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156: Five Things Women Wish Men Knew About Health with Tammy

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156: Five Things Women Wish Men Knew About Health with Tammy

Sep 19, 2023

Ever wondered what women wish their male partners took seriously about health? Tammy, Troy's younger sister, did the research, and the answers are surprisingly consistent. From her women's running group to her mom, and even a consultation with ChatGPT, she's uncovered 5 essential health concerns women wish men would prioritize. Gentlemen, consider this a potential roadmap to better health and happier relationships.

Episode Transcript

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: The top five things women wished men cared about with their health. Now, before you sigh or groan or just even stop listening entirely because your man brain went to the old cliché of a woman nagging you about your health, I want you to just pause for a second. And that's going to be the first challenge and the first takeaway from this episode. I'm four sentences in, and we've got a challenge and a takeaway already.

Mitch: Oh, wow.

Scot: Yeah. So instead of outright rejecting this idea or staying with this idea of saying, "This is just nagging. I hate it. Why are you bothering me with this?" instead say to yourself or out loud, "That's an interesting point. I'll have to consider that," and then marinate on what was just told to you without judgment. Let it sit there for two or three days and then reevaluate that thought. A lot of times, as we know, another person's perspective might help us see blind spots that we don't if we don't reject it outright.

And consider, too, the reason women want to have these conversations is because they care about our health. And for the longest time on this guy talk show, "Who Cares About Men's Health," a majority of our listeners have been women. We don't know why, for sure, but it might have something to do with they we're looking for insight to help the men in their lives.

Whether it's wives, moms, sisters, daughters, aunts, grandmas, the health decisions men make not only impact our own health and us, but they impact others in our lives. So the first thing we have to do is reframe it from nagging, or however you're framing this, to concern. And that can be tough and take time.

So, in an effort to continue to challenge old paradigms, we're going to ask women what they want the men in their lives to know about health in a series that we're calling "Women Who Care About Men's Health."

Mitch: I like it.

Troy: Oh, we answered the question, finally, after five years. Who cares about men's health? Women do. That's the answer.

Scot: Women.

Tammy: Women do.

Troy: That's the answer. The women in our life.

Scot: This is "Who Cares About Men's Health," with information, inspiration, and a different interpretation of men's health. I'm Scot Singpiel. I bring the BS. The MD to my BS, Dr. Troy Madsen.

Troy: Scot, good to be here. Good to be talking about men's health and good to be talking to a woman.

Scot: He's an "I Care About My Health Convert," Producer Mitch Sears.

Mitch: Excited to get some perspective.

Scot: Yeah. You sound excited.

Troy: You sound thrilled. Mitch.

Scot: I don't know.

Mitch: Sure.

Scot: This might be tough for our guest today. Mitch might be the hard one here on the show.

Troy: He's the resistant one.

Scot: Yeah. And because he knows today's guest the best, I'm going to let Troy introduce our guest today.

Troy: I do know today's guest the best. This is Tammy King. This is my younger sister. She's an incredible mother. She's a runner, has completed multiple marathons, including the Boston Marathon. She has a master's degree in English, has taught at a college/university level, and now works as a technical writer for a tech company. So, Tammy, thank you so much for being on our show.

Tammy: Thanks, Troy. I'm excited to be here.

Scot: Is that the nicest Troy has ever been to you right there?

Tammy: He's a really nice brother.

Scot: Yeah? There was no picking on you? There were no little jabs, no nothing?

Tammy: No. He's a good one. He's a keeper.

Troy: There we go. Thank you, Tammy.

Scot: All right. Some other things to know about Tammy in addition to that she's Troy's sister . . . And before you say something like, "Wow. You guys are lazy. Troy's sister is your guest? Is that where we're at on the show?"

Troy: This is what it's come to. We just pull family members in.

Scot: If you ever want to be on the podcast, you can always reach out to us. We invite anybody to be on the show.

So, anyway, Troy's sister, avid podcast listener, and loves "Who Cares About Men's Health." Tammy, do you love it because your brother is on it, or did you discover it independently? How did that happen?

Tammy: Well, I discovered it through Troy, but it has helped me so much as a mom. It's interesting because my kids started to go through . . . My older teen started to get acne. And at that time, I was listening to your dermatology podcast and he talked about how no teen should have to have acne, and he recommended Differin gel. I went and got that right away and my kid's acne cleared up. It was just so freaking awesome.

Mitch: Cool.

Troy: That's cool.

Tammy: And just so many things like that have happened. I love using TD's recipes for my family, trying to make it healthier.

Scot: Oh, Theresa Dvorak from the "Man Meal" series.

Tammy: Yes. I love her curry, and I've used that multiple times. It's become a staple in our house. But it's great. The hidden sugar episode has been great for my family. We'll look at how many added sugars are in cereal. We'll look at added sugars in different things, and I discuss it with my kids. So that's been really valuable.

Scot: Cool.

Troy: That's cool. I have to say that episode probably has been the most impactful of any of the dietary things we talked about, because I was so shocked. And then I look at the sugar that's in stuff I was eating, like yogurt. I was like, "Oh, yogurt is healthy." So yeah, I totally agree.

