Moobs or man boobs got to be one of the most distressing body issues of the male species. Well if you got a small pecker, no one is going to know till your pants come off. But if you have moobs, they are right there staring at you in public when you put on tighter clothes and whenever the shirt needs to come off by the beach or pool. Scientifically known as Gynaecomastia, moobs is the term used to describe enlarged breasts in men. We all know that women are supposed to have breasts, but not men. Men with this condition find it extremely embarrassing as it gives them a very non masculine appearance.
It is no laughing matter if you are on the receiving end of the slew of jokes cracked about man boobs. Few will laugh this off and many were either psychologically scarred or driven into social recluse. Cruelly, this condition has been used as the focus of jokes over and over again on TV. There is a famous episode of Seinfeld where Kramer invents a contraption known as the “mansierre” to support men breasts. Men may love to ogle at the lingerie clad Victoria Secret’s models strutting down the runway but to have them put on some of those supporting garments? That’s strictly a no-go. Most famously, ex- American Idol’s judge, Simon Cowell had been mercilessly teased for his perky moobs under those signature fitted black tees. Unflattering paparazzi shots of him and his twinnies never fail to make it to page 3 and Hello magazine whenever he showed them unwittingly. Other famous public figures to be taunted for their bouncy male cleavage include President Obama, an aging Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor Jack Nicholson and rapper Ice-T.
Man boobs can affect up to staggering 40% of men but the exact cause is not known in most cases. It is not uncommon for growing boys to get enlarged breasts during puberty or adolescence but fortunately, they usually go away after the first year or two. Yet for some unlucky ones, this undesirable trait follow them into adulthood. Man boobs can also be caused by hormonal imbalance. If the testosterone level is too low in a man compared to the level of oestrogen, enlarged breasts may result. It can happen to bodybuilders injecting themselves with too much anabolic steroids, in some cases of chronic liver disease and in aging men suffering from ‘andropause’. For others, man boobs are nothing more than the accumulation of excess fatty tissue in obese men. Strictly speaking, this is refer to as ‘pseudogynaecomastia’ as their chest consists mainly of adipose tissue as opposed to actual glandular breast tissue as in true cases of gynaecomastia. If you yourself or someone you know is an unfortunate bearer of man boobs, read on to find out what can done to ameliorate this embarrassing body issue without the need to hide behind loose fitting garments or body compressing male Spanx.
“You are what you eat”, so one of the most effective ways to get rid of man boobs is to monitor your diet. Since many cases of man boobs are simply due to excess fat, you should monitor your daily caloric intake. There is no way to spot reduce the fat specifically on your chest so in order to lose that, you got to work towards losing weight and hence fat. To lose one pound of fat, 3,500 calories must be burned. An achievable goal that is not overtly ambitious is to aim to lose 1 pound of fat per week. In other words, you need to have a 3,500 calorie deficit in one week and that’s equivalent to 500 calories per day. How do you achieve a 500 calorie deficit per day? The best way to reach this goal is a combination of eating less and exercising more to shed off this 500 calories. Cut back on starchy food, sugary snacks and processed meat; opting for fresh vegetables, fruits, lean meat, whole grains and oats. Consider meal replacement substitutes such as OPTIFAST. OPTIFAST is a specially prepared meal replacement drink that contains high-quality, complete nutrition packed in pre-portioned and calorie-controlled servings. All you have to do is mix it with water and drink this in place of your regular meals. Most people who are sceptical of sticking to a liquid diet will be pleasantly surprised by how fresh they actually feel while on OPTIFAST as undesirable toxins from their previously uncontrolled dietary habits are eliminated.
Exercising regularly helps to burn off calories and fat to keep your man boobs in check. Your exercise regime should include not just cardiovascular but resistance weights training, especially a good chest workout to help build your pectoralis (chest) muscles. Cardiovascular exercises help to raise your basal metabolic rate, increase your fitness level and turn your body into a fat burning machine. It will help you lose the layer of blubber hanging on your chest and wrapping round your belly. Aim to do at least 4 sessions a week of 30 to 60 minutes duration to keep your heart rate suitably elevated. If you don’t have a personal trainer, try to enlist the help of your partner or a workout buddy to push you to the next level of fitness in your training program.
Building up your pectorals is another excellent method that men can use to pare down their enlarged man boobs. You should start with weights that you can manage comfortably, but slowly work up to bench pressing an equivalent of your own body weight. Having the correct posture and technique is far more important that the absolute weights used so be patient and the results of your hard work will bear fruit eventually. If you don’t have access to a professional gym, do push-ups in the comfort of your own home. To increase the level of difficulty and hence the efficacy, try to alternate flat push-ups with incline and decline variations. Aim for 3 to 5 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions each. For optimum results, you should also remember to have a low carb/ high protein meal after your workout, and to also get enough rest and sleep at night.
If your areolas are more puffy than flat, chances of a true gynaecomastia with excess glandular breast tissue are high. Unlike transient pubertal boy breasts and moobs secondary to obesity, true cases of gynaecomastia tend to be permanent – just like the development of female breasts. Hormonal therapy, such as testosterone and anti-oestrogen treatments, has been used with limited success and dismal results with a high chance of unwanted adverse effects. In recent years more men are seeking out surgical options to address their man boobs, secondary to increased awareness through the media and the pressure to look good.
Mild to moderate gynaecomastia can now be effectively treated by minimally invasive Male Breast Reduction surgery enlisting advanced liposuction techniques such as Vaser Liposelection.
“Vaser Liposelection uses ultrasonic energy to selectively melt away fatty soft tissue, which can then be removed with much less trauma as compared to traditional liposuction,” explains Dr. Tan Ying Chien, senior plastic surgeon with The Sloane Clinic. “In addition, this technique spares other vital tissues such as nerves and blood vessels resulting in less bruising and significantly shorter recovery time.” The procedure is relatively quick and can be performed under light sedation with local anaesthesia. Moreover, most patients are thrilled that it only leaves a tiny, inconspicuous scar (less than 5 mm), hidden on the side of the chest which is well hidden from the view of others even when they are bare-bodied. Post-surgery, these men are better able to enjoy their usual simple activities such as swimming or go on a beach holiday without worrying about curious stares, jibes and sniggers from people around them.
If liposuction is not sufficient to get rid of gynaecomastia, surgical excision is at times required. Excision is a procedure in which glandular breast tissue is removed, at times combined with the excision of excess skin in severely enlarged cases. In some, the areolas might need to be surgically re-fashioned or the nipple relocated in order for the chest area to appear natural after removal of the overhanging man boobs. It should also be noted that gynaecomastia surgery can at times leave behind more visible scarring although this is not always the case.