'm like a skinny fat guy, right?
Troy: Scot, when you started talking . . . I'm not trying to downplay anything you're saying, but I knew where you were going to go with this. I was going to interrupt you and say skinny fat.
Scot: It's true.
Troy: But no, I'm going to say the same thing I always say too. Anyway, yeah, it is the same struggles.
Scot: Yeah. So it's skinny fat. If I was to tell people, "I need to lose about 5 or 10 pounds of fat," they'd be like, "Oh, no, you're skinny. You look fine," which comes back to one of these myths we talk about on the show. You can't necessarily judge somebody's health by their appearance.
Now, my health is really good because I was blessed with some good genetics. I don't have any major health problems. But I know that this excess fat, not only do I just not like it, can eventually lead to some issues. So I would like to lose that 10, 15 pounds.
My turning point . . . we talk about turning points on the show, and I don't think there's always just one. There are a lot of them, right? And when you have an issue that you've been struggling with for 20 years, you're going to have a lot of those turning points. And my latest one, guys, was my button-up shirts aren't fitting anymore.
Mitch: Oh, no.
Scot: They're pulling the buttons apart at the chest if I stand up in proper posture. You know what I'm talking about?
Troy: And it's not because you've been working your pecs too hard?
Scot: No, it's not. That's what everybody likes to tell me it probably is, but it's not. And I know from past experience with losing body fat, because I've been through this before, that five to seven pounds is going to make a difference, right? You've got body fat all over your body. It's not just your belly. It's in your back, it's in your chest, and all those things. And if I just lose a few pounds, I know that that problem will fix.
Anyway, I mean, it's kind of stupid that I know losing that body fat is good for my health, but my turning point is my shirt doesn't fit. It should just be "your body fat percentage is too high." So that's it. That's my first challenge.
Troy: It's tough, though.
Mitch:Yeah, it's one that you've been working on for . . . I mean, if it wasn't a challenge, it would have already been done, right? If it wasn't difficult . . . Right? So it is something that . . . I don't think it's dumb.
Scot: But it's dumb because how long do I have to work on this? In my brain, I'm just like, "Come on, just get it done. Just fix it."
Troy: But those are always the hardest pounds. It's kind of cliché, but it truly is. If you're up 20 pounds, that first 5 pounds is probably a whole lot easier, and then you get down to that last 5 pounds and that's just tough.
Scot: Yeah. I don't know. As a skinny fat guy, here's one of my frustrations. You'll see other people that have . . . they go online on Facebook or whatever and they go, "I need to start my health journey." You see that a lot. And then they talk about every week how they lost 5 pounds this week, and 7 pounds that week, and then a couple months later, "I'm down 80 pounds."
Well, skinny fat guys, we have fat, but we don't have that much to lose. Nobody can tell we've lost it, so it gets really frustrating. You know what I'm saying?
Troy: It's so tough. I know. I almost feel like to get that last 5 to 10 pounds off, there's got to . . . There's the basic stuff that we all talk about, and that's going to really shed the pounds if you're up quite a few. But that last 5 to 10, I don't know, it's like there's just got to be some kind of game changer. It almost takes a dramatic shift just to get that off where the other stuff is kind of the basic stuff that does it. So that's tough.
Scot: Why is this a challenge? That was a question I asked myself. And I would encourage, if you're listening, asking yourself the health challenge you've identified, why is it a challenge?
At this point, I don't know. Which is another really difficult thing because I have the knowledge. I understand nutrition fairly well. I used to weigh my food, so I really understand portion size. I understand how much fat different things have. I understand hidden sugar, all the things we've talked about, right? And I think that I'm eating a moderate amount. I don't want to measure, I don't want to weigh anymore, but I think I'm eating a moderate amount.
Another reason it's a challenge is I'm afraid of cutting my calories too much because when I do, then I'm kind of constantly hungry and I don't like that. And sometimes I find myself low on energy.
That's kind of what I've identified as why it's a challenge. Mitch and Troy, how about you? When you've had this same issue, why is it a challenge for you?
Troy: For me, it's a challenge, again, just because I feel like that last 5 or 10 pounds really requires a big shift for me to really make that difference. We've talked about it before. I was up at one point about 20 pounds more than I am right now. And the difference maker for me was a pretty dramatic lifestyle change, which meant running every day. And that was a big change.
