Category Archives for "aging"
As we age, Alzheimer's Disease is becoming more and more prevalent. In fact, under the current trend, by the time we're 85, we'll have a 1 in 2 chance of showing signs of this insidious disease. On episode 559 of the 40+ fitness Podcast, Joseph Keon shows us how we can make ourselves more resilient and reduce our risk of dementia, including Alzheimer's Disease. We discuss his book, The Alzheimer's Revolution: An Evidence-Based Lifestyle Program to Build Cognitive Resilience And Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer's Disease.
What's Your Health Blocker?
What's keeping you from losing weight, improving your health, and getting more fit?
You start out great and then bam, something comes along and derails you. Your diet was going great, but that birthday cake on Saturday fired up your sweet tooth.
You were working out every day and you hurt your foot. Your doctor told you to keep off of it for six weeks. Those six weeks have come and gone, and you're still keeping off of it.
Deep down, you know it's not the cake or the injury to blame, right?
It's a mindset block.
And like an invisible wall, each and every time you make progress, you inevitably backslide. Until you address your health blocker, you won't see the success you want and need.
[00:02:14.350] – Allan
Hey, Ras, how are you doing?
[00:02:16.050] – Rachel
Good. How are you today, Allan?
[00:02:17.720] – Allan
I'm doing all right. I got quite a bit of sun this week. Maybe just a little too much, but it's been good. I'm not going to say it's a complete vacation, but I did block time out on my calendar to do things to make sure that I went down the pool and enjoyed myself. Like I said, I got a little too much sun, but that's okay.
[00:02:35.420] – Rachel
That sounds good.
[00:02:35.970] – Allan
It's been a good week. Yeah.
[00:02:37.240] – Rachel
Good up here. We're turning to fall. Things are getting colder. We've got one camp out planned, that's where we're heading this weekend. And two races on the calendar. And then it's going to be winter before we know it.
[00:02:52.610] – Allan
And I'll be in Bocas del Toro. Maybe a little humid, but every day.
[00:02:57.850] – Rachel
That sounds nice. I might need a snowbird sometime down there. That would be awesome.
[00:03:04.700] – Allan
[00:03:05.370] – Allan
I think last week I talked about I'm going to be on that show, that summit, and so that started yesterday.
[00:03:11.470] – Rachel
[00:03:11.840] – Allan
And so if you want to go to that. It's going to be 40 plus fitness ultimate. Just check the show notes for this episode and you can find a link to that summit. It will be in our little hello section of the show notes. But it was a really good conversation I had with her. I think it's going to help a lot of people. So we'll go out there and show her a little bit of love. I think it's a free summit, so you can just go and listen to all the interviews. She should have some good people on the show. It's about longevity and health. So right up the alley of what we're going to be talking about today.
[00:03:36.920] – Rachel
[00:04:34.970] – Allan
Joseph. Welcome to 40+ Fitness.
[00:04:37.790] – Joseph
Thank you, Allan. Great to be here with you.
[00:04:40.080] – Allan
I have wanted to cover this topic for so long. When we start talking about aging and some of the bad things that happen with aging, Alzheimer's is kind of right up there. And in my mind, cancer is scary, but, man, this is freaking frightening.
[00:04:53.790] – Joseph
[00:04:54.400] – Allan
And your book is called The Alzheimer Revolution: An Evidence-Based Lifestyle Program to Build Cognitive Resilience and Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer's Disease. And just one statistic that I took from the book is that in the next 30 years, one in two people over the age of 85 will have Alzheimer's.
[00:05:13.020] – Joseph
Yes. Staggering, isn't it?
[00:05:14.590] – Allan
It is. So just look at the person sitting next to you right now. One of us has that risk if we live till we're 85. And I think every one of us wants to have a good, long, healthy life, so we've kind of got to start doing some things about it.
[00:05:27.180] – Joseph
Well, and not only that, Allan, there's new reports that have come out showing that Alzheimer's is actually trending to younger and younger populations. So 1 may not need to wait until they're 85. It really can no longer be called a disease of the elderly because it's affecting people in their 50s, in their 40s, even now. So I think a lot of times people think of Alzheimer's, they hear that word and they think old age but we need to be doing things at all ages to reduce our risk of developing it.
[00:05:59.740] – Allan
Yeah. Now, one of the interesting things and you shared this quote in the book and sometimes I just like clue on a quote. I'm like, okay, this is actually a really cool and important quote. And it says “maintaining order rather than correcting disorder is the ultimate principle of wisdom. To cure disease after it has manifest is like digging a well after one feels thirsty or foraging for a weapon when the war has already begun.”
[00:06:26.470] – Joseph
[00:06:26.890] – Allan
And we're in that spot. But this is not new. This is not a new quote that someone just came up with a few days ago. This is 5000 years ago. The Yellow Emperor of China shared this wisdom with the world, with his people, wrote it down. So we have it today. But we really have to do this. We have to start maintaining water.
[00:06:44.670] – Joseph
Absolutely. Yeah. The earlier the better.
[00:06:47.890] – Allan
So when we talk about Alzheimer's disease, I think people know, okay, that's a form of dementia. Stuff happens. Can we get a little bit more technical? Okay. What are these things like amyloid plaques and tau tangles. Tangles and those types of things. What does Alzheimer's look like in the brain?
[00:07:04.680] – Joseph
So Alzheimer's is one of numerous types of dementia. It's the most common. It accounts for about 70% of all the cases that occur. And it's marked by a decline in memory, reasoning, judgment as well as spatial perception. And what happens is there are person who's developed Alzheimer's will increasingly need assistance performing things that you and I take for granted. We call them activities of daily living but these are things like bathing or showering dressing, grooming, preparing and eating a meal. Increasingly these things will be challenging and they'll need somebody to assist with it. Now, what's going on inside the brain that leads to these kinds of changes are very distinct pathological features. And a lot of people have heard about plaques and tangles but here's some more about what they actually are. Amyloid plaques are created by a protein called beta amyloid which basically just starts misbehaving. It folds over on itself sort of like deformed origami and it's very sticky. So it clumps together with other beta amyloid. And so these clumps start forming in between the neuron cells in the brain. And that's what we call the amyloid plaques. The other protein that misbehaves is the protein called tau.
[00:08:27.080] – Joseph
Tau. And tau is on the inside of the neuron and it too starts operating in a dysfunctional manner. And if you look at it microscopically it looks like little balls of thread. Now, as these plaques and tangles spread the brain's own immune system tries to eradicate them and it sends out special cells to do that. And part of that is creating an inflammatory response. And so you get neuroinflammation. And as the neurons get inflamed they enter a state of dysfunction and ultimately die off. So what you have is a loss of brain cells and a loss of synapses, which are the connections in between those brain cells. And with that loss, you have a total loss of volume of the brain, and particularly in a region of the brain we call the hippocampus. And the hippocampus is located deep inside the temporal lobe. And this is really the center of memory in the brain, and it's also part of the brain that enables us to perform spatial navigation. So that's why individuals who are afflicted will have difficulty finding their way around even in their own home at certain stages. Or often they'll get lost in the neighborhood or in a shopping mall and things like that.
[00:09:46.450] – Allan
Or worst case, driving. And there's a Silver Alert. You're driving on the road, you get a warning on your phone or a warning on the sign that you're driving under. There's a silver alert. Look for someone in this car, and we don't know where they are exactly. Yeah, I'm in Mexico right now, and I arrived here right as a 7.5 earthquake.
[00:10:05.490] – Joseph
[00:10:06.020] – Allan
Okay. And yeah, it's scary, but I'm fine. I'm in a car in the middle of the road, just bouncing around a little bit, that kind of thing. We get to the resort I'm staying at for this week, and there was a gentleman and a wife. Everybody was supposed to be outside, but this gentleman could not walk down the stairs. Okay, so the wife was outside. She was really distraught because is, okay, here was her husband of many years, and she had to leave him because she had to leave and get down and tell them they sent some guys up. But it's just that kind of concept of when you start thinking about these things is if we're not taking care of ourselves, we're kind of setting ourselves up for these types of things where we're not able to take care of ourselves, we're not able to take care of other people. Now, you mentioned something that's really important inflammation. Everybody is kind of aware that inflammation has a reasonable purpose in our body, but oxidative stress and inflammation are really kind of so the amyloid plaques and the tau tangles and all the shrinking of the brain, that's the symptom.
[00:11:09.150] – Allan
But the real cause of this is the oxidative stress inflammation, can you kind of talk about that and how our lifestyle because it's the title of the book, evidence based Lifestyle. What's going on? What's that cause effect thing that's going on?
[00:11:23.780] – Joseph
Yeah, I can talk about both inflammation and oxidative stress because they kind of go hand in hand, and as you said, they really ramp up. They're there from the earliest stages of Alzheimer's, even when someone is experiencing kind of the precursor, which is called mild cognitive impairment, all the way to the very end stages of the disease. And as you said, inflammation is important it's a natural defense part of our process of combating pathogens and infectious bacteria. And essentially healing accelerates healing. But that's acute short term inflammation. Lesser to think of having a cut on the back of your hand, you look down and see it gets red, it gets tender and swollen. There's inflammation in there, and that's helping restore that tissue. And ultimately, when the healing has taken place, then the inflammation is signaled to go off. It's the chronic long term inflammation that is injurious to cells that's associated with elevated risk for cancer, cardiovascular disease, and certainly Alzheimer's disease. And we know we can look at biomarkers in the blood and we can measure indicators of when elevation is elevated. And when you look at people at midlife, if they have high levels of inflammation, it's often a harbinger of things that are going on in the brain already neuroinflammation, loss of neurons, and some of these characteristic changes we talked about earlier that occur that ultimately lead to dementia.
[00:12:57.840] – Joseph
So there's a way we can address both inflammation and oxidative stress. And I'll tell you a little about oxidative stress because as I say, when you have oxidative stress going on, it boosts inflammation and vice versa. Oxidative stress is a state in the body when there's the production and accumulation of too many of these very unstable molecules that we call free radicals. And they can be likened to a bull in a china shop. Basically, they're bouncing around and damaging cells and tissue, even DNA, and they're certainly contributing to risk of dementia. And our body produces free radicals just as a normal part of metabolism, but when it gets overwhelmed, it can't contend with them. So things like radiation, cigarette smoke, toxins, pesticides, things like this that we ingest or exposed to can ramp up the level of these free radicals that are produced. And eventually the body reaches the point where it says, hey, I can't contend with this. And that's when the damage starts to occur. And it's the same way with inflammation. We can handle the short term inflammation, but it's the chronic long term. So the answer to both of these things is there's a lot we can do.
[00:14:13.400] – Joseph
One of the most important is diet because we know that foods like fruits and vegetables, colorful fruits and vegetables, are loaded with these anti inflammatory substances, or antioxidants everybody's heard that word by now. And these are substances that quench or neutralize the free radicals, so they're not doing the damage to cells in the body. So foods that all these antiinflammatory and antioxidant substances concentrate in foods of plant origin. So we do well by incorporating as much of these plant foods in our diet as possible. There are other things that increase inflammation. Interestingly, if we don't sleep well, inflammation goes up. Diabetes increases systemic inflammation. Alcoholic beverages increase inflammation in the body and particularly in the brain. So we can address some of these other factors high blood pressure. And by addressing those and by making these dietary choices, we can really bring the risk of oxidative stress and excess inflammation down.
[00:15:21.660] – Allan
Yeah, kind of the way you talk about it in the book, which I really like the principle of this case. So you're talking about rust and fire?
[00:15:28.120] – Joseph
[00:15:30.830] – Allan
You could just think about any environment where you're dealing with rust or you're dealing with fire. You don't want that as a chronic existence. And that's what's happening inside our body.
[00:15:39.550] – Joseph
And it's very true. You look at the science of this, how it plays out in the brain, some scientists will actually say, they'll say this brain is on fire. It's an inferno of inflammation and oxidative stress. And so again, what we're trying to do is cool the flames and protect ourselves from the rust, from the degenerative action of these substances.
[00:16:01.860] – Allan
Now to kind of go back to the advice that the Yellow Emperor gave 5000 years ago, prevention is really kind of the key here. Once you have the disease, it moves. It moves at a certain pace. And yes, you might be able to slow the progression, but once you have the disease, you're a little behind the game. So if we're someone who's right now feeling cognitively, okay, but we know we need to do something. We're not living the lifestyle that's necessary for us to live that long, healthy, non-dementia life. I want to talk about some of the prevention. So let's talk about food. Let's dive a little bit deeper into food and how can we approach our food to protect ourselves?
[00:16:38.150] – Joseph
Yeah, there was a really important study that's called the Chicago Health and Aging Project. And what these researchers do is they went into three neighborhoods in Chicago, diverse neighborhoods. And they sat down with the subjects and said, we want to know what you're eating, how much exercise you're getting, how you're living. And they made careful records of that and followed them for a number of years and then watched to see who developed Alzheimer's disease. And they discovered something really important. They found that the people that ate the most of something called saturated fat had more than twice the risk that they'd go on to develop Alzheimer's compared to the individuals who were consuming the least saturated fat. And they also found that those who were consuming the most trans fat had more, almost three times the risk of going on to develop Alzheimer's. So these are two things that everybody can address because saturated fat is really concentrated in foods from animal origin. So meats and dairy. And in the US. When you look at the way we eat, our number one intake of saturated fat comes from cheese and then it's followed by chicken.
[00:17:49.320] – Joseph
So plant foods, fruits and vegetables and legumes are all very low in saturated fat. The exception, of course, is tropical oils. But if we focus on these foods, we're going to slash the amount of saturated fat we're getting. The trans fats used to be in a lot of packaged foods that had something called hydrogenated oil, but that was banned. And so now they're really relegated to foods that have been fried. Things like fried chicken, french fries, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, donuts, things like that.
[00:18:19.920] – Allan
All the delicious stuff.
[00:18:20.910] – Joseph
Yeah, all the delicious stuff.
[00:18:23.090] – Allan
But honestly, honestly, I say that. I joke. But the reality is, once you start eating a whole food diet, you actually start changing your palate.
[00:18:31.430] – Joseph
[00:18:32.000] – Allan
And strawberry might be one of the most delicious things you've ever eaten when you just start eating whole food and you rediscover the palate that doesn't want the fried stuff.
[00:18:42.970] – Joseph
Exactly. We acclimate to diets that aren't overloaded in sodium or sugar. And discovering new foods, discovering these different flavors that we might not be accustomed to. It can be a wonderful experience just experimenting and learning to prepare some of these meals at home with these protective foods. So we know, studies show that people who consistently get three to four servings of colorful fruits and vegetables in their diet see about a 40% reduction in that age related decline, that cognitive decline, and are much more resilient cognitively and stay sharp. But beyond that, we want that day to day cognitive function, but we want to be also doing everything we can to minimize the likelihood that these pathological changes are going on in the brain. So there are hundreds of anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, and some of these substances actually have been shown to reach in and protect neurons in different ways in the brain. So packing as much of that into the diet is critical.
[00:19:49.860] – Allan
Yes. And one of the cool things about putting more good stuff in, it doesn't feel like you're depriving yourself, because most people will look at a diet and it's saying, well, cut this out, cut that out, cut this out. But the way you're talking about it right now, which I think is a really important thing, is, no, just put more of the good stuff in there and then you don't have as much room for that stuff.
[00:20:11.590] – Joseph
Exactly. And all of the great big long term studies that have been breaking in the last seven to 8, 10 years that are showing these dramatic reductions in risk, it's the same thing. The more plants that are in the diet, the more exercise people are getting. It's very clear what's happening. And so the more that we add in, the more that we populate the diet with color and leafy greens and these protective foods, the better off we're going to be.
[00:20:44.790] – Allan
So let's take that step into exercise. How does exercise help us prevent Alzheimer's?
[00:20:51.170] – Joseph
I was thinking about this the other day just because it's still remarkable how many things exercise addresses with regard to risk for Alzheimer's disease. I mean, it prevents or can reverse, like, ten different risk factors related to dementia. And I devote an enormous chapter to it in the Alzheimer's Revolution.
[00:21:14.280] – Allan
I read the book. I know.
[00:21:15.560] – Joseph
I want to get people excited. When somebody says exercise is good for you, it doesn't get you very excited, right? But when you read about all these different things that are happening, that are protecting, that are serving to protect the brain, it gets exciting. It's like, I want this. I want a dose of this every day. So we know exercise lowers blood pressure and lowers cholesterol levels. It reduces inflammation, it increases our sensitivity to insulin. So we're less concerned with insulin resistance and the risk of developing diabetes, which is a major risk factor for dementia. It actually builds brain matter so people can increase the volume of their hippocampus, the center of memory, in just months of performing regular aerobic exercise. It increases the number of blood vessels that are feeding the hippocampus and other parts of the brain. So you're getting more oxygen, more nutrients to the brain cells. And something that is seldom discussed is that as we age, if we aren't taking these proactive protective steps, generally, by age 65, the average Americans lost about 20% of the oxygen flow to their brain. And so it's like a slow motion kind of choking effect. So anything that we can do to dilate blood vessels, increase blood flow, increase oxygen, transport to the brain is going to be really critical.
[00:22:43.270] – Joseph
There was a study conducted by researchers at Rush University Medical Center, and this is really compelling. They took a group of about 700 people and they fitted them with these little devices called actographs. And it's just something that measures how much activity somebody's getting. And then they sent them out just to live their life as they normally do. They check in with them periodically, and about three and a half years later, they sat down and looked at the total amount of activity all of them were getting. And the people who were in the bottom 10% for physical activity had more than two and a half times the risk that they would go on to develop Alzheimer's compared to those who are in the top 10%. So clearly this is really powerful medicine in terms of preventing dementia.
[00:23:28.570] – Allan
Absolutely. So let's talk about and I want to put these together because in my mind, like brother and sister, if you will, so stress management and sleep. If you're stressed, you don't sleep well. If you don't sleep well, you're stressed. And it's this back and forth thing that just seems to happen. How is stress management and good quality sleep going to help improve our chances against Alzheimer's?
[00:23:51.650] – Joseph
Well, when we're stressed, obviously we don't feel well. One of the things that happens is our levels of a stress hormone called cortisol go up and cortisol constricts blood vessels. So then you have reduced blood flow and oxygen transport to the brain and other parts of the body, but you push blood pressure up as a result. So blood pressure goes up and it's a major risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia. Anything that we can do to help us feel less stressed out. And as you know, we're never going to avoid stress because there are going to be stresses in all of our lives.
[00:24:28.430] – Allan
And you can't stress about stress. That's kind of one of those things, right? You can't lay there in bed like, I can't go to sleep. I got to make myself go to sleep. So this is a harder puzzle for a lot of us to fix, but there's a lot of benefit to really taking the time to structure your life in a way that does manage your risk manage your stress and also help you sleep better.
[00:24:48.570] – Joseph
Yeah, and it's interesting because when we think about it from the standpoint, it's how I'm going to react to the inevitable stressors. I get on the freeway and there all the cars are stopped and I know I've got a 40 minutes trip home that I'm going to sit in this traffic, how am I going to respond? I have Cortisol levels shoot up and my blood pressure go up and these deleterious things happen inside my body and my brain. Or am I going to put on some relaxing music and say, hey, I'm not in control of this?
[00:25:15.210] – Allan
Or 40 plus fitness podcast.
[00:25:17.280] – Joseph
There you go. I learned something on that terribly slow drive home. There are lots of things we can do, and the research is really compelling around things like yoga and tai chi meditation. Each of these things is actually supporting what we call cognitive reserve. It's building and supporting the retention of brain cells and connections to those brain cells, more synapses, so we have a higher level of cognitive function. And so when we practice these things, we know we feel good in the moment. We know we feel good when we're doing them. But the idea is that with practice, it spills over into the periods of time when we're not doing it. So when we do encounter the terrible news, the terrible traffic, whatever the trigger is, we're more likely to remain calm, to not have that negative response. So just making these a part of our program weekly, joining a yoga class, learning how to meditate, studying tai chi, whatever it is, you can do it online, you can do it at your own home, you can do it anywhere. But the science is really showing that it has a tremendous effect in helping protect us from cognitive decline and dementia.
[00:26:36.430] – Allan
Now, last one, I want to talk about, at least from the perspective of prevention, is I kind of feel like there's this tsunami that's starting to really build and more and more people are talking about it. So that's a good thing. But we have these toxins and heavy metals that have been pumping into our environment for a long time now. And despite regulations, despite everything else, it's not going away anytime soon. So we're getting more and more exposed. New stuff is coming on the market. They get rid of an old thing and they're like, okay, we got to get rid of this old thing because we know that's killing people and then they introduce something else. Actually, we find out 10,15 years later was actually even worse. Toxins and heavy metals, let's talk about those.
[00:27:16.150] – Joseph
Yeah, you're absolutely right in that regard. It's actually getting worse. You may have seen just a couple of weeks ago, some assessments found that 85% of Americans are excreting glyphosate in their urine. That's the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup that is in so much of our food today. And pesticides in general are designed to destroy the nervous system of living creatures. So we shouldn't be ingesting them. But unfortunately, they're used rapidly in conventional agriculture. So I always recommend to people, when you have the opportunity to choose organically produced foods, you're going to really minimize your exposure to these kinds of substances. We know that when pesticides get in the body, they trigger inflammation, they trigger oxidative stress and move us more in the direction of risk. So the good news is that studies have consistently shown when people are put on an organic foods diet, their levels of pesticides that are measured in their blood precipitously within two weeks. So the more opportunities we have to make those choices for organics, the better off we are. With regard to the metals, again, this is a huge problem that we don't see them, we don't taste them, we don't smell them.
[00:28:34.570] – Joseph
They're getting in the food chain, they're in our water and some of our supplements and things like that. And a big one for brain health is, of course, mercury. And mercury is a neurotoxin at any level. It creates oxidative stress in the brain, it kills neurons, ramps up inflammation, and the number one source of it today is fish. Unfortunately, fish and shellfish, virtually all of them have some degree of mercury in them and some have very high levels. The predator fish have very high levels of mercury in them. So need or want mercury in the body at all, the best thing we can do is minimize our exposure. Another one's copper. Copper, we need just a tiny amount in our body for our health. And when you exceed that level, this is something that can promote free radicals. And the interesting thing is copper is showing up embedded in those amyloid plaques. And it's unclear whether they're part of instigating them or they have an affinity for the plaque once they're formed. But since they are a promoter of free radicals, we want to minimize our exposure to copper. And a good way to do that is to put a filtration system on under your kitchen sink, your ice cube maker, et cetera, wherever you're drinking water and using it to cook.
[00:29:58.550] – Joseph
Because when water sits in copper pipes, which it does all night long while we're sleeping, the copper leaches into the water, and then when we use the water the next day, we're getting little amounts, but over time it adds up. So copper also was historically added to supplements, but now many supplement manufacturers have come to understand the risk of added copper and they're eliminating it just like added iron, which is being reduced or eliminated from many supplements as well. Another one is aluminum. Aluminum is a neurotoxin. We have no reason to have that in our body. It's coming from water again, so we can filter it from water. There are some things like antacids, which tend to contain aluminum. You can select aluminum free antacids, aluminum free antiperspirants, not deodorant, but the antiperspirants that contain typically choose aluminum free baking powder if you're a baker, because that has it as well. And be cautious about things like frozen pizzas and pancake mixes and muffin mixes because they often contain something called aluminum phosphate. Another source aluminum in the diet. And we got another one that we all read too much about right in the press, lead.
[00:31:16.410] – Joseph
And lead typically comes from drinking water from all lead pipes, and so filtration can get that out. And oddly enough, calcium supplements are contaminated with lead. So you might want to rethink that as well. And there's lead in fish, all these heavy metals, you show up eat fish, cadmium, leg, mercury. So, yeah, that's the metals.
[00:31:39.250] – Allan
Yeah. Now, I didn't put this on the show plan, but I just want to get your opinion. More and more I'm hearing experts and individuals out in the field saying that they feel like Alzheimer's is kind of like type three diabetes. And predominantly because type two diabetes tends to be like almost like not as a precursor, but a very high risk driver. What are your thoughts about is Alzheimer's related to diabetes? Would it be type three diabetes?
[00:32:09.320] – Joseph
I understand why people are making that statement because the association is very strong. We know that when the brain can't access glucose, the brain is an energy hog. It uses 20% of all the energy produced, and if it can't access the glucose, then there's dysfunction, the cells can't function. And so that may be a problem. We know that a lot of people in their seventy's and eighty's who are tested, who have dementia often have blood glucose and insulin levels that are very high, so they're not metabolizing glucose well. I would also say this. There's a lot of ways to arrive at the same place. You can go be a combat veteran, participate in combat and be exposed to an IED, and you can double or triple your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. You can play a few seasons of pro football, and you could substantially increase the risk that you're going to develop Alzheimer's or some form of dementia. And so I don't think we can say that Alzheimer's itself is just entirely focused on our ability to metabolize glucose and sensitivity to insulin. But I think it definitely plays a big role.
[00:33:27.200] – Joseph
We see about doubling of risk for Alzheimer's and people who have diabetes, type two diabetes.
[00:33:32.590] – Allan
Joseph, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are the three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
[00:33:41.870] – Joseph
definitely eating a diet that's chock full leafy greens and fruits and vegetables and legumes and nuts and seeds. That's critical. The exercise we talked about getting 150 minutes of real robust aerobic exercise, critical for all the reasons we touched on. And I also tell people with the exercise, find some other way to inoculate yourself from a negative response to stress, whether it's tai chi or yoga or meditation or a stretching program. Find a way to express yourself creatively. Because we all have those creative juices and we feel better. And when we're being creative, we have positive feelings. We're less likely to experience feelings of anxiety or depression. And so whether it's joining a photography class or painting, sculpting or studying music, taking up a musical instrument or something, and then the final piece I always say to people, we're social creatures and we thrive physically, emotionally, mentally, immunologically when we feel connected, when we have community. And so find ways to get out of your silo, where we all are working and living, and even if it's just getting on the phone or having a zoom call with friends or family members, going out on a walk a couple of times a week, find ways to connect with people.