Tammy: So, just overall, it's been an awesome podcast for me as a mother and a wife and a daughter and a sister just in general. So I appreciate what you guys do.

Scot: All right. So the list is the five things women wished men cared about with their health. Tammy, how did you come up with this list? You're the one that approached us with this list.

Tammy: So I run with a lot of friends, and all of these friends are female and they're very concerned about their health. I mean, they're running with me every day. Sometimes when we had little, little kids, we'd have to wake up at 3:00 a.m. to get in our long runs. So they're very concerned about their health, but their loved ones in their lives were not.

It became a point of topic on our runs, just how do you help the men in your lives catch this vision of health or want to be healthier? And so it kind of made me think about this topic. How can we help the men in our lives be healthier? And as you mentioned, Scot, in your intro, nagging does not help. It doesn't.

Troy: It's not effective.

Scot: So women do know that. I didn't think women knew that. No, I'm just kidding.

Mitch: Oh, come on.

Troy: Wait a sec, Scot.

Tammy: And so I sense a lot of frustration, but I'm not even sure how you can help any loved one be healthier. I think it's something internal.

Troy: So did you talk to these friends and get their input into the top five list that you wish they cared about?

Tammy: Yes. I talked to these friends. I talked to my mom.

Troy: That's my mom too, just in case anyone was wondering.

Scot: Thanks.

Troy: It's the same person.

Tammy: And then I actually consulted ChatGPT just to see what the internet would say. So I looked all over for articles or something, and there's not a lot out there. And so ChatGPT was helpful and it was identical to what my friends and my mom and I came up with.

Scot: Really?

Tammy: Mm-hmm.

Troy: Wow.

Tammy: Which is really cool.

Scot: When you saw that, what did you think?

Tammy: I was impressed. I said, "Huh."

Scot: I guess it's pretty universal then. I guess these concerns aren't some fringe concerns . . .

Tammy: No.

Scot: . . . that only the women in our lives have. This seems to be pretty universal across all women. Wow.

But when you said that the men in the lives of these women that you talked to don't care about their health, expand on that a little bit. What does that mean? Or is that getting too much into your list?

Tammy: For a lot of them, it's frustration of their spouses being out of shape and overweight and not being able to keep up with them or play with the kids.

Another friend, her husband really struggled with depression and was unwilling to admit that. So things like that came up.

Scot: And any idea why the men just kind of ignore these things or don't deal with them? Is it they're unaware? I mean, do you have any insight on that from yourself or the women you talked to?

Tammy: I don't. So that's a question I'd ask you guys.

Scot: Yeah. I think that's the $100,000 question.

Troy: Yeah. Exactly. And I think we've kind of talked about that before. A lot of time, it's pride or we just don't feel like we have the time to address it or we have other priorities. So I think there are a lot of factors.

But it's interesting, though, like you said, Tammy, a lot of these women you talked to noticed in their husbands that they had these issues and they wished they cared about them. But again, the challenge is how do you get people to care about it. I'm curious how this list looks.

Tammy: Okay. One more comment on that. There was a great "Washington Post" article that came out in April, and it just said men are socially programmed to not complain. And so it could be part of it. Cultural biases around masculinity that teach boys and men to hide their feelings and not complain about their health.

Scot: Yep. And it's a sign of weakness as well. I've heard that.

Mitch: Yeah. Like you're not strong enough to deal with whatever it is.

Scot: So a lot of reasons why. And I would imagine, too, just maybe being unaware could truly be one of them as well. I think it's really a complicated question.

Tammy: Right. And there's one more thing I want to mention, too, along that. So this is from "The Washington Post" article. "For years, the widely-held belief in medical circles was that women use too many healthcare resources compared to men. As a result, men were viewed as a standard for seeking healthcare while women were often dismissed as hysterical or anxious when they sought care."

And they said, "We used to think women were over-utilizing healthcare and men were doing it correctly. What we realized was that most women were doing it better, mostly for preventive care, and men were actually underutilizing healthcare."

Troy: Interesting.

Mitch: That's fascinating, isn't it?

Troy: Yeah. Interesting. And it's probably because historically, going back 50 years, a lot of the healthcare providers, at least on the physician side, were men. And so they probably thought, "Well, this is what I would do, and these women are here for things I wouldn't come in for. So, surely, they're wrong." As men, we're the ones that are just . . . Yeah, we should be addressing these things, but for whatever reason, we don't.

Mitch: By the way, Tammy, you came prepared. Do you want a spot on the show?

Troy: Do you want to take a spot?

Mitch: More prepared than I do.

Scot: Yeah, we've been having some issues with Troy lately. We've been looking for . . . No.

Troy: Yeah. Seriously.

Scot: All right. So, guys, let's go ahead and have our guesses to what might be on Tammy's list. And we'll see how well we can do. I'm sure we'll do terribly. The top five things women wished men cared about with their health. Let's start with you, Troy. What do you think is on this list?

Troy: Diet has got to be on there. Healthier eating. I guarantee women wish that men ate either fewer calories or less sugar, a more balanced diet, and more fruits and vegetables. That's got to be on there.

Scot: Or more of a plant-based diet, right?

Troy: Yeah, more of a plant-based diet.

Scot: Which again plays into this whole manly thing that men don't eat salads, we eat steaks, right?