I was riding my bike to work at that time, but that was pretty much all the exercise I was getting and it wasn't super strenuous. And even prior to that, I'd do activity here and there, but there were times I'd say just . . . It was questionable whether I was getting 30 minutes three times a week. But it really required a significant change of just starting out running two miles every day and then building from there to really drop the pounds.
Scot: Mitch, how about you?
Mitch: I do not have good genetics. I am constantly kind of fighting against getting heavier. I used to be really, really heavy during my master's program in particular.
The thing that's difficult for me is that . . . I've shared on this show before that when we found out that my hormones were all off and got those zoned in, I lost 25 pounds in a month and a half. It was amazing, but that stopped, right?
I am now to a point where I really would like to lose a little extra weight. I know that it's pretty heavy, but it's very difficult. I mean, it seems like there are so many things that I'm trying to fix with my health, my Core Four, my everything that sometimes it's hard to do all of them.
I'm trying really hard to make mental health a big part of my focus right now, and it's just like . . . Man, there are days that some of the work that I do with my therapist, some of the things that I do, I don't have the mental energy to think about, "Oh my god, do I have to weigh my food? Oh, man, how much kale am I going to eat this week?" Not that I'm eating kale. You know what I'm saying?
This idea of changing the status quo on top of all this other stuff just feels overwhelming sometimes and that's kind of the difficulty I have. And I try really hard to meal prep and whatever, but man, there are days that it's just . . . I can't.
Scot: So when you were just focusing on your weight, what were some of the challenges to you then?
Mitch: It was kind of knowing what to do at the time.
Scot: Oh, okay. It was knowledge gap.
Mitch: Yeah, I had a big knowledge gap. That was just it. I had tried all these things, and so what do you do? You go on to Reddit. And then everyone's like, "Oh my god, it's all about macros. Here, look, you can have four Pop-Tarts and this other thing." I did that for a while and ate more chicken breasts than I knew what to do with, and it just wasn't sustainable and unhappy.
And so now that I have more of the knowledge, there's this new kind of like, "Why is this so hard? Why don't I just go do it?"
Scot: All right. Now I'm thinking about that listener Scott, right? He was struggling with his last 5 or 10 pounds. He talked about that. And it gets frustrating because you hear that same advice that Mitch mentioned, right? Just cut out the extra sugar. If you're drinking soda, stop doing that. If you're all doing all those things and it's still not happening, what's going on?
Anyway, here's what I'm doing about it. I've decided to focus on the nutrition, because whether it's true or not, and I think it is true, I've heard you cannot out-exercise a bad diet. You just cannot burn enough calories in a day if your diet is not dialed in, if you're eating way too many calories in excess.
So I have three things that I did. One thing was I'm trying to reduce my alcohol consumption.
Scot:Not only just the health benefits, but each beer is, what, a couple 100 calories? And if you have two or three, there are 600 calories. And if you're already eating the amount of calories you need and you're adding another 600, the pounds are going to add up pretty quickly.
So that's going really well. I'm going to pat myself on the back for that. My secret was . . . This might not work for everybody, and I'm lucky that I don't think that I'm addicted in the way that I cannot stop. I just needed to find a replacement. I've talked about tea in the past, and that's actually worked for me.
Scot: If I'm craving a beer, I just make some sort of an herbal tea. I've found two or three of them that I like. Now, don't get me wrong, I still like beer and I still drink beer. But I've found that I drink it less occasions and I drink fewer at a sitting than I did before. And now I'm at a point where I can stop at one or two and I can just switch to tea and I'm perfectly happy with that.
Troy: How many beers today . . . per day have you cut out? How many beers today have you cut out, Scot?
Troy: Yeah, how many beers per day have you dropped?
Scot: Let's see. This is recorded at 1:54. Eight beers today.
Troy: Eight beers today, so not a great start to the day.
Scot: What are you talking about? A great start to the day.
Troy: Yeah, exactly. Calorie-wise.
Scot: I don't know. I probably would judge it by a week because I might have more on the weekend and not really drink as many during the week. But I don't know, five or six over the course of the week.