[00:34:59.950] – Joseph
Join a book club, a choir, go to volunteer.com, just find ways to be with people and feel that connection because it really makes a difference in our long term health.
[00:35:09.860] – Allan
[00:35:10.360] – Allan
So, Joseph, if someone wanted to learn more about your book, The Alzheimer's Revolution and more about you, where would you like for me to send them?
[00:35:18.540] – Joseph
[00:35:30.140] – Allan
You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/559, and I'll be sure to have links there. Joseph, thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
[00:35:38.530] – Joseph
Thanks, Allan. It's been a pleasure.
[00:35:46.770] – Allan
Welcome back, Ras.
[00:35:47.950] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. What an interesting conversation about Alzheimer's. That is another situation that's certainly getting out of control. I can't believe how fast Alzheimer's is growing in popularity.
[00:36:01.210] – Allan
[00:36:03.090] – Rachel
I know. Yes. And the demographics.
[00:36:05.500] – Allan
Yeah, it's just happening. Like you said, it's happening to younger and younger people.
[00:36:08.950] – Rachel
[00:36:09.440] – Allan
And more people. So it is really our face, and it's just going to get worse. And it's really about us adjusting our lifestyle. And I talk about commitment. I talk about why you start thinking about getting older. I've always said the joke, I want to be able to wipe my own butt when I'm 105. This is a part of it. This is a big part of it. I don't want my kids or brothers or sisters or anybody to have to care for me. I want to be independent. I want to be there. So it was food for thought having this conversation with Joseph because he did his research. This was maybe the most researched book I've ever read. He had over 1000 references in this book and I had some that have been up to 800. There's over 1000 references. So if there was a study about Alzheimer's, this dude read it.
[00:36:58.830] – Rachel
[00:37:00.330] – Allan
So there's a lot in the book, a lot of advice. But you mentioned it on pre-shows. We were talking through this. It really goes back to the basic tenets of health.
[00:37:08.620] – Rachel
It does, doesn't it?
[00:37:09.920] – Allan
Real food, sleep, stress management, movement. It's the same. And avoid toxins. It's the same five things that you would think. 350 plus interviews, all of them saying the same thing eventually click.
[00:37:25.660] – Allan
[00:37:26.750] – Rachel
[00:37:27.320] – Allan
This is a thing. Yeah.
[00:37:29.500] – Rachel
Well, you mentioned you mentioned that this is scarier for you in later life than cancer. And it is true. And you mentioned it's the same statistic. Didn't they say it was one in two people will end up with Alzheimer's over if you live to be over 85.
[00:37:44.710] – Allan
If you're over 85, yes, about 30 years. So about the time because I'm 56 right now. I'm 56 right now, so 30 years.
[00:37:52.450] – Allan
Half the people that are standing around me my age are going to have Alzheimer's.
[00:37:56.790] – Rachel
[00:37:57.260] – Allan
Worst part of that statistic is that there are people in their family that are now going to be suffering as well because of the caretaking and the losing the person before you lose the person. So this is a really big deal. And that needs to be a part of your why, not just what you're doing for yourself, what you're doing for the people around you.
[00:38:16.850] – Rachel
Oh, it is. People with Alzheimer's require so much extra care and you can't literally live on your own at that point. You need to be in the assisted or even a memory care facility. You need round the clock care because like Joseph was saying, you lose certain synapses and you just don't think about it. We have a loved one that suffers with Alzheimer's and one of the things that goes is the ability to make your own decisions. So when we go out to eat, the restaurant waiter or wait staff will ask what you're going to eat and someone will say something and our loved one can't make a decision. So she'll just eat whatever the person before her ordered. And I'm not even sure she's capable of reading at this point, but she can't make those types of decisions and it's very difficult and it just requires around the clock care and it's really hard to watch your loved ones suffer like that.
[00:39:11.120] – Allan
Yeah, it is. And so if you have a loved one in your life, because the reason he kind of got into all of this was he had members of his family that had Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, so they're like, oh, well, we're all bound to get it because it's genetic.
[00:39:24.970] – Allan
And so he did his research. He said, well, there's a little bit.
[00:39:27.440] – Allan
Of a genetic component, but that's not what's causing it. You have a predisposition towards Alzheimer's, and then you're not caring for yourself, and then you enter the disease state. So you don't have to go down that path. There's a different choice.
[00:39:42.130] – Rachel
Well, that's fascinating. And like you mentioned, it's the same thing that we've heard before. It's eating the good food so that these plaques don't develop in your brain. It's exercising so that you're continuing to build those capillaries instead of breaking them down so that your brain can function. And the sleep component, I mean, that's when your body fixes itself. It's in the sleep when all the good things happen to repair functions and whatnot. So it is something that we all should spend a little bit more time focusing on. And like you had said too, just make that simple swap if there's something you're not doing right in your life. Too many desserts. Well, switch it. Maybe add some fruits to your life or some happier, fun to eat vegetables or something and get some more time outside. There's those spots that we just have to be diligent about making, and we're not as active like in the winter up here in Michigan, it's harder to be outside in the cold, but we could push ourselves a little harder to spend a few more minutes outside than we might normally do. Get a little fresh air, get a little sunlighy.
[00:40:51.020] – Allan
and you're going to move. Because standing still in the cold is a lot worse than moving in the summer.
[00:40:55.240] – Rachel
Yeah, you have to move. No standing still in the winter. It's just these little simple things that could really make a big difference over time. And you're right. As we age, we want to be independent and doing things for ourselves that makes a high quality of life. So why not start setting some good habits now?
[00:41:13.520] – Allan
I completely agree with you.
[00:41:16.450] – Rachel
That sounds great.
[00:41:17.850] – Allan
All right, well, I'll talk to you next week.
[00:41:19.960] – Rachel
Right, Allan, take care.
[00:41:21.290] – Allan
You too. Bye.
[00:41:22.300] – Rachel
Thanks. Bye bye.
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Jim Owen (author of the book Just Move: A New Approach to Fitness After 50 is a 40-year veteran of Wall Street and is also the founder and CIO of the center for Cowboy Ethics and Leadership. He is the best-selling author of The Try, The Secret to Success in Life and Career, Cowboy values, recapturing what America once stood for, and the Prudent Investor. On his 70th birthday, he looked in the mirror and didn't like what he saw. He committed to change. And now at 82, he's in the best shape of his life. He shares many of his super-ager strategies and tactics during this interview.
[00:01:18.550] – Allan
Hey, Ras. How are things?
[00:01:20.460] – Rachel
Good, Allan. How are you today?
[00:01:22.810] – Allan
Well, we are now out of the closet, out of the bedroom, into the house. My wife Tammy got covid, so we've had her quarantined for this week. And I've been living upstairs in one of our rooms, which is not bad. It's a really nice place, but just having to take care of her, having to take care of everything else. And it's been a lot. But it's a good week.
[00:01:52.840] – Rachel
Yeah. She's feeling better?
[00:01:54.650] – Allan
She is now symptom free, so she's gotten over it.
[00:01:58.420] – Rachel
[00:01:59.320] – Allan
She had tested positive on Monday and she tested herself and then she tested positive again. She went to the hospital and tested and got a positive. So this at home test, you can get false positives sometimes she got a positive, I got a negative. And then we quarantined her. She went to the hospital the next morning and it was positive. So she finished up her fifth day yesterday, the day before yesterday, and then just out of precaution stayed another day and a half, two days. So she's just now coming out of the apartment today.
[00:02:36.110] – Rachel
Cool. That's good news. Very exciting.
[00:02:40.030] – Allan
How are things up there?
[00:02:41.570] – Rachel
Oh, great. Mike and I went camping this weekend and had a great weekend out. Our first weekend of camping. And it was a beautiful time. Nice, peaceful, relaxing. It was a good time. Nice to be out.
[00:02:55.330] – Allan
All right. Well, are you ready to have this conversation with Superager Jim?
[00:02:59.090] – Rachel
[00:03:35.350] – Allan
Hey, Jim, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
[00:03:37.820] – Jim
Thank you, Allan. I'm delighted to be here.
[00:03:40.640] – Allan
You know, you're in your 70s, mid-70s now, I guess, right? 76, maybe.
[00:03:46.380] – Jim
Allan, I will be 82.
[00:03:50.290] – Allan
Okay, we're going to play some of the video. We're going to save some little clips here and there. And so I want people to look at this because you don't look like a normal 82-year-old. Not by normal, I mean an American 82-year-old man. You look very different than most of us think we're going to look or would look when we're 82. And a lot of it is the stuff that you shared in this book.
[00:04:15.600] – Jim
And that's kind of the real story, because I'm nobody special, believe me, if I can do this, because when I was 70, very different story. That's what we're talking about, my story.
[00:04:28.710] – Allan
Okay, well, the book is called Just Move: A New Approach to Fitness after 50. And I started when I was in my mid-40s, realized that my job was killing me. My life was killing me. I was unfit, unhealthy, and just going downhill and fairly miserable. So I started making some changes. And those changes reflected who I changed into. And in many ways, it's the same for you. You came upon it, said, hey, I got to do something, and you started making some changes. Can you talk a little bit about your story?
[00:05:02.770] – Jim
Well, Allan, when I turned 70, I was in terrible shape. My back was killing me. I'm not talking about a little back pain. I'm talking about excruciating back pain. Both knees were shot and my right rotator cuff was frozen. If that weren't enough, I was probably 20 to 25 pounds overweight. But when I think about it, and I'm sure that many of your listeners had the same thing, the worst of it all was low energy. I just didn't have the energy I had when I was younger. And I said, boy, I said to my wife, I look in the mirror. I don't forget as long as I live on my 70th birthday. And Allan and I said, My God, I'm an old man. And I said to my wife, I'm an old man. She said, Sweetie, don't worry, you've still got game. She paused and then she said, unfortunately, that game is being gone. That's a true story. So that got me thinking, okay, I got to do something. Today, I'll be 82 in October. And now I'm in the best shape of my life. I couldn't do one push up on day one on my 70th birthday, I could not do one push up.
[00:06:40.490] – Jim
I can bang out 50. I don't do it every day because it's not good for your shoulder. But I can bang out 50, and I weigh less than I did today than I did in high school. And I look back and say, yeah, it's transformation. But, Allan, I think the takeaway for your audience is I'm just an average guy. So if I can do this, go from being weak and overweight and so on, anybody can do it. I'm nobody special. I'm not a Superman or any of that stuff. I think the basic message to your audience is, if you want to get more fit like you did, you want to get healthier, you can. It's never too late. Doesn't matter. Obviously, if I'd done this earlier in my life like you did, I wouldn't have had to have worked as hard. Let's be honest about it, okay. But if you're 75 years old, you still get more fit. And still now 82, and all I can say is I'm in the best shape of my life. I feel lucky. But it wasn't a gift. I had to show up and do the work. And that's the basic message to your audience.
[00:08:06.800] – Jim
You have to show up and do the work, and you have to have kind of a long term view. And maybe you can help me out. If there's a secret, if there's a pill I could have taken, there's a shortcut. I never found it, frankly. I just showed up, did the work. But anybody can do this. You don't have to kill yourself. You don't have to have a gym membership. You don't have to have a personal trainer. Not really. So that's my story.
[00:08:39.280] – Allan
Well, if there is a magic to it, and I think this is where most people struggle is, and you would have struggled with this a lot as well. You hurt, you're in pain, but you're in a bad place. And you know that there are two directions. You're kind of at a fork in the road. And as you said, it's your stark reality.
[00:08:59.140] – Jim
Absolutely. Fork in the road is a great way to look at this.
[00:09:04.510] – Allan
And now for you, it seems, because I was looking at it kind of the same way of saying I'm either going to keep dying or I'm going to start living. And that's the way I kind of looked at it. But being inactive was really, I think, one of the big problems both of us kind of faced at that point in our lives. We weren't active. What are some of the risks that we were facing when we're not moving our bodies and not doing the things we're supposed to?
[00:09:30.370] – Jim
Well, this is one of this book I wrote. I wrote this book, I guess five years ago, published by National Geographic. They've never done a book like this, but they were sort of fascinated by this whole concept. Let me just say this, Allan. I came across one statistic that I want to share with you and your audience, and this is really what got me motivated. If you make it to 70. Statistically, out of a very large sample of people, I'm not talking about ten people from Denmark. I'm talking about 100,000 people. Statistically, you will live another 15 years on average. And I said to myself, If I feel this bad now, can you imagine? In 15 years, I'll be in a wheelchair, I'll have a cane, I'll be slumped over, whatever. That was my motivation, to be honest about it. What happens if I do make this? So the reason that you and I are on this health kick I think, it has nothing to do with I need to lose 10lbs or I need this or that. It's not about living longer. Maybe this to you. It's not to me. Okay. But I want to live as happy and as full of life as I can.
[00:11:05.010] – Jim
The killer. And that's why this book is called Just J-U-S-T I'm a Southern accent. Just move. Is that one of the problems is that all of us today, or most of us sit too much. The average adult. This is not my opinion. This is, I think, Harvard or somebody, or maybe I think it's Harvard Medical School says the average American adult sits between 8 and 11 hours a day. That's between the computer, hunched over a computer, watching TV, kind of relaxing, whatever you want to call it. That's part of the problem. That's why my basic thing is just move. It doesn't matter what you do, as important as you've got to do something as opposed to sitting. The reason that sitting is bad. I know it's a cliche, Allan, but sitting is kind of the new smoking. If you sit, you will have aches and pains. There's no doubt every doctor will tell you that. And the doctors themselves probably sick too much. Okay, we all do. That's just part of our culture. I've worked hard my whole life. I deserve some relaxation, that's all true. But you will have aches and pains. You will have tight hips.
[00:12:35.250] – Jim
Absolutely true. The tight hips are often what leads to this back pain. I didn't know that. Again, I'm not a doctor, I'm not a kinesiologist. I don't have an advanced degree in Gerontology. I'm just an ordinary guy. That said, if I feel this bad now, how am I going to feel in 10 years or 15 years? And that was the motivation for me.
[00:13:04.890] – Allan
Yeah. I was looking at my life with my daughter going on and doing things like CrossFit and obstacle course races. And I was thinking to myself, she wants me to come and be there with her. But she was thinking of it in terms of me being a spectator.
[00:13:24.330] – Allan
Sit. And watch her do her event. And when she started talking about those things, I was like, Well, I don't want to spectate. I want to participate and I can't. I'm not there.
[00:13:36.630] – Jim
That sums up. And I did.
[00:13:38.710] – Allan
And then as I really got into thinking, about this long term what this means as far as my path, my aging curve. I noticed my grandfather, he was in his ninety s and he could not take care of himself. And so then it became this mantra of I want to be able to wipe my own butt when I'm 105. So it's kind of funny, kind of silly, but it's kind of those concepts of I want to be able to do the things I enjoy doing with my family. We didn't have mud runs when I was younger, so now we have mud runs. And when I have grandkids, I don't know what they're going to be doing. But I also don't likely want to be a spectator for much of it if I can participate in any way. And the only way I'm going to do that is to keep myself healthy and strong. The only way I'm going to live to see 105 and still be healthy and strong is if I'm doing the right things day in and day out. And the next thing is avoiding mistakes, because I can tell you over the course of the eight years I was trying to figure all this stuff out because we don't come with an operating manual, although now your book gives us a lot of that.
[00:14:41.730] – Jim
[00:14:42.280] – Allan
Your book does give us a lot. What are some common mistakes that we make as older individuals trying to start an exercise program?
[00:14:50.970] – Jim
I would say the first thing is that most people and I live in a senior community, as we call it. Okay. And I see people I'm probably a young person, to be honest about it. My wife and I, we've been married 52 years.
[00:15:08.860] – Allan
[00:15:10.240] – Jim
I think the biggest mistake is that people don't have a goal, which I don't ask you where it came from just out of my head. But when I started this program, I had one goal, and it was I want to be 80 years young. And at the time, I was 70 years old. So I wrote this down. I'm 80 years old. I want to be 80 years young. What do I have to do? And Allan, again, I'm not an exercise nut or some freak or gym rat. I didn't know what to do to be honest about it. And observing people was part of this, Allan. And what I noticed was that there were people who were 60 who looked and moved like they were 80. There were people who were 80 who looked to move like they were 60. And I said, what do these folks know who are 80? I said, I want to be one of those. And I call these super-agers. That's my term for it. I don't know if that's not a medical term. I call them super agers. Now let me be clear. I didn't say super men and I didn't say super women or Wonder Woman.
[00:16:47.710] – Jim
These are ordinary people who made a decision Allan, just like you did. What do I have to do? Okay. To lead a happier, more full life, not to be 100 years old or whatever. I'm not saying you can exercise every day, but one big lesson out of all this is that DNA is not your destiny. And what I did, I talked to people who were what I call Supe-Agers, people who are 80 years old, 85 years old, what the heck do they do? And there were some very common traits of these people, and that's how I developed a plan. The other mistake people make is they say, okay, I want to get fit. Okay. Do you have a plan for getting fit? No, I do the treadmill. I go walking. Well, I'm going to tell you, walking alone is not enough. People in your audience you're going to go, he doesn't know what he's talking about. Well, I love to walk. Okay, so let's make it real clear. Walking alone is not enough. So whether you have a gym membership or work out at home or whatever it may be, there are other activities you have to do if you want to get more fit.
[00:18:28.050] – Jim
And I talked to the experts, for what that's worth, there are lots of conflicts of interest. There's a lot of showman in the fitness industry. I'm a little bit cynical, as I suspect you are about the industry itself. Everybody's promoting something, but it doesn't matter when I talk to the experts, plus people who are actually what I call Super-Agers. And that's where I developed a program and I want to show you my T shirt. I call this, Geezer fitness is what I call this. So the best advice I got ever, I want to share with you and your audience and I can get a kick out of this. The best advice I ever had, somebody who was probably 85 years old, I was never quite sure how he was, but he looked like a million dollars. And he said, Jim, if you want to get motivated and stay motivated, I'm going to give you a secret. I said, Gosh, we love secrets. What's the secret? He said, Buy a couple of compression shirts. I said, what is a compression shirt? And he showed me, he says, what the athletes wear. So on day one, I show up and I had a double, the highest thing you could have, okay, whatever it was.
[00:20:02.610] – Jim
And people looked at me on day one and said, this guy has no pride at all. And the fact you try wearing a compression shirt if you're 5lbs overweight the fat hangs out. And people would look away and say, this guy has no pride at all. And to be honest about it, that's what kept me motivated. Pretend I've worn one every day since, and I love putting stuff on here. I've got one called Spartacus. So if I'm really at my best shape, I say Spartacus. If I'm not such good shape, and now I'm wearing a medium. So that's kind of what kept me motivated. People just couldn't believe it. Does this guy know how awful he looks? So try a compression shirt. And if you're 10lbs overweight, it's really embarrassing. So anyway, that's what I did and it kind of worked. It just kept me motivated day after day. And all of a sudden I started wearing a large and now wear a medium T shirt. And for a guy, one problem that men have is that they develop that punch okay and very difficult to get this off. So one mistake that people make, Allan, which I didn't know about, I didn't know what core meant.
[00:21:29.610] – Jim
I thought core referred to a six pack. Now, core is a band that goes around your upper extremity. It starts about here and goes down to your thighs. And if your core is weak and mine was incredibly weak, you will have back pain, I guarantee you. So one mistake that I would guess that 80% of people make in your audience, they don't do enough core. Again, I didn't know this. I'm not a medical doctor, I don't have a PhD. But what I found out the hard way was one reason for my lower back pain was a weak core. So for the first, probably two or three years, I would guess at least a third of my workouts exercising was on the core. Here's the good news, Allan. I'll be 82. I have zero back pain. None. Nada. So I look back and say, whatever I did seem to have worked. But a big part of this was the core. So it's not about being in a dynasty, it's not about Allan how many pull ups can you do? I can do. It has nothing to do with the ego. It has to do with, quote, functional fitness.
[00:22:58.030] – Jim
So I'm going back to what I said earlier about mixing it up. There are basically five dimensions of functional fitness. Now, when you're young, you're motivated. I want to look good in a bathing suit. Nothing wrong with that, okay. Or I'm getting married in four months. I need to lose 15lbs. So it's very vanity driven when you're older, older, being 50, 60, 70, 80, whatever. Presumably you're less vanity driven and more driven, as you said you were, by the desire to be functional, to be able to go through a day without aches and pains, without being slumped over like this, being able to stand up straight, not having a Walker, not having complaining all day about, oh, God, my back hurts this and that and so on. And so that's what it's done for me. When I say I'm in the best shape of my life, well, I have no aches and pains. What is that worth any amount of money? I can tell you that had a good career in the investment world. All I can say is the hour a day that I spend on exercising working out is the best investment I ever made.
[00:24:21.580] – Jim
How do you put a price on this? I don't know how to do it. I can say all the money in the world if you're 80 years old and let's say you're a rich person, whatever that means, and you end up in a doctor's office three or four times a week, what have you achieved? So, Allan, I call all this stuff winning at life. That's how I frame what I do. My goal, I want to win at life. How do you look back on your last days and aches and pains and the doctor you know your doctor better than you do your kids and your loved one? I don't think that's winning at life, personally. I don't think being dependent upon your kids to take care of you when you're older. I don't think that's winning at life.
[00:25:13.150] – Allan
Let's take a quick step back, because before we get too far away from the functional fitness, I think this is important for someone, particularly someone that's just starting out to understand. So the gym culture. I've been in the gym a lot over the course of my life. There's this thing, and you'll notice all the cardiovascular machines are really close to the door. And that's where 90% of the people that come in, they stop right there at the treadmill because it's easy. They understand it. You turn it on, you walk, you turn it off, you go home. And kind of the funny thing is you might live a mile away from the gym, but you're going to walk 3 miles on the treadmill and not walk to the gym. But a lot of people stop there and they look to the rest of the gym, either by not knowing what to do or even having, like you said, a plan. And for the plan to be successful, as you mentioned, it has to address functional fitness. And you mentioned Core. And we were going to say, yeah, the walking and cardiovascular endurance is important. Those are two facets of functional fitness.
[00:26:13.420] – Allan
But what are the other three that we should be looking toward to be a super ager?
[00:26:18.850] – Jim
Well, a clear one is strength. And when you say that, wait a minute, I'm not a muscle head. I'm not trying to be Mr. or Ms. Adonis. I'm not talking about that. Here are the statistics. When I did this book just move the National Geographic, it took me about two years to do the book. And when I got through and turned in the manuscript and they said, this is great. Oh, by the way, we need to have an expert read every page and evaluate it. I said, what?
[00:26:55.690] – Jim
Oh, yeah. Well, I said, I don't think anybody can do that or would do it. They found somebody out of Duke University who was, I guess, a gerontologist, and she read every paragraph. And so we agreed upon that. And then they said, Jim, oh, by the way, one more step. You have to source everything you said. What does that mean? Well, we don't want your opinion. You have to say, where did your opinion come from? I said, why don't you tell me about that? Because you would never have signed the contract. So I had to source it. And I said, because there's so much BS in the fitness world. So when I threw out these statistics, it's not my opinion. It could be Mayo Clinic, it could be whomever. But the book was not my opinion says this or that. Okay. But what I learned was from the experts is that how important strength training is. And that does not mean lifting heavy. That's what people get in trouble. You can do a lot of stuff with very light dumbbells. So my advice to your audience is maybe you're using 15 or 10 pound dumbbells. That's okay.
[00:28:22.450] – Jim
I can show you some exercises that you're going to say, I suspect you're in good shape, that you're going to say, Gosh, this is hard, Allan. 15 lbs can be hard depending on what you do. Okay. But here's the reason why in a nutshell, is because you lose strength as you get older, that unless you do something to offset that, here are the statistics. You're going to lose about 40% of your muscle mass by the time you're 70 or 75. And this often leads to the problems. So you have weak bones and so on. And so, again, I'm not a medical expert, but that's what the experts says, not an expert alive they wouldn't agree with that. That strength training and it's not being a muscle head and it's not lifting heavy at all. It has nothing to do with that. You don't need a gym membership. You can do it at home. I can show you exercises to do, just push ups, that kind of stuff that anybody can do them. You don't need a trainer, although a trainer is very helpful in sort of laying this out. But the first one is strength training that you have to do as an adult.
[00:29:46.790] – Jim
And the second, the other one is balance. So here are the statistics. One in three, there could be one in four adults, 65 and over fall every year. Now think about that again. I'm living in a senior community. Allan, if I told you how many friends we have or acquaintances where you want to call them fall, you would not believe it. And typically it's at night and for some reason it's in the bathroom. I don't know why, but we'll see somebody said, Where's Joe? Where's Nancy? Oh, man, she fell last night, banged her head. Then you're talking about something that's pretty awful.
[00:30:36.090] – Allan
Yeah. One of the statistics you had in the book that I'd like to share is that a quarter of a million people fall and go to the hospital with a hip fracture every single year. That's insane.
[00:30:53.370] – Jim
It's stunning. And these are people who are not in such bad shape. Something happens. Now let me explain to you. I fell myself and broke my wrist three months ago. Say what? Yeah. I got through working out, had a cup of coffee in my right hand, tripped. We have Oriental rugs, for better or for worse. We have Oriental rugs, tripped on the rug and said, If I spill this coffee, my wife is going to really kill me.
[00:31:31.230] – Allan
That thought would be it, but that was the thought in my head.
[00:31:34.830] – Jim
I think I did.
[00:31:38.190] – Allan
You flung the cup across the room.
