“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a small series of things brought together”. Vincent van Gogh

2 SASSY: Sizzling And Sensational Senior Years (Build a Better Body, Celebrate Everyday, and put Sizzle into the Second half of Your Life)

Table of Contents Introduction 4 Chapter 1: “The New Old”: Aging versus “Getting Old”  Examining the Big Difference 11 Chapter 2: My old Body Disappeared…  An Up-close and Personal Look at Physical Aging 33 Chapter 3: The Baby Boomer Boomerang  The Phenomenon Lives On 79 Chapter 4: Aging with Attitude  You are as Old as You Feel 115 Chapter 5: Food is not your Master; Master your Food!  Eat Yourself Into Good Health 149 Chapter 6: The Physique Mystique

3  Secrets of A Firm, Toned Body 230 Chapter 7: Adjuncts to Optimal Aging 302  Why Vitamins are Essential Now Chapter 8: Maintain your Brain 324  Ways to Keep All of Your Marbles For All Your Life Chapter 9: Sleeping for Beauty 353  The Body/Brain Mini-Vacation Chapter 10: Nurture Your Soul 372  The Only Part that Really Matters Chapter 11: Stay SASSY Forever 390  Putting It All Together Epilogue: Future Shock 412 Afterward 419 Bibliography 421


SASSY: Sizzling And, Sensational Senior Years (Build a Better Body, Celebrate Everyday and put Sizzle into the Second Half of Your Life) Introduction Although death and taxes are frightening to all, nothing seems to scare us as much as the prospect of growing older. The thought of getting old seems to send a chill right straight into the heart. Thinking about getting older is one thing, but when the process really starts, it can be subtly terrifying. No matter how old or young you are, it is never too early or too late to think about the manner in which you want to age. It’s a good idea to plan your approach to aging right now. Getting older is inevitable, but getting old isn’t. When fifty crept up on me, I was in utter shock and disbelief. Although it was a birthday I knew someday would come, when it came I was not prepared. I just couldn’t believe that I was that old. I looked at the calendar year, counted on my fingers and toes, and discovered my age

5 was, indeed, a true fact . I was flabbergasted by that number. Old people were that old, not me. I just kept thinking, “Me, fifty years old, how could that be?” I didn’t look fifty and I sure didn’t feel fifty years old. In my mind, I still felt like a 20-something with my whole life ahead of me. I really had no idea where all the years had gone. As my awareness of age heightened, I started to notice there were a lot of other people that looked fifty, or at least forty, all around me. I’m sure they had always been there, but they had suddenly become of particular interest to me. People in that age group just hadn’t been of interest to me, until now. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, I began to turn my attention to the growing number of statistics on the “aging baby boomers” and realized, Hey, I am one of them now. As I read and listened to volumes of information on “aging”, it became clear to me that because of the enormous number of baby boomers in society, their “growing older” would have a huge impact on America. Due to the huge number of people aging at the same

6 time, entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, medical care, may ‘crack’ under the weight of such a burden. As the “age wave” begins, there is increasing news coverage about “the graying of America”. Considering all aspects of the aging trends, I started to wonder, “Who will take care of the aging and aged Baby Boomers?” With a limited amount of resources and the large number of people who will someday be in need of them, the Baby Boomers will be largely responsible for their own welfare as they age. It is important to explore alternatives to ‘sitting around’ waiting for old age to take its toll. I don’t know about you, but I am not going over-the- hill quietly. We need to address the fact of aging by being proactive about the way in which we age. Remaining active and healthy throughout life is the reason for the birth of the SASSY philosophy, lifestyle, and fitness program. I stayed determined to write this book because friends, family, and colleagues are all going through the aging process. After months and months of extensive research on how to stem the

7 tide of time, I found that it is possible for anyone to turn back the clock, or at least freeze it in place for awhile. SASSY is intended to help you redefine your idea of aging so you can age with style and spunk. I started writing this book while noticing changes in my own body brought about by aging and hearing from many others expressing concern about going through the aging process. This book was written for everyone; men, women, older, and younger with the hope that you will all find information that is pertinent and helpful to you , no matter what your age. I do not pretend that any of this information is truly original. It isn’t. You’ve heard most, if not all, of it before. I know that a lot of it is very important. If I can help one person age with a hopeful outlook and a healthy body, rediscover the joy and beauty of life, and enjoy this stage of life from a different perspective, then I will have accomplished my objective. My purpose is to provide a different slant on what you already know. So, read the book and apply the information that fits you. Since we have to grow

8 older anyway, we might as well make the most of today and plan a path into tomorrow. When the first invitation from AARP came in the mail, I felt like someone had put a pygmy rattler in my mailbox. Just touching the envelope shot a searing pain through my right hand. Even though I read my name on the envelope, I felt quite certain there must have been a huge mistake. I took the envelope, walked directly to the trash can and threw it in, without even so much as opening it. Well four years later, I know for sure there was no mistake and I finally did join AARP. I decided there was no sense letting my pride get in the way of cashing in on deep discounts and great bargains. Now, instead of living in the shadow of a number, I’m busy making the best of my second half of life. Based on the research I’ve done, we will all need to take a positive, practical role in how we are going to go through the aging process. There are only so many resources available and with 78 million people reaching the age of 65 at or near the same time, it is highly probable that the supply of services will not be able to

9 meet the demand of the rapidly aging population. If the statistics are correct, we are going to have to take a dynamic role in remaining as active and healthy as possible. There will be a lot of us on the journey… Today is the day to start getting SASSY. We are growing old younger and later than ever before. All around us we see vibrant examples of a “new” style of aging. This long sought after revolution is a welcome relief to the tens of millions of maturing men and women who dread each passing birthday because of their fear of being considered “old”. In the years ahead, advances in science and lifestyle management will push the onset of old age even further down the line. The luxury of being able to choose how we arrange our various life tasks and pursuits will become more commonplace as the boomer generation moves up the aging ladder. Unrestricted by the negative expectations of a linear life plan, they will be freer than any previous generation to grow more expansive as they grow older. The time and effort you put into yourself at

10 any time in your life are an investment in your future. And as the commercial says, “You’re worth it!” Change your mind about aging, and you can change your whole life. Be patient with yourself while applying the principles of the SASSY lifestyle. SASSY is not a quick fix. The SASSY philosophy and lifestyle are about a change in thinking, a way of life choice. I assure you; once you begin to treat your body better, you will feel the benefits and see payoffs that will be encouraging. Health, style, grace, and positive outlook on life have no boundaries based on age. SASSY is a manifesto for living life with a touch of sizzle, a dash of adventure, and an attitude of fun. Don’t limit your life with age related attitudes. Plan to live a very long life; 80 or 90 years. In the 21st century, adulthood will explode with lifestyle experimentation and personal transformation. The sky truly is the limit. Go for all the gusto you dig out of the second half of your life. You’ve earned the right to be who you want to be and to do exactly what it is that you want to do. Be prepared to

11 reinvent yourself several times in late adulthood, you may discover aspects of your potential you never knew existed. Get your sizzle back. Kick up your heels, strut your stuff, and … Get SASSY!!!

