Tips & Advice
Dr. Liz’s Blog

Medical Practice Speaking

Lifespan Vs Healthspan

13/   January, 2020

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

It’s January when most people make new plans – or re-commit to old plans – about their health.

Last month I went to Las Vegas for the annual World Congress of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M). There were thousands of doctors and health practitioners attending, and over a hundred lectures to choose from. People say conferences like this are like drinking from a fire hose, but it was really more like being surrounded by fire hoses of latest cutting edge health information.

There is a lot of discussion about people’s “lifespan”.

But what about “health span”?

One of the keynote speakers was Dr. Aronson from UCSF – she spoke about redefining aging. She said what I have been saying, that we need new terminology. When a baby is born, it called a neonate, then an infant, then a toddler, then a child. Then a preteen than a tween, then adolescent. So many terms for just an 18 year span of life.

Then we get to age 18, and from there forward we are … “adult”. For the rest of our lives!

Dr. Aronson talked about a study done with medical students about some terms for getting older. I’ll ask you the questions the students were asked.

What do you think of when you hear the word “old”?

Most people say things like: wrinkly, feeble, decrepit, falling apart.

How about if I say the word “elder”?

Maybe you’re thinking things like: wisdom, experienced, a guide, a resource.

We need more words, more terminology to describe what happens between age 18 and death.

There are of course many more stages that we go through as adults.

How about the word Dr. Aronson proposed for the more advanced ages of adulthood: Elderhood.

Here’s a really great feature of elderhood – the return of happiness.

Here is the “happiness curve”, studied repeatedly and shown to be true for all kinds of people.

Happiness, Stress, and Age: How the U-Curve Varies across People and Places – Carol Graham and Julia Ruiz Pozuelo1, August 2016.

In childhood, most young people feel carefree and unlimited. Little kids never want to go to bed!

Then we get older. Sometimes as an adult, I have woken up in the morning and started planning when I’ll be able to go back to bed!

We head into adulthood, maybe going to a job we don’t like, staying in stressful relationships or environments because we feel we have to. Then we see the happiness curve go up again later in life. Maybe later in adulthood, we make choices to do more meaningful work or hobbies that allow us to express ourselves.

Whatever the reasons, people report a return of happiness later in life.

There is one caveat.

People later in life only report an increase in happiness as long as they have their health.

This is why “health span” has to catch up to “lifespan”.

Unfortunately, in the United States, a lot of Americans spend much of the last years of their life in ill health. The health span curve shows a long drawn out part at the end.

My goal of learning about anti-aging and regenerative medicine is not to defeat death. What I want for myself and my patients is to square off the health span curve so it shows health and vitality persisting into advancing ages. A doctor friend of mine says, “I want to be sliding into my grave as they start to throw the dirt.”

What about you? Do you want to reach and enjoy a healthy elderhood?

If so, what’s your plan?

It’s January, time to make health-related plans.

Here’s one great suggestion to jumpstart all your efforts to support and improve your health this year – help out your liver with a detox program.

After the A4M conference I attended last month, I went on a super fun vacation with my husband to see my family in Argentina. We pretty much ate our way through Buenos Aires. I introduced him to as many as possible of the yummy foods I enjoyed when I traveled there as a kid and throughout my life.

My husband and I are going to help our livers recover from our holiday season by doing a 7-Day Detox program the first week of February. Click here if you’re interested in joining us and I’ll make sure you get more information.

Whether you do this detox program or any other path to support your one precious body, I challenge you now in this new year, to decide what you will do differently to square off your health span curve so that you stay vital and healthy, and enjoy a long and vibrant lifespan.

PNP Sandwich

08/   December, 2019

“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”
— Jack Kornfield

Who is your harshest critic?

I criticize myself very easily. Unfortunately, sometimes I also criticize other people too easily for my liking.

When I recently told my husband that I think I am maturing, he turned to me with his usual good humor and asked, “Why would you want to do that?”

I always appreciate his efforts to keep things lighthearted, especially when I am down on myself. What I meant by feeling more mature is because I am learning to understand that criticism is my first response, and I need to wait a moment to let it pass so that I can see the good in a situation or in another person.

It’s the end of the year now where most of us take stock of our year, whether it’s in your job, or our household, or your own small business. We wrap up this year and start to think about the year to come.