Troy: Right. Got to have our meat.

Scot: All right. Tammy, are you keeping track, so at the end here we can see who got the most?

Tammy: I'll keep track.

Troy: She's keeping the score.

Scot: Yeah. I know Troy is going to want to turn it into a competition.

Troy: I didn't say that. No. Tammy knows everything in our family becomes a competition, so I intentionally try to avoid it. That's just the nature of the Madsen family.

Tammy: Everything is a competition. Yes.

Scot: All right. Mitch, what's on your list? What do you think is going to be on the list?

Mitch: All right. So I was really fighting against all of the stereotypes from sitcoms in my life, like "Married With Children."

Scot: Lean into it.

Mitch: Lean into that? All right.

Tammy: Do it.

Troy: It's real life.

Mitch: So I was thinking that work stress, probably a big one. Men not dealing with their mental health and getting super stressed at work. I thought diet, diet and fitness, right? It's like the perennial fat slob of a husband type of stereotype. Hey, you should probably care about that. And then preventive care. The guys never go to the doctor. They're really bad when they're sick, but they don't go, etc. So it's that kind of stuff. Not getting help when they need it.

Troy: That's a good one too. Yeah. Colonoscopies.

Mitch: Yeah. It's constantly a joke on there too.

Scot: All right. Well, boy, it's hard going third because . . .

Troy: Did we steal all yours?

Scot: Yeah. A lot of mine have been crossed off, but I think in my life, the main one is . . . And my wife, I wouldn't say that she ever nags me about these things, so I'm pretty fortunate. But there are times where she's like, "I think you should go to the doctor about that." And I'm like, "I think I know when I need to go see the doctor. My timeframe is just a little different than yours." But I would say that that's one. Even I'm guilty of that.

I think another one is men ignoring nagging health issues that they won't stop talking about or that other people in our lives see that they decrease our quality of life and they think if we just go do something about it, then we'd live such a better life.

I have an example in my life. I'm not going to name who, but hearing aids. Just not wanting to wear hearing aids, right? And we know that not hearing can lead to mental health issues, it leads to disengagement, and that sort of thing, but for whatever reason, it's not manly to wear hearing aids or we deny that we have that issue.

Mitch, right on, that you should see a mental health professional about blank, better managing stress or dealing with a traumatic event in their life, or childhood issues that might be getting in the way of our relationships. I think women can really see that and we can't.

And then one nobody else guessed: Use sunscreen.

Mitch: Oh, sure. I am stronger than the sun, as far as I am concerned.

Troy: I just have a nice leathery complexion. Why should I need sunscreen?

Scot: "Just put that stuff on. Why don't you use it?" "Ah, I'm not going to." So those are my guesses. Tammy?

Troy: That's a good one.

Scot: How did we do? Did any of us get anything on the . . .

Tammy: Actually, yeah, you're all winners.

Troy: We're all winners. Yay.

Tammy: Yes, except for the sunscreen one. They're all within the list, but sunscreen is definitely up there. It just wasn't in the top five.

Scot: I mean, that's your fault because that should be.

Tammy: It really should.

Troy: It's your fault, your friend's fault, and our mom's fault.

Scot: You really missed on that one.

Tammy: We did.

Troy: Exactly.

Scot: All right. Well, let's get to the list, "Top Five Things Women Wished Men Cared About With Their Health." Let's start with number five, which you've already told us is . . . This is in numerical order, so number one is the most important according to you and your friends and the people you talked to. So what's number five?

Tammy: And ChatGPT. So number five is healthy lifestyle. This includes quitting smoking, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, and making long-term health choices that support a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. You guys have hit on this a lot within your podcast, just maintaining that healthy lifestyle and avoiding these various addictions.

Troy: Yeah. So it is a little bit broad, but it sounds like that relates to just avoiding the bad habits, the bad health habits, and then having some good ones in there as well.

Tammy: Yes. That one was quite broad, but it's mostly the smoking and alcohol use.

Scot: Okay. Smoking and alcohol was . . . That's probably more than nutrition in your group, would you say?

Tammy: Yeah.

Scot: That's interesting. And it's also interesting, I think maybe the reason . . . I could speak to the drinking because I like to drink beer. I love craft beer. And I've heard that before, "Maybe you're drinking a little too much," and I haven't responded positively to it. I'm going to admit I was probably using alcohol as a distraction to other things that were going on in my life, even though at the time I would deny it, and I might even still deny it if you really press me on it. But I mean, let's be honest.

And I think the other thing is with all of these things, I think sometimes we as a society and men see this as a yes or no, an on or off thing, right? Like, "stop drinking less" means "I can't drink anything" as opposed to just being maybe more reasonable or moderate about it and having that discussion, "Well, what could that look like?" Maybe that's just a couple on the weekend. Maybe instead of four at the party, it's two.

I think, too, for me, the reason maybe I pushed back against that is because that's hard. That's hard to do, and it's not fun to just have a couple as opposed to three or four.

Troy: Yeah. I mean, again, I'm thinking in terms of other health habits. Maybe it's sodas, but maybe that's going to fall under more of a diet thing. But it sounds like it's just kind of those things that maybe a man does that, like you mentioned, Scot, maybe we just don't have the insight into. Maybe it's a little more excessive than it should be, and it becomes problematic, and the women in our lives wish that we could cut back or leave it altogether.