12 Chapter 1: The New Old, Aging versus “Getting Old” (Examining the BIG Difference) Life is a journey made up of small steps, a learning experience, and an on-going process that builds on itself. From birth, the first step, to death, the last step, we travel on the journey of life. We only have one body and one life. And even though we don’t like to think about it, we are placed on Earth for a limited amount of time. Realizing that time is limited should point us toward taking advantage of every opportunity in life. Whether the opportunity presents itself to you, or you go seeking the opportunity to make your life better, each new day is filled with new opportunities; all we have to do is to look for them. Think right now of some success you’ve achieved in your life. Remember how you started. You probably started to approach your goal very slowly, at first. Every day you worked at it and did a little more. You continued to work and stay focused until you

13 accomplished what you set out to do. Think of your life and your body as a work of art in progress and you are the artist with the goal of creating a unique, once-in-a -lifetime masterpiece. There is a ‘halftime’ feeling about the midcentury mark and with it a change in orientation that suggests a physical turning point. Until fifty, most of us see ourselves as moving onward and upward. At fifty we see ourselves cresting the hill, standing at the top, looking back where we came from, and then tentatively, somewhat reluctantly, starting down the other side. We begin to truly realize the old adage is true,” life is short”. As we approach the second half of our lives, we know we are getting older but we rarely stop to think about how we want to “age”. Middle-age, for most, is the first time that we seriously begin to consider our own mortality. We start to think about how many years we have left as opposed to how many have gone by. We begin to re-evaluate and re-prioritize what is truly important. We see and feel age-related changes in our bodies, in our parents, and in our children. Aging is

14 something we need to think about and plan for. We spend countless hours thinking about things that really don’t matter, in the long run. We spend a lot of time thinking about others, helping them, planning with them and for them. But, we spend very little time thinking about and planning for ourselves. When we do think of ourselves, it seems we spend a lot of time thinking about the body we used to have and not liking the one we have right now very much. We can’t control getting older, but we can control how we approach aging. After decades of intense investigation, there is no adequate theory of human aging. Our ideas of aging have been drastically modified over the last three decades. In the early 1970s, doctors began to notice patients in their sixties and seventies whose bodies functioned with the vigor and health of middle age. These people ate sensibly and looked after their bodies. Although they exhibited some of the accepted signs of old age, there was nothing elderly about these people. The “new old age”, as it came to be called, was born.

15 If you are approaching age fifty, or past that birthday many moons ago, you know each new day brings with it the possibility of a new ache, pain, or twinge that you didn’t have the day before. Some days the ‘aging thing’ feels somewhat depressing. We become acutely aware of how we are, slowly but surely, becoming our parents and our parents realize they are becoming our grandparents. It’s an uncomfortable reality, but a reality it is. We look older, we move slower, and we are starting to feel the ravages of time affect our bodies. Should we fight the inevitable aging process, or wave the weary flag of acceptance and just surrender? As we proceed through the aging journey, we find ourselves captive in an age old dilemma, fight or flight; what do we do? We know that we have to get older each day, there’s no way around it. We have no choice, we cannot change that fact. However, we do have options as to how we age. As George Burns once said, “You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old”. We can let ourselves slide down the slippery slope of old

16 age and become anonymous and invisible. Or we can choose to defy gravity, use our muscles, and fight senility by unleashing our inner power to discover our SASSY spirit. We can bring the sizzle back, have fun, get in shape, improve our health, and celebrate the success of our lives. We can choose to become strong and modify our bodies, becoming confident, healthy, and sensational far into our senior years. Life often sends us different messages urging us to change and grow. Sometimes we are receptive to the messages; other times we don’t pay attention. We start to get caught up in all kinds of ‘agerelated’, stereotypical thinking and start to miss out on the adventure of living. We exchange active living for a passive existence. We say,” I’m too old “for this and “I’m too old” for that. And before you know it, we’ve talked ourselves right out of an active, fulfilling life and right into the proverbial ‘rocking chair’. When begin to live by mechanical repetition, becoming predictable in every aspect of our lives, the excitement and the sizzle

17 goes out of us. Life becomes boring and mundane, without much to look forward to. As long as we are still breathing, it’s never too late to make improvements in our lives. All we have to do is plant the seed of desire in our brain, then let the appropriate actions follow. Now is the time. This is another chance for you to take control of your life. You are unique, and you have a special purpose for being here right now. Even though some days you don’t feel very sensational or sizzling, you have the ability to bring those qualities into your life. You only get one life, one chance to be in command of the image you see in your mind and the one that looks back at you from the mirror. Think about what you want for your life, decide how you would like to feel about yourself, and then commit to take this opportunity to build a beautiful bridge into a strong, active, and healthy life. I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you are definitely not alone as you travel on your “aging” journey. Ten thousand ‘Baby Boomers’ turn 50 years old everyday. As a group, the boomers are

18 experienced, insightful and millions in number. Their numbers will soon swell the ranks of senior citizens to previously unheard of proportions. To take advantage of this demographic windfall, AARP adjusted its age of recruitment, and are now sending those “welcome” letters to adults on their milestone 50th birthday. Many retailers and merchants now give discounts to persons over55, thus creating an “age of economic benefits” that is lower than the accepted official retirement age of 65. In some parts of the world, 16 to 18 percent of the population is already 65 or older. By the year 2025, Japan is expected to have twice as many old people as children. The bad news is that if you are over the age of fifty, you are technically a “senior”. From the minute you were born, you were already ‘senior’ to someone. We are all ‘senior’ to someone at sometime in our lives. From that perspective the term ‘senior’ really has nothing to do with age per se, it is more about the place we arrive in our lives when we get near or pass the “half century” mark. Life looks and feels entirely different at

19 fifty and beyond, and there are many challenges to maintaining good health, lasting vitality and a strong, positive outlook on life. If you are now in the second half of your life, statistics support the fact that you will probably live many more years. So how do you want to live those remaining years? The choice is yours. We are joined by millions as we face the problems that accompany aging and search for solutions. With life expectancy increasing and birth rates declining, the population of the United States and the rest of the industrialized world have aged significantly in the past half century and will continue to do so in the decades ahead. The role and lifestyles of the middleaged and elderly have also changed dramatically, the result of both social necessity and individual desire. People who once would have been considered “old” lead active, exciting lives, as rich and rewarding as the younger members of society. Some keep working past the normal age of retirement, while others follow creative pursuits, engage in competitive or recreational sports, take courses, collect various objects, or travel

20 extensively. The image of an older man and woman sitting on a porch in rocking chairs whiling away their remaining days, in a placid but boring existence, is no longer the general rule. The Rolling Stone (who are now ‘seniors’ themselves) have sung to us for years about “what a drag it is getting old.” But it doesn’t have to be that way. Older people are demanding more from life and from themselves and are discovering ways to satisfy these demands. Aging is an irreversible process of biological changes that occur in all living things with the passage of time. Aging is a natural life progression, which from birth until death, first breath to last, drives us to our mortal end. Although aging is not associated with infants or children, it is still the reality. In fact, the aging process begins with our first breath. In North American culture, aging is associated with old age, frailty and final stage of life. With advances in medicine, conveniences, and productivity, adults in developed nations are living longer than their parents and grandparents.

