When most men hit their 30’s, something changes (besides a receding hairline). It is almost as if men are destined to finally obtain that gut that they were meant to have. A gut signifying a real man. One who is now married with kids, works hard, and doesn’t have time to exercise anymore like he did when he was younger. And a healthy diet? A man is hungry and stressed and a salad just isn’t going to cut it. You don’t have to be that guy. Because that guy won’t be very happy when he gets into his 50’s and 60’s, if he makes it there at all. If you are over 30, think about your male friends and family members who are your age. How many of them are in reasonably good shape? How many do you observe following a healthy diet and who are very active? It would be surprising if the answer was over 25 percent. Look at yourself. Have you fallen into this trap and become complacent with it?

If you are this guy, why not start making steps to change it. First thing you can do is take control of your diet. You can still consume a balance of different foods. Focus on just one or two dietary changes that you find yourself doing way too often. Do you drink too many beers on game day? Cut back. Do you resort to a hot dog or burger too often? Skip eating out so much and plan for some quick fish or chicken dishes you can make at home coupled with a wide assortment of vegetables. Cut out soda or any liquid that contains calories. No change is too small and will make a difference over the year.

Also, vow to take the kids out for a few hours and engage in an activity with them. Go to a playground and run around with them or head to South Mountain for a hike. Or best of all, how about a bike ride along the canals? Find a friend or a fellow parent and see if the two of you can workout together at the gym. If you associate with healthy livers, you will take on their habits. Or maybe incorporate more quality time with your wife or significant other around exercise.

• Ahwatukee resident Michael Murphy is a registered dietitian with the Weight Loss Institute of Arizona. Reach him at (480) 829-6100 or visit www.wliaz.com.

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