[00:31:40.280] – Jim
No, I didn't spill the coffee. I fought with one hand. If I fell with two hands, guess what? I'd catch myself. Broke my wrist. I was in the cast for it's been four months now, and it's still not quite okay, but I'm a lot better. And so this goes to show you and my wife said, what happened? I said, well, I didn't spill the coffee, but I broke my wrist. It was a clean break, thank goodness. But even so, it could happen to anybody. In my case, I tripped on a rug after working out. It could happen to anybody. So you could fall this afternoon because you're walking along with a friend or your daughter and you're talking and you're not looking down. And there's whatever reason, the concrete, there's a bump in the road, whatever it may be, in the trail, for example. You'd be surprised how many people are trail walkers and they trip because of, who knows, a branch comes in, they're talking, not looking down. And so you have to do something about some kind of balance training. Now, we're not talking about this takes 2 hours. One thing that's very important. There's a big difference between training and exercising.
[00:33:12.890] – Jim
I didn't learn this in year one or year two, but training is what I've been doing. Training means you're working toward a goal. Exercising, Allan, is what most people do. They go to the gym, they do a slow slog on the treadmill while they're watching the news. That's most people who are older. I don't think that works. So when you're working toward a goal, you tend to be more efficient. So when I see an hour a day, in order to do that, you've got to be efficient. I think the magic number for me, at least is 30 minutes of walking. I do walk and think everybody needs to walk some kind of cardio endurance. I think the magic number personally is 30 minutes. I think it's diminishing returns. If that's the only message I'll leave you with today, there's diminishing returns in all of this stuff, whether it's walking or push ups or sit ups or whatever it may be. And you have to sort of understand and you learn this the hard way because the goal is to be efficient. What can I do? How can I use this hour efficiently? And what you learned, what I learned is that people who are in shape learn how to be efficient, how to squeeze stuff that's essential into 1 hour.
[00:34:56.860] – Jim
It could be 45 minutes. And nobody says that you can't exercise for 20 minutes three times a day. No big deal, 45 minutes a day. But I find out that works for me is an hour a day. And I do balance. I do my cardio on the days I do strength training. What I should have told you was, here's my program. I do strength training three times a week. Okay. I do cardio three times a week. So I walk pretty actively. But I don't run. I don't jog because my knees, I walk. Stretching is critical. If you don't stretch, it's a big mistake when you're older. You will have aches and pains. There's no way around that. Now you can say, Jim, I do yoga. Great. Pilates. Terrific. Okay. But these are the main things that someone has to do, and every older person is I don't know what to do. I don't have a plan. Well, there's some trial and error, and you sort of have to learn what works for you. The best motivation on is getting results. Here's some good news for you. If you're in bad shape like I was, the results come very quickly.
[00:36:23.770] – Jim
That's what people don't realize if all you do is walk. When I started out, I literally out on day one, could not walk more than probably four blocks. And I was huffing and puffing. That's how bad the shape I was in. But I said, you know, I'm going to do a 30 day deal now. Why 30 days? I have no idea. I just said 30 days. It could have been 45 days or 20 days. I was amazed by simply every day trying to do a little bit more. I wasn't running or jogging or any of that stuff, just walking. At the end of 30 days, I felt so much better. You have no idea. My wife's friend said, what is Jim doing? What do you mean? He looks so much more energetic. When you're older, that's what happens when you walk. Okay. And so what I found for me was the sweet spot was about 30 minutes, and I do it three times a week. Beyond 30 minutes, it's kind of missing returns. I'd rather use those other 30 minutes to do strength training and other activities. That's all it is.
[00:37:40.960] – Allan
right. Well, in your book, Just Move, there's a ton of these types of tips. You talk about how much time you dedicate from each workout, the different things you have images of some of these exercises. So there's a lot in this book. But if you wanted to just say, what are a couple of your favorite takeaways from the book that if someone were thinking about buying your book that you want them to know, want them to look for, what would that be?
[00:38:05.240] – Jim
Well, that's a great question. And I think what I would say is you have to find your why. What is your why? Why are you even thinking about taking up some kind of a program? Okay, now your why might be, I don't want to be a burden to my kids. I don't want to say, well, I'm sorry I can't go with you on this trip. I've got to take care of my dad. Man, I don't want that. I want to be able to play with my grandkids. Everybody has their own try, but that's sort of the motivation. My motivation again, was I want to be 80 years young. That may not be your goal. It was my goal. Okay? You have to find that. And the other important takeaway is you have to have a plan. Without a plan, a goal is just a dream, in my opinion. So a goal and a plan. And then you have to actually show up and do the work so you can talk about this stuff all day long. I think the only mistake the other takeaway is the goal is not perfection. So I know you like to exercise and it's really improved your life and that kind of stuff, but perfection is not the goal.
[00:39:31.830] – Jim
The exercises that I do, I don't do very well. I try, but we all have our issues. So the other thing I want to make sure that everybody understands is you can work out every day, okay. And it's true that your DNA is not your destiny. That's an important concept to me. That means you can do activities that will help lower the risk of a serious disease. Heart attack, stroke, okay? Certain cancers, all that's true. But I have to tell your audience this. When you get 80 years old, you will have issues and no amount of exercise, no amount of eating right. No amount of managing stress, none of that good sleep habits. You will still have stress. I don't know anybody who's 80. It's like having a car. Okay? You have a great car, but there's a certain mileage. I don't know. It's 150,000 miles. Your car is going to break down. Well, guess what? Your body breaks down, but it's okay because you're in shape. And I've had some issues. I don't want to go into them myself other than a broken wrist. But the big pay off from all this stuff, Allan, the big pay off is what you have to think about,
[00:41:03.900] – Jim
What's Jim want to payoff from all of your exercises, all of your hard work? You know what it is? It's the confidence that whatever life throws at me, I can deal with it. And what I'm suggesting is the real benefit of all this stuff is mental as much as physical. So given where I came from, getting where I am now doesn't mean I'm not going to have issues. That's just BS. I do have issues. I will have issues. But it's the confidence I can deal with whatever life throws at me. I don't care what it is. If I get hit by a truck, if I get cancer, if I get all the bad things that happen because of the confidence that comes from hard work and getting results, you can deal with it. The other thing out of the book that I want everybody to really kind of think about, these are all just insights. There are no rules that I know of, but they're insights. The other big insight that I think is important is that attitude is so critical. Okay, so all we're talking about here is looking forward and not back. Allan, I cannot tell you how many people I know who live in the past and every single one of them is in bad shape.
[00:42:43.270] – Jim
I'm looking forward. Now, I'm going to say this to your audience, and I believe it. I honestly believe my best days still lie ahead. Is that positivity? That's a critical element. If somebody says I don't need exercise, I don't need to eat healthy or eat clean, I don't need any of that stuff. Okay, that's fine. That's your choice. Ok. The problem is you're going to end up at some point, you might lose your loved one, then you're going to be by yourself. Okay, maybe you have a caretaker, but your world is going to shrink. It's the opposite out of what you said. Your world is going to shrink. You spend your day in a small apartment when you're 80 or 85 years old. Loneliness. And all of this is what tends to lead to depression, but even worse, Alzheimer's and dementia. Now, I may end up with dementia or Alzheimer's, but I'm doing everything I can. Okay. Staying active. And also, I want to share with you one last thought is that we talk about physical fitness, and that's very important because fitness is the foundation of healthy aging. That's the other message. But there's more to healthy aging than that.
[00:44:18.830] – Jim
There's also mental fitness, and there's emotional fitness, and they're equally important. So in my case, the reason I'm doing this interview is not to sell books. If my story can inspire somebody to get off the couch and just move, as opposed to just sitting, that's my legacy. To be honest about it, I wrote a best selling book called Cowboy Ethics. 160,000 copies. Best selling book. This book maybe 25,000 Max. You don't sell excise. Books like this don't sell unless it's written by George Clooney or Brad Pitt. That's the truth. So the money I make off this book is not worth even talking about. To be honest about it, it doesn't matter. This is for me, is a legacy. If my story of going from incredibly bad shape and back pain and terrible feeling and so on to where I am right now in the best shape of my life, I weigh less I did in high school, and I'm just an average guy. I'm not anything special, okay? If that can inspire somebody that's more important to me, that's my legacy. I want to look back on my life and say, and this is the whole idea of purpose.
[00:45:50.270] – Jim
Now, you're too young. I suspect even think about this.
[00:45:55.340] – Allan
I'm 56 years old.
[00:45:57.590] – Jim
That's young. You're a kid.
[00:45:59.990] – Allan
I am a kid. I agree.
[00:46:04.070] – Jim
But what keeps you going, what keeps you alive is that having the passion or the purpose. I look back on it and say, I will look back on my life on the last day of my life and say, Did I leave things better than I found it? If it's true that I did it's because of my writing and my speaking, I made my money, so to speak, in my career. Not that I'm a rich, rich guy, but I have enough money. Okay? So I'm lucky on that score. But the legacy is what's important to me. It's not the books I think sells on Amazon for $15 or whatever. Okay. And if you think somebody is going to make a living off of writing a book, well, I guess Michelle Obama can do it, but most of us can't do it. I sure couldn't do it. But it's the legacy factor that is so critical to me. And that's why I do all this stuff. You have no idea. I get emails from so many people, and I'm not big computer guys. I told you to be honest about it. That's just not me.
[00:47:21.520] – Jim
I don't like emailing, any of that stuff. But if my story can make a difference and that's why I do all this stuff, that gives me more satisfaction. I also did a film. I produced a film called The Art of Aging Well, and it took two years. Now, when I say produce, what does that mean? Well, producer of a film hires the people. I'm not behind the camera, hires the people, oversees the quality, and basically does the marketing. Okay. Jim Havey, who's out of Denver. I've known Jim for 30 years. Jim has won three or four Emmys. I've not won an Emmy, but we did a film together again. He's the film guy. The Art of Aging well, and just when we got it finished, this pandemic hit, I can't go on the road and speak about this. I'm basically a communicator. That's kind of what I do. I get in front of an audience, it could be 20 people, it could be 1000. I don't get rattled with an audience. And I said what I'm going to do, I've got two years invested. I can't go on a plane and go any place anymore.
[00:48:42.640] – Jim
So I said, maybe, just maybe a PBS would carry this thing. Well, we got on PBS, and I'm very proud to say 124 PBS stations carried this. And your audience, there's no charge for it. I raised the money from I had sponsors. That's what I was. But your audience can look at it's called theartofagingwell.com. It's free.
[00:49:13.830] – Allan
[00:49:14.980] – Jim
I'm very big on what you're doing. For example, I really think it's the emotional connection that you make with it's, not the information. If information was the answer, everybody would be working out, eating clean, managing stress, getting a good night's sleep, that kind of stuff. Information doesn't do it. I can give you a 700 page thesis. You're not going to read it, much less take action. But what you're doing with your communication skills, I hope what I'm doing with my writing and creative process inspires people to make these changes. And all I can say is small steps add up over time. So don't think about, that's why I had a ten year goal. My ten year goal was to go from being 70 years old to 80 years young. I never found it. If it was a pill, believe me, I'd be taking it right now. I don't know where the pill? There may be a pill that I do.
[00:50:29.870] – Allan
There's a pill. It's called exercise. And you're doing it six days a week.
[00:50:35.230] – Jim
To me, I would rather spend. So I look back on that and say, Jim, what have you learned from all this stuff? Well, me, I'd rather spend an hour a day doing what I'm doing right now. Okay. As opposed to an hour a day in the doctor's office. And that's what it's going to be like. I don't want to be in a wheelchair. I don't want to have a Walker. I don't want to be bent over like this. I want to be as healthy and as alive and have the energy as long as I can. Having said that, there will be a time. It could be tomorrow. But, Allan, it ain't going to be today. Okay, that's all you can do.
[00:51:22.370] – Allan
Jim, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
[00:51:30.520] – Jim
that's beautiful. I think you've done probably a better job of this stuff than I did. Again, I'm just an ordinary guy. But one of the messages is one, it's never too late to get started. Don't think for a second when I'm 75, there's no point now. I might as well have that three dips of chocolate ice cream or something like that. It doesn't matter with your the sooner you start, the better. There's no question. Now, does Jim Owen wish he had started this program when he was your age? Absolutely. Okay. There's no question about that. But I didn't. I started at 70. You can start at 75. And it's not about getting fit. It's about getting more fit than you are. Now, I had took a long view. Ten years. Okay. I guess you could say I'm fit. I don't know what else I can do, but your DNA does play a part in these underlying conditions. But I like to think that 75% of your health and wellness is lifestyle driven, and we can argue all day long about this. Well, maybe it's more like 60%. I believe it's about 75% lifestyle. Now what does lifestyle means?
[00:53:04.990] – Jim
Exercising, eating clean, okay, managing stress, which is critical. Okay. Getting sufficient sleep, it's that kind of thing. But also and this is what the exercise people don't talk about all that's great. But that's physical health, physical wellness. There's also that mental wellness and emotional wellness, and that's what I'm into now. I want to be a better husband, a better father, a better friend. And that to me today, means more than saying, Gosh, I just had a personal best with pushups. I suspect that I'll be in no better shape in two or three years. I am right now. I don't know what I could do because you can get injured when you're older. So if you do too much with your shoulders or whatever, maybe legs, whatever, you can have a problem. So do I work out as hard as I did before? No. The reason is we all have low energy days. That's another message I want to give to your audience. At my age, you have to recognize the recovery days are critical. So today I'll be working out this afternoon. Do I work out as hard? No, but I work out pretty hard for me.
[00:54:49.550] – Jim
But do I work as hard as I did five years ago? No, I don't think anybody does, but I do cover the bases. I do push myself, but it's incremental. It's not major changes. I don't know how to do that. Can I get more lean? I could probably lose a pound or two. That's about it. Can I lift more weight? Maybe, but do I want to take the risk of hurting my shoulder? Not really. And the recovery days become much more important. So the other message take away from all that we've talked about is when you're older, you have to listen to your body, not to Jim Owen, listen to your body. And I think that's the best guide that I can give you. Listen to your body, particularly when you're older, but you've got to have goals. You've got to have a plan on how you're going to get from here to here. And if you don't just kind of, you have to cover the basis. And you do have to continually improve. And that's sort of the hard thing to understand about this. Let's take a push up, okay. If all you do is plane pushups after you can do about 25, I think you're better off progressing.
[00:56:19.510] – Jim
So I keep progressing. I do more difficult exercises than I did before. That's how I progress. So I do stuff that I probably couldn't have done five years ago, but I don't do squats with barbells on my neck and stuff like that. Or let's just take push ups, okay. A diamond push up, push ups like this. So in every exercise. This is what makes ourselves so fascinating. You think about push up as a pushup. No, it's not. You're going to put your hands like this, like this. You're working your body different ways. The core is the critical part. You've got to have a strong core to do what I do. I guarantee you that. And that's why when you say, Jim, every once in a while I'll take part in the competition with my peers. They want to hear where I live. I live in La Jolla, okay. And I won against all other people my age. Okay. And why? Well, I work out. That's why. A lot of people could do one thing, but they couldn't do the whole thing. This is a test, if you will, but it's great fun. And I want to say one more thing on this.
[00:57:44.900] – Jim
Is that the one regret I have in life? This may surprise you. I want to get your take on this than anything to have been a great athlete. Anything. My brother, who's older than me by two years, was a star athlete and scholar, baseball, basketball, football, and track. The best athlete in a pretty damn good high school. We're from Kentucky and great high school. He was number one. I never scored a touchdown. I never hit the winning home run. I'd have given anything to have been that gifted athlete, which I wasn't I had learned in football. What's interesting about this is I found my inner athlete and I have an athlete's attitude about what I do. And that's why it's fun for me. The exercise part is challenging and fun. And guess what? No surprise to you. A lot of terrific athletes in high school and College, when they get my age, they don't do anything. They got burned out. I can't tell you how many people I know who were good athletes. And so finding your inner athlete to me has made a tremendous difference in terms of confidence and attitude. And the attitude is what kind of keeps you going again to repeat it, I look forward.
[00:59:14.860] – Jim
I don't look back. So many people my age continue to talk about the past. I can't tell you I get so sick of this. Well, when I was in high school, when I was in prep school, how about looking forward? What are you doing now? What's your challenge now?
[00:59:33.470] – Allan
And that's the big thing with me. I was the athlete in high school. I was a very good athlete and then fell out of it in my 30s. But I was an excellent athlete. I was in the US imagery, military. I was super fit all the way up until my thirty's. And then I let it go. And it took me a long time to get it back. But I can tell you all the things I ever did, all the winds, all the shots, everything that I did do all of that, none of those compared to the feeling I got running across the finish line with my daughter at a tough Mudder and knowing that I could keep up with her. She didn't have to wait on me. I was as good an athlete as I'd ever been, and I was able to do that. And you talk about the looking forward. I've got another tough Mudder scheduled in three months, so I'm going to be back up in the States. I'm going to be doing another tough Mudder because I can, because I want to, and I train for it. As you said, train, not exercise.
[01:00:34.880] – Allan
I have a goal. I have a mission. I have a plan. All of those things that you brought up here
[01:00:41.630] – Jim
I'm so impressed. You have no idea. My daughter, we have two children. They're both adopted at birth. We couldn't have kids and married 52 years. Our daughter's name is Allegra, and she's 38 and she's an athlete, and that's her. And she does this tough mudder. I've never done one. She says, dad, when are you going to do a father daughter thing?
[01:01:06.830] – Allan
Yeah, do one of the smaller ones. The tough Mudders are now broken up. So the original one was like 12, 13 miles. So it's pretty tough. Now, that's what they call the 15K, which is, I guess, closer to 9.5 miles, but they have a 5K version. And so the obstacles are going to require upper body strength, grip strength, that type of thing. You're not really running a whole lot because the obstacles are probably no more than a mile away from each other anyway. So you pretty much jog to the next obstacle, and then you wait your turn to get on that obstacle. But they are a ton of fun. And based on looking at you right now, I don't see any get your wrist completely fixed, but I don't see any reason why anybody that doesn't set their mind to do something like that couldn't do it. And if there's an obstacle you can't do, there's no shame in that. You give it a shot, you do your best, and then you move on to the next obstacle. It's a lot of fun. And yes, if you're doing it with your daughter, that's going to be a special day, I promise you.
[01:02:11.320] – Jim
Well, I cannot believe this. I cannot believe this. And I have never talked about this with anyone except my wife. But when I hear your story, are you ready for this? I want to be in the senior Olympics in my age category again. So I'm not competing against somebody who's 75 it's every five years. And I would be in the 80-85.
[01:02:38.520] – Allan
Just started creating those age groups because they figured I got these people in the 80s that are now having to compete with people in the 60s that wasn't right. So they've corrected that. And because they've got Centurions doing it now, they have an over 100 category, and I have no doubt. Yeah, I have no doubt. Within ten years. They're going to have to start breaking that up because it's not fair for 115 year old to run against 100 year old. So good. Congratulations on that.
[01:03:09.850] – Jim
Well, you may not be aware of this. I live in San Diego, in La Jolla. San Diego. San Diego started this instead of in addition to track and field, they also have and now for the first time in the season, and they have an exercise thing. So I'm not going to run 100 yards because of my knees. Okay. I can't do a lot of stuff that you can do, but I have a feeling I can compete in the 80 to 85 senior Olympics in the exercise part, and I can train for that. And I've never talked about with anybody. But hearing your story, It'd be a blast to do it.
[01:03:58.470] – Allan
Let's stay in touch and talk about that.
[01:04:00.390] – Jim
It's about doing your best. I did my best. And guess what, pal? You beat me this year. Next year. That's part of the motivation stuff. Yeah, that's great.
[01:04:13.450] – Allan
So, Jim, if someone wanted to learn more about you, more about the book, Just Move. Where would you like for me to send them?
[01:04:21.630] – Jim
Well, what I would do, frankly, is go to Amazon. This book is going to cost you, I think, $15 and change. Two years of work. And this is like a cup of coffee. So it's not like Jim is getting rich off a book. I think the book is really well done, if I may say this. Okay. And it covers the gamut. And I can tell you there's nothing in this that you don't know. So the book is not really not written for you. You're an athlete, okay. It's the person who, in fact, is a couch potato. I'm not sure where to start or how to do this stuff. I believe in the basic core exercises that everybody needs to do, and you can make all this stuff complicated. And I want to leave you with this one idea. If you want to make what we talked about today complicated, be my guest. I don't think it has to be at all. It's pretty simple stuff. You got to mix it up. You got to keep progressing. You've got to do more than just walk. But you don't have to have a gym membership if you don't want to.
[01:05:40.800] – Jim
You don't have to have a personal trainer if you don't want to. Okay. But you have to move. And you say, I love to move. We have a friend in Santa Barbara who's 92 years old, who is a competitive ballroom dancer. I'm talking about competitive, like on the national stage. That's pretty damn. You can do kayaking, you can do bicycling. There's all kinds of ways to move. If you say, Jim, I'm just not the gym rant type, okay. I've told you what I do. It's worked for me. But if you want to do kayaking, bicycling, Pilates it's all good stuff as long as you are moving and not sitting. But I've built the case here that the cardio endurance is not enough. You should do the other stuff. But I'm not here to pound the table and change somebody's life unless they want to. This book was written for somebody who essentially is skeptical like this. Tell me why I need to do this. Okay. Here are the reasons, but it's not my job to try to. I'm not a personal trainer. I'm not selling protein powder. I have no wax to grind. It's not going to change my life.
[01:07:09.920] – Jim
If somebody says I'm a couch potato, I'm not going to change your call. Good luck, because I can tell you what your life is going to be like when you get my age. You're going to have aches and pains, spend half day in the damn doctor's office. If that's what you want, it's fine. Me, I'd rather not do that. So that's kind of the takeaway. But the book, I need a wonderful book for somebody who is a couch potato, who says, I don't need to know more about this. I want to know more. But I'm not a personal trainer. I'm not a life coach. No, I'm just a guy who said, here's my story. If my story can inspire somebody, then that's my legacy, and that's why I do it.
[01:07:57.380] – Allan
Thank you, Jim. And thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
[01:08:00.800] – Jim
Well, listen, I have to tell you, you inspired me, and it's not used to inspire me, but your story, you have a terrific story. You're a terrific communicator. Okay. And I think you've got a terrific life ahead of you. It's all I can say.
[01:08:21.040] – Allan
Thank you, Jim.
[01:08:29.130] – Allan
[01:08:30.460] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. That was so fun listening to a successful story like his at 85, he sounds like he's the fittest he's ever been. Oh, 82.
[01:08:39.690] – Allan
He's 82. Yeah, he's 82 now. He started his journey when he was in his 70 years, when he was turning 70, because he just had that moment. And most of us that go through some form of transformation like this, we come up to this moment and it's like, oh, I have to do something. And what he was is he just 70, and he felt old and he didn't like the energy level. He didn't like anything about it. And he determined that he was going to change that and committed to changing it. And his overall vision was that by the time he turned 80, he wanted to feel younger than he did when he was 70. And he has and he did, but he did some important things. And normally I try to drive these conversations. Jim is a Rambler. So he went on and on and on, but there's a lot of gold in there. Don't poopoo that like he did. I think it's worth our time to listen to people who've done what you want to do. Listen to people who've struggled through this and learn everything you can from them. So I was more than happy to just sort of hand the mic over to Jim and say, okay, run with it, because it's a good conversation.
[01:09:55.590] – Allan
But one of my key takeaways here is that he didn't play around with this. This wasn't that he dabbled at getting more fit, and it took him all these years. He went straight in and said, I'm hiring a trainer, and I'm going to make this change. And he got a good trainer, and a trainer made him younger, helped him exercise, get stronger, add muscle. And so now he is effectively from a biological age, probably younger than he was twelve years ago.
[01:10:28.980] – Rachel
My gosh, that's just incredible. And I love that he does all the things that we all should be doing Besides cardio. He does strength work. He does balance, which is really important. Even I need to work on that as a runner. And then he does the stretching. The other thing I need to do more of as a runner. But it's awesome that he dedicates his time to doing all of these different modalities each week.
[01:10:52.920] – Allan
Yeah. And so his schedule has him doing exercise for 1 hour, six days a week. That sounds like a lot of people say, oh, my God, I couldn't give an hour and go to the gym every day. You probably spend that much time watching Netflix in a week, 6 hours. And if you really look at it, 6 hours is a fraction of available time you have in a day. So I know we all feel like we're busy, but if you don't make this a priority, it's never going to happen. This is not something you phone in. He had to go to the gym and go through those workouts, and he's working on the other modalities and getting better there, too. And that's one of the cool things about this is when you really dedicate yourself and you put the time in, particularly at the beginning. We call it newbie gains, but you're going to see change really quickly. And that can be very motivating. But you got to start.
[01:11:55.740] – Rachel
Right. I love how he also said that he would rather spend an hour working out than an hour in the doctor's office. And I have to agree with that wholeheartedly. I would rather be exercising once a day or several times a week and just feel healthier and stronger for it. There's a lot of his lessons that I've learned at a much younger age. But again, going back to his age of 82, I'm just flabbergasted that he has put so much time and dedication into his own routine, and he's sharing it in his book. I just love to see people in this age bracket working out like he does.
[01:12:34.370] – Allan
Yeah. Now, a lot of books, when I'm talking to the author and I've read the book, it's like the same style the same thing. So I almost feel like as I've read the book I've already had a previous conversation with this individual. But I will say this Jim's book is much better organized than this podcast episode was. Jim knows his stuff and he put a lot of effort into writing the book. It's very well organized. There are workouts, there are stretches with pictures, all how to do this stuff. He does tell his story in there, which is very uplifting to know for sure. There's always a chance, but you got to get started and then it's a very well organized book for you to have a full program to get yourself started. But I'd still encourage you to look at getting a trainer and I know that's an investment the time is an investment and actually doing the work is an investment, but those investments pay off huge dividends, particularly in our current era where we need to keep our bodies as healthy, as strong as they can to just deal with everyday crap.