21 There is an enormous difference between “aging” and “getting old”. Aging encompasses all the physical, biological changes that occur over a lifetime. For example, the increase and decrease in height, the onset and cessation of menstruation, and the shaping of young adult and middle age bodies are included in these changes. Changes in the thymic hormones are sometimes used as a sign of the aging process because the thymus gland, a pyramid-shaped gland beneath the breastbone involved in the regulation of the immune system, slowly begins to shrink after the age of two. The effects of aging vary from one person to another. The average life expectancy for Americans is around 75 years, almost twice what it was in the 1900s. Although some people never reach this age, more and more people are living healthy, productive, vibrant lives well into their 90s and older. “Getting old” is more of a psychological transition and a social concept. Our feelings about it may only be slightly related to the biological processes of aging. It is especially important to distinguish

22 physiological aging from the capacity for intellectual growth and social participation. Even very ill or frail old people can continue to learn and to be socially involved. If aging well is our goal, it is important to view health as the World Health Organization defined it in 1946: A state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, not just the absence of disease or infirmity”. Continued engagement and productivity is the best way of delaying the onset of frailty in older years. Dr. Robert Butler, gerontologist, argues that “health and productivity are interacting conditions: the unproductive human is at higher risk of illness and economic dependency and the sick person is limited in productivity and is, therefore, at higher risk of dependency. In American society, aging implies decay. It suggests the point at which we stop improving and we start deteriorating. We equate the addition of years with the subtraction of youth. But getting older is really a privilege when you stop to think about it, a concept that is lost in this society. The irony, of course, is that everybody wants to live a long time, but nobody wants

23 to get old. Today more than 34 million Americans are 65 or older, accounting for about 13 percent of the population. By the year 2030, those numbers will more than double: one in five Americans will be over age 65. A person who lives a 100 years or more was once a rarity, but today about 60,000 Americans are 100 years or older. The point of these statistics is that you will probably live a lot longer than you once thought. From a perspective of pure economics, there is no society or country in the world that could possibly afford entitlement programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, for 78 million people. Baby Boomers, as the largest aging generation of all time, will find a large part of their health and well-being placed squarely upon their shoulders. A key goal of this book is to help inspire, educate, and motivate you to change your body and mind so you can remain healthy, active and independent so you may squeeze every ounce of vitality out of the second half of your life.

24 The philosophy of the SASSY lifestyle is based on sound health information, education, and common sense. Healthy self-confidence, educated self-care, and personal freedom are the true keys to a great life. The ideas in this book were written for real people, just like you. The methods employed here are not magic, and there are no ‘quick fixes’ written in these pages. There are no ‘overnight miracles’. If all the fantastic ‘overnight success’ claims were true, we would all have the bodies, skin, and weight we wanted, and we would all live a complaint-free happily ever after. On the SASSY program, just as with any other, you will have to work for what you get. But, what you receive from your body in return for your effort will be well worth your time, which is one thing I will guarantee. I created the exercise section for beginners and individuals who have been unsuccessful with being consistent with fitness programs. I’ve changed my lifestyle to incorporate an eating plan and an exercise plan that works for my life and my body. I have researched many sources to get the most up-to-date

25 information on how to be healthy and fit, physically and mentally, and I will pass that information along to you. The SASSY principles are simple and scientific. I have used the ‘trial and error’ method to discover many simple methods that work for me, but everybody is different, you will have to find the methods that work for you. The SASSY approach isn’t wishful thinking, it’s a lifestyle in action and it works. Please be aware that I am no fitness or nutrition expert, nor do I claim to be. I am a registered nurse who has dabbled with diets and exercise since my early 20s. I have recently earned a certificate in sports nutrition; I was the owner and operator of Future Fitness, a personal training business in San Diego, California for 5 years. I have recently founded the SASSY Lifestyle and Fitness personal coaching service with specific emphasis on the middle-age individual who wants guidance and support as they work toward their health and fitness goals. I am in very good health; I am very active physically and mentally, and watch what I eat. I am a vibrant woman full of a zest for life

26 and all that it has to offer. I work-out regularly by weight- training, Taebo, Hip-Hop Abs, Turbo Jam, Zumba as well as tennis, walking, biking, and hiking. I’ve tried belly- dancing, hula, and ballet. I’ve run the gamut of exercise programs and enjoy being physically active. I plan to “keep it movin” in some way, for as long as I can. I can honestly say I feel better when I work-out; my muscles feel firmer and look leaner, which definitely improves my overall appearance. When it comes to eating, I no longer diet. It took me a while to discover the obvious and undeniable truth, diets just don’t work. They don’t work for me. And in the long term, they don’t work for anybody else. There are just too many rules to dieting, and much too much to think about. Eating should be simple and uncomplicated. So, instead of dieting, I stick to a sensible eating plan that allows me to maintain a healthy weight. The brands mentioned in this book are the brands I really use. I am not perfect in my eating habits, by any means. I slip up here and there, but for the most part I do more good than harm with my food

27 choices. As far as I’m concerned, nothing about life involves perfection. Life is about exploration and discovering styles of living that work for you. A lifestyle plan is not about perfection either. It is about discovering what you will really do to help yourself to look and feel better. It’s about creating a lifestyle that really makes sense for your life. No one will make any changes in life that they don’t believe in, or can’t live with. I have a live a rich, full life filled with lots of creative activity and enjoyment. I laugh a lot and find humor in myself and daily life. I celebrate every day as a precious gift that I, even on ‘off days’, fully appreciate and try to enjoy. I have a loving companion and a family of friends that inspire me to be my best, and fill me with the desire to be on earth with them for a very long time. I keep abreast of the latest fashion trends, but I definitely have my own style of dress. I love to travel a lot, eat at the finest restaurants, savor good wines, and have a cocktail or two. Believe me, I am no saint which should make it easier for you to relate to

