“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
What do you think of when you hear the word “old”?
Most people say things like: wrinkly, feeble, decrepit,
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
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
Here is the “happiness curve”, studied repeatedly and shown to be true for all kinds of people.
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
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
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.
“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
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.
“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.”
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
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.
Tip #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.
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.
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.