[01:13:43.710] – Rachel
For sure. Yes, for sure.
[01:13:47.830] – Allan
Because if you're starting from a better base, you're better off in the end. Regardless.
[01:13:54.570] – Rachel
Going back to his story, he started off with back pain and knee pain and all these things and now he doesn't feel that anymore. He's changed his lifestyle so much that he's healthier and more fit now than he was at age 70. It's just incredible.
[01:14:10.140] – Allan
Yeah, it's a good story and there's a lot of gold Nuggets in this episode. Even more in the book, so it's a good one.
[01:14:19.460] – Rachel
Yes, I love that. Great interview.
[01:14:21.580] – Allan
All right. Well, Rachel, I will talk to you next week.
[01:14:24.880] – Rachel
All right. Take care.
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We all have friends, family, or classmates that just seem to be aging much slower than we are. In her book, True Age, Dr. Morgan Levine explores what we can do to slow our body's aging process to look and feel younger than our chronological age.
[00:07:58.530] – Allan
[00:07:59.650] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. How are you today?
[00:08:01.520] – Allan
I'm doing all right. How are things with you?
[00:08:03.960] – Rachel
Good. Well, we have spring again for now. And you might hear my voice. It's a little raspy. My allergies are the bane of me. As much as I love spring, it does not love me back. So I'm a little bit struggling right now. The beautiful flowers.
[00:08:19.660] – Allan
Well, yeah, you can't have the flowers without the pollen. And depending on where you are in the country, pollen, it can be a bit of a bear.
[00:08:28.800] – Rachel
It is a little bit, but I'll make it through. I'm just happy to have spring today.
[00:08:33.110] – Allan
Good. Yeah. We kind of have spring every day. Lucky.
[00:08:36.150] – Rachel
[00:08:37.890] – Allan
[00:08:39.570] – Rachel
[00:08:44.590] – Allan
We are just now finishing up our busy season on the island. So I think we were full all the way through Easter weekend, which is when high season is supposed to end. And so as we're recording this, we just finished up our Easter weekend. We now have people checking out and then not people checking in. So it will be kind of interesting as we kind of end up with just one or two rooms booked versus having four to six rooms booked kind of what that new pace of life is going to be like.
[00:09:22.300] – Allan
so I've been trying to take on some additional challenges here. I'm actually sitting for right now, another certification, the precision nutrition. So this one is a pretty big one. This one is going to take a lot of effort, but I'm in it. I'd say right now probably about a third of the way through, maybe a quarter through, but it's just getting started on it. So it's pretty intense.
[00:09:48.210] – Rachel
Awesome. That sounds exciting.
[00:09:50.250] – Allan
Yes. Well, I always like to have a challenge, so I'm ready for the tough Mudder, and I might have a little bit of extra time as we go into these next few months. And then Tammy's planning a trip with one of her friends to travel. I'm like, okay, so that's two weeks that she's not going to be here, so I need to have a hobby.
[00:10:12.530] – Rachel
Oh, my goodness.
[00:10:14.040] – Allan
I'll get another certification.
[00:10:16.070] – Rachel
That's awesome. How exciting.
[00:10:18.050] – Allan
Yeah. All right. Well, are we ready to talk about aging?
[00:10:22.810] – Rachel
[00:11:05.850] – Allan
Dr. Levine, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
[00:11:09.510] – Dr. Levine
Thank you for having me.
[00:11:11.220] – Allan
So today we're going to talk about your book, True Age: Cutting-Edge Research to Help Turn Back the Clock. And I think from the perspective of a lot of the books that I've read on aging, obviously, yours being the most recent, there's a lot of good science coming out lately, and you Chronicle a lot of it, and you go way back. We're not just talking about we've started talking about these things. Now you take the research back and you say, what did we know 50 years ago? And how does that reflect what we're doing today? In some cases, there are gaps. We learned a little something like the blood flow between young rat and older rat. And then people just stopped. And now they're kind of saying, well, wait a minute, it wasn't there sort of something there that maybe we want to dig a little bit further. And I think the way you said it is some people are not going the Dracula vampire route. They're going more, okay, let's figure out why this is happening. So maybe we can do something about it. That's cool. And there's a lot of that in the book.
[00:12:15.660] – Allan
But I also like the fact that you took the time to give us some practical things that those of us in our 40s, 50s and 60s can start doing today to reverse our bio age.
[00:12:28.530] – Dr. Levine
Yeah. I think it's critical to not just talk about all the exciting science that really, even though some of it might have been started a century ago or even more, is actually because of where technology is today, we're actually able to understand what is driving this and how to actually implement it, but to give people actual practical things they can do in their everyday life rather than just waiting for new breakthroughs and discoveries, because I know even personally, I don't want to sit around and just hope that something comes out in the next ten or 20 years. I want to know what I can do today. And actually, most of our control that we have over our aging process are just behavioral things that we can actually do. And we don't have to wait for science to catch up there.
[00:13:15.850] – Allan
Right. And that's the good thing, because if you have a base that's a little lower when that stuff does come out, more than likely you're going to see better benefits from it in the long run anyway. No one wants to get to 80 and frail and then say, oh, yeah, now I'm going to reduce five years off of my lifespan, whereas if they felt like they were in their 60s, going back to 55 would feel pretty cool.
[00:13:41.190] – Dr. Levine
Yeah, it's probably easier to prevent than reverse would be my guess.
[00:13:46.410] – Allan
I completely agree. As a personal trainer, I don't think you'd expect anything different from me.
[00:13:51.580] – Dr. Levine
[00:13:52.150] – Allan
Now, one concept you got into the book, and I agree with you at some front that we talk about aging as a disease. And I agree, if we want to get researchers and people looking at it, then it's really good to get it classified as disease because then there's a backing to it. Okay, well, we can solve the problem, then there's money and there's. Ok, now there's medical people are not just going to treat something because that's what you want. I'd love to have a third arm, but I'm not going to find a doctor that's willing to do the research to figure out how to make that happen. But I also think of aging as sort of, if you will, just something that's natural and happens to everybody. So for me to think of aging as a disease, I'd have to think, well, is puberty as a disease? No. Can you talk a little bit about why aging can be considered a disease and what we want to take away from that?
[00:14:56.370] – Dr. Levine
So technically, there are a lot of people in the field who want to classify aging as a disease. I'm actually not one of them. As you kind of mentioned, there are benefits for doing this because the FDA, if they're going to approve anything to go after aging, they need some kind of primary outcome, they call it. So people want to say, oh, aging is a disease, because then they can say, oh, we can treat and tackle it. But I actually agree with you that aging in and of itself is not a disease, because usually when we define a disease, it's a state. So a transition to some state. We know diseases are part of our continuous process, but we usually have to have some criteria for where we say this is a disease state versus non disease state. And like you said, there is no clear way to do that with aging. You can't just say 65 is when you entered some disease state or you can't take the number and classify that as disease. And if you want to treat it, what does it mean to treat aging? So how much do you have to reverse it or prevent it to say you've actually treated or prevented some disease?
[00:16:09.930] – Dr. Levine
And very much like you said, aging doesn't start later in life. It starts, some people believe, before we're even born. So are we already transitioning this disease state? So I like to think of aging not as a disease, but as the kind of basis for most of the diseases that people suffer from today.
[00:16:30.870] – Allan
And I think this is where we can come up to this general split in thought. Okay, we all have a birthday. We all know our birthday. We tend to celebrate it a lot when we're really young. We tend to want to skip some of them once we hit what is it for women age 29 or sometimes it's 39, but there's a full gap stop there. And then they want to reverse it and say, well, maybe I'm going to be 38 next year, but that's our chronological age. Now, there's a concept called biological age, but I think we all know that. We went to high school with all of our friends. My friends posted on Facebook. We're about to start planning our 40 year class reunion.
[00:17:13.410] – Dr. Levine
[00:17:14.280] – Allan
Yeah. Everybody's posting like, oh, my God, don't tell me it's 40 now. I feel old, but we've watched classmates pass. We're in our mid 50s at this point. We've watched classmates pass. We see some of our classmates that look just like they did in high school, practically. And so there's this huge divide over how old we maybe really are inside. And there's an emotional component to it. If you act young, you feel young, and maybe you look young, but there's something else going on there. Can you talk about that?
[00:17:55.650] – Dr. Levine
Yes. So as you brought up, once you reach a certain age, your birthday is not something that people tend to celebrate. I mean, you still go through the motions, but you're not necessarily excited about advancing that kind of year. And the reason for that is because your increase in age is actually accompanied by biological changes, most of which you can't see, but eventually they manifest and you see them in terms of wrinkles or loss of mobility or loss of stamina or even these diseases of aging that we're talking about. But it's not the chronological time itself that's the problem. It's this kind of biological change of the whole organ system that ends up being the problem. And the interesting thing that you brought up that scientists have been studying is that the rate at which these changes occur or accumulate are not the same for everyone. So even though people might have been alive for, let's say, 50 years, chronologically some people will have gone through more of these changes and others less. And so that's kind of how my lab and others have actually tried to quantify biological aging. So do you have kind of the degree of change that's representative of someone who is the same chronological age as you are or hopefully someone who is younger than you rather than older than you?
[00:19:23.820] – Allan
Yeah, I think we've all seen those pictures of the 85 year old woman sitting in the wheelchair, just stuck, probably unable to even stand on her own. And then you see the 85 year old bodybuilder or the 100 yard dash winter who's breaking world records at that age. And it's drastic. It's really drastic. And so what you guys are trying to do with your studies and trying to come up with a biological age, a true age is, okay, how old is your essence, your body? How old are you really? And what are you capable of doing? Now, you talked in the book about kind of three models. I called them three models. I have to put things in my head a certain way because there's a lot of information. And you had a quiz, which is kind of that low length, easy one. Just sit down and do the quiz. And that's going to give you some baseline data, at least an idea, and you can look at what those questions were and ask yourself, okay, why am I answering a one or a half or three quarters on this one? The score I get.
[00:20:30.590] – Allan
You also have kind of a blood measures test, a phenotypic age that you can measure, and then you go in the book really deep into DNA methylation, which is really kind of how all this happens. Can you talk about each one of those? I guess I'm going to call a testing methodology, if you will, just to simplify it. But you can go a little deeper into what these are and what they're telling us.
[00:20:54.630] – Dr. Levine
Yeah. Even Besides the ones I cover in the book, there are tons of ways in which scientists are trying to quantify this kind of biological aging process. And the idea is that the changes are starting at kind of what we would call the lowest level biological organization. So this molecular level. So we and others have developed ones that capture those changes. So this is kind of the DNA methylation or epigenetic measures that you mentioned. And basically what that is, is we can look across your genome. Usually we do this from cells in your blood or saliva, and we look at hundreds of thousands to millions of sites and just say, what are the proportion of cells that have this chemical tag there, which is DNA methylation? And just based on the pattern of those chemical Tags, we can approximate something like a biological age using kind of the AI and machine learning. So it basically just says yourselves have this pattern of change that's representative of someone of a given age. And the reason that epigenetics is so exciting is it doesn't change your DNA sequence like the ACG and T. But I like to think of it as like the operating system of the cell.
[00:22:13.210] – Dr. Levine
It gives your cells their state. So it differentiates different cell types that all have the exact same DNA. But what makes a neuron different from a skin cell is the epigenome. But it also differentiates old cells from young cells. So this is kind of how we can do it. So once the molecular changes reach a certain point, you can start seeing this at a higher level in terms of changes in your physiology. So that's where you get the steenotypic age measure, which you can basically calculate from a standard panel you would get at your annual physical. So CDC blood cell counts, and also kind of a metabolic panel that looks like kidney, liver, all these different organ system functioning. But then the most basic one, once your aging is reached almost like the highest level is you see this functionally, this is what we perceive as aging both in ourselves and in others. You can see it physically. You can feel it in your body. So there are other ways, just very simple, almost doing a self assessment to kind of say, has my level of aging reached this point, given this quiz? And then you kind of look across the whole quiz where you kind of stand.
[00:23:33.040] – Allan
Yeah. And I think the advantage of all this, I've always said to my clients, yes, you can go get a blood panel and talk to your doctor. Yeah, you can do. And now you've made it easier that we can do a saliva test or a blood test if you want to go that far and find out. Okay, how's your methylation going as far as really getting down to the detail where we're talking about maybe down to a 10th of a year kind of concept versus this quiz is saying, yeah, you're a little younger than you are chronologically. The quiz will give you some basics to get started in the book, which I like. So if you just answer a few of those questions, you've got some low hanging fruit, if you will, to get started. And these actions, though, I think what's really important is many people look for something to say. Well, is what I'm doing working. And I know in your field, science, that's everything measurement is everything. Now, a lot of us love to do the easy measurements. So there's some easy ones, some really easy quizzes, one so you can get the Cosmo magazine and answer our quiz.
[00:24:38.700] – Allan
And it'll tell you whatever you are. They're on Facebook, too. The quizzes are fun quizzes will tell you a lot. But if you get a little deep, more detailed with the way that you're doing this, then you're going to have better data and make better decisions. Now, one of the data points that a lot of people love to use for measuring their health is weight. And in a minute, we're going to get into talking about nutrition and exercise. And a lot of people, the only reason they think about nutrition and exercise is because of what the scale says. But now you're telling them there's this much more important scale that you have potentially easily in front of you that is a better measure of health. Weight is important. I'm not going to poo poo it at all. It is important. There are some risk factors associated with. But why is this type of measurement something that someone should consider over just saying I'm going to step on the scale every day.
[00:25:45.670] – Dr. Levine
Yeah. And I'd also talked about this a little bit in my book, actually, when we measure our weight or calculate our BMI, which is based on kind of a weight height ratio, this is actually not a great predictor of health. Yes, we know obesity tends to be associated with increased risk of disease, but BMI itself can be due to a number of different things. Muscle mass is also heavy, so people can have the same BMI and have very different body composition. And actually in older ages, we find that a higher BMI is slightly protective than a lower BMI. So it's a very complicated relationship. But the whole point is that the reason we usually associate higher weight with risk of disease is because it tends to basically drive a lot of these changes that are actually age related changes. So it accelerates them. So rather than just assuming, oh, my BMI is probably too high, it's probably driving these it's better to actually just try to directly measure the consequences of this, which is on the pathway to disease versus just inferring something about your weight. And I also think this will get people less kind of weight obsessed because you see heavier people are actually quite healthy and thinner people who are actually unhealthy.
[00:27:06.770] – Dr. Levine
So it's better just to get a direct measure of what's going on. As much as you can approximate it.
[00:27:12.810] – Allan
One of the metaphors you had in the book, which I really enjoyed, was you talked about the Hill. And so as we're younger, we have this, for lack of a better word, inertia keeping us younger. As we go up the Hill, there's this inertia that keeps us in a condition so we're more resilient, we're stronger, we're faster, we're prettier, we're everything. And the older we get, the more we were. But then we top that Hill at some point, we can call it midlife or we can call it 35 when sarcopenia and ostopenia start to become a thing. And then we're going down a Hill. And now that inertia is not helping us. In fact, it's pushing us. And particularly if we're over 40 or over 50, we're going down that Hill pretty quick unless we do a few things to stop it or at least slow it down, maybe we can't stop it. We'd love to stop it for at least a little while. Enjoy this year more. One of the key ones I don't think you could have this conversation without it is to talking about nutrition. What we eat has a profound effect on our health and the scale in many cases.
[00:28:32.830] – Allan
So if we're looking at measuring this from either a health perspective or weight perspective, we have to talk about nutrition. And you went very deep in the book and talking about some of the nutritional strategies that we can have to have the best bio age possible. Can you talk about a few of those?
[00:28:51.230] – Dr. Levine
Yeah. So nutrition has actually been studied quite a bit in the aging field. Most of the original work was just looking at kind of calories or amount of consumption. So dating back actually, I think it's more than a century now. Scientists discovered that actually what would be called calorie restriction or dietary restriction can extend the lifespan of in this case, it was a rat. And actually since then, there's been calorie restriction studies and a number of different species mostly showing the same thing that it seems to be associated with improvements in kind of disease prevention. So elongation of what we call health span. So longer time disease free, as well as possibly longer lifespan as well. And calorie restriction isn't a severe malnutrition, so it's basically reduced calories without malnutrition. So in some of the human trials that are going on, it's about a 12% reduction in total calories. Since then, people have actually become more interested in basically fasting because the idea that someone's going to maintain a caloric restriction diet for their entire lifespan is probably unlikely. And so are there ways that are actually easier that we can do easier that mimic the same benefits?
[00:30:18.390] – Dr. Levine
So people have been really interested in different types of fasting, like time restricted eating, where you try and compress the number of hours each day that you're eating. So maybe you only eat between an eight or six hour window. There's also times where you can kind of some people skip a whole day of eating but then eat fairly normally the rest of the time. Or you can do these kind of short bursts of five day. They're not full fast, but very low calorie fast and do them maybe a few times a year. And we don't have what I would say definitive proof that this is slowing aging. But at least I'm looking at some of these biological age measures that you mentioned. There seems to be some indication that they might be. And then, of course, it's not just how much you eat, but what you eat as well. So a lot of research going into kind of plant based diet and whether plant based or things like Mediterranean diet are actually beneficial. And this seems to be supported looking at individuals who live in these very, what are called blue zones where you have very long lived individuals, but also looking at observational data, just people in, for instance, the US population.
[00:31:35.910] – Allan
Yeah. And I think it should go without saying that we know because we see it in practice. The person that looks and feels younger, at 65, they don't eat a lot of crap and they're not overeating. That's the other side of it. And so some calorie restriction. And as you said to kind of put that in context, if you're eating a 2000 calorie diet, that 12.5%. We're talking about 50 calories. We're not talking about really starving yourself. Now you may feel a little hungrier. And guess what? Hunger doesn't kill you. It might actually keep you alive longer and healthier, because we did talk about we are talking about health span, which I think is another aspect I didn't get into a lot. But we could all live long and not be healthy or we can live short and pop just be done. All those are part of our health span and how that aligns with what we're doing. And so I think we all know this if we're eating good whole foods, cause I don't think they had a reason to study this 100 years ago because corn pops and Twinkies and Hohos and Haagendazs didn't exist back then.
[00:32:56.610] – Allan
And now 95% of our grocery store is that stuff. And so I think most people know if they're eating a whole food diet and they're eating a predominantly plant based diet, Mediterranean style diet, you almost naturally eat less, really hard to overeat spinach and quinoa and those types of things. It just is. So you end up then losing some weight, maybe your calories are a little lower, because again, you're not taking in some calorie dense foods that you would otherwise. Now you got into just a little bit. You talk a little bit about ketosis, and the ketosis that you're talking about really comes about from these fasting protocols. So whether you're going to do true calorie restriction, you're going to do your five too fast, you're going to do some time restricted eating, or you're going to go into a full fast mimicking type diet like the prolonged diet with Baku Vanga. In a lot of cases, folks are at least for parts of time getting into ketosis and producing ketones. Can you talk a little bit about why ketones would be beneficial for us?
[00:34:13.930] – Dr. Levine
Sorry. My throat. Yeah. So I think I'll do the pause. Okay. So I don't think we actually know specifically why we think ketosis might be beneficial for us. And this is actually not something I study. But there are definitely colleagues at Yale who study ketosis. But we're actually starting to have kind of some clinical trials in humans potentially looking at ketosis. And there's some indication that this is why fasting might be beneficial, because as you mentioned, it puts your body in these kind of short cycles of ketosis. And there is some evidence that actually you don't want long term ketosis. And actually it is a cyclical kind of going in and out of it because your body actually can adjust and over compensate in the other way. And again, this is all very preliminary. We don't know specifically what I would say to is it's going to probably to some degree depend on what you're eating if you're on a ketogenic diet, because you can actually have a fairly unhealthy ketogenic diet as well, even though you're not getting a ton of carbohydrates and sugar, if you're eating a lot of very kind of animal heavy food sources, very high in certain types of fat, this also might not be beneficial.
[00:35:54.230] – Dr. Levine
And I think it's probably pretty hard for people to stay on a plant based ketogenic diet. So we'll see, I guess, as the science kind of progresses.
[00:36:05.030] – Allan
Yeah, I've talked to people all the way up from Carnivore all the way down to vegan keto. It's doable.
[00:36:12.790] – Allan
But like most things, the more strict and stringent something is like calorie restriction at 25% or saying, okay, I'm not going to eat a certain food group for a long, long period of time. The more restrictions you put typically, the harder it is because those things are just there. Like you're not going to walk around and not have food like our ancestors, where you got to go Hunt and find it or dig it up or climb up a tree or whatever you got to do to do. We don't have to do that now. My refrigerator, quite frankly, is like maybe 10ft away from me right now. So if I wanted something to eat within a minute that things open and I'm eating it. So, yes, these things can be very difficult to maintain. So finding the right way. And again, that comes from measurements. So if you've measured and you have a baseline and then you do a protocol, and then after appropriate period of time, you test again, that's going to give you some of that personalized evidence, some of that information that you could use then to know if a protocol is right for you or not.
[00:37:24.530] – Dr. Levine
Yes. Because again, it comes back to what you're actually going to be able to implement in your life and what you think is worth implementing. There are definitely people who can be on very health what seems like a very healthy but very restrictive diet. But that's not going to work probably for 95% of the population. They just won't be able to maintain it. So I think the important thing is to do what you can but acknowledge to have kind of the accountability for what you're doing. And if you can't go maybe and keep the most ideal diet, but you can do it 90% of the time or you can work in some of these other things and take these small steps. I think that's how people are going to get the most benefit.
[00:38:06.980] – Allan
Yeah. I think the cyclical approach is a very sound way to try something for a while, get some data, and then if it's working like you mentioned, just even with some of the fasting is doing the fast like three times a year or five times a year or every other month or something like that where you have a protocol and say, okay, I'm on a five day fast. I'm still going to have some nutrition that my body needs, but I'm going to do it in a very controlled way. So I know that I'm getting the nutrition my body needs. And then after I come off my fast, I finish that protocol. I can remeasure if I want or I can continue this. And then I now have some data that says, okay, yeah, this way of eating works. One, it has to be sustainable. But then beyond that, yes, I'm actually seeing measurable results in my bio age. And then the other side, you go back to the quiz, look in the mirror when you wake up in the morning, how do you feel? Are you stiff? Are you hurting? Are you aching? Is your arthritis acting up?
[00:39:12.010] – Allan
What are the things going on that your body is telling you, hey, we're not 100% here. Then you know that what you're doing is either working or not.
[00:39:23.450] – Dr. Levine
Yeah. And the other important thing that I don't think I touched on is that different things are going to work to different degrees for each of us. So there isn't one optimal diet that can be optimal for everyone, even in terms of the health benefits. So not just in terms of what we can each kind of maintain. And it's really hard to know what that diet is. So some people probably will do a little bit better on purely plant based where some people might need some kind of animal protein in their diet. And I think it's hard to use kind of genetics to predict what the optimal diet is for a person. And there are companies and scientists trying to do that. But it is just easier if we can actually have valid and reliable measures that give us feedback on how the things we do in our everyday life are affecting us.
[00:40:15.480] – Allan
Yeah, that N equals one experiment where you're the single subject. And I can tell you if you're doing an N equals one experiment, that's a very important sample size to have because you are getting real information of what's working for you at that point in time. Now, there's another area that's really important for aging, and you go into a few several in the book. And yes, we can wait for science to do a few things that's going to probably help us in the long run. They'll come up with some pillar shot or something that's going to be better for us and help us in our health, but it's exercise. And it's interesting to me. I've always said to people, it's like if you can take one more breath, you can do something to improve your health and fitness. But the way you said it in the book I really enjoyed here is this, no matter your age, disease status, or athletic proclivity, nearly everyone can benefit from staying active. And I appreciate you saying that. I really do. Why is exercise so beneficial for us in actually slowing down or improving our true age?
[00:41:27.890] – Dr. Levine
Yeah. So I think we don't truly know on a mechanistic level how exercise is improving health. But from decades and decades of research into exercise, we know that it is. And it seems to be not conditional on who you are. As you mentioned, even when they do these kind of interventions in very frail individuals who are kind of in nursing homes, physical activities seems to have a benefit for them. Of course, there's going to be a limit, right. You have to do it within a safe environment to not push past your abilities. But all of us benefit from exercise, and it's probably because our bodies are these complex dynamic systems. So something that's going to kind of prime that and, you know, make it more resilient is something that's going to be dynamic. And it doesn't necessarily act through one pathway or one kind of mechanism. It's probably honing in on our entire system and really kind of improving our resilience and robustness and our system's ability to function because it's needing to be adaptive to this very mild stressor, which in the long run will actually make it stronger.
[00:42:47.210] – Allan
Yeah. I just imagine our ancestors running sprints and doing push ups just for the sake of doing them. And they weren't they were climbing because they needed to get to the top of that tree either to get away from something or to get to something. They were walking or running long distances because that's how they could hurt and catch the animals that could run out faster than them but eventually would run out of the aerobic capacity and we would catch up to them, and then we would eat meat that night and then again digging for roots. When you don't have a backhoe, it takes some work. So work and exercise were a big part of our upbringing. Now, one of the things you said in the book, and I think this is where a lot of people can kind of put this together is exercise is a stress on the body. And we're kind of led to believe that stress is a bad thing, that there's good stresses and there's bad stresses. And even some of the foods we eat are hermetic, in effect, meaning they stress our body, but we produce good things as a result.
[00:44:02.150] – Allan
But the states that you went through was the homeostasis, which our bodies love balance. So stay balanced. And then we put a stressor in front of it, and then we have allostasis, which is the improvement, and then we have a return to Homeostasis. Can you talk about that process? So if I decide, yes, I'm going to start running, I'm going to put some stress on my body that it won't necessarily like me for doing initially, but it's the right thing to do. Can you talk about that process that way? How that's working?