28 what you find written in these pages. I am a person like you, a work in progress, constantly searching for ways to enhance my health and happiness. Keeping “the edge” and “staying current” in mind and body has a lot to do with the way people age. Aging, in large part, is what we do and how we see ourselves. I look at life as a fun adventure (most of the time); and I really enjoy my life. This is the time we need to take time to develop all areas of who we are, who we want to be, and realize our dreams. We are all equally physical, mental and spiritual beings. Your body can look and feel anyway you want it to. You tell your brain what to do and the brain tells your body. No, you can’t change your genetic predisposition, but you can make the body you have the best it can be . Growing old is certainly not easy for any of us. It’s hard to deal with the new wrinkle, the new gray eyelash, etc. Normal aging takes its toll on our bodies and on top of that, we have to deal with various disorders and diseases that attack us when we least expect them or worse, when we are vulnerable. It takes

29 courage and a strong spirit to face the inevitable fact that aging will happen to us all. We can create opportunities to shape the process for ourselves, as much as we can. But in order to take a stand, we have to understand the aging process and devise a plan. The fate of most of us remains in our own hands to a large degree. There will be illnesses and infirmities that happen; those are circumstances that are out of our control. The emphasis of this book is on the personal ways in which each of us can enhance our current state of health and promote a positive outlook on aging. The changes don’t have to be huge or life-altering to have a positive long-term affect. There’s a wealth of research suggesting that even modest lifestyle changes pay-off in the long haul. All researchers agree we must remain physically active, mentally stimulated, socially engaged, and spiritually connected if we are to exert a positive influence on the course of our aging. As we age, our life priority should be to improve or maintain our health to the best of our abilities so that we can remain independent for as long

30 as possible. A major aspiration of this book is to empower you with knowledge about health, fitness, and vitality after the age of fifty. Other goals include; giving you information to think about and ways of helping yourself to a better, healthier life in a body that is strong and one that you are proud of. You can take charge of how you will age and the condition you will be in as you age. None of us can control every aspect of our lives, aging included, but lot of what happens is really all up to you. A physically, mentally, and spiritually wellbalanced life is the best way to get the most out of life. Achieving this goal may easier said than done because there are so many other things involved. How you look, what you eat, where you work, where you live, what you do, and so on are all factors that contribute to you lifestyle. You need a certain amount of self-discipline and self-motivation to maintain a daily rhythm. Along the way, you have already or will discover what works for you and what doesn’t. We all have to accept that certain things are out of our control and there’ no point

31 in knocking ourselves out about them. Besides, life patterns seem to go in cycles, so what works today, may not work tomorrow. We have to remain receptive and flexible to our changing needs and understand that leading a healthy life-style is a dynamic, continual, ongoing process. Getting to really know yourself and what you are capable of achieving is also a lifelong process of unveiling all the hidden talents you possess. As long as we are alive, we are in a state of constant learning. Whether the learning is a conscious effort or an unconscious process, we are always learning. I would never have guessed that someday I would be writing books, but here I sit at my computer typing away. Learn to let yourself dream of the healthy, fit life you envision for yourself. Enjoy and cultivate your connections with the rest of the world. Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Say thanks daily, hourly, minutely for your blessings and challenges, no matter how big or how small. Fortunately, this is an exciting time to be “aging”, if there is such a time, because people are

32 throwing out old stereotypes about aging and focusing on how to have a long, active, second half of life. My hope is that by learning ways to improve the quality of our lives, we can focus on really savoring and enjoying our second half of life. Join me in making a promise to yourself that this time you will focus on a lifestyle change and a lifetime plan to keep yourself in shape, eat healthy, and get on with having fun and celebrating all that you have in your life. We will begin our journey by looking new attitudes about aging in Chapter 1. In Chapter 2, we will examine the physical changes that occur in our bodies as we age. In chapter 3, we will look at the influence the aging “Baby Boomer” generation will have on the view of aging at this time in history. Our attitudes about aging, ourselves, our bodies, and our lives in general will be examined in chapter 4. The function of the food we eat and how we look at our food will be discussed in Chapter 5. Exercises we can use to change and improve our physique will be studied in Chapter 6. In Chapter 7, we will look at the value of vitamins and nutritional

33 supplements for our aging bodies. Chapter 8 will look at ways to sustain and maintain our major “control center”, the brain. The most recent research about keeping your mental edge will be presented. You’ll be reading a lot of interesting ideas in this “what-to-do” section. Chapter 9 examines the importance of ‘sleep’ for health and beauty. Chapter 10 is a look at the significance of nurturing your soul, celebrating your creativity, and discovering the beauty in everyday life. And finally in Chapter 11, we will ‘put it all together’ and summarize the SASSY lifestyle and how to live it forever. We will look at ways to add sizzle and style to our remaining years. We will delve into the concept of gratitude, the benefits of being thankful, and how “that attitude of gratitude” enhances our lives. I recommend that you not “use” this material as a book, in the sense that it is something to read once and put on the shelf. The information covered in this book is designed to be a companion in the continual process of growth, change and renewal. As you progress to deeper levels of understanding and implementation, you can go back

34 from time to time to the steps and suggestions contained in each chapter and work to expand your knowledge, ability, and expertise. We can’t leave the future of our health or the way in which we age to chance. We can take an active role in our futures to make our lives and our families’ lives richer. We must learn, educate, and create change within ourselves. This book aims to start the process by getting you to start thinking and talking about living long, healthy, and sensational lives. This book is less about aging and more about what each of us can do to shape our own experience of aging. After all, from the day we are born we become part of an aging population. When people of every age understand what it means to grow older, we will be on our way to changing society. Once we all engage ourselves, no matter what age we are, in the quest to realize our dreams and goals to make life better, we will naturally create a society that is stronger and more compassionate towards all generations in the years ahead.

35 Chapter 2: My old Body disappeared…Has Anybody Seen it? (An Up-close Look at the Aging Process) Do you remember the days when you could eat anything you wanted and not put on one single pound? “Back in the day”, you didn’t have to worry about watching what you ate or working out regularly. Staying fit and healthy seemed to happen naturally. Back then, when you looked in the mirror and saw a toned, sleek body, it was a body you liked to look at everyday. Ahh… It seemed effortless at the time . Remember when you could stay up all night long and go to work the next morning without ever feeling tired or fatigued? It seemed you had an endless supply of energy, and you were always “up for anything” , looking for the next party or fun thing to do. Remember when you could go to the gym and work out for hours at a time and still be able to walk the next day? Back then, those 2 hour long work-outs paid off

36 handsomely and the results were noticeable to you, and everyone else, immediately. In our youth, we invested seriously in our exercise because the dividends were high and we liked the way we looked and felt. Well that time, and unfortunately, that body is long gone. Within 20 or 30 years, we noticed that things started to change. Our bodies became less muscular, and our stamina began to diminish. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it happened, time passed so fast. We look in the mirror now and wonder where that body went. What in the world happened to our bodies since then? If you are like me, you eat a sensible diet most of the time and do some form of exercise at least three times a week. Pretty good, huh? So why are the pounds either coming or not going? Maybe we need a new mirror, or maybe we need a new approach. It’s not your imagination. Maintaining your weight after 50 is a lot harder