Troy: So you're dropping a couple hundred calories per day then. You've probably dropped, you know, maybe 5% to 10% of your caloric intake with that.
Troy: So yeah, that's great. It's a good start.
Scot: Second thing, sweets. I usually can have some good discipline, but lately, I haven't. And if I can keep those out of the house, I do pretty well. I don't know if you remember when I talk about doing my master's project, I resorted to the sweets quite often to deal with stress.
Mitch: Oh, what was your candy?
Scot: Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.
Mitch: Reese's, that's it.
Scot: The miniature, because I figure they're smaller. But when you eat a whole bag, it doesn't matter.
And if I have a craving for something sweet, I try to eat some fruit, or I've been letting myself eat a peanut butter and honey sandwich. Just really watching that I don't put a ton of peanut butter on there because that's really calorically dense. Or peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I allow myself to do those instead of sweets.
Scot: Then the hardest part, and I think this has been some mental reprogramming, is eating less. And I think I struggle with this because I feel like I'm eating the bare minimum already, but I'm not losing weight, so apparently that's not true. And Thunder did talk about that. He said just try to cut out the alcohol and the sweets and see what that does, and it really didn't do much I didn't feel. So now instead of eating as much as I used to, I try to eat less.
And my cornerstone is my breakfast. I still have my cauliflower and broccoli and bell pepper and zucchini and mushroom. I kind of make this . . . it's literally a pan of vegetables in the morning, and then I have eggs and oatmeal and some fruit.
And then I try to just think instead of having two more meals, I only have one more meal, so either lunch or dinner, whenever I happen to be hungry.
I drink a ton of water to try to keep my stomach full. And I just kind of deal with the fact that I'm probably going to be hungry, and I'm probably going to be low energy sometimes because I am reducing calories. That's just what I'm going to have to put up with in the short term until I get to where I want to be, and then I can go back to being more sustainable.
I've lost five pounds in the past four months, so I don't know if that helped. I don't know if those are the reasons why. It's probably not all fat. There's probably muscle in there because when you lose weight, you do lose muscle, and I'm not exercising/strength training that much. But I've made movement where I haven't in a long time. So that's what's going on with me.
Troy: Well, that's good progress. It's something. Yeah, it's great.
The hardest thing for me would be the caloric intake. To just straight up drop that and feel hungry, I don't know if I could do that. I can drop the sweets and that kind of stuff, but that's tough. And that's what I wonder too, is the sustainability of it if you do feel hungry. But maybe it's just a matter of getting a little more used to it. I don't know. That's a tough one.
Scot: As I have gotten used to it, it's been more manageable. It doesn't happen as often. And this, again, isn't going to be sustainable for the long term. I think it comes back to the thought that something a little bit more drastic has to be done just to kind of get to where I want to be.
And I've tried to strategically eat too. So for example, if I start getting hungry, maybe I used to eat a full meal. And now I just try to eat something and drink a couple of glasses of water, just something to kind of kill it a little bit, right? Maybe that's something low calorie, maybe it's a piece of fruit, maybe it's some yogurt, maybe it's some hummus and Triscuits. I've started doing that because of you, Troy.
Troy: I love it. You make me so happy.
Scot: Or veggies.
Troy: I love hearing that.
Scot: Or veggies and hummus, just something to take the edge off, right? But I don't know if you can do this without being hungry at times. I've kind of accepted that's just the way it's going to be for a while.
Troy: See, I just don't like being hungry. I think that's it. I just don't like that feeling.
Mitch: Me neither.
Troy: But I think, though, two things that really helped me where I don't really feel hungry. I drink a ton of water, and it sounds like you're doing more of that also where you're trying to drink more water. I think if you drink a lot of water, that's helpful.
And having fruits, exactly like you're doing. Having that readily available as snacks, I think, is really helpful also where you're reaching for that. I just don't like that feeling of being hungry, but then at the same time, I'm like, "Oh, I'll grab some peanuts," or I'll grab an apple, or an orange, or something. And that kind of satisfies that craving you have for sweets as well.
But yeah, hearing you talk about it, it sounds like you've done great things.
Scot: On one hand, I want to take that congratulations and say thank you. On the other hand, it's just like you're congratulating me on dumb things. I shouldn't be . . .