Scot: Or these are things men do. We drink. We smoke. Because society has told us that that's what manly men do.

Mitch: That's kind of what I was thinking too. It's not just women, but when I was . . . Some of my partners in the past, it's been, "Hey, noticed you've been smoking a lot lately," back when I was still smoking. And it was like it was an affront, right? It was this, "You don't know how hard I have it, and you don't know . . ." It was that kind of response.

But looking back, especially these days, they just cared. As an outsider, they were seeing what it was doing to my health, seeing what it was doing to my mental health, seeing what it was doing to my sleeping, everything, right? And so for them, it was, "Hey, I care about you. I want you to be healthy. I hope you don't get lung cancer," that kind of stuff. But at the time, it was like, "No. You are impinging on me. This is tyranny." Whatever it is.

Scot: In a couple of episodes, we hit on this aspect, too, that oftentimes smoking/drinking are the result of other things in our lives. Especially the episode we had with Loren and his struggle with alcohol. It's not about the beer, it's not about the booze, it's not about the cigarettes, it's about something else. And that's scary to have to face. And it also seems kind of overwhelming at times to untangle all of that so that thing goes away, right? It's not just about quitting the drinking.

Tammy, any thoughts or are we just making a bunch of excuses?

Troy: It sounds like a lot of justification on our part.

Tammy: No. And I think so many people listening will relate to that. It is so hard.

Scot: And I think also us men, we think if we put our mind to something, we should be able to do it. So if we want to quit drinking, we just should. Sometimes it's harder than that. So then it's just easier to get defensive about it, right? I don't know.

Anyway, that was a great number five. Let's move to number four on the list, "Top Five Things Women Wished Men Cared About With Their Health." What's number four?

Tammy: So number four may not really fit, but it was important to those I talked to. And none of you guessed it. So it's understanding women's health issues. Isn't that interesting?

Scot: Wow.

Troy: We are so egocentric. We wouldn't have even guessed that. That's fascinating.

Mitch: They just wanted us to know them.

Troy: Wow.

Scot: What if we don't want to?

Troy: What if we just don't want to know?

Tammy: Sorry. As women, we don't want to deal with it either.

Scot: Sure.

Troy: That's fascinating.

Scot: Yeah, that's a bomb you dropped on . . .

Troy: You just dropped it.

Scot: . . . everybody right there.

Tammy: But if you think through your past episodes, there was one where Troy was learning about pregnancy and labor and delivery. And that's what we want. Have a little empathy to what we have to go through.

Mitch: Sure.

Tammy: And then on this one, menopause, just hormonal changes, and everything like that.

Troy: Yeah, that's a fascinating one. That's really interesting that's in these top five because it makes perfect sense. Obviously, we're framing this as what women wish men cared for about their health, but it obviously relates to the health of the relationship. And I think that in terms of a man's empathy and those factors as well, it relates to that in terms of a man's actual mental health or however you want to frame it. And that's funny, because that's something we really haven't talked about on the show.

Mitch: No.

Troy: Besides the pregnancy episode.

Mitch: And I guess that's just kind of it, too. If our response to the women in our lives and their health issues is, "Women be crazy," if that is our response, how much are we shutting down empathy or understanding or all of that just by being like, "Eh, ladies are sometimes weird"?

Scot: Tammy, how would you suggest that us as men manifest those conversations? Keeping in mind that maybe all women are a little different. I'm picturing my wife and would she want to talk about her health issues? I don't know. Maybe that's just me trying to avoid it. But how would you or other women you've talked to like to see that manifested?

Tammy: So I do have something to say about this. I have five children, so I've had a lot of pregnancies and I dealt with . . . This is really rare, but I dealt with prenatal depression. It was just for a short time. A hormone spikes, and it had a huge effect on me.

And as I was going through this multiple times because of my pregnancies, it was very real to me. I would think something was wrong with my husband not taking me on as many dates as he should or spending as much time as he should with me. I'd almost make up problems to compensate for what I was feeling.

And the worst thing my husband could have said was, "Oh, it's just your hormones," or, "Oh, it's just that time of the month." That is the worst thing. I think what men need to do is just say, "Oh, yeah, let's do this together. Let's go on a date."

Even though I know once I'm past that period that I was being a little ridiculous, my husband taking my concerns seriously was the best thing he could have done, and not just blaming it on hormones or pregnancy or what the real issue was.

Scot: Take feelings seriously. And then would you want him to talk to you about them, discuss them, ask you about them?

Tammy: Yes. And it probably won't make any sense as you're talking to . . . It won't make any sense, and you'll probably talk in circles over and over, but it helps so much. And I don't know for other women what they think, but for me, that helps. Just talking through it and it won't make any sense at all, but then I get over it and I feel better and life goes on.

Troy: That's interesting.

Scot: Yeah, I think we learned something. I think "it's just your hormones" is never a good response.

Troy: It's never a good response.

Scot: And how many of us men have used that response in multiple situations with the women in our lives?

Troy: Yeah. And never just say, "It's that time of the month."