37 than it has ever been. Losing weight, well at times that seems nearly impossible, right? Beginning around the age of 40, most women loose about a half pound of muscle and gain about one and a half pounds of fat each year. As we age, our metabolism along with every other bodily function begins to slow down. The amount of calories our body burns in a day slowly decreases, even if our caloric intake remains the same. Many of us get less exercise or have conditions that keep us sedentary. Abandoned and unused, our muscles begin to creak and rustle like dry branches on a dead tree. Weight gain is something many of us resign ourselves to at a time when it is particularly hard to accept, due to also trying to come to terms with other changes that are occurring in our bodies. Our waistline disappears, and some of you haven’t even seen your feet from a standing position in years. Our brains begin to drain valuable information and it becomes increasingly

38 difficult to remember what our last meal consisted of. To understand how the aging process affects our body, we have to know what happens to us with normal aging. During the last half of the century, gerontology, the study of aging, has made great progress in describing the changes that occur as we grow older. Much of the knowledge on aging has been obtained in painstaking research projects as been observational in nature, with scientists reporting on the cellular and molecular transformations that organisms undergo over time. Unfortunately, the reasons why this metamorphosis happens at all remain unclear. We know a great deal about what happens, but not exactly why it happens. There are many theories as to why living cells and larger organisms age. Most of the theories are far too detailed and scientific to be of interest to the lay public. So for the purpose of basic understanding

39 of the theories, a brief synopsis of the information is more suitable for use in this format.


According to the two main lines of thought, the aging process either results from genetically programmed changes or it occurs because of an accumulation of genetic errors due to environmental damage. So, either a biological clock within our bodies prearranges the aging process, or aging occurs because of a series of random events that act on our bodies. In the biological theory, the basis of aging stems from errors in the cellular reproductive processes. As would be expected in a living organism, there are constant breakdowns in various components of human tissues with subsequent repair. This cycle is on-going. The mechanism for repairing the damage lies in the genetic DNA in the cell nucleus. Over time, after going through multiple cycles of repair, imperfections known as mutations start to occur in the structure of the DNA. These mutations may lead to errors in cellular proteins resulting in

41 cumulative “mistakes” that are related to the aging process, certain diseases, and even death. In the environmental theory of aging, free radical compounds are implicated in the process. In addition, free radical compounds may be linked to a number of disease states. As a consequence of cell metabolism various molecules combine with oxygen to form free radicals. These free radicals react with other cellular substances to cause damage and interfere with normal cellular function. Antioxidants, like vitamin E and vitamin C, are compounds that interfere with formation of free radicals and have been shown in experimental conditions to slow down the changes that occur with aging and to also increase longevity. However, it is uncertain whether antioxidants actually affect aging per se, or instead reduce the diseases associated with aging, thus extending life in this way. A variety of theories may fall under the umbrella of these

42 two broad categories, though there are other theories that stand alone. The claim that your metabolism changes as you age used to be dismissed as an old wives’ tale and an excuse for weight gain. But research shows that metabolism does slow as you age and may be a primary factor in creeping weight gain. Before you can understand how to reverse this age-related development, you need to understand what your metabolism is and how it works. In order to develop an effective lifestyle plan, there needs to be an understanding of the changes that occur in metabolism and the changes that occur throughout the aging body. When most people hear the word ‘metabolism’, they know that it has “something to do” with the way the body uses food and burns calories. Although this concept is correct, it is a rudimentary understanding of metabolism and its function. Fundamentally the idea is correct, however there is much more involved in

43 the function of metabolism. Genetics, gender, age, diet, and exercise habits all play key role in the way each person burns calories and fat. Two people can be the same age and weight and have the same fat percentage, but have different body types, and there fore different metabolic rates. Almost unnoticed at first, a person’s metabolic train slows down as the birthdays add up. Somewhere in the thirties, metabolic function approaches a big hill and starts to slow about 5 percent every 10 years. For many people at midlife, weight gain is so gradual they don’t notice it until they try to slip on their ‘skinny’ jeans or slim-fit slacks and can’t zip the zipper up. Or they find they have to notch their belt at the next larger hole. As distressing as these discoveries can be, we don’t have to resign ourselves to a fate of fat. Studies on nutrition indicate that we can alter our metabolic rate. The only way to burn calories over and above your basal metabolic rate is to expend more effort.

44 But first we have to understand how ‘metabolism’ works. If you understand how your metabolism functions, then you can learn to adjust your metabolic rate. As a result, you can learn to burn more calories, replace fat with muscle, and get more energy. Metabolism is the essence of what keeps you alive. Scientists define it as the chemical processes inside living cells that are necessary for the maintenance of life. You are aware that you have living cells in every part of your body; skin, bones, internal organs, and brain. Because all of these cells require energy to perform their specific functions, metabolism is ever-present throughout your body. Inside each cell are the powerhouses of metabolism called mitochondria. The mitochondria’s job is to literally take the food we eat and burn it up to produce energy. When you’re young, the mitochondria work efficiently, keeping you lean with minimal effort. Your body produces heat

45 when you perform the simplest tasks, like walking the dog or sleeping peacefully. But as we age, unstable molecules called free-radicals alter the function of the mitochondria causing our bodies to alter its “youthful response” to calorie intake. Put simply, metabolism slows with age and the same amount of food we ate a few years ago, is turned into energy less efficiently. So, even though you have been seemingly doing everything right, your metabolism still s-l-o-w-e-d down. You didn’t start eating more. You didn’t start exercising less. You still gained weight. happened… Research has demonstrated that as you get older, several occurrences ultimately lead to the insidious, middle-age weight gain. The first contributing factor to the unwanted weight list is inactivity or less activity. As you get older, you get busy with work, family, and other responsibilities, and you don’t make as Here’s what

46 much time for physical activity. Even if you did manage to work-out for the same amount of time as when you were younger, overall you’re probably less active throughout the day. Secondly, you eat fewer calories and eat at the wrong times. Although you might think that eating less would help prevent weight gain, eating less actually slows your metabolism. When you don’t eat enough, the body goes into “starvation mode” to conserve the calories it has stored. Our bodies are programmed with a very sensitive mechanism that will quickly turn down metabolism when it senses fewer calories coming in. When you go too many hours without eating or drastically reduce the amount of calories you take in, your brain tells your body to s-l-o-w down which results in you burning less calories. Your body also starts to burn carbohydrates and muscle protein leaving behind stored fat. Restricting calories also slows metabolism by reducing metabolic “flow”.