[00:44:38.870] – Dr. Levine
Yeah. So exercise, as you pointed out, is a perfect example of this concept of homeostasis. So this very mild stressor, which is actually going to kind of prime your system and actually make it more robust in the end. And when we're in a steady state, our bodies are trying to maintain homeostasis, which is a given temperature and all these kind of biochemical ranges that your body tries to maintain. As we encounter stressors in our life, we go through allostasis, which is kind of your body's response to that stressor. So it needs to move out of homeostasis to respond to the stressor. And then the idea is that it should move back. And actually if you do this, you kind of dynamically can have these mild stressors, and then you move back to homeostasis. Our bodies get better at doing that and better at adapting to stressors that might come up in our lives. You can imagine, though, if you have a huge stress or your body might not actually be able to move back very well or you might end up in a slightly different kind of state. So the idea is to have these mild ones that our body can adapt to, and then there's potential that actually they can get a little more stressful over time, but you're better at adapting to them.
[00:46:03.530] – Dr. Levine
The important thing is something we see in exercise, too, is also the recovery. So you have enough time for your body to move back to this homeostatic kind of steady state space. And this is where we see things like chronic stress being a problem because your body never has time to move back to this adaptive states. So we know there's a lot of chronic stress in terms of psychosocial stress that people undergo that just never lets up. And I think this is kind of maladaptive stress. But actually these acute small stressors can actually be very beneficial to our overall functioning.
[00:46:38.640] – Allan
Yeah. And the way I like to look at it is one is these are the gentle nudges. So you're doing a little bit more work than you did before because you can't compress 30 years of not working out into a few workouts. Trust me, that won't work. But then, yeah, your body adapts, it gets stronger and the fact it can keep getting stronger. I think one of the data points you had in there was that they were taking what we basically call frail older people and putting them through a resistance training program. They increased their strength by over I think it was 112%. That's phenomenal. When you start thinking of doubling in probably was a matter of five, six, eight weeks. Most of these programs don't go more than twelve just for a cost perspective, that they were able to double their strength in that little amount of time, doing it in a safe environment. We're not putting them in the gym and saying, okay, we want you doing Olympic lifts here. They put them in a safe environment, they train them. And being trained, they become effectively better people, better athletes. And probably had you measured their bio age, which you weren't part of that experiment, but they probably would have come back a little bit better.
[00:47:57.930] – Dr. Levine
Yeah. And I think for a lot of these conditions that we see that arise with aging. So I think you mentioned before Sarcopenia, which is this muscle wasting, and it's also accompanied by loss of strength, also things like osteoporosis. Some of the best interventions we have are exercise. And I know people who are developing these might feel, well, I'm getting too weak to undergo a stressor like exercise. But actually that's what their body needs to kind of push it back into a stronger state. It needs that kind of you want like the push to come both ways. Right. If nothing's kind of pushing back on it, just continue to deteriorate.
[00:48:38.950] – Allan
Yeah. I like to think of nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress all of those are information. So our body, as you will, is literally just a computer, if you will, and it's collecting information about your environment. And if you're able to just sit on your butt every day and do nothing, in its mind, you're doing nothing but using your brain. You're not moving. You're eating foods that are not beneficial. You're giving your body information. That okay, it's time to shut down. It's time to just sort of just collect some fat. That's great. And then we're shutting down versus the opposite when you start giving it the information, hey, I'm going to need you to start actually lifting a little bit more weight. I'm going to need you to be able to travel a little bit further on your feet or in a wheelchair even. But you're moving more. You communicate to your body that it needs to be better and it reacts appropriately.
[00:49:41.970] – Dr. Levine
Yeah. Our bodies are amazing dynamical systems that will react to our environment and behaviors and all these inputs that we have the ability to kind of use to kind of Hone in on a better kind of overall system.
[00:49:59.730] – Allan
The good news of your book, True Age, is that this is not something we have to wait for somebody else to solve for. This is not even though we can say or they want to classify aging as a disease. It's not a disease that we can't reverse or at least control. It's something that's in our control and our lifestyle choices are a big part of how we age.
[00:50:24.570] – Dr. Levine
Yeah, I think I say this in the book. If someone had a pill that had the same benefits that we get with exercise, this would be one of the biggest breakthroughs, I think, in modern medicine. And the thing is that it already exists. We just have to kind of take the time out and actually do this. And yes, there might be really exciting discoveries down the road we're working on and colleagues, and we're very excited about those. But in the meantime, people don't have to sit around and wait for them. There's very impactful things that they can do right now.
[00:51:00.270] – Allan
And as you said in the book, there's a Goldilocks zone of this exercise. So we're not saying you need to be able to do an ultramarathon to consider yourself doing exercise. It's starting where you are doing a little bit more and then just finding that spot where you're optimizing how you feel and potentially how you look and how your body actually is responding to that stress and now potentially getting stronger and younger and all of that.
[00:51:35.070] – Dr. Levine
Yes, this comes back to this kind of acute stress versus chronic stress. You don't want to go out and just do so much, and then your body can't even really kind of recalibrate from that. But yeah, you do these little acute stressors enough to feel it like it shouldn't be easy per se, but enough to kind of break a swipe, get your heart rate up to a decent high level for a short amount of time, and then we can slowly build from there. But yeah, you don't need to be able to run a marathon. You can go for a 30 minutes walk or whatever kind of works for your lifestyle.
[00:52:08.130] – Allan
Dr. Levine, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
[00:52:19.110] – Dr. Levine
For me, I would have to say one is figure out what works for you. So, you know, if you can't stick to a diet, then that diet is not going to help you. We all kind of overestimate, I think what we will stick to in the future. So I would say find something that actually works for your lifestyle where everyone's busy, but just make sure you're trying to get that little bit of exercise or eat plant based or whole foods most of the time. I'm not saying you can't have cake on your birthday, but figure out what you can actually manage in your life. The other thing I think related to that is just to know your numbers, to actually have some information about how you're doing so that you can make those choices on whether something is worthwhile implementing in your life versus not. And this makes you accountable for your decisions you make. But also, I think, can give positive feedback that what you're doing is actually benefiting you. And then probably the last step. And I guess this may be relates a little bit to number one is you don't have to go from zero to 100.
[00:53:40.090] – Dr. Levine
You can take small steps and then get there. You don't need the perfect diet on January 1st. But you can start by implementing one thing at a time and over time kind of get to a healthier lifestyle. And in doing that, cut yourself a little bit of slack. Right. You need to be accountable and not cut yourself too much slack. But everyone messes up. I eat unhealthfully occasionally and we have to don't be so critical and set on being perfect and let that kind of ruin your progress overall.
[00:54:17.250] – Allan
Great. Dr Levine, if someone wanted to learn more about you or more about your book, True Age, where would you like for me to send them?
[00:54:28.930] – Dr. Levine
My book is coming out, I think, today May 3, so you can buy it on Amazon or other outlets. To learn more about me, my lab has a website. I think it's morganlevinelab.com. I also people feel free to follow me on Twitter or Instagram. I like to post a lot about aging research where we are the new science coming out and also talk a little bit about what I do in my everyday life. So those are probably the main outlets for people who want to learn more.
[00:55:03.440] – Allan
You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/536 and I'll be sure to have links there. Dr. Levine, thank you so much for being a part of 40 Plus Fitness.
[00:55:15.070] – Dr. Levine
Thank you so much for having me.
[00:55:26.690] – Allan
Welcome back, Ras.
[00:55:28.170] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. What an interesting interview about aging. There's a lot to talk about here.
[00:55:33.640] – Allan
Yeah. I think in less than three or four months we've had three different guests now talking about aging and from different perspectives. One guy's in the technology aspect of it as kind of we were this time, companies providing services like how do you get your true age and what are the things we can do to deal with it? But the reality of it is we're not learning anything new. And I hate to say it that way, but you probably have heard common themes. What do I have to do for weight loss? And it's like manage your nutrition manager, movement manager, sleep, manage your stress. What I do is if I want to age slower, same four things.
[00:56:22.290] – Rachel
[00:56:23.750] – Allan
So these foundations of health that we go over week in and week out, there's a right way for you. There's the right size for you. And the sooner you get on it, the better, because we talked about that Hill and how the inertia or the momentum of aging kind of works in your favor for the first half of that Hill where the ball is trying to roll back against you and you've got much more resilience and much more strength and much more everything. And then you hit a point, a tipping point, and then now aging is running away from you. And if you're not doing the right things, it could end really badly and out of your control. Loss of independence, loss of health, loss of fitness. It can go bad, fast. And for some people, we're in our 40s and 50s. I don't know about you, but you get on Facebook and every other day there's this diagnosis, that diagnosis. And you're like, okay, sometimes that's just enough to get them to start fighting that inertia that aging inertia. Sometimes they're already past the top. And now it's just, okay, this is where I'm going.
[00:57:35.770] – Allan
And so we have a lot that we can do in four fundamental areas to manage our health and wellness. And it plays out over and over in all the different themes about how to have better strength, how to have better bone mass, how to feel better, how to have more energy, how to all four basic pillars that if we're working on those on a consistent basis, we're improving our health, we're improving our existence. And as a result, our true age is younger than potentially our chronological age.
[00:58:15.830] – Rachel
That's an interesting concept right there. To think that if you could manage your health in such a way that you might feel younger than other people at your age, we have an interesting, I don't know, concept of what aging feels like. When I was a kid, I thought 50 would be crazy old and I'd be slowing down and not doing the things that I'm doing right now. And here at 50, I'm still running marathons and doing some fun stuff, and I have no intention of stopping. This is how I like to spend my time, and it's giving me a higher quality of life. I mean, it's social, it's entertaining, and I'm doing what I can to maintain my age. And I just really wish people would also find something that they love to do at this age to keep them active.
[00:59:06.090] – Allan
Yeah. And it doesn't have to be running. It doesn't have to be weight lifting. It doesn't have to be super strenuous. I mean, it can be something as simple as pickleball or just something that's slightly active. Get out in the state park and go for a hike, find a group that's doing something that some movement involved and make it a thing. They're out there. And I think that's the point. There's running clubs, there's hiking clubs, there's pickleball, there's all this different stuff that's out there. Or it might be just something as simple as the Zumba class at your community and you don't have to be able to dance. Just go out there and have some fun and move at your pace at your thing and just enjoy yourself because you only get one shot.
[01:00:05.590] – Rachel
Right. I just think that's the best part, though, like Zumba class would be just a hoot. And I've got an aunt and uncle. They do Taichi a beautiful, graceful movement for them and they enjoy it. They have friends at the gym, and it's just such a fun, social atmosphere for them. And they're having a high quality of life. They get out of the house, they do these fun things, and they're healthier for it. You don't have to let aging just happen. You don't have to just get old and sit around and do nothing. How boring would that be?
[01:00:39.690] – Allan
Well, we see it. I mean, that's kind of what's interesting, as you were saying. It's like, okay, there was the great grandma who was right at the end and forgetting things and always sitting in her rocker. And then there was the grandma and yeah, she'd Cook a meal and then she'd sit down, and then there was mom, and then there was us and we're running around like wild animals, and everybody else is sitting and not and they're not playing and they're not doing these things. It wasn't done. It wasn't a regular thing. In fact, at one point, women couldn't even run a marathon. They weren't allowed like, well, okay. And that's probably why, again, if you're not going to let somebody do something, then they're going to want to do it that much more.
[01:01:33.680] – Rachel
[01:01:34.490] – Allan
So, yeah, you can't do this exercise thing. Don't listen to us. You can't do yeah, Yes. But it's like it's not a button. It's not easy.
[01:01:47.630] – Allan
But you have tools. You have the capacity, if you take a breath to do something, and if we're just going to sit around and wait for them to come up with the easy pill, that one pill thing that you're going to take, that's going to be your exercise for you. You're going to pass before that happens. Science is great, but it's not going to be that great. In fact, what science is more likely to do is to keep you alive in a bad health state. So your health started declining in your 50s and you lived until your Eighties. It was 30 years plus maybe of poor health that you had to endure. And it's within your control to eat better, move better, sleep better, and manage stress better. Every little bit of that that you're able to do is going to help improve your lifespan and your health span.
[01:02:46.770] – Rachel
And the quality. The quality of life. Yes. You don't have to take aging sitting down, get up and get active.
[01:02:53.930] – Allan
Get out there. Yeah. And realize that if you are on the other side of the Hill, you can slow the descent. It's not this fixed aging curve where you have to live the way that you saw your parents live or that you see older siblings or relatives live. You can slow that curve with the right interventions, which are not medical. They're physical. They're what you put in your mouth or what you put in your brain. They're what you physically move around and do. It's all information. And if you're informing your body that you need to be active and manage an active lifestyle with good food and all that your body responds is like, oh, well, we still have to do stuff versus if you're just sitting around and you're not getting the exercise, you're not eating well, you're communicating to your body that it's okay for it to go ahead and start shutting down. That's a bad message.
[01:03:48.060] – Rachel
It is a bad message. Not very fun. Not fun at all.
[01:03:52.140] – Allan
No. So again, I'll probably still keep having guests on and we'll keep talking about aging because it's an important topic. But just recognize that all of my shows are the same show. They are. We're talking about the same four things but your four things are different than my four things and so you just have to find your four things and how you move, how you eat, how you sleep, how you manage stress and doing the best that you can with what you have, where you are. And if you're doing that then you're aging at a slower pace than you would have otherwise and you're going to have a longer, better life.
[01:04:33.750] – Rachel
Yes, that's perfect.
[01:04:36.490] – Allan
All right, well, rach, we'll talk next week.
[01:04:39.050] – Rachel
Sounds great. Take care, Allan.
[01:04:40.670] – Allan
You too. Bye.
[01:04:41.770] – Rachel
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We grow up celebrating birthdays, marks of our chronological age, but that can differ drastically from our biological age. In her book, Younger You, Dr. Kara Fitzgerald shows us how we can slow and even reverse our biological aging.
[00:01:13.450] – Allan
[00:01:14.590] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. How are you today?
[00:01:16.190] – Allan
I'm doing all right. Good and bad. Like I said, the last time we talked, there were some things going on with me here with the gym in particular. My landlord decided that it was time for them to Mark up my rent. What they felt was full market on the space. And in the past, the agreement had kind of been that they wanted a gym next door, that it was good for them to have a gym next door. And so they agreed to a moderate reduction in what would be considered market rent. But now they just full out want market rent. And we've been open over a month, over a year since covid. We just had a year when they decided to do this. And so it was just bump. There's a 45% increase in rent. And I can tell you, the gym business is not a high margin business. In general, you have members, they pay. There's no contracts here. So this is not like I've got people locked into a year and they pay and they don't show up here. If they don't pay, they don't show up. They don't show up, they don't pay.
[00:02:20.310] – Allan
And so it's just that I can't. There's no way you tell your members, okay, rent went up 45%. I need you to pay me 45% more. I would lose all my members. So I decided it was a good time for me to go check out this thing called the market. And he was absolutely right. They wanted to mark it up to a market price and all that. I'm like, well, that's great. But I knew if I paid market, I could probably get something better, something that was more suitable. They've been having issues with their hostels. What they are hotel hostel. And so some of their members are right on the other side of the wall of our gym. And so people are in their lifting weights or the music's playing maybe just a little louder than you need it. And so they get complaints, and it happens about once every four or five months. Someone will send me an email saying, you guys got to cut the music off and move away from the wall. And I'm like, no, I'm done. Anyway, and also the gym doesn't have a bathroom, so now I've found a space.
[00:03:24.940] – Allan
We're going to have a bathroom. It's going to be a fair amount of space. It's not as big as what we have, but it's something we can make work and it's still right in town. So I think it'll be a good move for us from the perspective of having something solid locked in and then be able to run the gym, at least with some expectations that our landlords not going to come after us. Rent increases.
[00:03:50.350] – Rachel
[00:03:51.050] – Allan
Yeah. So how are things up there?
[00:03:53.300] – Rachel
Good. I just got back from a race, and my training that I've been doing with the trainer has been paying off. I had a great race day. And I'm excited for what's up ahead. My marathon will be in a few more weeks.
[00:04:08.090] – Allan
[00:04:09.100] – Rachel
[00:04:10.990] – Allan
no, not fingers crossed. You've got this. Put the work in.
[00:04:14.970] – Rachel
[00:04:15.420] – Allan
You put the work in.
[00:04:16.190] – Rachel
Yes. Doing the work. Making progress. That's right.
[00:04:19.650] – Allan
It's not luck. This is dedication and investment.
[00:04:25.630] – Rachel
Absolutely. My trainer has been really great, so it's definitely paying off.
[00:04:30.850] – Allan
Good. All right, well, you want to have this conversation with Kara?
[00:04:34.670] – Rachel
[00:05:17.080] – Allan
Dr. Fitzgerald, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
[00:05:20.050] – Dr. Fitzgerald
It's great to be with you today.
[00:05:23.050] – Allan
I'm going to admit I'm a health geek. That's why I do what I do. And your book Younger You: Reduce Your Bio Age and Live Longer Better. I so geeked out on this book. I don't want to scare anybody away. It is a great book for a geek, but it's also very easy to understand. You've written things in a way that anyone can go through and kind of pull this together and say, hey, all those words that were out there that used to just kind of confuse me, they now make so much more sense.
[00:05:59.350] – Dr. Fitzgerald
Got it. So appreciative to hear that. That's very high praise. We worked hard. Kate Hanley worked with me in writing this, and she really got in there and translated so that it is understandable and the analogies make sense and people can do it. So thank you.
[00:06:16.470] – Allan
Now one of the quotes, the good books. I'll just say when I find a good book, I'll usually find something in it like this, just this nugget of quote. Typically a quote or it might be a stat, but usually a quote that I'll say, okay, this is important, and this is something that needs to be shared over and over and over again. And here's the quote I'm taking from your book. When you give your body what it needs without beating it over the head with Pharmaceuticals, synthetic hormones, you empower your body's own innate wisdom to lead the way. And that is such a powerful statement.
[00:06:53.610] – Dr. Fitzgerald
Yeah. Just allow trusting the body wisdom.
[00:06:57.640] – Allan
Yeah. And your younger you program. That's exactly what you're doing.
[00:07:01.500] – Dr. Fitzgerald
[00:07:02.460] – Allan
So I want to start out with some definitions because this is a technical issue. When you start talking about genetics, we're not talking about carbs and protein and fat, and we're not talking about bench presses and barbell curls and things like that. Those are complicated for a lot of people. But when you start getting into genetics and epigenetics and those things, it can seem very intimidating to someone that didn't study this or isn't really comfortable with the science of all of this. Can we talk about chronological age versus biological age or bio age?
[00:07:38.980] – Dr. Fitzgerald
Yeah, absolutely. It's simple. Chronological age is how many years we've been here on the planet. You can't change it no matter how much we might want to be 29 again, we're not changing that. Biological age is really the measurement of our physiologic age, how healthy we are, what our wear and tear looks like. Are we breaking down faster physically than our chronological age, or are we breaking down more slowly? And obviously, we want the latter.
[00:08:15.880] – Allan
Yes. And in the book, you give us some references to places we can go to get this done, like in a lab situation. But you also give us some easy tests, like just take this test and this will give you a general idea, plus or minus how well you're doing. So I appreciate you making that easy for someone to go out there and just say, okay, Where's my starting point? And then after going through some of this, actually be able to see progress, because progress is what makes us what motivates us to keep doing these things. So I appreciate that being a part of this book.
[00:08:47.240] – Dr. Fitzgerald
We have it online now. So that biological age subjective questionnaire you're referring to is online. And I'll give you the link. It's youngeryouprorogram.com, and then you can just do it yourself. Easy peasy. And as many times as you want. And it is fun and it is illuminating.
[00:09:04.330] – Allan
Now, let's talk about what genes are and what epigenetics is.
[00:09:11.320] – Dr. Fitzgerald
Yeah. Okay. And I want to make sure that I fold into that at some point how we actually measure biological age, because that's tucked into this epigenetic conversation. Our genes are hardware basically. They're just kind of tucked into the nucleus of the cell, really not doing anything unless they're called upon to turn on. So we've got about 23000 genes, far, far less actually than most plants. Our genome is relatively simple. And when we mapped the genome out back in the early two thousands, there was a belief that we were going to be able to find a genetic cause for all of the chronic diseases that we are swamped with. And upon completion of the genome, it was clear that it was too simplistic of a goal and that ushered in the era of epigenetics or epigenomics. Epigenetics has been around for a long time, but there's a lot of attention here now. And what that is epic is above and genetics is our genetic material. So above the genetic material or how we regulate genetic expression. And this is where the rubber meets the road. This is how our diet and lifestyle habits, our mental and emotional experience, our stress, our toxins, et cetera, all of these things that we're interested in in the health space, it influences genetic expression.
[00:10:57.850] – Dr. Fitzgerald
And you're looking at those changes right here in epigenetics. So it's where environment meets genetics.
[00:11:07.030] – Allan
The way I kind of understand it is okay. I used to think a gene was either on or off, but as I understand, it's sort of like a dimmer switch and the epigenetic aspects of it are kind of okay, is this more on, more off or all the way off or all the way on? And some of these genes, like you talk about tumor suppression genes that over time kind of get turned more off, more off, more off as we get older or as we deal with toxins or we just don't take care of ourselves. So the epigenetics aspect of it is really kind of almost toggling on how much is the gene working versus not working?
[00:11:41.740] – Dr. Fitzgerald
Yeah, perfect. That's exactly right.
[00:11:43.990] – Allan
It's different then I can't toggle my different colors by messing with my epigenetics. Some of these things are hardwired, but a lot of the health aspect things that we're seeing, like cancers and other diseases of age, mostly diseases of age and lifestyle, we're seeing those are controlled by epigenetics.
[00:12:02.290] – Dr. Fitzgerald
Yes, that's right.
[00:12:04.790] – Allan
Okay, now you're diving one layer deeper. Okay. So we're going to take this next step down and this is a very important step because this is the basis for how you've organized everything you do, and that is DNA methylation. Can you first tell us what methylation is and then what is DNA methylation?
[00:12:25.220] – Dr. Fitzgerald
Yeah. So methylation is a process that's happening and really everywhere in the body pretty much all of the time. This isn't scientifically correct, but it's like oxygen. We know we need to be breathing all of the time or will die. Methylation is like that ubiquitous and really maybe more so. And it's a methyl group is a carbon with three hydrogens. It's very simple, very fundamental. We're making methyl groups in the methylation cycle, and then they are carted off in the structure of a compound called S adenosine methionine. People might know it as Sam or CME. So this compound, CME, hangs onto a methyl group and then it goes off to the myriad enzymes that use a methyl group and just engages in a whole lot of biochemical reactions in the body. We use methylation to detox. We use methylation to make hormones, things like adrenaline or dopamine or noradrenaline. What else do we use methylation for? To make really important fatty acid associated compounds like phosphatidyl choline, and choline? You know, just on and on. I think at last count there were over 300 reactions requiring a methyl group.
[00:13:53.290] – Allan
Okay. So the way I like to look at this, just from a simplistic and maybe it's not simplistic, but to me it's simplistic because I didn't grow up around computers, but I spent a lot of time with computers is I look at genes is kind of being like you said, it's sort of the hardware and the operating system. You bought an IBM, you're an IBM or you're an Apple. You operate a certain way. And then the epigenetics is sort of the software we decided to put in there. So do I want to do graphics work and I'm going to be over here doing cad and working with drawings and things like that, or am I going to do crunch big numbers and do spreadsheets and databases? So you use a different software that is going on in that sort of deciding how you're operating and you're doing things. And the methylation is the data entry. It's the bits and pieces that go in there to say, okay, so if this, then that well, now what's the if? What was that if? And it's like if you ate whole food, then this, if you ate crap, then this.
[00:14:50.270] – Allan
And so the software is already there and we're affecting the DNA methylation, hitting that kind of stuff with our lifestyle and our food and everything else.
[00:15:02.530] – Dr. Fitzgerald
That's interesting. I haven't thought of it in that way, and I'll have to ponder it a little bit. There are a lot of biochemical processes involved in epigenetics, involved in gene regulation, and DNA methylation is one of them. So I have to ponder your analogy. At a glance, really it makes sense, but it's one of the software programs and I think it's one of the big guys software programs to regulate what's going on in us.
[00:15:38.650] – Allan
Okay, now you have a formula in there, and this formula, I think, kind of helps us drive how we approach this whole your whole younger you program is built on.
[00:15:48.360] – Allan
Okay. We've got this group of things. We got to think about this group of things and this group of things. So you put them into three buckets, but it's a plus plus plus. And then that's going to equal where you are with your younger you. First is methyl donors, which, as I understand, is basically things that are going to help, that are going to be donating the things that are going to go into that process, the DNA methylation adaptogens, which are going to kind of be the enzyme, but things are going to make that happen. And then the lifestyle practices that are going to define how well it happens.
[00:16:21.910] – Dr. Fitzgerald
Yes. So donors help with fundamental methylation. We need to be effectively methylating all the time, and we need to supply the body with the ingredients in order to do that. And as we age, we actually do it way less efficiently. The adaptogens are foods or compounds that sort of direct where they go. And I think that that's what you said. And our lifestyle pieces also influence what is happening at DNA methylation as well. So maybe they're refinements. I look at them as further all important support in regulating optimal genetic expression.
[00:17:06.070] – Allan
My thought process goes like this. It's like I can't really control methyl donors. It's not like I could have a switch on my shoulder or something. It's like turn it on or turn it off or make it move here, make it move. The same thing with the methylation adaptogens, but the lifestyle practices, I have a little bit more control now. I do have control of my food, which is where a lot of these donors and adaption come from. So let's talk a little bit.
[00:17:30.910] – Dr. Fitzgerald
They do. They all do. So, I mean, I would challenge you on that. I would say you do have control over what you're putting in your mouth.