Tammy: Never ever say that. Never.

Mitch: Leave that.

Troy: Don't say it.

Tammy: Just take it seriously and just smile and talk through it and . . .

Scot: That's good. We had an episode on that, didn't we, guys?

Troy: We had the episode on feelings with Dr. Jones.

Scot: Being available.

Troy: Yeah, being available. So, in a sense, we did. Yeah, being available and talking through things. Our tendency is . . . obviously, it's kind of a stereotype, but we always just kind of want to go, "Okay. Let's fix the problem. What's the underlying issue? Okay. Hormones. Great. Let's move on."

Tammy: You can't do that.

Troy: That's not a great approach.

Tammy: Yeah, and there's not a fix-it solution. There's not. There won't be.

Troy: Yeah, that's a great insight. Sometimes it's not a fix-it solution. It's, "Let's talk about it. What can we do?"

Scot: Well, no, it's not, "What can we do?"

Troy: But again, it's not, "What can I do?" See, that's what I'm going through all the time.

Tammy: It's like, "Let's just go get ice cream and talk about it."

Scot: Wow. There's another thing I just learned. "Let's go get ice cream and blank."

Troy: Yeah. I like it.

Scot: I hope that's not being too stereotypical.

Tammy: No, you're good.

Scot: All right. Wow. This is a great list. So the top five things women wished men cared about with their health. Let's get number three on the table.

Tammy: Number three is mental health. And so all of you hit on this. Women value men who prioritize their mental health and well-being. This involves acknowledging and addressing stress, anxiety, and other mental health concerns. So women wish men would seek support to deal with these problems.

Scot: And your experience and the women's experience and ChatGPT is that we don't? Is that what you're seeing?

Tammy: Yeah, I do. You just want to push it aside, ignore it, but it's definitely something there.

Scot: And what are the repercussions that you see of not dealing with those sorts of things?

Tammy: I think it affects the family a lot. If it's a father or a husband, it really affects the family. And women will turn and think, "Oh, is it something I've done? Is it something I'm not good at?" and it kind of makes them withdrawn from the family, where I think if there are mental health issues, get help so you can be present, so you can be there.

Troy: So a lot of women who brought this up, were they saying they wished their husbands would talk to them more specifically about mental health concerns or issues, or more seeking professional help, or kind of all of the above? What was the sense you were getting?

Tammy: So the sense I've received is their husbands do talk to them about it. Not really, though. I'd have to say not really. They know what's coming. They know that they're in a depressed state, and they wish that they would seek help. They wish that they would go and do what they need to help with their mental health issues.

Troy: And I know we've talked before, too, about how men a lot of times will manifest depression and anxiety as anger. Did that come up? Were women . . .

Tammy: No. It hasn't come up in my circles.

Scot: It sounds like in your circles it was kind of detachment.

Tammy: Detachment, withdrawn, wanting to sleep for long periods.

Troy: Interesting. And maybe they have brought it up with their spouse, or at least in some form kind of brought it up. Are you finding that they mentioned that they have felt depressed, or is it more just kind of like, "Hey, I just don't have the energy to take on that project or help around their house"? Is it manifesting more that way, or are they actually really acknowledging, "Hey, I'm depressed"? What are those conversations like?

Tammy: So they don't. They don't acknowledge that it's depression. It's more the lack of energy, not wanting to do things, withdrawn. And their wives are frustrated, but what can we do? We can't call in . . . I don't know. I don't think I would call the doctor for them. I'd want it to be their decision.

Troy: Yeah. No, I don't think you can.

Mitch: For sure.

Scot: Yeah, that would be a bad . . .

Tammy: Bad move.

Scot: Just like telling a woman it's her hormones, I think.

Tammy: Exactly.

Troy: That's the male equivalent.

Scot: Kind of. Yeah.

Troy: Yeah, a guy would totally shut down if that happened. There's no question.

That's interesting, though. And it makes sense. We've all mentioned it. We've given a lot of airtime to mental health and I think it's a very good thing that we've done that because it's such a big issue, I think, for men where we just don't want to talk about it, and we just keep it inside. As Tammy mentioned, spouses, significant others, all pay the consequences of that, and families do. And we may not even recognize it. We may just be like, "I just don't have the energy or interest in doing that." Maybe that's how we see it.

Scot: Yeah. That's exactly what I was thinking when Tammy said that, is that, "Are men making the link that that's depression?" And then, for me, with depression . . . and I think in retrospect, I've had depressive moments in my life. I think you're like, "Is this or isn't this?" And you don't want to label it because you're like, "Oh, it probably isn't. It's probably just life, or it's probably this or probably that." It's the old analogy of if I break my arm I can see it, but depression is a little bit more murky, right?

And then it's just like, "Well, what am I going to do about it? If I go to somebody, what are they going to be able to do? Talking about it is not going to change anything. The only thing that's going to change is changing my situation." And I think we can fall into the trap of not realizing that there are people out there that have tools that can help us if we just go and give it a chance.

Mitch: That was actually one of the biggest things that my therapist ever taught me, was, "Hey, your partner isn't a therapist." And as dumb as that sounds, it seems so obvious, but really, your mental health is kind of something that you need to deal with. It is your responsibility.