Mitch: Oh, come on.
Troy: You lost five pounds, man. That's the hardest part. We can congratulate you on losing 80 pounds if you were like 200 pounds overweight, but quite honestly, that 5 pounds is the hardest part. That last five, that's so hard.
Scot: I'm hoping to do another 10 or so, because I know what my body fat percentage is, I know what a healthy body fat percentage is, and I'm just trying to get there. That's what I'm trying to do.
Scot: That's my current health challenge. All right, Troy. What is your fitness challenge, or your health challenge I should say, that you're currently facing, and what are you doing about it? So first of all, what is the challenge?
Troy: The challenge right now, Scot, is I'm too skinny. I'm not joking. I'm too skinny.
Scot: "I don't have enough body fat."
Troy: I had an illness a couple of weeks ago and I was so sick, I didn't eat for almost 48 hours. Just super sick, just nausea. It was everything I could do not to vomit, but I just couldn't eat anything. And I dropped about . . . well, several pounds with that, and I just haven't put the weight back on.
I think the larger thing there hasn't just been that. I just feel like I need to put on more muscle mass. And I think that's the biggest issue for me. It's something I've always struggled with. I'm just a thin guy. But I think if I were to pick out one thing that I'm just kind of like, "I wish I could do a better job with that," it would be increasing my muscle mass.
In terms of what I'm doing about it, I've always had some challenge with protein intake. I think being vegetarian, I've really had to focus on protein intake and I've been focusing on that a lot more in the past year.
Resistance training, I'm probably not doing as much as I should. I do some resistance training every day, but I've wondered if I just need to try and focus on increasing that. But quite honestly, right now I'm just kind of in maintenance mode, just like, "Hey, I'm happy with other stuff I'm doing."
But if I were to pick out one thing where I thought, "I really wish I could do a better job with that," it's not putting on just weight per se, but just putting on more muscle mass and increasing that.
Scot: And is that because of an appearance/ego reason, or is there some health reason that you think you should have more muscle mass? And let me just say I'm in the same camp for myself. It's been something I've wanted to do for a long time. I feel like I don't really necessarily have a lot of muscle mass. So anyway, I can empathize with that. But why do you want to do that?
Troy: It's probably more appearance reason, because I do hear a lot of people say to me, "Oh, wow, you're really thin." And I don't really think about it, but then I see some pictures of myself and I'm like, "I am really thin, aren't I?" And I kind of have a big head so I kind of look like a bobblehead.
Mitch: A bobblehead, yeah.
Troy:I need some muscle mass to balance out my fat head. And I do have a fat head. I have to always get larger hat sizes and stuff.
Scot: I don't know that your head is fat, per se. I think it's just big.
Troy: It's on the larger side. I will say that. So it's not a good combination. And I will say that being said, I love running. I love that I run. I love what I'm doing. I'm maintaining that, and I'm super happy about that. But I think it's a consequence of running a lot. It is tough to maintain that muscle mass and build it. But it is one thing I do wish I could do a better job.
You're right, it's for appearance. I feel generally healthy and I'm very happy about that, but on the appearance side, I wish I could put on some more muscle mass.
Scot: It's interesting, right? I've heard it said that we are so pre-programmed to seeing people that are overweight, even us skinny fat folk, when we do get into a fat zone that we should be at that's healthy, then society sees us as super skinny or too skinny, right? Even you through your eyes.
Scot: I can't remember . . . somebody was telling me that the average weight of a West Point graduate back in the 1900s was like 150 pounds. These are men that were soldiers and in good shape, right? It's just we've gotten so used to seeing people so much bigger.
And then my challenge is you see people that do exercise and work out, so they're bigger than the average person, right? And then that kind of morphs us the other way.
Troy: Right. And maybe it's just I need to get over that and accept I'm a thin guy, and my BMI is where I want it to be. I mean, that's where my weight is. I kind of range between 150 to 155. So I'm just under 5-foot-10, like 5-foot-9 and three-quarters, and don't forget that three-quarters.
Troy: Don't forget that. So yeah, it puts my BMI between 20 and 25. I'm about 22 to 23 on that. So yeah, maybe it is more not so much I need to put on muscle mass. Maybe it's more just I need to say, "Hey, it is what it is and I'm happy with what I'm doing elsewhere."