47 Simply put, that means the metabolism does less work, which is an undesired consequence of extremely low calorie intake. When you eat more and exercise, you increase the metabolic workload. Your metabolism has to work harder to process the calories eaten which are needed to supply the body with the energy it needs. So, consequently eating less and exercising less are two large factors in creating sluggish metabolism and resultant weight gain. Thirdly, as we age, we lose lean body mass. With less activity, more stress, and fewer calories, you slowly say good-bye to the firm body of youth. Even if you were never a muscle-bound beach body, you still had more muscle then than you do now. Our bodies are programmed by nature to build and maintain muscle during adolescence and early adulthood. As we reach middle-age, and beyond, if we don’t take steps to prevent muscle loss, our bodies drop lean muscle mass with every passing year.

48 Muscle loss doesn’t just mean that there is no bulge when we flex our biceps. It also means that our metabolism works less because muscle uses energy in the form of calories and fat does not. Scientists have estimated that Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), also known as Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), accounts for 60 to 75 percent of the calories we burn and is highly dependent on muscle mass. In fact, 75 to 80 percent of your resting metabolic rate is determined by your amount of muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the higher your RMR. The less muscle you have, the slower your RMR. This fact is true for both, men and women. The rate at which your body consumes and expends energy affects your weight and shape. Metabolism varies from person to person; you may have a faster metabolism than normal, or a slower one. Seventy percent of your metabolism is your

49 basal metabolic rate (BMR) and refers to number of calories you burn as your body performs it vital jobs, such as breathing, keeping your heart beating, and maintaining correct body temperature. How fast you use energy during digestion (dietary thermogenesis) and how quickly you burn calories during physical activity are the other two factors that determine your overall metabolic rate. I f you want speed up your metabolic rate, you need to change what you eat and the amount of energy you expend to experience a difference in how you look and feel. Every decade, your metabolic rate drops up to 5 percent”, is according to Madelyn Fernstrom, PhD., director of the Weight Management Center at the University of Pittsburgh. Loss of fast-twitch muscle fibers, used in high-intensity, occurs notably in the aging process. Typically people lose about 30 percent of their strength between the ages of 50 and 70, and another 30 percent per decade after

50 that. At the same time, fat-tee body mass declines 15 percent, this in turn slows metabolism. To make matters worse, the loss of lean body mass make people lose energy and become more sedentary, continuing the unhealthy cycle by contributing to the loss of lean body mass. Compared with fat, muscle is an energy- burning powerhouse. Fatty tissue does not have muscles metabolic burn. So, when we don’t have as much lean muscle tissue as we used to, our metabolic rates automatically decrease. That is why weight-training in the aging adult is very effective for improving metabolic efficiency. Lean muscle tissue requires calories every minute, even when we are asleep. That means if you continue with the same activity level and eating patterns, without exercise, in your fifties that you had in your twenties, and you don’t change your caloric intake, you will definitely gain weight. That’s why you need a new plan, one that works with

51 your post-50 metabolism. Even though we can’t control our age or gender, we can manage the foods we eat and master our metabolisms. As you age, if you don’t take any steps, your metabolic rate takes a nose-dive every year past the age of 25. From the age of 25 to the age of 65, most people notice a slow, progressive loss of metabolic power that translates into added, unwanted pounds. Without taking some kind of action, by the time you reach age 65 you’ll be burning 500 calories less per day than you did when you were 25. Do the math; that’s 3500 calories a week that are not being used or burned. 3500 calories equals 1 pound of fat. So you know what happens next, unfortunately we all do. That’s right, according to this equation, if you let your metabolism slow to this level, you can expect to gain about 1 pound of fat per week while losing muscle mass at the same time. But wait, don’t close the book yet, there is good news.

52 You don’t have to resign yourself to the loss of metabolic efficiency. Your metabolism is about much more than how you look. Your metabolism is about your health and about how you live. A combination of activity along with a healthy eating lifestyle will optimize calorie burn and support metabolic boost. So, in the end, hopeless metabolic decline is not inevitable. If you fight back against metabolic slowdown, you can win the war. By using the exercise, nutrition, and motivation strategies found in this book, you will be able to accelerate your metabolism and recapture some of its efficiency of younger days. The SASSY lifestyle is about adding years to your life, and adding life to your remaining years. By taking control of your lifestyle, you can improve your ability live your everyday life, stay out of the doctor’s office, and live richly and fully without worrying about your body stopping short.

53 Let’s take a part-by-part, up-close and personal look at the aging process. Although aging is inevitable, people age at different rates. Several changes take place in the human body as it ages and every system is affected. Aging affects both the body and the mind. The aging process involves the steady decline of organ functioning and the regulation of the body systems. Some of the age-related biological changes are predictable. Most of the body’s organs perform less efficiently with advancing age. For example, the average amount of blood pumped by the heart drops by approximately 40 to 50 percent from age 20 to age 85. For this same age span, the average amount of blood flowing through the kidneys also decreases by about half. Not all people experience decreased organ function to the same degree. Although aging is inevitable, people age at different rates. Some people will have healthier hearts and

54 kidney at 85 years old than others will have ate age 50. Aging brings changes in the muscles and bones. Beginning around age 25, muscles left to their own devices will gradually become smaller and weaker. Muscle mass declines progressively after the age of 40. After the age of 45 or so, your muscles begin to shrink as fat deposits expand. Hand-grip strength declines 45% by the age of 75. Each muscle consists of fibers, individual strand of tissue. Without regular exercise, these fibers shrink, or atrophy. According to researchers at the American College of Sports medicine, unless we exercise regularly, we lose about 10 percent of our muscle by age 50, and the rate of muscle loss only accelerates from there. Muscle as a percentage of total body weight diminishes as we grow older, along with strength and stamina. Though some of these changes are an integral part of the aging process, considerable enhancement of

55 muscle tone can be achieved with exercise and proper caloric intake. Cartilage, the substance that lubricates the joints, becomes less able to adapt to repetitive stress. Common forms of arthritis begin in the 30s and progress with each decade. A little stiffness in knees, hips, and neck begins somewhere in the forties. The discs between your vertebrae begin to degenerate and your spine stiffens somewhere in your seventies. Joint problems, the leading cause of reduced activity among older people, are common. Bone loss occurs with aging, but the rate varies tremendously among people. Calcium is constantly being added and subtracted from your bones throughout life. Deposits exceed withdrawals until around age 35. After age 35, bone mineral, bone strength, and density decline. This accelerates for women after menopause and for men after the age of 60. The growth of bone slows, and it becomes thinner and more porous.