If you're in a situation where you need professional help, you need to go to someone who has those tools, right? The difference between asking your buddy Dave to help with your car versus taking it to a mechanic, right? Your partner cares and loves you and wants the best for you, but they're also . . . Unless you're dating a therapist, I guess, they're not the ones with the tools that can really help if you're in that state.

Troy: It's the tools and it's also having an objective party. It's funny, as a physician, I have the tools, but my wife, Laura, asked me to . . . She had this . . . I don't know. It was a little lipoma, a little fatty growth on her back, very small. She was like, "Well, could you just cut this off?" I was like, "Sure. I can do that. I'm a doctor." It just totally grossed me out and I was like, "Oh my goodness, this is ridiculously difficult." And she's like, "You are a doctor, aren't you?" I was like, "Yeah, I'm a doctor, but it's you. I'm cutting into you."

Anyway, when you lose that objectivity, I think that makes it really difficult. So even if your spouse is an amazing therapist, I think it's just asking way too much of them to try and counsel you and help you through those things.

So it's a great point. I think they can help point you in the right direction, but seeking that external help I think is probably better for the relationship too.

Scot: Still the stigma. The stigma remains even though we consider ourselves maybe a little bit more enlightened because we've spent some time talking to people and trying to deal with these issues. Like my dad. Would Kenny have ever gone to a therapist? No. Why am I going?

But we live in a society, and this is the drum I love to bang, where we have to actively manage all aspects of our health. We can't just assume that we're going to get the activity and the nutrition we need. We have to actively manage that. And we're learning more and more. I mean, the same with sleep. We're learning more and more that mental health is a thing that we need to deal with.

Our dads had issues that if they could have dealt with them or had some professionals give them some tools, they could have been better and happier people, right? We've kind of got to get over this, and it's something that you have to take care of. You have to acknowledge and recognize and do something about.

We have a lot of episodes that cover that. So if you think that's a thing that maybe you should address, if there's just even this little inkling that, "Oh, maybe that is it," it might be worth pursuing that. That's another challenge to you, the listener.

All right. Top five things women wished men cared about with their health, number two.

Tammy: Number two. All of you hit on this. It's physical health, and that includes diet and exercise and getting enough sleep. So that was included in that one.

Troy: Nice.

Scot: All right. Expand on that a little bit more.

Tammy: Women just want men who prioritize their well-being to make healthy choices. And all of these things, diet, exercise, sleep, contribute to that.

Scot: And for you and the women in your life, what are some examples of how us men aren't necessarily living up to those standards?

Tammy: Oh.

Troy: Where to begin?

Scot: Looks like this is going to be a two-part episode, guys.

Tammy: It's a long one. So I would say this is the common thread through all of my friends. It's' just the frustration of their fathers not taking care of their physical health, their spouses, even children.

Scot: Fathers? I'm sorry. I want to just emphasize that. You said fathers, which . . .

Troy: Interesting.

Scot: What a huge point. And that kind of resonates with me right now. So thank you. Go ahead.

Tammy: So I had a close friend and she . . . We were training for a marathon together, and she was just telling me how no one in her family ever exercised and they were amazed that she was actually trying to run a marathon. And she specifically talked about her dad. Her dad was just struggling with his health and he just never exercised and didn't look at what he was eating, and she was very frustrated with this. But this is a common theme through many conversations I've had.

Troy: And it sounds like it's not even necessarily just the specific things they're doing. It's just about, again, caring about it, and being like, "Hey, exercise is important," or "Hey, diet is important."

And it sounds like for a lot of these women, they were saying that the men in their lives, the men they care about, were maybe just not even seeing the importance on that or not prioritizing it.

Tammy: Yeah. Another thing I've seen, too, is where they'll go on a diet, they'll lose a lot of weight, and then a year later, they're back to where they started. And it's very frustrating.

I love how you guys say, "No, don't do it that way. Just exercise. Start with 20 minutes or just try to cut out a few sugars. You just start small because it's something sustainable."

So another frustrating thing is these men will go on these crazy diets, or they'll have challenges with each other. We had that in one neighborhood where they'd challenge each other to lose 20 pounds. They would do this crazy two-month challenge and they were done. And then after that, they were back to where they started.

Troy: Interesting. It's funny you mentioned that because you see that, definitely. I think humans in general, people in general will try to find a quick fix and do that sort of thing. But certainly with men, maybe more the challenge and the heroic effort, like, "Hey, everyone. Check out what I'm doing." But then once you get to that point and everyone settles in like, "Oh, okay. This is you now," you don't get the attention for it, for the weight loss you've achieved. Now it's just maintenance and maybe it loses some of its appeal. So I've absolutely seen that too.

Tammy: Yeah. They win their $200 from the pool of money and then they're done.

Troy: Yeah. You got your cash.

Tammy: You're done.

Scot: And their bragging rights.

Troy: Exactly. You lose the bragging rights and it's done. So what's left? You can't lose another 20 pounds.

Tammy: Right. You can't do that.

Mitch: That's actually got me thinking about my dad a little bit, because when I was growing up, he wasn't as physically active. And it seems like now, a decade or two later, he rides his bike all the time. He goes mountain biking. He has this little foot pedal kayak thing that he is super excited about. And it's really cool to see just how much better his mental health is. Everything is.