I'll keep doing the resistance training I'm doing, which I think is good. I don't know. Maybe at some point, try to incorporate some more things there if I can work that into my routine.
Scot: Yeah. I think about resistance training for a bit of a different reason. So I do think about it for appearance, because as I lose some body fat, I don't like how my clothes start fitting, especially in my shoulders and neck area. So I want to put on extra muscle just because I . . . And it's totally an appearance thing or how my clothes fit thing.
But I've also tried to do this for a long time and I know how hard it is, right? It's going to take a dedication of time. And that's one of my other struggles that I'm struggling with, is I know I want to do resistance training not only because I know the health benefits. You start losing muscle mass when you turn 30. If you have more muscle mass going in your old age, you're going to be healthier, less likely to get injured, you have a higher metabolism so you're not going to be as likely to get fat.
If you do resistance training, it helps your bone health, making those harder, which is good. It helps your balance so you're not going to fall and break something as you get older.
But I still struggle with consistency for that. And again, I know the benefits and I have the knowledge and I know how to do it. I just don't know why I don't. I enjoy it when I do it, so I don't know. Mitch, any insights there?
Mitch: I mean, as someone who has constantly been like, "Oh, I wish I was thinner. Oh, I wish I was thinner," the big change for me was focusing on those health things rather than strictly the look things.
Yes, there are mental health aspects to feeling comfortable in your skin. I still would like to reach that point, etc. But there is something to be said about emphasizing health over "I want to look like someone I see on a magazine cover." Because if that's what I'm shooting for, then of course I'm not making it. And we've had guests on before that talk about how miserable they are when they're in competition or photography shape, right?
So it's maybe just resetting a little bit of that, focusing on the health rather than strictly 100% what I'm looking at in the mirror. I mean, that's been helpful for me.
Troy: You're right, yeah.
Scot: Troy, what are you shooting for in appearance? What are you looking for? What kind of muscularity?
Mitch: What's your aesthetic?
Troy: Mere muscles. It's all about the mere muscles.
Scot: Just some indications there are some?
Troy: Yeah, exactly. Some indication of some musculature in my upper extremities. My legs are fine. Yeah, my legs are fine. I get comments on my calves all the time, which I'm quite proud of. I shouldn't say all the time, but I have gotten comments on my calves just randomly. Again, that's just from running and running hills a lot.
But yeah, some sort of musculature and definition in my arms and shoulders would be nice to avoid the T-Rex look.
Right now, I'm doing push-ups every day, I do weights, I do pull-ups. I mean, these are just things I'm doing every day along with a lot of stretching and that kind of stuff as well.
But it's a good point you make, Mitch. If it is just about the look, then it's probably just a frustrating process. I probably need to find a better motivation for that, and I don't know what that motivation is, but maybe something else.
Mitch: Sure. And that's not to say that there aren't mental health benefits for feeling comfortable in your skin, thinking that you look good. I'm not trying to downplay that. But if that's 100% what you're shooting for, make sure that it's realistic, reasonable, etc., or you'll just beat yourself up.
Scot: I love that you're doing resistance training though on a day-to-day basis, because that is contributing to health, even though you're not necessarily seeing it. And as a guy who's struggled with weight training and has tried to do weight training . . . Like Mitch mentioned, we've had a guest on that talked about that journey. I mean, that's a huge time commitment. I think one has to ask themselves, and this is a question I'm struggling with, is it worth that time commitment?
I mean, in order to put on muscle mass that's apparent . . . You could exercise, do a lot of strength training, and get stronger and never really get bigger.
Scot: That's completely possible. It's a different kind of training, from what I understand anyway, to put on visual size. And it takes a lot of time. I don't know with a new kid . . . Why am I trying to talk you out of this? I don't know.
Troy:You're doing a good job of it, though. You're making me think I should just be really happy with the way I am and what I'm doing and just not worry about it. And that's a lot of what I've done, so you're right.
Scot: But on the other hand, I recently kind of had a turning point where I wanted to get back into the gym for some physical appearance/muscle/ego because my brother-in-law has all of a sudden had a turning point where he stopped drinking and he's on this really healthy diet now. I don't know that he's ever eaten like this in his life. And he's exercising three times a week. I don't want to go back home at Christmas time and have everybody . . .