56 Bones become more likely to collapse or break, even from slight trauma. Osteoporosis is a common age-related disorder of the bones that tends to be more of a problem for women than it is for men. By age 80, people lose approximately two inches of height, due to changes in posture, the growth of vertebrae, a forward bending of the spine, the compression of the disks between the vertebrae, increased curves in the hips and knees , and decreased joint space in the trunk, arms, and legs. Impairments of the muscles and bones are influenced by conditioning, nutrition, and vascular status. Changes in the structure of the ear as people age have a significant effect on hearing. The ear canal atrophies, the eardrum thickens, degenerative changes can develop in the small joints connecting the bones to the middle ear, and changes occur in the inner ear. Higher frequencies of sound are not heard as well (presbycusis) because of these differences. In

57 the 20s, people begin to lose the ability to hear high-frequency tones. Your ability to hear begins to decline in your sixties. After the age of 60, people begin to lose their ability to hear low frequency tones. Pitch discrimination is also impaired which may make it more difficult to understand speech in a crowded room. Hearing loss in men occurs at a much faster pace than women. After the age of 40, objects get fuzzy; this is the most common age-related change in vision. When you find yourself holding the newspaper an arm’s length away or right in front of your eyes, you realize first hand, your eyes are losing elasticity. This loss of elasticity makes it difficult to focus on close objects or shift from near to far. A change in the lens of the eye is noted at midlife for most people, becoming thicker and less flexible. The change results in difficulty focusing on near objects (presbyopia) and is usually easily

58 corrected with eyeglasses. The sharpness of vision when looking at objects that do not move decreases gradually and steadily. The ability to see details in moving objects decreases faster than the ability to see details in static objects. After the age of 50, people are more susceptible to glare and night vision decreases. After the age of 60, the risk of macular degeneration, the most common reason for age-related blindness, increases. By 65, you may begin to develop cataracts. After the age of 70, the ability to see fine detail declines. The upper due lid may droop or lower lid turn inward or outward due to atrophy of tissues around the eye and loss of fat around the eye. At 80, you may need three times as much light to see as clearly as you do now. Many of the changes of aging are first evident in the way people look. As we get older, we have to come to terms with our changing appearance. People lose height and body weight and increase body fat. Soft tissues

59 such as skin and blood vessels become less flexible, and there is an overall decline in the appearance of skin cells. Since the skin is susceptible to influences from inside and outside the body, it hard to distinguish between “normal” signs of aging and those caused by unhealthful habits and environmental damage. Skin changes that normally occur with time can be accelerated by exposure to the elements, especially radiation from the sun. Changes in skin are not uniform throughout the population and certain factors cause changes disproportionate to a person’s chronological age. One of the biggest negative influences on skin is exposure to the ultra violet rays of the sun. So, people who are outdoors a lot without adequate protection are more likely to have damaged skin that appears old. In your twenties, accumulated sun damage may cause skin across your forehead to wrinkle. Black and olive-skinned people experience a slower rate of change with age, partly due to the larger amount

60 of melanin (pigment) in their skin. Skin cells grow more slowly with age, and the outer layer of skin is not shed and replaced at the same rate as in younger years. In your thirties, the skin between your eyes may begin to wrinkle. Changes in the production of collagen make the skin stiffer and less pliable. By age 40, the crow’s feet appear, and by 50, wrinkles have started at the corners of your mouth. Sebaceous glands that provide oil for hair and skin become less active. With age, cells lose some of their ability to retain water, which causes dryness. Your skin will grow thinner, drier, and less elastic as time goes on. Visible wrinkles are usually the first outward, noticeable sign of aging. No matter how fine, at first, they still grab and hang on to our attention. Those of us who grew up knowing and loving our grandparents, probably remember loving their faces, wrinkles and all. We were young then and hadn’t learned to think of the

61 signs of aging as “unattractive”. However, as adults we live in a society that clearly values a standard of beauty vastly restricted to the young. The cosmetic industry makes millions of dollars by reinforcing the message that we need not, dare not, look older. It is hard to resist the temptation to alter our appearances when, in every drugstore, bottles, tubes, and jars surround us containing cosmetics promising to make us “more attractive and younger looking”. As the skin loses tone and elasticity it sags and wrinkles, particularly in the areas where there is frequent movement, such as the face, neck, and joints. Sagging of the skin is also caused by the pulling of gravity over the years. Wrinkles are caused by the loss of a protein called “collagen” and an increase in another called “elastin”. The underlying muscles and fatty tissue undergo similar changes. There is also a loss of some subcutaneous fat and thinning of the skin, which becomes less flexible over

62 time and begins to sag. Small blood vessels become more fragile due to the thinning of muscle walls, and can cause frequent black and blue marks. “Age spots” caused by exposure to sunlight over the years may begin to appear. Hair becomes thinner in men and women as hair follicles decrease their activity. Hair becomes grayer as cells stop producing a colordetermining pigment. According to one survey, most women who color their hair do so to cover the gray. This is most common among women in their forties and fifties, 45 percent of whom dye their hair. These gradual changes are a part of the cycle of life, and everyone who lives long enough will experience some of them. As the population ages, advertisements, for men as well as women, abound for products that are touted to prevent or hide wrinkles. Body changes as a result of aging can cause a temporary or permanent difference in the way we see ourselves. Individual’s reactions

63 to looking older vary greatly. People who grew up in warmly affectionate and accepting families tend to accept their bodies as they are. In general, having warm, close family relationships and physical activity fosters self-confidence and high self-esteem. When self-esteem is high, people think well of themselves. Considering the importance of athletics and self-esteem, it is no surprise that studies show that men overrated their body image, thinking that others have a higher opinion of their looks than they actually do. Women, on the other hand, usually underrated their body image, thinking others have a lower opinion of their looks than they do. As we age, when we look into a mirror, we have to come to terms with our personal reactions to the changes in how we look. Looking older can be especially hard on women because we are raised to please others and live up to a certain ideal of beauty. Even though more and more middle-aged women are

64 finding their way to the covers of some agespecific magazines, the majority of popular magazine covers are still sporting youthful models with dewy, glowing skin. If you were considered unusually attractive as a younger person, looking older may be more difficult for you than someone who never heard too much about their looks. An individual who is constantly praised for being ‘pretty’ or ‘handsome’ may learn to believe that their worth as a person is completely dependent on their looks. Once we enter our fifties, most of us go through a deeply surprising transformation in the way we look. America was once a young and powerful country and although the majority of the nation is far from ‘young’, this country still idolizes ‘youth’. Women are especially vulnerable to the idea that through make-up, hair dyes, face lifts, diets and clothes we can live up to the ‘beauty façade’ of youth. Most of us are

65 very hard on ourselves in our younger years, not accepting or liking our bodies until we entered our late thirties or early forties. We just didn’t realize how good we had it back then and by the time we did, we had already started aging. For some women, especially in midlife, the narrow standard of acceptability leads to a period of grieving over the loss of “peak years”. Middle-aged men, on the other hand, are a possible exception to the narrow standard of looks. According to one study, ‘older’ men are actually considered more attractive than young men. The same study showed that middle-aged women are considered less attractive than young women, and that old men and women are both considered less attractive than the young or middle-aged. Some researchers believe that middle-aged men gain attractiveness because others view them as having reached the pinnacle of success. Conversely middle-aged women, seen primarily