And it's like my mom will . . . She's like, "Load the bikes up in the truck. I'm driving into the top of the hill." She's so excited and willing to be a part of that journey with him because she sees how much it helps him.

And as a son and hearing my mom's excitement about it, it's cool to have a guy in your life, a dad in your life that takes it seriously.

Troy: Yeah. And I think, too, kind of what you said, Tammy . . . When you first said it, I was like, "Well, that's really broad." But I can certainly say there have been times in my life where I can say I did not care about my health. And maybe I didn't even realize I didn't care about it. But it wasn't something I really thought much about. It wasn't something I really prioritized. I was like, "I'm fine." I look back now and it's kind of like, "Yeah, I really didn't prioritize it. It wasn't something I really thought much about."

Scot: Yeah. You have to engage in it. I think we've talked about on this podcast a lot that it doesn't have to be a heroic effort. It can just be to engage with it in small ways, and just try to be consistent with it, and realize that all of these things we do today with our diet, our sleep, our nutrition, our mental health impacts the person we're going to be in the future. Are we going to be a healthy mobile person that's able to do the things we want and enjoy life, or are we not?

It doesn't have to be all perfect all the time, but I think you do have to realize that this is a daily investment on all these fronts that you have to do, and it can be small little steps.

Tammy: I like that.

Scot: All right. Well, we are here. The top five things women wished men cared about with their health, number one. Tammy, what is it?

Tammy: All right. Drum roll. Here we go. Regular health checkups.

Mitch: Got it.

Troy: Nice.

Tammy: You guys did an entire episode on going to see your primary care physician. So you're right on par.

Scot: Yeah, but note that it took . . . We were well into 100-plus episodes before we did it.

Troy: Yeah. We started this five years ago, so that's about how long it takes a guy to actually go in and see a primary care provider. Forget the yearly checkup.

Tammy: And also included in that are just the regular screenings and early detection tests.

Scot: Is that a battle in the lives of the women you talked to in your life, getting their man to go do a colonoscopy or getting their cholesterol check?

Tammy: Oh, there's no way they would.

Scot: Really?

Tammy: Yeah. So my husband and I have been married for 19 years, and in those 19 years, he's gone just for a regular checkup one time.

Mitch: Wow.

Tammy: Poor Cameron. He is going to love that I said that.

Troy: Poor guy. Hey, I will just say if I did not have an insurance benefit that reduced my premium based on primary care providers, I never would have started going to one. I would have just been like, "I'm fine. I don't need it. What's the point?" So as much as it's like, "Wow, you've got to be kidding," at the same time if I didn't have that incentive, I don't think I ever would have gone.

Scot: Yeah. I think I'm the same way. And we did talk about this in that recent episode. If it wasn't for the incentive, I don't know that I would go. I think now I'd be more likely to, but I know that there's definitely, even in me, this little sense of, "I'm going to go in and they're just going to be, 'Everything is okay,' and then I'm going to leave." But there were a couple of times where everything was not okay, right?

And really the best-case scenario is you go in and you do take some time out of your day, and that sucks. You have to sit in a waiting room, and that sucks. And you've got other things you'd rather do, and that sucks. But the best thing that could happen is you leave and the doctor is like, "You're all good." Why wouldn't you want that outcome?

Tammy: So my husband finally went. He finally went to the doctor. I was just like, "We're turning 40. We need to figure out and make sure we're good. Check cholesterol." And so we just made an appointment with a doctor. I tried to get recommendations, but couldn't really find any good ones. So we just went with one on our insurance.

And it was so funny because this guy just treated . . . This doctor just kept asking, "Well, what's wrong? Well, what's wrong?" And my husband just kept saying, "I'm just here for a general checkup." It's almost like we need to educate both sides.

The men agree to come in for general checkups too and treat them that way, like, "Okay. We've got to do all these tests. We've got to make sure your cholesterol level is good, your sugars, everything."

So I thought that was interesting and it kind of put a bitter taste in my husband's mouth about doing the general checkup, like, "Okay. I guess I don't need to go."

Troy: Interesting. That's disappointing to hear that.

Tammy: It is.

Troy: I mean, there are things that he should have checked, and it sounds like he probably didn't. That's tough. But that kind of gets to our primary care provider episode also where we just talk about . . . We talked about that a little bit, that doctors are humans, and there's a wide variety of doctors, and some have different approaches to their jobs.

Scot: It's another reminder that, again, we as a society . . . and I think younger generations are doing better at this. We say the doctor is the keeper of our health. So when we go in and the doctor goes, "Well, why are you here?" "Well, just a checkup, I guess." That's another thing now we have to actively manage, right? If you get a provider like that, you have to be in charge of your health.

We probably really should be, anyway. You have to be the one that goes in, "Well, I understand that I need a colonoscopy when I turn 50, and I'd like to talk to you about that. And I'd like to get this done and this done." In a perfect world, is that the way it should be? No. But again, it's just another thing, I guess, we have to actively take charge of.

If you get a provider like that, you might have to find a different provider.

And I think it's also insight into us as men, right? How stereotypical was that response? "What are you here for?"