Mitch: Oh, no.
Scot: . . . complimenting him.
Troy: And he's going to be looking better than you. You don't want that.
Scot: Right. Exactly.
Mitch: Oh, no.
Scot: So there's another ego thing that you've got to struggle with. Is it really worth all of that? And how dumb am I where that's my motivation now?
Troy: See, I just found my motivation. I just found it because, for me, it has to be something I can easily incorporate into my life.
Troy:I've got my motivation. And just what you said about the new kid . . .
Scot:"Be more muscular than Scot."
Troy: No, it has nothing to do with you, Scot. Although that is good motivation. I feel like it has to incorporate into my life. I have to see more purpose to it than just, "Okay, this is how you look." It has to be something that's easily sustainable.
So my new approach is I'm going to just start doing overhead presses with my kid. She loves being lifted up and she's like, "Oh, this is so cool." So I'll just do multiple overhead presses with her every day. She will enjoy it. She's going to think this is cool. She just keeps getting heavier, so that's going to make me stronger as she gets bigger.
Then it's like, "Hey, I'm just helping. I'm just playing with her. I'm just lifting her up. This is really cool." And then maybe I'll start to see a little definition in my shoulders where I don't just look like I'm just super skinny.
Scot: Bench-press the kid. Shoulder-press the kid.
Troy: Bench-press the kid.
Mitch: Just remember not to go to failure with a child.
Troy: That's right. Don't go to failure. I will avoid reaching that point.
Scot: All right. Well, let's go to Mitch next. Mitch, what are you dealing with?
Mitch: So mine is unfortunately a little . . . it's not self-imposed, which kind of makes it pretty difficult in a lot of ways. But I am currently dealing with a bunch of the different medication shortages that are happening in the U.S. in the summer of 2023.
I have been making great strides in mental health with working with an ADHD specialist and working on making sure that we tune in my medications. And then I'm told I can't have them for a month or two, and it puts everything at hold.
We were having some issues a couple of weeks ago getting a medication that my sleep doctor gave me for restless leg syndrome. And so the last couple of weeks, I have not been sleeping well because I can't get the medications I need.
And so it gets really disheartening across the board, right? I'm doing this thing, I'm working on myself, I'm working to improve myself, I've gone to specialists, I've done sleep studies, I've done tests, I've tried all these things that I know are going to help me out, and then you can't. You can't for a couple of weeks, right?
Mitch:Yeah, it's beyond frustrating because it's just like, "Well, great, I guess I'm not going to sleep well for the next couple of weeks."
This thing I'm struggling with is trying to be compassionate enough to myself to be like, "Hey, this is what's going on. It's not like you can go down and make the meds yourself at the factory." There's no solution that I can do initially. So setting expectations and being kind and compassionate to myself and stuff. It's rough right now.
Troy: That's incredibly frustrating. So you're having two-week stretches or even more of just not having the medication?
Mitch: Yep. I was down for a little procedure recently, so I was able to at least stock up on the ADHD meds. I've rationed, and so I have a little bit of leeway month to month. But I get to the end of the month and I don't know, if I go to the pharmacy, if they're going to have it or not. And that's really frustrating too because it's I'm not making progress . . . I feel like I made so much progress.
Scot: And you worked hard for that progress. You had to do a lot of detective work and go through a lot of providers to figure out some of these issues that you've been struggling with your whole life. And just recently, you finally got some answers and got some things that were helping you.
Mitch: Yeah. I'm in a program right now where I'm working with an ADHD specialist to kind of come up with new techniques to figure out how your brain works and whatever, and that gets kind of put on hold. It's supposed to be a so many week progress, you're supposed to work through one thing after another, and then you finish, but I've had to put that on hold. It's just like, "Ugh. Okay."
Scot: So question for you. Your restless leg syndrome medicine, did it really make that much of a difference? I mean, you went from not sleeping at all, going on that medication, sleeping really well, to not sleeping at all again when you don't have it?
Mitch: Yeah. So I did not realize how much it was helping. It was actually to the point where I was going to reach out to my doctor and be like, "Man, I don't know if this is doing much. I know it took a while to ramp up into it. I know it took a . . . But maybe we should look at something else."