[00:17:37.910] – Allan
Yeah. Okay. So let's talk about the food. You have a lot of different aspects to it that I think are really important. Can you talk about food and this approach and why it's giving us the methyl donors and the DNA methylation adaptions?
[00:17:59.350] – Dr. Fitzgerald
Yeah. So going back to that first quote about giving our body the ingredients it needs for optimal chain expression, our food is information. It's extraordinarily complex information, actually. Scientists are really just unpacking it. They were just learning how extraordinary it is. And it's not just the isolated ingredients. It's the interaction between the ingredients that are on your fork and then the interactions with your gut, microbiome, et cetera. It's just the food matrix is beautiful and extraordinary. And my appreciation is always sort of expanded as the science grows. So we want to be consuming foods. So we want to be consuming these methyl donors that we need a lot of instead of an isolated vitamins. Actually, I shouldn't say instead of because there are times when we need isolated vitamins. So I want to be clear that I'm not suggesting we stop isolated vitamins as needed, but eating as many in a food matrix will yield more bang for our buck. And so that means leafy Greens, that means spinach, that means kale, asparagus. That means mushrooms like shiitake or Inake that are just maitake that are just loaded with Folate and B.12 If you can do it, have some eggs.
[00:19:29.650] – Dr. Fitzgerald
If you're a fan of eating eggs, eggs are loaded with choline, beets. I try to have a couple of small beets every day. They're packed with the methyl support nutrient Batine. Another methyl donor superfood is liver. We like people to do about three servings of liver per week, so not loads. And the eggs we look at in a weekly serving as well. So you don't have to have them every day, but maybe five to ten eggs per week. We do have a vegetarian/vegan program that one can follow. We just didn't do our research study on it. So you'll have to stay tuned. We're actually continuing to research. So stay tuned there. But this original study was used using animal products. So those are methylation adaptogens. And then those are the methyl donors foods, and then the methylation adaptogens. These are the beautiful polyphenols that seem to direct how the methyl donors behave and where they go. Top ones include green tea, the catechins egcgb most famous. Rosemarynic acid, and Rosemary, quercetin, curcumin, luteolin. What else? Resveratrol. All of the beautiful compounds and blueberries and berries in general. So think andanal methane, sulforaphane.
[00:20:57.800] – Dr. Fitzgerald
So cruciferous vegetables. We want you to just be just fill your cup with these nutrients. And I think together they just pack a really profound punch. So I'll just stop there and see if you can.
[00:21:09.730] – Allan
No, that's great, because a couple of things that are there is yes. If you eat keto, if you eat vegetarian, if you eat Paleo, if you eat Mediterranean, all of these stack on top of the way that you're approaching this. But you're just saying there's some very core things here. High quality whole food. You didn't say Twinkies or Twiskets or anything like that. These are high quality whole foods. It is plant forward because a lot of these methyl donors and the adaptogens that we need, they're going to come from plants. In fact, I think this week was the first time I've ever bought fresh Rosemary in my entire life.
[00:21:52.650] – Dr. Fitzgerald
Well, good. Oh, it's great. Cool.
[00:21:56.150] – Allan
And a lot of the foods that you mentioned, I love. I love beets, I love liver. And so those are normal things. But it just kind of reminds me to make sure that they're in the rotation enough that I'm getting enough methyl donors. As you say, one thing that I think is going to be kind of interesting to a lot of people is that your approach is sort of keto leaning, not necessarily all the way to ketosis all the time, but at least leaning towards keto and utilizing intermittent fasting.
[00:22:23.650] – Dr. Fitzgerald
[00:22:24.220] – Allan
So why are those two a part of this? What do they do?
[00:22:27.780] – Dr. Fitzgerald
Well, we know that ketones are extremely helpful. Before I jump into the answer those two questions, I just want to underline the comment that you made about how stackable this is. We used this in clinic practice years before we got to research it. And so we layered these principles into the myriad very individualized diet program. So if we had a strict keto protein restricted keto with a cancer patient, we could layer in these principles. If we have somebody with profound allergies or on a fodmap or any of the myriad diets that one might use in clinic practice or even out in the world, that the diets that people might be exploring, these principles are designed to be layerable layerable layerable. This is not exclusive. The only time you might consider doing this and following it exclusively is if you really want to get the results from our study. And that's an eight week chunk of time. And so that's when I would say.
[00:23:31.930] – Allan
But it is a reduction of over three years of bio ages which you are finding in your study. It is eight weeks and it's restrictive and it's intensive. It's called intensive. We're going to talk about it a little bit more detail later, but it has some pretty profile. At least it was a small group. But to be fair, pretty profound findings from just that small trial in just eight weeks. I think anyone here can sit there and say, I can do anything for eight weeks, particularly if you see the benefits that I think you'll see if you do this. And then the other side of it is if you're eating a certain way and you hear about some of these other foods, you might have thought, okay, well, I'm in keto, and beets are root vegetables, so therefore I shouldn't be eating them. You can still stay in ketosis and eat beets. I do it all the time. It's just a function of being aware of how much you're eating, how many carbs you're taking it and what your tolerance is. And if you get your insulin resistance under control, which is a part of what this diet does as a part of the anti-aging aspects of it, you will probably be able to tolerate more natural sugars from things like beets.
[00:24:39.310] – Dr. Fitzgerald
That's exactly right. That's a great point. Yeah, right. Absolutely. And you can figure out when you may consider eating your beets, perhaps after you've done something cardio. And we're not talking about a ton of beets. I think two medium beets a day, so you can cut them in quarters and just have a bite of beet if you're working with blood sugar issues. So ketone bodies are important. I think epigenetic signal molecules. And I think the data around ketones as epigenetic regulators is just emerging. So they're included. We wanted it to be keto leaning for that reason, but also just the potent anti inflammatory potential of having background ketones, their brain fuel. I mean, they just serve so many having some circulating ketones, having our bodies exposed to some circulating ketones daily, even for a limited period, I think is really important in long term health and longevity.
[00:25:49.150] – Allan
When someone gets the metabolic flexibility to be able to use Ketones in addition to glucose, what I found is that the cravings for glucose go away because the energy source is always there. We carry enough body fat to pretty much function for a long time. And we already have enough blood sugar and basic available sugar to last us for a couple of hours of even intermediate level work. So for most of us, if we get that metabolic flexibility, we're not constantly hungry, not constantly hungry. And so having the ability to utilize Ketones gives us that capacity to choose give us some freedom. For a lot of people, then that also leads into the intermittent fasting and how easy it becomes once you're adapted to using Ketones.
[00:26:39.770] – Dr. Fitzgerald
Yeah, that's right. And of course, we know that Longo has done lots of research and data continue to come out showing the benefits of different fasting structures. And we wanted something doable. We didn't want this study to be about intermittent fasting or fasting. We really wanted this program to be easy to be doable for a large population. So it's 12 hours on, 12 hours off. It's very gentle. But the data on fasting, on time restricted eating and biological age is just growing. And I think it's good. It's impressive.
[00:27:20.020] – Allan
Yes. And these are not extremes and these are not low calories. Eat cardboard stuff.
[00:27:28.390] – Dr. Fitzgerald
[00:27:29.310] – Allan
You're eating healthy, high quality foods. You're not trying to blast your body with a bunch of supplements. You're supplementing as necessary. So this time of year up north, probably some vitamin D if you're vegan, probably some vitamin B12. Just kind of making sure that you're putting the right things in your body. If you can't get it from your nutrition or your body can't make it itself, then you do some supplements.
[00:27:56.960] – Dr. Fitzgerald
Yeah, we do. In our study, it was very simple. We didn't want to lean on supplements. But I agree with you. And there's actually in the book there's a supplement section in the book where I talk about just some workhorse nutrients, as you said, like vitamin D or if you're vegan, B12, and possibly iron in some circumstances, fish oil. There are some basic things we want in our background if we're not adequately consuming them in the diet or if we're not consuming them at all. But in the study, we only used a Greens powder to get just another little hit of those all important polyphenols that I mentioned. And we used a probiotic Lactobacillus Plantarum. And the reason we use Lactobacillus plantarum is this particular strain has some nice science on it for a variety of healthy gut reasons. But it's also been shown to be able to increase bacterial production of folate. And we make a lot we make a ton of vitamins. A healthy gut makes lots of vitamins that we need. And we know. So beyond just making vitamins. We know that the microbiome regulates host epigenetics, and it plays a lot of roles and it's just continually being unpacked.
[00:29:10.700] – Dr. Fitzgerald
We're just starting to wrap our arms around it. So we know that a healthy gut microbiome is an essential component. So those were just the only two things we used in our study.
[00:29:19.240] – Allan
Yeah. There were a couple of things that I took away as you got into this as far as supplementing and things like something as simple as put your mushrooms out in the sun for a little while and they'll have some more vitamin D.
[00:29:30.090] – Dr. Fitzgerald
Isn't that cool? Like an easy mushroom hack? Yes.
[00:29:33.740] – Allan
Just put it out there. If you got high quality sun, put it out there for an hour or so. If you can put it out there longer and it's going to soup up the vitamin D you can get from those mushrooms. Also, you talk a little bit about how folate but typically when we get a supplement for folate, we're getting folic acid, which is problematic.
[00:29:55.330] – Dr. Fitzgerald
Yeah. I do want to acknowledge that food folic acid fortification, grain fortification has reduced birth defects in this country and other countries. So we have to acknowledge that public health success. But we also have to acknowledge that that means there are some people get ingesting a lot of folate, be it folic acid and fortified foods or the other so in grains, but also in milk, in alternative milks. And it's a huge issue how much fortification goes on. If you buy soy or almond or cashew milk, etc. That's been any degree processed, it will be fortified with various vitamins. And so we need to keep our eyes open. Folate exists in a U curve. And actually, let me finish the folic gas piece first. Folic acid is synthetic. It's not bioidentical to the folates that we use. And so it has to be active. And I think your listeners probably know you've talked about this I'm sure that it takes a few steps. It takes more steps, and we don't all activate it equally well. And circulating folic acid has been associated with issues as far as DNA methylation goes, imbalanced methylation isn't going to come from folic acid, though, so I don't follow that thread in the book too far.
[00:31:20.230] – Dr. Fitzgerald
Imbalanced DNA methylation can come from folic acid has to be activated into a body usable, a bio dentical form, and then it could go on to influence DNA methylation. So any excess forms of any I think isolated vitamins can in some people probably be problematic. And it is not black and white. This does not mean that you throw your supplements out at all, but it does mean that you recognize if there's excess and you're paying attention and if you're taking isolated vitamins, you're doing it for a reason. You know why you're taking that much? Are you taking it long term? If so, why is someone managing that, et cetera, in the age of epigenetics. So in the Omics era, where we can see our genome, our microbiome or epigenome, et cetera, in this era, we are able to see nutrients, lifestyle vitamins, influence on our physiology more than at any other time. And because of this, I don't think we can any longer say we'll pee out the vitamins we don't use, et cetera. I think we need to be a little bit more mindful.
[00:32:35.890] – Allan
Yeah. And you're wasting money
[00:32:39.010] – Dr. Fitzgerald
[00:32:43.450] – Allan
so let's jump into some of the lifestyle things. And in there, you had pretty much four things. And the reason I want to talk about these four things, in addition, is this is the message that we hear over and over. You can take this back to Buettner when he was talking about blue zones. Doctor Day, the probably the last, I would say the last ten episodes if we didn't talk about these four or five things. We talked about food, we talked about exercise, we talked about we talked about stress management in some cases we talked about toxins, which I kind of lump in with stress management. So it's emotional stress or actual chemical stress and then social connection. Those four things, exercise, sleep, stress management, and social connection are so important. But they're affecting us at this level. They're at this level. This is not just, oh, I feel tired because I didn't sleep. We're doing something to DNA methylation.
[00:33:39.450] – Dr. Fitzgerald
Yes, it's pretty crazy. So here we are in this era where we can see what the heck is happening. And, yeah, we need these lifestyle practices for a reason. We evolved moving our bodies. We evolved getting a certain amount of sleep, and you can see that people. So originally it was animal studies. There are animals and human studies, but most still are animal. But just one poor sleep session. In an animal model, damages the central nervous systems. There's neuronal damage, the regeneration of neurons or the maintenance of neurons. It becomes problematic. And we see in humans insomnia being very proaging, as measured by DNA methylation. So sleep is important. And then just going beyond specifically looking at DNA methylation. So we see that it's disruptive there, but we see that poor sleep is linked to all of the chronic diseases, which are all fueled by aging. So it comes full circle. So, yeah, it's essential for us to get sufficient sleep for those of us who want a healthy longevity and a good health plan to go with our longevity, we really need to be considering sleep. We need to prioritize it. I talked a lot about sleep in my book and how to do it because I was a bad sleeper.
[00:35:08.190] – Dr. Fitzgerald
I think of all of the components of our program. Sleep was the hardest for me. And so how did I improve it? It was a lot of little steps. Probably the biggest one was going to bed early enough to actually allow my body to get 8 hours and not staying up in this anxious state of ‘oh my gosh, I'm not going to fall asleep' and we're going to talk about meditation in a minute. That's a great way to bring the body down into a sleep place. Making sure my room is dark enough. I put an air conditioner in the window in my bedroom so the rest of my house wouldn't be cold to turning down the central air because I sleep better in a really cold room. I think most people do, so just little hacks along the way can add up to good quality sleep. I love using a sleep tracker. I wear an aura ring that motivates me because I'm a data Hound. I like looking at it. I feel excited when I get sufficient deep sleep and REM. And I can also track did I exercise too late? When I exercise a little bit too late, my heart rate doesn't drop and I tend to be a less efficient sleeper.
[00:36:16.210] – Dr. Fitzgerald
I'll have more disruption if I exercise in the morning. However, I can really get fabulous sleep, so it helps me, but there's a timing component and I just kind of move through some of those things when I wake up at night. So I have a toddler at home. Honestly, I wake up most nights with her and then I need to be able to fall back to sleep. And one of the ways that I've done that actually an important tool. I got this from her, right? I would play white noise for her or rain sounds, et cetera. And I just started doing that for myself. And now it really makes a difference when I need to kind of bring myself back down into sleep in the middle of the night when I've been woken up.
[00:36:56.170] – Allan
Yeah, I also use the white noise and keep the room cool. Now that my wife is menopause, she agrees with me. The room should be colder. Before we were ten degrees difference in where we wanted the temperature of the room to be. We're much closer now, but it is that what is something. And so mine was an internal dialogue. Meditation, if you will. It's a very different thing and that I just visualize myself doing something. At first I was struggling with stress of being under a house, a dad of a house, and then it's very expensive house. We're having troubles with contractors and everything. So it was stressing me out. I actually was laying there when I think that I'm under the house, but it's on sand and so all I have to do is just start digging and I would dig out and I would see blue light and then I would feel the Sunshine, smell the air, hear the noises of the waves and the birds. And then I'd climb out and I'd start walking and I'd be asleep. And what I found was every morning then I found myself. It gets easier and easier to dig out.
[00:38:06.640] – Allan
I'd be out and I'd be walking down the beach earlier, and I would sleep better. And then one night I was just already standing on the beach.
[00:38:15.190] – Dr. Fitzgerald
Well, that's pretty cool.
[00:38:16.400] – Allan
And so I'm not going to call it a dream as much as just when I was just sitting there thinking about my state of mind and where I needed to be and where I was and what was going to take it was going to take me digging through the sand. And so every night I would just kind of mentally dig myself through the sand and just say, okay, this is easy. I'm just digging through sand. I can do this. Blue light. Okay, great. I'm moving in the right direction. I'm doing the right things. And then I'm asleep. So it's just for me, it was a unique thing. Now I don't have that house. I don't have those problems. So now I just visualize myself.
[00:38:48.460] – Dr. Fitzgerald
And you live on a beach.
[00:38:49.550] – Allan
I live on a beach, but I've just visualize myself somewhere I want to be that I would enjoy. And I start thinking about the sun on my face and how that warmth feels and how the air smells fresh and you can just kind of feeling in the waves and all of that. When you start doing that, it kind of clears your brain of anything else because you're trying to sensory perceive yourself somewhere. Everything else just falls apart. So if there's things that are bothering you over the day, it's like that guy cut me off in traffic. Damn it. I should have got his driver's license. He should have his plate number and turn them into you're not thinking about that anymore. You're thinking about the sun on your face, or maybe you like skiing and it's the brisk and the cold and you can see your breath and those types of things. For me, the big point of sleep is to just find a way to turn and yes, white noise is a big part of that, too.
[00:39:42.910] – Dr. Fitzgerald
I think the take home what you're doing, it just sounds perfect, is that we can succeed at this for people who have struggled with insomnia. And I am right there. Stress induced insomnia, like what you're talking about. I've absolutely struggled or just being woken up a lot because of my daughter. But both varieties, simple steps, we can do it. And there are times I know we have other areas to talk about, but I want to just say that because I know people listening are going to say this or think this any insomniacs out there. Yeah, that won't work for me. Yeah, that won't work for me. There's just this discouragement. And I've also been there. And the fact of the matter is it can work for you if you continue to return yourself to whatever the exercise is like. Ok. If you return yourself to the stand and to the blue light, and then your mind goes right back to being under the house and stuck under that debt. It's so overwhelming. Then just return. It is a meditation practice. It's not like a meditation practice. It is, but you just have to keep with it.
[00:41:01.050] – Dr. Fitzgerald
I'm sure there were times when you didn't do when you failed at it, and then you'd have to keep returning.
[00:41:06.080] – Allan
Yeah. Other things were going on. Yeah. And then I'd get stuck again. But the other thing I found was, okay, if there's something you can't do, what's important is for you to focus on what you can do. So if when I injured my shoulder. Okay, well, I couldn't exercise the way I wanted to exercise, but I could exercise some ways. I didn't feel like I was making the progress, but I could really focus on my nutrition. I could really start focusing on my stress if I can't be in the gym for an hour and a half, because that's what I enjoy doing now, my basic workout because I can't work parts of my upper body. My workout was done in an hour. I now have a half an hour. What do I do? I go home and I sit down and I just do a quick meditation, a 15,20 minutes meditation before I take my shower. And I use that 30 minutes to change something or I made sure I made good meal prep. So I know my lunch is packed and everything is ready to go. So I've had a good breakfast. I'm going to have a good, healthy lunch.
[00:42:03.740] – Allan
And so it's just do what you can with what you have, where you are.
[00:42:07.160] – Dr. Fitzgerald
Yes, that's right. Amen to that. Okay. Do we want to move on?
[00:42:13.880] – Allan
Yes, we're going to move on. But the only reason I said is I want to back up a little bit because earlier I talked about the software piece, and you got the hardware with the operating system, the software and the data. And in my mind, the food, the exercise, the sleep, the stress management and the social connections. That's all information. And the information is not just something that's out there. It literally goes to your genes. It goes to the expression of your genes. It's the information that makes that stuff happen, good or bad.
[00:42:43.880] – Dr. Fitzgerald
That's right. That's exactly right.
[00:42:45.330] – Allan
You talk a lot about trauma in the book and how trauma carries forward all the way to our DNA to the point that we can take it forward to the next generation.
[00:42:53.470] – Dr. Fitzgerald
[00:42:54.090] – Allan
So this is not a little thing. This is the information that drives your life. And it potentially is driving future generation. A lot of us are not of age where we're going to have children again. But just be thinking about it in terms of your daughter's, son looking at having children. If they start using some of these practices, they're setting that child up for a much better future because their DNA is made of their DNA, which means that all that encoding is some of it's going over. And the more we can clean that up now, the better.
[00:43:29.490] – Dr. Fitzgerald
That's right. And we do the best we can. And it does exist on a continuum. So you can see changes after one healthy meal or one exercise event. But clearly you're going to see stronger and more deeply rooted favorable changes on DNA methylation or the epigenome with continued practice. I just want to say, because it's so cool, is there's a study looking at exercise and the heritability of that and you've can pass some of those beneficial genetic changes down. I just think it's so cool. I mean, we know this for food, and I think trauma has been probably better studied than almost anything the heritability of trauma. But it's just if you're doing your crunches and you're going to conceive, I mean, go you. You're doing your power lifting or whatever, you can hand some of that down and actually just thinking about exercising in older people, they get more of an epigenetic bang for their buck than younger folks. So you had brought up those tumor suppressor genes. These are cancer fighters in our body. And as we age or if we have cancer, these genes get really kind of turned off. And exercise helps with re-expression. So it's neat. It acts like a methylation adaptogen.
[00:44:52.370] – Allan
So now I want to quickly talk about alcohol because you talked about an adaptogen and everybody thinks, oh, great, I can have a few glasses of wine every night and all I'm doing is putting antioxidants in my body and I'm good. Maybe the story is not that clean.
[00:45:13.420] – Dr. Fitzgerald
Yeah, it's not. Sorry, guys. I feel for you. I'm not a drinker at all. But I appreciate people who want to have a drink. It inhibits methylation. I mean, it's not via a variety of mechanisms. It kind of shuts methylation down. So I think if you're going to drink well, if you want to do our intensive and if you want to get that three year biological age reversal that we got on our study participants, just like offers eight weeks, just eight weeks after that, we've got an everyday program that you can resume drinking if you like to, but it's modest. We don't want you pounding back the sauce a lot because you will mess with methylation and DNA methylation. You can have some wine. So have some dark red. I think it's helped. That's a good variety, a good type. Have it be low glycemic or do some clean, gluten free vodka or something like that. But keep it modest. And maybe if you're into it, consider having an extra serving of some methyl donor food that you particularly like in conjunction with that. Just to support it.
[00:46:29.430] – Allan
Let's get a little into the program, because what I really liked and part of the reason that your book is as thick as it is is that you gave us every tool imaginable to make this manageable for everybody. Meaning there is an intensive program you recommend eight weeks. That's how your study was designed and got great benefits. There is an everyday version, which is kind of a light version of this is a little bit more leeway to do some things. But even in the book, you talk about how you can walk your way into this by just picking one or two things to do a little differently and get there. You provide meal plans. If someone wants to follow something stringent, you give us kind of guidelines. If we want to have a little bit more give and take of eating the kind of foods in a way we want to, you show us how we can layer it across different ways of eating, like vegan, vegetarian, keto, Mediterranean paleo, which pretty much is already paleo if you really map it out.
[00:47:31.210] – Dr. Fitzgerald
[00:47:31.790] – Allan
And then at the end, you give us a bunch of recipes to kind of make all this work and shopping list. So you didn't leave anything out. It's like you literally take the shopping list going, okay, here's the recipe to make this dish. This is my meal plan for the week. And quite literally, you've laid everything out. It made the book over 490 pages, I think. It's weightlifting, just think of it that way. You pick it up off the ground, use your legs. It's a big book, but it's got everything in there to kind of walk us through this program. So is there anything else you want to talk about with the program that someone should know?
[00:48:11.410] – Dr. Fitzgerald
I appreciate you highlighting that because I have an amazing nutrition team in my clinic practice. We have a nutrition internship program that's world recognized, and it's competitive. So we get just the best and the brightest nutritionists. And they did a lot of the heavy lifting and establishing our recipes and doing tasting and establishing the macro and the micronutrient on each of the recipes. And we worked so hard together as a team. And I just always need to give them a shout out. And our founding nutrition director, Ronald Hodges, actually worked on birthing our original program back in 2015, 2016. And so, yeah, it's been built by really brilliant minds. And so they'll certainly appreciate you just giving all of this work, this hard work a call out. In fact, you're the first person who really has brought it to light.
[00:49:08.510] – Allan
No honest truth. I've done over 325 of these interviews, and almost every one of them, they'll do their book and they'll have a plan or program eat these foods, do eat this way, and then they follow it up about a year later with a cookbook. So you bought the first book and now you buy the cookbook. So if they have a best seller with the first book, then the cookbook is going to be a best seller, too. That's typically the way that math works. You've just put both books together, but you've done it very well in that it's completely thought out. I'm not going to say it's dummy proof because you still have to go to the grocery store. You still have to find these things. You still have to Cook it. All those are good things. This is going to teach about nutrition. This is going to teach you about cooking. You're going to have some delicious. And I wish I had been in the tasting rooms when you guys are putting these dishes together. You guys had some great meals, I'm sure.
[00:50:03.450] – Dr. Fitzgerald
Yeah, we did. They're so good and they're satiating. I want to say that the dummy proof program is in the app, so you can link to that in the show notes. It's the three YY program, but you can find it at younger youth program. You can find a link to the book and then a link to the app. And that's where we'll really hold your hand through doing it. And then all of the sort of next generation younger you content that we're interested in will be in the app. And actually, we're going to continue to research in the app. So if anybody is interested in participating, that's where you want to go. I want to say one more piece here. Just given your appreciation of this nutrition component and the attention we gave. So we ended up needing to create. I just had to and I'm so glad the publishers let us kind of nudge it in what we call the younger you hybrid. It's half the intensive layered some of the everyday principles in. It's for when you're getting ready to conceive for men and women, because if you read the book, you'll see men in the world of epigenetics, yeah you're a big player in what happens with your baby, both in utero while your partner is carrying the baby.
[00:51:20.260] – Dr. Fitzgerald
But then the genetic expression pattern that they inherit, you play a huge role here. So how do we prepare for conception, men and women? What do we want to be thinking about during pregnancy and breastfeeding? And so we designed this younger you hybrid for that. It just seemed such a hugely important time in DNA methylation and demethylation. It's such a huge important time that I just couldn't leave it out of the book. So that information is in there as well.