Mitch: Oh my god.

Troy: Yeah. Seriously. And again, colonoscopy at 45. Had to correct you, Scot. Had to throw it out there.

Scot: Oh, thank you. They changed that, didn't they?

Troy: They changed it. And my provider told me. That's how it happened. I would not have known that because it's not something I follow routinely, regular health maintenance and stuff like that. And he told me that only because I went in for my yearly visit. He's like, "Oh, yeah, they changed the recommendation to 45. You should probably do that."

Mitch: But to just circle back, it is interesting to hear that that is number one because it really is. It seems low bar, but there are men in my life that I've met that will take their car to get that routine maintenance like clockwork, right? They take care of it, they wash it, they . . . But when it comes to the idea of going in this meaty vehicle that we live in, no, they will never go to the doctor for that. They will never get the routine checkup.

Especially now, I'm now the convert of the group, right? I'm the one engaging with my health or whatever. Man, things run a whole lot better now that I've had some things tested and it's regularly checked. I had my first PCP visit a couple of months ago that was, "Hey, you're fine."

Tammy: That is awesome.

Scot: That must have been exciting.

Mitch: It was exciting because it was like, "We keep finding all these terrible things and things I need to work on and things I need to fix." Man, oh, man. It's like, "Okay. Cool. Check next year to make sure I'm still doing okay?" And he's like, "Absolutely."

Troy: Nice.

Tammy: Awesome.

Mitch: And so it's kind of interesting that that's . . . Yeah, that is a concern because how do you know if something is off? How do you know if your cholesterol is high? How do you know if you're at an increased risk of this, that, or the other if you're not engaging?

Scot: Tammy, super insightful list. That was fantastic. Guys, takeaways?

Troy: My takeaway was . . . The big surprise for me was the top five was that women want us to care more about and be aware of their health issues in women's health. And we haven't talked at all about that. It's also nice to know women have given this as much thought as they have in terms of what they really wish the men in their life cared about. So that's really cool.

Scot: That's a great insight.

Tammy: Yeah, you guys can eavesdrop on our conversations. It's quite revealing.

Troy: Yeah. It sounds like these were not trying to pry answers out of your friends and the women you talked to. This list came out pretty quickly, it sounds like.

Tammy: Yeah. Very quickly.

Scot: Mitch, takeaways?

Mitch: So the thing that was really surprising to me was just how high preventative care was. To me, it was like, "Oh, yeah, the big marquee one is quit smoking, don't drink so much, whatever." But to hear that really the thing that our loved ones and the people in our lives really want us to do is to just do the routine maintenance, for lack of a better term, that's really interesting. And it has really made me realize that I should probably continue doing what I have started doing in the last couple of years.

Scot: My takeaway is we had a whole conversation with a woman about health and there was no nagging. I mean, there was absolutely none.

Troy: There was no nagging.

Tammy: No nagging.

Scot: I think the challenge that I issued at the top of the podcast is still valid, and it's a worthwhile one. So, for the conclusion, work on that reframing. However you currently process incoming info from women or anyone in your life about your health, maybe just pause for a second and then just say, even if it's to yourself, "That's an interesting point. I'll have to consider it."

Or try to figure out what the note is inside the note, as they like to say in scriptwriting review. What is the person really trying to say to me? They might not have packaged it perfectly, they might not have said it perfectly, they might not have even said what it was that was their main concern, but what are they really trying to get at? And just really consider that and give it a few days.

And then the second challenge is go to a woman in your life, whether it's a daughter, a sister, a wife, close friend, and ask them about your health. What do they care most about? Is there anything they're concerned about with your health?

It could seem like a big ask, but like today's podcast, you might be surprised by the answers that they give and you might be surprised by the motivations behind them. And there probably are going to be a lot of other surprises as well when you have those conversations.

Troy: Yeah. That's the number one thing on my list. I am fascinated by this discussion. I have never asked my wife, "What do you wish I cared about with my health?" I've never asked her that question.

Mitch: Wow.

Troy: I'm curious. And I'm going to approach it non-defensively and just out of curiosity. So this has been good.

Scot: Non-defensively and curiosity. Do you have a takeaway or a final thought, Tammy? You've been a fantastic guest.

Tammy: Thank you. My final thought is when I first asked my mom . . . When I first heard about this podcast and coming on, I went straight to my mom because she's who I always go to first. And that was her number one thing too, was the yearly healthcare check, because it helps so much in the lives of the women who love you.

They can detect cancers. They can detect heart disease, diabetes, so many things. And it just helps the women in your life so much, because they really do love and care about your health.

Scot: Little peace of mind there. Catch it early enough, you can do something about it. And I do need to mention, Tammy, you're in a family of doctors. So I think that says a lot that you're in a family of doctors and that still getting the men doctors in your life to go get those checkups is hard and a challenge. And they should know better. Troy, you should know better.

Troy: I know. I know I should. It's so true.

Scot: Troy's dad, you should know better.

Troy: My dad should know better. We should all know better. It's very true.

Tammy: We all should know better.

Scot: All right. Work on reframing. Go to that woman in your life or multiple women and let us know how it goes at Thanks for listening, and thanks for caring about men's health.


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