To help us look back on this year, and plan ahead for the year to come, how would you like a sandwich?

How about a “P-N-P sandwich”? This is a “positive, negative, positive” sandwich and it refers to giving feedback in a way that can be well-received.

What is the opposite of gratitude?

25/   November, 2019

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

When do you think this quote was originally said?

What is the opposite of gratitude?

Last year I wrote a blog about the health benefits of gratitude, which are well-established at this point.

Now it has become more common and popular to talk about gratitude and how it is good for the giver and the receiver.

Because so much is being said about gratitude, I wanted to think of something different to say on the subject.

I got to thinking: What is the opposite of gratitude?

Here’s what I came up with:


Fragility of Life & Sukkot

18/   October, 2019

My marriage survived putting up our sukkah … 🙂
Happy World Menopause Day! Happy Sukkot!

We are now in the time of year of a lot of Jewish holidays.

The Jewish holidays go in cycles and right now we’re in the beginning of the yearly cycle. So first there’s the Jewish New Year, which is a very happy time and there’s apples and honey and while everyone is trying to keep the start of the school year going, we say, “Happy New Year!”

Then there are ten days that people often refer to as the Days of Awe. It’s a time of introspection and you’re supposed to take an accounting of yourself. A reckoning of your life and who you are as a person. You’re supposed to look inwards very deeply.

Have you heard of Napoleon Hill’s book, Think And Grow Rich? I often start books at the end. At the end of that book is a questionnaire with about, I don’t know, over 100 questions and it’s all about taking an inventory of yourself.

5 Tips to Stay Healthy During Summer

02/   July, 2019

Summer can either be a time to work on your health or to let it go completely. Because I like happy mediums, here are my thoughts on how to strike a balance.

Sleep helps lose weightTip #1 – Get some extra sleep.

Many of us will take some time off during the summer, and either travel or just do a fun “staycation”. Also, many parents I know have a more relaxed schedule during the summer simply because the kids don’t have to be up and out early in the morning. Even an extra thirty or sixty minutes of sleep in the morning can make a big difference in your health, especially if you’re working on losing weight.

Why I Ignored My Mother’s Advice and Did It Anyway

04/   June, 2019

Dr. Liz and Dr.Norah Gutrecht

With my mom at my medical school graduation, 1990

It’s true. My mother was terrified when I told her I was going to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.

She pictured ice picks, ropes, oxygen masks, and dangerous ravines. I calmed her fears by sending her a picture from my Kili guide book showing (the truth) that most of it consists of beautiful hikes.  All I needed were good hiking boots, warm clothes, and sturdy poles.

My mom has always thought I was a little crazy. I often gave her good reason to think so.

Who celebrates turning 50 by climbing up a mountain?

It made perfect sense to me. I thought it was the perfect way to demonstrate (mostly to myself) that getting older does NOT mean declining or shrinking away from living life out loud.

Help me name the baby

06/   May, 2019

Don’t worry, I’m not having a real baby! That factory closed a while ago ☺

[Click here if you want to skip to the 2-question survey on which book title is better!]

My first “baby”

My first “baby” was born in 2009 when Dr. Liz’ Easy Guide to Menopause was published. It was a relatively easy birthing process. I was in a book-writing boot camp, which set me up well to write a strong outline that represented the “5 Steps” that I still do to this day with every patient I work with in my practice.

Balance Your Hormones to Improve Your Sex Drive

11/   February, 2019

Lack of sex drive is a common reason women come into my office.

I appreciate this because sex drive – a.k.a. libido – is not only about sex. Libido reflects motivation, drive, passion in life.

Libido reflects life energy.

I also appreciate when women acknowledge the importance of sexual health and intimacy for the health for their relationships.

[I think most men are much quicker than most women to admit the importance of sex in their lives. What do you think? Comment at the end of this blog.]

Evaluating a woman with a low sex drive starts with questions about her physical health.

  • Is she perimenopausal or menopausal?
  • Does she have vaginal dryness?
  • Does she have pain or discomfort with sex?

If a woman is in menopause or perimenopause (the 10 or more years leading up to menopause), her hormone levels might be rising and falling, affecting her sleep, mood, sex drive, and more.