[00:51:53.920] – Allan
So it's going to be a great reference for you today, for your kids today, for your grandkids, tomorrow. Now, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
[00:52:08.350] – Dr. Fitzgerald
I love it. I love that. I think that's just such a beautiful, you know what? If somebody's going to be the healthiest fittest and happiest, I think that they're going to be epigenetically young as well. When I read your definition and just sat with it, what I thought was get into the driver's seat of your genetic expression. When we age in this country, in the United States, the final 16 years, we have at least one diagnosis and most of us have two. We're on multiple medications. We end up turning over our life savings and all of our hard work to Pharma, to skilled nursing care facilities, to hospitalizations. Like all of our hard existence, we just fork it over to the medical establishment. And it's just so sad to me. So aging is the biggest risk factor for all of these chronic diseases that we just want to avoid with every fiber of our being. And it looks like these diseases, the whole aging journey, take over our genetic expression like they get in the driver's seat. And so I would say that we want to be in the driver's seat of our genetic expression.
[00:53:31.840] – Dr. Fitzgerald
We want to take it back from these chronic diseases. We want to take it back from the aging process and do it. This program will allow you to do that. So I would say bathe your genes in methyl donors and adapt in the healthy way we outline. Get enough sleep, exercise, and well, this is more I'm going beyond your three, but community connection would be the final.
[00:54:01.570] – Allan
Right. Dr. Fitzgerald, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book Younger You, the Younger You program and the app that you spoke about, where would you like for me to send them?
[00:54:15.250] – Dr. Fitzgerald
Very simple. It's just youngeryouprogram.com.
[00:54:19.500] – Allan
Great. Well, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/526, and I'll be sure to have all the links there.
[00:54:26.540] – Allan
Dr. Fitzgerald, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
[00:54:30.340] – Dr. Fitzgerald
Oh, it was my pleasure. It was really great talking with you today.
Post show with Rach
[00:54:40.970] – Allan
Welcome back, Ras.
[00:54:42.470] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. What a really interesting conversation with Dr. Fitzgerald. We've always been told how eating and moving and all these lifestyle changes are good for our health, but now it sounds like the science is out there to kind of prove it. As far as our genetics go.
[00:54:59.470] – Allan
Yeah. I think people feel like they are genetically wired to be a certain way.
[00:55:05.520] – Rachel
[00:55:05.860] – Allan
Obviously, you have blue eyes or you have Brown eyes and that we know why that happens, but there's a lot of things out there that are not so solid state, and they can be changed over time through the process called epigenetics. And the mechanics for that is this process called DNA methylation. And so basically what she's showing us here is that the lifestyle and the food all blend into that communication. It's the information that drives our epigenetics that makes our genes do what they're there to do. We used to buy an IBM computer. It had all these little dip switches on the back. So you'd read the manual and you'd set the dip switches for different things. And it felt very complex. And of course, they made software that started doing that stuff. And now with data, you can say, okay, and I'm user Allan or you're user Tammy on the computer. And it's a whole different experience. And so it's just the complexity of all that is there in our genes. So it's just a function of saying if you do the right things and she goes into detail in the book how to do that with her program, then you're going to be able to slow the aging curve and be biologically younger.
[00:56:33.420] – Allan
And it's fascinating with how quickly some of that change can be seen and measured as far as your genetic age, your bio age, it can be flipped really quickly.
[00:56:48.530] – Rachel
Yeah, it was really fascinating how you described it as also a dimmer switch. You're right. I've got Brown eyes and Brown hair. But our overall health can kind of vacillate. It can kind of change based on our lifestyle habits.
[00:57:05.450] – Allan
Yeah. Well, it's things that we knew. We knew genes were going to drive us to be certain limits, certain things. And we knew that, okay. If you have a particular gene, when they first started doing the coding of that and getting the whole code, the map of the human genome, when they started putting that all together and it took a long time and a lot of money, they thought they were going to have the answer to everything. They thought that this $3 billion in years and years put into this program to get the first one done and now $100, $125, you can have that done over the course of a week or so. But that didn't answer all the questions. And then they realized, well, okay, jeans can be turned on and turn off is what the initial premise was. For a long time, that's what we thought. And now they're realizing, no, some genes are always on. Brown hair, Brown eyes. Some genes are set on dimmer switches. And those ones that are on these, like dimmer switches, we have some control over based on things that we do, what we eat, our stress management, our movement, social connections.
[00:58:26.690] – Allan
And if we put good practices in, we put good food in, it's this information that goes in and says, hey, slow this process down and speed this process up. And so it allows our body to age slower. It allows our body, in some cases to reverse age biologically now, not chronologically. You're still 56 years old. I am 56 years old. So I can't reverse that. But I can reverse my biological age. If I take the time to implement these strategies that she has, you can see that difference. She can measure that difference.
[00:59:15.110] – Rachel
And the strategies are the things that we talk about all the time, which is eating high quality nutritious foods, having some level of movement, getting good sleep, reducing stress, which is not always easy, but is important. And it's all these things that make for a healthier lifestyle, which it's interesting to see that actually show in the science.
[00:59:39.490] – Allan
Well, you go back to the blue zones. I mean, when Buettner wrote The Book Blue Zones, It has to have been 15,20 years ago now, I think. But he wrote the book about why are people living past 100 in all of these different areas? And he tracked what they ate and how they lived and it was the social connection. It was low stress. It was high regular movement. Not necessarily intense stuff, but just they're walking and they're moving and they're doing stuff and then it's the food. And so you go through that process and you say, okay, if I go ahead and start improving these things, I'm going to slow my aging curve. And it goes even a little bit beyond that. It's also about not just living longer but living better. And that's also in the subtitle of the book Is that most of us will get to an age and then we'll just decline really quickly and that's the aging curve. And it's a scary slope when it starts to happen that way you can delay that and have that slope happen later in your life if you take the time to do it.
[01:00:47.450] – Allan
We live longer because it keeps us alive longer, but it doesn't keep us healthier. Medicine doesn't do that. So what we have to do is do the right things with the foods we're eating movement, the sleep, the stress, doing the things that put good information in so that the dimmer switches are turned on and off in a way that help us live longer and better.
[01:01:09.490] – Rachel
Yes, that sounds great. What a fascinating interview.
[01:01:12.500] – Allan
Yeah, it's a good book if you're interested in the science of all of this. She did a lot of research on these different things and even some of the kind of more fruitful things that are out there that you can try, but this is just a real good solid. Okay, this is how it works. Understanding this formula, you go through the process and you start trying to eliminate bad things and add good things and it works.
[01:01:39.170] – Rachel
Awesome. That sounds great.
[01:01:41.570] – Allan
All right, well, talk to you next week.
[01:01:44.130] – Rachel
Great. Take care, Allan.
[01:01:45.570] – Allan
[01:01:46.420] – Rachel
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[00:01:34.290] – Allan
So, unfortunately, we're not going to have Rachel on the show this week. But she'll be back next week, I promise.
[00:04:58.400] – Allan
Dr. Ellen, welcome to 40+ Fitness.
[00:05:01.130] – Dr. Ellen
Thank you, Allan. It is so awesome to be here.
[00:05:04.170] – Allan
Yeah. As you got into your story and some of the things that you've done, it's really kind of fascinating because I'm not going to say there's parallels in our lives, but it's like you were a fitness trainer and then you kind of went on and started doing coaching and doing a lot of things online and offline and just kind of building a practice, if you will. Your book is called, Rock Your Midlife: Seven Steps to Transform Yourself and Make Your Next Chapter Your Best Chapter. And I like the title well enough. But there was a quote in the book, and I have to read this quote out loud because this is pretty fascinating and really touched me in a way that I'm like, okay, this is why I do what I do. And it's this, at midlife, you're gifted with an entire second adulthood to know and love yourself on a deeper level to figure out who you are and what you want. And I just thought that's magic. If people would wrap their mind around that one quote, their midlife, the after midlife, after 50, after 40 age, suddenly they're like, hey, this isn't a downward thing I'm facing. This is an opportunity.
[00:06:17.710] – Dr. Ellen
I love that you started with that quote from my book. And thank you. I'm glad it touched you because you were sharing a little bit of your story. And I think we're both finding that I'm having a gas. I mean, I'm almost 60 and I feel fabulous. Why it's so important that there are people like yourself who are telling people, this is how you can be healthy. I've met so many people who are at the healthiest in their 40s, their 50s, even their 60s, and then deciding who do I want to be when I grew up? Because I know my story and I think a lot of us, we were like, climbing this ladder of success, but it was up against the wrong freaking building. You're clawing your way up, you're sweating, you hate going to work every day. And what you can do at midlife is take everything that you've learned, really get to know yourself, what you love to do, what your talents are, the genius you're here to share with the world and create an incredible next chapter. I think that's what we're really here to say, that we're changing the pace of midlife.
[00:07:12.070] – Dr. Ellen
It's not about crisis, it is about difficulty transformation, often with people. But you can really create an amazing 20,30 decades.
[00:07:22.750] – Allan
As I got into my journey because I was in my early, late 30s when I realized I had a massive imbalance in my life. And I was so focused on career that my relationships were sour, my family life was sour. Everything else in my life, fitness and health, everything else, I was just not even scoring zeros across the board. And then career 100. And I was like, So this is not working for me. But it took me about eight years of hitting this, trying this. And I realized one of the problems that I had the whole time through was that I was focused on an outcome of weight loss, thinking that was kind of what I needed to do. And I think most of us approach this problem of midlife. It's weight loss. And most of my clients say, hey, I need to lose weight. But the reality of it is that's a byproduct or a side effect of you actually just getting your life in order. Can you talk a little bit about that? Because you brought up that concept in here. We're focusing on the wrong problem.
[00:08:33.220] – Dr. Ellen
Right. The reason we focus on way, honestly is it's such a specific, easy metric to look at. Like, how do you measure happiness, right? Like, that's really subjective weight you get on the scale. And people are like, wow, I lost 10 pounds. I feel good about myself, but as you said, and I have a lot of clients coming to me too. The first thing they want to do is lose weight. And we start with looking at their life because the reason that they're having that threesome with Ben and Jerry's or that Chardonnay Cheddar cheese have it in the evening is because they're not enjoying their lives. And so by the time 5:00,6:00 hits cocktail hour is like the thing that makes them feel good. So during the day, we're experiencing so much stress, especially right now with so much uncertainty and the pandemic still happening. So what happens when we get these cortisol rushes all day long? All cortisol is the hormone of fight and flight. So we're feeling stressed out, we're feeling tired. We're not very happy. And rather than saying, hey, what do I need to do to manage my stress, to create a life that I love, to find purpose and meaning? We're leaning into dopamine.
[00:09:38.020] – Dr. Ellen
Dopamine is the chemical of reward. It's the sex, drugs, rock and roll, food, alcohol, gambling, shopping, all of those kinds of things. And so again, like with weight, it's easy. We lean into the dopamine. I'll just have this threesome with Ben and Jerry's. Instead of looking at my life and going, okay, what's not working? What do I need to feel more fulfilled? And so when I start to work with people, it's so interesting. We start to work from the inside out. The self talk, the self compassion, the self care, all of these things about treating yourself well and feeling like you're enough. And then come 5:00, 6:00, they're not interested in the food because they're feeling good and they're feeling energized all day, and they're giving themselves what they need throughout the day. But again, I think we're leaning into weight because we think that that's the solution. And I think there's so much in the media about these quick weight loss solutions. You'll feel good about yourself. And particularly for women, our self worth is so much based on our appearance. And when we're happier, we don't feel confident, when we don't feel very good about ourselves.
[00:10:43.070] – Dr. Ellen
But I also tell people, too, that weight needs to be an outcome, not the goal, because we don't have control over it. I've seen people, I'm sure you have as well, who are eating right, who are moving their bodies. And the scale isn't budging. They feel a Plateau. And what happens is if we make weight the focus of our journey, when the scale doesn't go down, even when we've been doing the lifestyle change, we feel bad about ourselves. And then we're just like, screw it. I'm going to go ahead and just eat whatever I want in this vicious cycle of beating yourself up and being good and then not good. And I just work with my clients. It's just like, get rid of the diet books, get rid of the weight mentality, and let's focus on health and happiness.
[00:11:27.190] – Allan
Yeah. I remember going to the gym when I was actually doing things right. And so about every third day or so, I would be on the elliptical just burning up a sweat, doing some hit training or something like that. And there was this one woman, and she'd been coming in there for roughly the same amount of time I had. She'd been in there five, six months. And every day she came in and got on the elliptical and just killed herself for the whole hour and a half I was in the gym. So one day I'm finishing up my hit training. It's 20 minutes, and then I'm done. And she just says, what are you doing? You're losing weight. You lost a lot of weight over the course the last little bit of time. And I said, well, I stopped actually paying attention to weight. I actually started paying attention to other things and things I enjoy doing and making myself be myself. And you have a seven step program that is in a big part. I think I stumbled into it. It took me eight years. Someone now can buy your book Rock at Midlife, and you pretty much have given them seven direct steps that will take them the same path.
[00:12:36.970] – Allan
Can you talk about the seven steps and briefly what each step does?
[00:12:41.170] – Dr. Ellen
Yes. And I went through it myself, too. So I've lived it. I've lived with my clients, so I didn't just get there overnight. But the first step is authenticity. And authenticity is so important because if you don't know yourself and if you're not being authentic, there's no way that you can create a midlife. The next chapter that's going to feel fulfilling and good for you. Because if you're being someone else, if you're wearing a mask, if you're trying to live someone else's story or agenda, you're going to keep running into those walls. Why don't I feel good? Why am I not enjoying my life? So what I do is I take people through this is stuff that I've worked on through my PhD and through years of working with positive psychology. Lots of journaling questions and prompts. People can ask lots of various tests that people can take. Like a lot of my clients, I have them take the VRA test, which is a test that looks at various character strengths. It's free. You can get it online to really see what am I really good at? What do I really love to do? What have I always been curious about?
[00:13:46.360] – Dr. Ellen
What did I want to be when I was a kid and sort of just really getting to know yourself, just like you would get to know a good friend. And I think a lot of people don't really take the time to figure out what do I love to do? For me, I had an older sister who is a very accomplished musician and artist, so I kind of didn't do that in my own life. But I always wanted to do more art, more music. So I just bought a ukulele. I just got myself some pencils, and I'm drawing and rediscovering these kind of varied parts of ourselves. So the first step is authenticity. Really get to know who are you? And it's also about embracing your flaws. We're not all good at everything and figuring out what am I really good at? What do I need some help? What do I love to do? What lights me up? And it's a really great initial Breadcrumb on this quest to make an amazing next chapter. That's step one. Step two is to love yourself and really learn to treat yourself like you would a good friend. And this I grew from my studies of self compassion, which I was fortunate enough to study with a woman named Kristin Neff.
[00:14:54.850] – Dr. Ellen
She's kind of a pioneer in this area. A lot of people like question, how do you love yourself? And this self compassion is really the how of loving yourself. And so it's really all about learning to treat yourself like you would a good friend. And when I start working with people, I have them think about when a friend that you love goes through something, how do you treat yourself? I'm sorry, how do you treat them? And then how do you treat yourself when you go through something? And the whole idea is to start to put yourself in those sort of befriending shoes or pretend that you had a wise friend and ask, how would she treat me? And then do that thing. So that's step two, loving yourself is such a game changer, because when you love yourself, you attract what's in your best interest. So you go to the gym, not because you're punishing yourself, but because you want to be healthy, you want to have a healthy life. Personally, I love to exercise. I don't know where we got on this whole bandwagon of exercise is punishment. I woke up this morning and I went cross country skiing first thing in the morning.
[00:15:57.720] – Dr. Ellen
It was a blast. So you start to eat right, take care of your body, get in relationships that are positive, do more things that light you up because you love and care about yourself. So that was a game changer for me. I'm curious, have you practiced much self compassionate for men? It's kind of a different ball of wax.
[00:16:13.580] – Allan
It was. And I'm going to say this word if it bothers you, if there's kids, cover their ears. But I literally thought of myself as a fat bastard. That was literally the words that were in my head as I was going through the beginning of my journey. And that was the wake up. The wake up was, who am I? And I woke up, I was actually I was hungover and I was in Malaysia. And I've been working on this for eight years, this and that, and then just failing over and over, I was back in the same spot. And I just remember waking up and thinking, why can't I do this? Because I'm so good at everything that I have ever wanted to do. I wanted to be good at football in high school, I was good at football. I tried out for the tennis team. I made the tennis team. In College and high school, if I wanted to make a grade, I made the grade. If I wanted to pass the test, I passed the test. When I wanted to get a job, I got the job. I almost had no failure. And I was like, why did that always happen?
[00:17:14.910] – Allan
And then it's not happening in this facet of my life, what is different? And then I realized I woke up. I'm like, nothing's different. The only difference is I'm not treating myself well and I'm not committed. And if I were committed, I would treat myself like someone I love. And the way I kind of equate it is, if you told your spouse that you were going to be at the airport at 05:00 in the morning to pick them up, guess where you are at 05:00 in the morning? And if you treated your spouse the way you treat yourself, you always do that. You never do that. If you use those words, you can't do anything right what you're saying in your head to yourself. But if you ever said that to your spouse, you're probably facing a fight or a divorce. We can't divorce ourselves. So if we really think about self compassion and love, then we stop using those words. We catch ourselves when we're doing it, and we say, I would never, ever say that to a friend. And if a friend ever said that to me, it would really hurt my feelings.
[00:18:18.870] – Allan
So as soon as you can start getting past those words, then you can open up to the possibilities of who you're really supposed to be. That's where we get to the next few steps, where you're talking about getting energy and reprogramming and empowering yourself and doing those things. But until you get past this point, because I think in my opinion, a self love, self compassion piece you have to do this step.
[00:18:45.430] – Dr. Ellen
And it's a beautiful story. And it all starts with that self talk. And the interesting thing is that self critic, as you said, I think you said the fat bastard. We developed that inner self talk before we're ten years old. We developed this inner critic because our caregivers criticize us, right? They tell us to finish everything on our plate and keep our room clean and get good grades. And if we don't do these things, we are in danger of not being loved and cared for. So when we get to be adults, we internalize the voice of our early caregivers. That inner critic becomes very real in our lives. And we think and this is an interesting thing that I realized in so much of my research is that we think that we need the inner critic to motivate us, like you said, to get on the tennis team and to get that job and be successful at work. But the research really shows that the self criticizing actually undermines motivation. Because when you criticize yourself, you shut yourself down, you generate cortisol, you feel bad about yourself. Whereas with self compassion. We want to do those things because we want to be happy.
[00:19:51.970] – Dr. Ellen
And actually, self compassion is very energizing. And unlike self esteem, which for a long time, psychologists really emphasize self esteem, self compassion actually is not contingent on anything. You can love yourself and support yourself regardless of how well you do at the gym, at your job. It's a muscle that you can build that constantly grows. That's why it's such a focal point of my work and the book that if you don't love yourself, you can't create a next great chapter. And it really comes down to being kind yourself rather than critical. To be mindful when you're struggling and suffering. So to stop and notice and say, oh my gosh, that was a tough time right now, particularly the kind of days that we've had. I've talked to so many clients and friends who have had so many losses. And with Covid it's been really difficult, extra challenging to stop and say, what do I need right now? And treat yourself like a good friend. And also to understand this concept of common humanity that we all make mistakes, we all fail. It's part of the human condition. So I'm so glad that you have been discovering this yourself.
[00:20:55.810] – Allan
Yeah. So now the next, the third step you have is about energizing yourself.
[00:21:02.290] – Dr. Ellen
Right. So if you want to have a next great chapter, you've got to take care of your body. So in this chapter, I really just summarize my 30 something years in the health and wellness field. So diet, it's not complicated. The media wants you to think that you have to go on some crazy diet and eat really weird foods or cut certain things out. But it really comes down to eating more plants. So really personally, I try to get between seven and ten servings of plant foods every single day. Plants are so important, they help to reduce inflammation. If you are trying to lose weight. Plants contain fiber, which is the part of the plant that we don't digest. They fill you up without filling you out. If you're going through menopause, those plant fibers can help you with menopause symptoms. And it's really in my work, I've really found if people add more plants in, it crowds out other things. So eat more plants. Don't eat anything your grandmother wouldn't have eaten. So really sticking to whole foods, foods that aren't processed, staying away from things like added chemicals, added sugar, and then eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed
[00:22:11.510] – Dr. Ellen
So if we did those three things, if we ate more plants, ate more whole foods, really didn't stuff ourselves, we would really be healthier and get to a healthy weight. Certainly with movement, I recommend at least 25 minutes a day. I think at midlife, less is more. We still need to build muscle. At midlife, we start to really lose our muscle mass after 30. If people don't do strength training, their muscle mass really erodes at a very quick level. It's also one thing I found so interesting in my book is that women at midlife need more protein. So the protein requirement in general is .8 grams/kg. At midlife, we need one to one and a half grams per kilogram. So we actually need more protein to support that muscle mass. The lower estrogen levels we think about bone loss, but we also can have muscle mass loss due to the estrogen. So the bone building is really important. Stretching is also really important to do that with your exercise and of course, cardio. And as far as nutrition, D is very important. You live in Panama, so I'm sure you get plenty of D.
[00:23:18.520] – Dr. Ellen
But here where I live in Vermont, I take vitamin D every day. Most people living in the north are deficient in vitamin D, but 50% of people are. So it's super important for your immune system, for bone health, for even how your mind functions. And then I think rest is really important. It's so important to rest between workouts, giving your muscles time to heal and grow stronger. It's also really important to make sure that you are managing stress and resting during the day and also getting 7 to 8 hours of good sleep and of course, also staying hydrated. So things we've heard before. But I think again, just having really simple, smart goals for yourself, maybe getting an accountability buddy, hiring some help, someone like yourself who can help people get that accountability and hit the mark is so important. But taking care of your health is really important. A lot of people are just blaming it on I'm getting old, I'm getting tired, I'm gaining weight. But you really can reverse any kind of health challenge that you're experiencing at midlife. So that's number three and number four is to reprogram your brain. So I think at midlife we do start to not be quite as sharp.
[00:24:29.860] – Dr. Ellen
I know myself sometimes it's hard to remember everything. I think part of that is that our minds are so full of so many things and we're not as mindful as we could be. So we're not just focusing on just doing what we're doing while we're doing it. So mindfulness is really important for your brain. It's interesting to note that at midlife and at any point in your life, you're always making new neural connections. So your nervous system, your brain, your neurons are always making new connections. So if you've experienced issues in your life, whether that's trauma, depression, memory issues, you can reprogram and rebuild your brain through things like mindfulness, through taking time and writing things down, which helps commit things to long term memory by really doing more of what lights you up, what's important. And of course, exercise is super important for your brain. And eating right is also important for your brain. Your brain is one of your most nutrient hungry organs in your body. It uses about 20% to 25% of your calories every day. So taking care of your brain means taking care of your whole body. There certainly is a brain body connection.
[00:25:44.450] – Dr. Ellen
And also a lot of interesting things I talk about in Rock your Midlife, about the microbiome. I don't know if you have come across some of the research which is this. We have an organ that's not really part of our body. It weighs about 4 pounds and it's made up of microorganisms. So bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, a lot of them are very good for our health. They help with our digestion. They actually can help with your immune system and with your mood. And you can build a healthy microbiome again, eating more of those plants, eating less sugar, having less alcohol, less additives, and then also eating what's called probiotics. So you're eating some healthy organisms yourself, so you can take a probiotic supplement, or you can also eat things like sauerkraut, kombucha, yogurt, which contain these microorganisms. So that's step four is reprogramming, working on your brain.
[00:26:40.930] – Dr. Ellen
Step five is about empowering yourself. So for me, your empowerment really starts with that step one, authenticity. So knowing that this is who I am and this is what I'm meant to do in the world, it's all about having power from within. So often we look from power from without, so we look to other people, we look to our job or organizations to make us feel good.
[00:27:05.340] – Dr. Ellen
But empowerment is really drilling down and saying what makes me happy? What do I want to do in the world? What are my geniuses and what are my strengths? And also I combine in Rock your Midlife this idea of authenticity with the law of attraction, which is simply this idea that, like attracts like. So the energy that you put out attracts energy to you. So if you are positive, if you're working on yourself, you're practicing that self love and that self compassion, you're going to attract opportunities and people in your life who are going to feed your soul and feed what you want to do in your next chapter. If you're walking around complaining and feeling bad about yourself in your life all the time, then that's where you're going to be stuck. It doesn't mean that you need to be a Pollyanna. And difficult things happen. And we need to hold ourselves when we're sad, when we're grieving, when we're frustrating, but we need to not sort of push those emotions down, but really take care of the difficult emotions. And then we can sort of get to this neutral ground with things like gratitude.
[00:28:14.540] – Dr. Ellen
And then we can really work on more of those positive emotions, like joy and happiness. And so that empowerment is some emotional up leveling, as well as really being yourself and putting yourself out in the world in the most powerful way you can.
[00:28:29.140] – Dr. Ellen
And then moving to step six. So I love step six because what happens is after you've done step one through five, you start to change. It's like you've been that Caterpillar, and then all of a sudden you're like, oh, my gosh, I'm coming out of my Chrysalis. I'm the butterfly. My wings are drying. The only problem is the people in your life might see that and think that you're still the Caterpillar, and you're like, no, no, I'm a butterfly. Can't you see? Like, I'm colorful and I'm flying and I'm eating nectar. And so in this chapter, which is called Rehab Your Relationships, I give people three specific techniques to really work with the people in your life. So the first thing with that is really to get your people pleaser. And you're a good girl. A lot of us have people pleasers. It kind of goes back to what I was saying before about early caregivers, wanting everybody to like us.
[00:29:20.850] – Dr. Ellen
So really saying yes when you mean yes and know when you mean no. Putting yourself first, it doesn't mean that you're selfish. It just means you've got to put on your own oxygen mask right before you can support other people. I teach people something called the nonviolent communication. So specific techniques to communicate with people, which really involves getting your needs met and then also setting boundaries. So really, I have people go through an exercise where they create a personal bill of rights, where they really decide, this is what I stand for. This is my bottom line. And if you cross it, these are the consequences. And I think we don't do that a lot. I don't know how good how it is with men so much because I work mostly with women, but having a bill of rights and just deciding this is what I stand for, whether it's with work, whether it's people that you're in intimate relationships with. But it's super important to get your needs met, to set boundaries and to really work on those relationships.