When I could not get the pills and I had to . . . Yeah, there was a potential for withdrawal, so I'm talking to my doctor, like, "What am I going to do?" etc. And luckily I had an extra pill or two to kind of taper a little bit. But now I'm trying to taper back on after a couple of weeks of not having it, and for the last couple of weeks, I have not . . . Yeah, it's really wrecked my sleep schedule, and that can take a while to get back. It's just like, "Oh my god, I thought we had this locked down."
And so going from having the medication, not knowing if it was doing much, to not having it, realizing it did a whole bunch, and then not being able to go get more, it's just . . . Yeah.
Troy: That's just brutal. The best analogy in my mind would be if they just ran out of omeprazole all of a sudden, which is for acid reflux.
Mitch: Oh my god, yeah.
Troy: Yeah, if that just ran out . . . I just traveled and I realized I didn't have enough omeprazole, and I had one night without it and it was just like, "No." That was just one night, and I was having killer heartburn. But that's nothing compared to having significant restless leg syndrome that's keeping you up all night.
But that's unbelievably frustrating. Like you said, what else do you do? It's not like you can make your own medication. It's not like there's some root you can dig up or some herbal remedy that's going to make a difference.
Mitch: Right. Yeah, just grind something up.
Troy: Just grind something up and take that.
Scot: Troy, not to be uncompassionate, but I think we've got a great opportunity here for an experiment. Mitch, how's life without sleep now compared to how it was? Does it make a big difference in your life, in your mental health, your physical health?
Mitch: Yeah, it does. I'm finding that just the motivation to do good things, the motivation to eat healthy . . . Having energy through the day has been really, really hard the last couple of weeks.
Scot: Because we talked about the importance of sleep and I think sometimes it can get undervalued. But you're experiencing the side effects of lack of sleep after getting some sleep for a while. And you didn't get it for that long, so it's really fresh in your memory I guess.
Mitch: I guess that's the extra thing to it, is that we have finally found solutions to problems after years of looking into them. Both the ADHD and the restless leg stuff, right? I now know what it feels like to be better. I now know what it feels like to have those conditions treated, right? And now it's like, "Well, hey, keep on keeping on." So it suddenly feels worse to be back to where I was before.
Scot: Wow. I'm so sorry about that. I think compassion . . . Like you said, what can you do about that? Just being compassionate and just realizing, I guess, it is what it is at this point.
Mitch: Because you set up plans. You set up like, "Yeah, well, now that I have energy again, I'm going to start working out every morning." And then it's like, "Don't beat yourself up because you didn't get up at 5 a.m. to go run," or whatever it was. It's like, "You're dead tired and there are extenuating circumstances. Be okay." So that's my challenge and what I'm working on.
Scot: That was a great conversation. Thank you very much for working through that. I hope that you, the listener, found this useful in some way shape or form. Take the challenge. What is the health challenge you're facing? Is there some sort of a turning point you can identify that might help you want to take that challenge on? What are your struggles? How are you labeling it? And what can you do about it?
If you want to talk about that or share your experience or if you're just even stuck and want to work through it with us, well, that's what we do here. We talk about health at "Who Cares About Men's Health." And you can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. That's email@example.com.
Thanks for listening. Thanks for caring about men's health.
Listener Line: 601-55-SCOPE
The Scope Radio: https://thescoperadio.com
Who Cares About Men’s Health?: https://whocaresmenshealth.com
- 167: "It's Just a Cough": Men and Health Hesitancy
- 166: Trust Your Gut? Intuitive Eating Explained
- 165: Real Resolutions—Finding and Following Your Values
- 164: Health Beyond Medicine—Social Factors Shaping Men's Wellness
- 163: Avoiding the ER—Dr. Madsen's Essential Prevention Tips
- 162: Gifting Wellness: 9 Holiday Gift Ideas for the Health-Minded
- 161: Beyond the Bulk - Strength Training for the Rest of Us
- 160: Listener Wal's Wake-Up Call
- 159: What Moms Want Their Sons to Know About Health with Melanie
- 158: Little Triumphs in Men's Health: Why Every Win Counts