[00:30:21.130] – Allan
I think with me, like you talked about men, and I think the reality of it was that I was so focused in one facet of my life that those relationships were gone. Any of them that I still had were the toxic ones that just seemed to cling on because they'll cling on till the end. And I was like, okay, I have to get rid of the toxic people in my life, particularly the ones that I can, because there were some that I couldn't because they were like my boss. Get rid of some toxic things and then start looking and seeking out the people that bring you joy, the people that you know are good people for you, the people that are going to support you. Jim Rohn says you're the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. And 15 years ago, if I would have put that list together, wrong people. And so now I make a point of spending the time, my time with the people that I care about the most, and I know care about me. And so they're lifting me up versus tearing me down all the time.
[00:31:31.230] – Allan
And so even as a guy, you might not think about it a lot. But if most of your time is spent with your drinking buddies at the bar after work and you guys are just tearing down beers, buying each other rounds, and that's all good and fun, but that's your path. That's who you're surrounding yourself with, and that's going to leave you stuck. So you've already done these things. You're trying to beat us butterfly. Maybe not a butterfly for a guy. Maybe we're moths, I don't know. But you've become something better than that and it's time for you to move on.
[00:32:06.650] – Dr. Ellen
That's awesome that you did that. It's difficult, though. I know myself before I made these changes, I left 25 year marriage and substances were a part of our social life, and now I'm so much more judicious. I mean, I might drink occasionally, socially, occasionally have a glass of wine, but my new man in my life may be on say, we practice kind of yoga together. We go cross country skiing, we got a tandem bike, and we have a tandem kayak. And I think that's really the relationship thing is so important because often when I start working with people, I'm sure you noticed this, too, Allan, is that people are really scared. If I make these changes, what's it going to do for my relationships? If I lose the weight, how am I going to go out to that restaurant and order things and say, well, I don't really want to drink, I don't enjoy doing this anymore? Or what's going to happen with my primary relation, my marriage? If I lose weight and I get in shape and I change my lifestyle and my husband or wife stays the same, what's going to happen? Am I going to lose friends?
[00:33:04.060] – Dr. Ellen
And so that's a difficult question that I think a lot of people when they're sort of thinking we're sort of at the beginning of the year and people are thinking about change, and I think covid made people really reevaluate their lives. A lot of thinking, gosh, if I change, what if, what if this happens? And what if that happens? And that's again, I talk about this a lot before the steps, talking about getting unstuck and immunity to change. Often we have something deep seated. So I'm sure it was hard for you to think about, gosh, if I change my life, if I'm going to get up at 05:00 in the morning and get to the gym, well, that means that I can't go out for those drinks with those guys. And if I say, Gee, I really want to start finding new friends, what's going to happen with those relationships? But I know myself when I cleared away some of the old relationships, new relationships is space for new relationships. And there's lots of really amazing people out there who can support you and love you, who want to have a healthy lifestyle. But there's a lot of fear, I think around.
[00:34:00.670] – Dr. Ellen
And that's something that I also, when I work with people looking at this immunity to change. I've had a lot of clients who don't do the self care because they want to be available 24/7 for the grandkids. And they think, well, if I join the gym or if I take that yoga class or that self development thing, then I won't be available to babysit all the time. And they don't even realize that they've got this underlying belief feeling like, well, I won't be needed then. So sometimes you have to really look very deep. And I think this weight loss spiral keeps people in a very stuck place where they never have to look at what would happen if I really did change, what would really happen if I stopped dieting? And I just said, you know what, I'm going to start focusing on my lifestyle and really make some deep changes.
[00:34:46.070] – Allan
Let's talk about the 7th step on this. And then I do want to jump in and talk a little bit more about fear, because I see that a lot.
[00:34:53.230] – Dr. Ellen
Sure. The 7th step is enlightenment. So enlightenment spirituality is really all about connecting with your passion and purpose. And we're all here for a reason, and there's a lot of problems in the world. So we all have talents and gifts to share with people. So this is really all about how to connect with your soul and your spirit. You might want to rediscover religion that you experienced when you were younger or just experience a new spiritual path. So I give people a lot of specific things they can do to create a spiritual practice, to create a relationship with their soul. I like to say that you are a soul having a human experience, maybe flip that around, said thinking, I'm a human, I have a soul, and I kind of go to Church on Sundays, and I experience it to see what's it like to connect with your spiritual self. I mean, for me, a lot of that is doing various yoga practices, certainly being out in nature, nothing to me connects me more with all that is than just being outside and seeing the birds and the snow and the trees. So lots of specific things that people can do, because I think when we get to the midlife, we're wiser and we want more of that type of connection.
[00:36:08.520] – Dr. Ellen
And hopefully we've created more space and time. And we know that so many people at midlife are quitting their jobs. Right. They're just thinking about gosh, you had that same experience saying that, I don't want to do this anymore. It's not making me happy. So the big piece of being happy is finding your passion and your purpose, connecting with things like gratitude, so I really dig deep into spirituality as well as sort of the positive psychology behind things people can do to really be happier, more joyful.
[00:36:38.960] – Allan
Yeah. Now with fear, you had two acronyms, and I think these kind of sum it up of the kind of the two sides of this. And the first acronym was false evidence appearing real. And the second was face everything in rise. And the two sides that I see there is the first one is most of the fear we have is not rational. And it's more of like a worry, something like you said, the what if, what if this were to happen and then you're afraid. It's like, well, I don't want that to happen, so I just won't do this. Or the other side of fear is just a point where you sit there and say, you know, I've put up with being this way or being unhappy, and I deserve more. And you talked in the book about how there was, like you of happiness down to midlife. And now we're in this bottom of the trough. And as soon as we recognize that, then the fear should start to dissipate because of the opportunity, like I said, the opportunity to go back up the other side of that view of what we see over the course of most people, not everybody but most people is that opportunity to find the same kind of joy we had when we were children.
[00:37:53.330] – Allan
So can you talk a little bit about fear and a little bit how we can overcome fear?
[00:37:58.070] – Dr. Ellen
That's a great question. Yeah. Well, the first thing is to understand the neuroscience behind fear. So we have this living brain, which is our amygdala that's in the back of our brain. It's the primitive part of your brain that is there to protect you from danger. It doesn't care if you're happy, doesn't care if you're fulfilled. All he wants to do is keep you from being eaten by a Saber tooth Tiger. So it's great if it's 100,000 years ago where, yeah, you could get eaten. You had to protect yourself. There was danger around every corner. But in today's world, if you're listening to this, you're not in any danger of getting eaten right now, right. Where you're perfectly safe. But we have to understand.
[00:38:39.900] – Allan
Well, the lady at the PTA meeting might shoot my head off, but that's about as bad as it's going to go.
[00:38:44.800] – Dr. Ellen
Yeah, exactly. We've got this part of our brain that is really trying to protect us. And then we've also got what's called the default mode network that runs down the center of our brain, which is constantly scanning the environment for what could go wrong in self definition. So again, your brain is just looking around, and this part of our brain evolved again hundreds of thousands of years ago when we were in tribes. There was a lot of social comparison where you had to figure out where do I fit? So maybe somebody was good at cooking and somebody's good at hunting and somebody's good at healing and somebody's good at creating clothes. So we all have to sort of figure out where we fit. But now we've got this crazy social comparison where we literally can be online with millions of people comparing ourselves to other people. So we're constantly scanning the environment for what could go wrong? My check could bounce. I could lose all my money, or I could lose my job or I could lose my marriage. So we're constantly worrying about that. Worrying about where do I fit in, what's my status? So the first thing is to really just call it out.
[00:39:49.910] – Dr. Ellen
Just fear is really in your mind. So what I like to say is name it you tame it. Just say, this is just fear. This is just my brain. And a lot of times it shows up. The worry shows up in rumination, which rumination comes from the root of it is ruminants, which are I live in Vermont, so I don't know you probably don't have a lot of cows in Panama
[00:40:10.070] – Allan
there are some
[00:40:12.590] – Dr. Ellen
we've got goats and cows and sheep and ruminants chew their cod. Right. They chew the grass and then they chew it again. So it's chewing things over and over in your mind. Again, the neuroscience we do this because if I think about my problems all the time, if I think about 04:00 in the morning and I'm worrying about, like, my boss and I didn't get this assignment on time and what's going to happen to me? We think if we worry about it, we're going to solve it. But Ironically, what happens is it keeps us stuck and out of problem solving mode because all we're doing is chewing the problem over and over again in our head. So the first thing is just to name it, just to call it out and say, this is just fear.
[00:40:51.350] – Dr. Ellen
It's just part of being human. May be giving yourself a little self compassion because you're having this thought mindfulness can be really helpful. Learning how to focus your thoughts. Whether you start a meditation practice just you just have to be long. Just watching your thoughts for five to ten minutes a day or finding ways throughout the day to sort of focus on your breathing. Calm yourself down. So the first thing is name it you tame it and then feel it you heal it. So where's fear showing up in my body? So emotions are felt experiences in your body. So often fear will show up maybe it's a tightness in your throat because you don't want to speak your truth. Or you might feel it around your heart because it involves a relationship or often it's in our bellies. Right? We're afraid. So name it you tame it and just let it come and go. And then a couple of other tricks that I like to use, see if you can change fear into excitement. So fear and excitement or anxiety and excitement are very similar in terms of the physiology. So when we're excited or we're anxious, our pulse might go up, we might sweat, we might flush.
[00:41:56.360] – Dr. Ellen
But if we turn that into excitement, like when you're in a roller coaster. Right. You're like, this is scary, but you know that you're safe. So see if you can just flip it around and say, you know what? For me, I love public speaking, but it also creates a lot of anxiety. So I turned into excitement. I'm really excited to speak today to share my truth and my passion for midlife. So change it in excitement if you can. And then I think my favorite technique is just focusing on breathing. So even the Navy Seals use this four X four X four X four breathing. They call box breathing. So what happens is when you breathe in for four, hold it for four, exhale for four, hold for four. It calms down your physiology. So what happens is you turn off that fight and flight, that cortisol, and you fire up your rest and digest. So simply doing a few minutes of deep breathing or simply breathing in really long exhalation, the long exhalation really helps to help you reset your physiology. There's so much that we can do. Listening to music is another powerful thing.
[00:43:08.300] – Dr. Ellen
So if we listen to music, that either you could listen to Rocky. Right. If you wanted to turn that fear into excitement, or you might listen to something that kind of calms down your nervous system. That's really helpful. And essential oils are really great. So those are just a couple of techniques. But I talk about fear a lot in the book because frankly, it's something that keeps so many people from moving forward. If you look at the research, it's so interesting that children, they have their fear animals, they get over it. Right. If you see an animal that's fearful, they go through their stress and then they reset. We don't do that as much at midlife. Right. We stay in this chronic stressful situation, which, of course, is creating a ton of inflammation and is really at the root cause of so much of our health. So maybe for motivation, see if you can really work on your fear and anxiety and your chronic stress as a way to help yourself heal and feel great in the coming year.
[00:44:03.500] – Allan
All right. Now, for a lot of us, this is never going to be a straight line. So even if we go through the steps and seems kind of linear because there are seven of them and some of them might take us a little longer, I think we all know that. But eventually, as with all things, issues are going to come up. And one of the things you said in the book that I thought was really interesting because I used to say this about my brother that he was happily miserable. But you used the term comfortably uncomfortable. And that kind of touched me because I was going to go one of those moments that you're saying for a lot of us, we don't want to get outside our comfort zone. Now in the book, you had 21 tips for getting unstuck. Can you just share some of your favorites?
[00:44:47.810] – Dr. Ellen
Sure. I would say it's interesting. There's so many things you can do. One of the greatest things to do is create a new habit. So if you take a look at the research on breaking habits, making habits, it's better to replace a habit that is not serving you with a new habit. So I'll give you an example. Let's say, for example, every day at 03:00, you get hungry, which is kind of your cue to eat. You go to the vending machine and you have a candy bar and a soda. And then the reinforcing reward is you kind of get a little bit of a lift from your fatigue so you could create a new habit. So instead of that habit, you can go ahead and stock up and have snacks in your desk, things like healthy portions of nuts, fruit, maybe sugar free yogurt and water to stay hydrated. And so when 03:00 hits, you get that hunger sort of fatigue thing going on. Instead of walking to the vending machine, you grab your healthy snack, you grab your water bottle, and you go for a 10,15 minutes walk. And your reward is that you feel energized, you feel good, but it's not this kind of energy that comes from sort of the sugar caffeine high and then crashes.
[00:46:03.440] – Dr. Ellen
So creating a new habit is a really great thing to do. Another unstuck thing I love to do is declutter. Declutter a drawer, declutter a closet, declutter your garage. It is so freeing and energizing to declutter some aspect of your life, and it creates space for something new. It creates a sense of accomplishment. I think we all love to do it. So just put something on your calendar for some time that you're going to do a little bit of decluttering.
[00:46:32.330] – Dr. Ellen
Another thing is to just do something new. So go somewhere new, drive to a new place at work, read a new morning newspaper, make a new friend. Just create some newness in your life. Create a new hairstyle, change your hairstyle, change your hair color, wear a color you don't normally wear. But just doing anything new, I think, again, we are creatures of habit. It's so interesting when you look at the literature, something like 45% of the things we do every single day are automatic. Things like we tie our shoes, we make our coffee, we take our shower, either first thing in the morning or at the end of the day. You've got to shake it up and try something new.
[00:47:12.230] – Dr. Ellen
I really also like rising with the Sun, super energetic to really get into the circadian rhythms where you are living. So I get up usually with the sun. I love watching the sun set and the sun rise in the morning. You actually have more energy when you're kind of on those vibes with the sun. So just really just trying to do some new things. And I give 21 tips in my book, so if you're feeling stuck, just do something new. Getting accountability buddy, is really awesome as well. So having somebody who's also trying to make some changes in your life, learning something new. So I think I was saying earlier in the episode, I just got myself a ukulele, and so learning to play the ukulele, I'm creating those new things, those new brain neural connections in my mind, which are so awesome. Make a bucket list. That's another awesome thing to do. Make a bucket list. Actually, we don't even have to call it a bucket list. We can call it the next chapter list, right? So it's not about things I want to do before I leave the Earth, but things that I really want to do in this next chapter, I think we have space and time.
[00:48:21.960] – Dr. Ellen
Kids are empty nests. Maybe we're downsizing a little bit from our work. We're downsizing our home. But don't just fill it up with the same old, same old. Do something new because there is really a million things to do in the world and everything is so accessible right now. So get really conscious about it too. Maybe a little bit less television. I think it's so tempting to fill our days with TV. So maybe being a little more judicious with your media time and really picking something that you want to learn and do this year.
[00:48:50.810] – Allan
I love all of those. I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?
[00:49:01.610] – Dr. Ellen
the first thing I would say, progress, not perfection. So we haven't really talked about perfectionism. I talk about it a lot in the book. Rock your midlife. But perfectionism will just kill any wellness strategy because let's say, for example, you set this goal and you say, I'm going to work out every single day or I am going to eat this perfect diet. I've got this diet plan. I'm going to follow it. If you are a perfectionist, if you mess up what happens? You give up. You're just like, okay, I didn't do it right. I feel bad about myself. And I see this all the time with a lot of the people I work with are recovering chronic dieters. We see this. They go on these diets, they do it perfectly. They fill out their Journal, they do all the things, and then all of a sudden they blow their diet. They have one dinner out, or maybe they have a little bit of alcohol and inhibitions go down and they have slip up and then they go right back to the same old crappy, standard American diet, same thing with workouts. You miss a workout and then all of a sudden you miss too.
[00:50:06.960] – Dr. Ellen
And then you stop working out completely. So focus on the progress that you're making. Focus on the fact that I'm going to just carry an Apple in my bag and when I need a snack, I'm going to eat that or I'm going to start a walking program and I'm going to walk for 25 minutes every day. Maybe you'll do 45. And I love this idea, too, of set smaller goals to say, I'm going to just do three push ups. And while you're down there, you'll do ten, but you've got to sort of start out with small things that I love. You're probably familiar with Mel Robbins, who talks about the five second rule. Another great way to get over fear is just count to five and just do it. Do something small and focus on the progress you're making, not perfection. And when we're talking about goals, it's so important to set smart goals, which I'm sure Allan, you help your people set smart goals, which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time sensitive. And these are things that you have control over. A lot of people set goals like, I'll lose 25 pounds. Well, that's not a smart goal and you don't have control over.
[00:51:10.290] – Dr. Ellen
But you have control over something. Like every day after lunch I'm going to take a 20 minutes walk or something I've been working on. One of the things I struggle with is eating late at night and my fiance and I are really trying hard to eat earlier in the day and just say, okay, we're going to not have anything after 08:00 and I'd like to move it to seven. But setting a smart goal, maybe even like three nights a week, we're going to have dinner at 07:00 and we're going to stop eating by 08:00. So set smart goals. And then I would say a thing too is and this is something that I focus so much on in my work and my book. Have fun. We've got to get away from this punitive attitude around weight loss. When I started my career 30 years ago as a registered dietitian, people would come into my office and I would say, Why are you here? And they said, well, my doctor told me I had to see you. And then I would ask them, what did you have to eat last night? And they would say, Well, I knew I was coming in to see you.
[00:52:11.730] – Dr. Ellen
So I had a double stuffed crust pizza, an ice cream or a steak. And they didn't want to be there and they weren't at the stage of readiness to make change. And it was all because you've been bad. So now we're going to punish you by eating this diet that is this draconian, 1200 calories or 600 calorie diet. And you're going to be miserable. Healthy eating is really fun. Like my partner is an amazing gardener and I am so inspired by what he grows and what I can Cook and we love to work. I don't even want to call it work it out. I mean there's nothing we like better than getting on our town and bike and going to the next island and biking for three or 4 hours. You're exhausted but it feels fabulous. I love doing yoga and I love lifting weights and I love eating healthy. So just get away from this attitude that being healthy is some punishment for your earlier sins in life. And I guess at a fourth, no matter where you are at, if you are breathing more is going right than wrong. You have like 32 trillion cells and all they want to do is keep you alive.
[00:53:21.650] – Dr. Ellen
So thank your cells. I like the dog barking to emphasize that right. Thank your cells. Treat your body. Weld stop beating your body up and learn to love yourself, practice and self compassion with my research really showed is that it really will help you with your body image. Focus on your function and feeling good. Don't worry so much about how you look. I think we also need to focus too on you can be sexy and beautiful. I'm at 60 and I feel more beautiful and sexier and healthier than I've ever felt in my life. I'm slowing down a bit but I think I'm gorgeous and I love my life and I'm having so much fun.
[00:54:01.470] – Dr. Ellen
Thank you, Dr. Ellen, if someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about the book, Rock Your Midlife, where would you like for me to send them?
[00:54:09.720] – Dr. Ellen
Just go to themidlifewhisper.com and I'm easy to find. That's my website and I'm the only midlife Whisperer in the universe as far as I know. Also you can just go to Amazon and put in Rock Your Midlife and the book will come right up for you.
[00:54:24.730] – Allan
You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/525 and I'll be sure to have links there. Dr. Ellen, thank you for being a part of 40+ Fitness.
[00:54:34.330] – Dr. Ellen
Thank you, Allan. It's been such a fun conversation. I'm looking forward to more conversations in the future.
[00:54:39.640] – Allan
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Through science and technology, we've already doubled the human lifespan. Sergey Young believes we can double it again, maybe in our lifetime. We discuss his book, The Science and Technology of Growing Young.
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Your body is an amazing organic machine. The food we eat and drink is information for that machine. This includes adaptagens. These are compounds that balance hormones and help you deal with stress in a healthier way. If you’re feeling tired, these compounds give you a boost of energy. If you’re stressed, they help you return to a natural state of calm. They literally help you adapt to the stress of life.
This is why I’m a big fan of Organifi Green juice with essential superfoods and a clinical dose of Ashwaganda. It helps reduce stress and support healthy cortisol levels. It mixes well with water or your beverage of choice and it tastes awesome! This has become a part of my morning ritual.
Organifi offers the best tasting, high quality superfood beverages without breaking the bank. Each serving costs less than $3 per day. Easy, convenient, and cost effective.
Go to www.organifi.com/40plus and use code 40plus for 20% off your order. That's O R G A N I F I dot com forward slash 40plus and use code 40plus for 20% off any item
Last week, I heard someone say Halloween is the start of eating season. Is that what happens to you, too? How would you like to not be beaten by it this year? Introducing the 40+ Fitness Crush the Holidays Challenge. This five-week challenge runs from November 20th through December 24th. Stay motivated with daily videos. Surround yourself with like minded people in a private Facebook group and crush the holidays this year with me, Coach Allan
The cost of this five-week challenge is $25. That's less than the cost for one pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks per week, and cutting just those five drinks will cut out 2000 calories, win-win. Oh yes, win-win. There are weekly prizes, including some of my favorite health and fitness books. Amazon gift cards, 40 plus fitness swag, and one challenger will win an opportunity to do a six-week, 40+ Fitness online training program I'm launching in January absolutely free.
This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Organifi.
Organifi is a line of organic superfood blends that offers plant based nutrition made with high quality ingredients. Each Organifi blend is science backed to craft the most effective doses with ingredients that are organic, free of fillers and contain less than 3g of sugar per serving.
In our 24/7 always on world, going without sleep seems to carry a badge of honor. But that’s not how your body sees it. Sleep is when all the wonderful things happen inside your body. Hormones reset, and healing and restoration happens. You know how much better you feel after a good night’s sleep.
Getting good quality sleep is a priority for me.
This is why I’m a big fan of Organifi Gold juice with ingredients like Tumeric, Reishi Mushroom, and ginger, it’s designed to support rest,
relaxation, recovery, and repair. It’s a delicious and nutritious warm, golden tea. I use water, but you can also use milk or a milk alternative. This has become a part of my evening wind-down.
Organifi offers the best tasting, high quality superfood beverages without breaking the bank. Each serving costs less than $3 per day. Easy, convenient, and cost effective.
Go to www.organifi.com/40plus and use code 40plus for 20% off your order. That's O R G A N I F I dot com forward slash 40plus and use code 40plus for 20% off any item.
The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:
|– Anne Lynch||– Eric More||– Leigh Tanner|
|– Deb Scarlett||– John Dachauer||– Margaret Bakalian|
|– Debbie Ralston||– Judy Murphy||– Melissa Ball|
|– Eliza Lamb||– Tim Alexander|
In his 50+ years and his mother's 110 years, Chuck Rose has learned a thing or two about health and aging. In the first of his Customize Yourself books, he explains how you can improve your health and live longer through improved nutrition.
This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Haka Life Nutrition, the maker of GLX3, I am really glad to have Haka Life Nutrition as a sponsor. Omega-3 is one of the few supplements I take regularly. But even with years of experience and having interviewed hundreds of experts in the health and fitness field, I have struggled to find a great solution, until now.
We all know farm raised meat doesn't give us the right balance of Omega-3 to Omega-6, and that Omega three helps reduce inflammation, which reduces joint pain and is heart healthy. Getting enough omega-3 isn't as straightforward as it should be from the mercury in the fish to poor production controls, it's really hard to find a high quality product that gives you what you're after. That is until GLX3.
Made from green-lipped mussels from New Zealand. This is the only natural source of ETA. I'm not even going to try to pronounce the full name. This version of Omega-3 is particularly effective at reducing inflammation and therefore reducing joint pain. That's why my wife is taking it now. I take it for heart health. Go to Hakalife.com/40plus and use the discount code 40plus to get a buy one get one free deal on your first order which gives you a two-month starter supply. GLX3 is my go to Omega-3 supplement going forward. It can be yours too by going to Hakalife.com/40plus and be sure to use the discount code 40plus for the BOGO deal.
This episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast is sponsored by Haka Life Nutrition, the maker of GLX3, you know, the benefit of Omega-3 reduced inflammation, which helps with joint pain and heart health.
And, you know, you're probably not getting enough from your diet, but then you read about the mercury in fish or how the fish oil supplement you bought at Costco or Wal-Mart might be oxidized and rancid. Not good. Then you look into a plant-based solution and find it isn't very bioavailable or krill oil, which is much more expensive and isn't really sustainable. GLX3 is very different. It's from sustainably farmed green lipped mussels in New Zealand.
The 17 omega-3s found in green lipped mussels include ETA, which is not found at any fish oil. What is ETA? Not to bore you with the science, but it has been shown to be very effective at reducing inflammation and pain. Haka Life Nutrition has paired this oil with New Zealand olive oil and vitamin E to make a very unique Omega-3 supplement. I think it's brilliant. Mussels are at the bottom of the food chain and have a short lifespan so they aren't as susceptible to mercury contamination and they don't starve out other species when they're farmed in open water.
Haka nutrition is meticulous about their sourcing and encapsulation of GLX3. Each bottle is traceable all the way back to the place, date and time of harvesting to ensure you get the best quality Omega-3 product on the market. They offer a full 90 day guarantee. Go to Hakalife.com/40plus and use the discount code 40plus to get a buy one get one free deal on your first order, which gives you a two month starter supply.
GLX3 is my go to Omega-3 supplement going forward. It can be yours too by going to Hakalife.com/40plus and be sure to use the discount code 40plus for the BOGO deal.[00:16:57.500] – Allan
Post show wit[00:50:29.670] – Allan
The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:
|– Anne Lynch||– Eric More||– Leigh Tanner|
|– Deb Scarlett||– John Dachauer||– Margaret Bakalian|
|– Debbie Ralston||– John Somsky||– Melissa Ball|
|– Eliza Lamb||– Judy Murphy||– Tim Alexander|