66 as mothers, are considered to be past their usefulness because they can no longer bear children. If looks are associated with usefulness and power, it may be that the looks of old age are considered unattractive because the elderly, in some societies, are viewed as “useless and powerless”. Women who are concerned about looking older seem to develop this concern beginning in mid-life, continuing to their late sixties. And although many women like feeling of freedom and increased confidence experienced in midlife, they don’t like looking older. For a small but growing number of women, the need to look young or thin may be so strong that they choose to undergo surgical procedures such as facelifts, eyelid lifts or surgery that slenderizes the abdomen, thighs, or buttocks. Unfortunately as time marches on, these women eventually discover that surgery is neither a permanent solution to age-related facial

67 changes nor is it a cure-all for cellulite and plastic surgery is never a cure for low selfesteem. As middle-aged women and older women increase in number and power, and their views of themselves change, they will project an image of confidence and strength society will perceive as innately attractive. The immune system also changes with age. A healthy immune system protects the body against bacteria, viruses, and other harmful agents by producing disease fighting proteins known as antibodies. With advancing age, the ability of the immune system to carry out these protective functions is diminished. The rate of antibody production may drop by about as much as 80 percent between the ages of 20 to 85. This less effective immune system explains why a bout of “the flu” may make a young adult sick for a few days, can be fatal for an elderly person. A healthy immune system also prevents the growth of abnormal cells. With

68 increasing age the immune system’s ability to protect us from disease and prevent the growth of abnormal cells diminishes, leaving us more susceptible to illnesses and cancers. Most of the glands of the endocrine system, the organs that secrete hormone regulating such functions as metabolism, temperature, and blood sugar levels retain their ability to function but become less sensitive to the triggers that direct hormone secretion. In the aging pancreas, for example, higher blood sugar levels are required to stimulate the release of insulin, the hormone that helps muscles convert blood sugar to energy. The ovaries and the testes, the endocrine glands that regulate many aspects of sexual reproduction alter during the aging process. As a man ages, the testes produce less of the male sex hormone, testosterone. A woman’s ovaries undergo marked changes from ages 45 to 55 during menopause. The ovaries no

69 longer release egg cells, and they no longer produce the hormones that generate menstrual cycles. Post-menopause childbearing abilities cease. The brain is considered our most vital organ, responsible for everything from involuntary life support functions like heartbeats and breathing to the essence of personality and memory. Most people fear changes in their mental function more than any other of the physical changes of aging. Mental function does not have to decline and the capacity to learn continues throughout life. The aging brain does undergo a progressive loss of neurons, or nerve cells, but theses losses are only a small percentage of neurons in the brain. The speed of nerve impulse conduction slows with age about 15 percent over the age span from 30 to 85 years. Technology has also generated a wealth of information about the physical changes in the aging brain.

70 There are many myths surrounding the aging of the brain. Research is ongoing and scientists are learning more about brain function every day. One of the myths of aging is that intelligence diminishes with age. Early studies were done with tests that were designed for children, to be completed within a certain time frame. In those tests, the adults were found to be slower and scored lower than young adults. Although intelligence is generally not affected by the aging process, studies show that some older people may find it difficult to deal with many stimuli at once. For example, an older individual requires more time to sort out all the information when many highways converge simultaneously. This may help to explain the desire often expressed by older people, “I just want peace and quiet”. Older people may require more time to answer questions, and more recent studies based on untimed tests and other measures of intellectual activity, such as

71 problem-solving and concept formation , show that there is relatively little decline in mental ability in healthy people up to age 70. Many older people experience problems with memory. Memory problems were once considered an inevitable effect of the aging process, but researchers have determined that many of the brain related changes observed in older people, including memory loss are actually a result of diseases like Alzheimer’s or the beginning of changes associated with blood vessels and blood flow in the brain. Memory loss is sometimes treatable, and certain memoryaiding strategies have been found to help reverse the short-term memory loss experienced by many people over the age of 50. Atrophy of the brain is usually moderate in healthy older people. From the ages of 30 to 70, blood flow to the brain decreases by 15 to 20 percent. At about age 70, memory loss accelerates and reaction times slow down. Changes in brain structure and

72 biochemistry do not generally affect people’s ability to think and behave. What does change is the ability to retain a large amount of information over a long period of time. As people age, they tend to show disease in the heart but it’s not clear whether there are any age-related changes without disease being present. Maximum heart rate during exercise declines 25 percent between the ages of 20 and 75. Coronary arteries begin to build plaque in childhood and begin clogging after the age of 50. The cells that produce heartbeats get covered with connective tissue and fat and changes occur in other parts of the heart’s electrical system. Age-related changes in the hearts ability to contract include longer contraction time, decreased response to medicines, and increased resistance to electrical stimulation; these changes do not usually result in disease. The cardiovascular system responds less efficiently to stress with age. Physical

73 activity, nutrition, weight, socioeconomic status and lifestyle contribute to heart disease in older people. Common heart conditions in older people are high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, diseases of the heart valves, and abdominal aortic aneurysm. Blood pressure increases with aging and nearly half of all people over the age of sixty five have mild high blood pressure. Coronary artery disease is the progressive narrowing of arteries that supply blood to the heart. Low levels of HDL, or healthy cholesterol, and high levels of LDL, or unhealthy cholesterol, contribute to the development of coronary artery disease. Although the exact causes of aging remains unknown, scientists are learning a great deal about the aging process and the mechanisms that drive it. Research is currently exploring factors that seem associated with longevity in hope of finding a formula for extending human life or minimizing conditions associated with

74 aging. Laboratory studies of the effects of vitamin and mineral supplements on the aging process have to be looked at carefully. The possible anticancer action of vitamins E, C, and beta-carotene, and the antiaging actions of the mineral selenium require more investigation since current evidence does not support the contention that these supplements extend life. It is highly unlikely that researchers will find a single intervention that will stop aging. Any product, vitamin, or supplement that touts the promise of extraordinary benefits, is probably a product which the “buyer should beware”. In the future, scientific advances in many areas may delay specific aging processes, such as the decline in immune function, but until then we should be wary of claims of life-extending or rejuvenating properties of any antiaging products or regimens. Aging populations are expected to have a profound effect on the way society views

75 their elderly members. Some of the most promising research on the aging process focuses on the microscopic changes that occur in all living cells as organisms age. What is most intriguing about new findings in brain aging is that they indicate the rate of change may be hastened or slowed by lifestyle factors. For instance, maintaining a lower weight might affect brain aging. As far back as the 1970s, scientist’s experiments with mice found that those on restricted diets had lower rates of brain aging disease like Alzheimer’s. Some lifestyle factors that may affect brain aging are: education, exercise, rest, hypertension, stress, and head trauma. Although genes play a role in predetermining your brain’s aging, researchers are beginning to agree that taking care of your health might help your long term brain function. There are no magic wands or potions for good health, no fountains of youth, no products that cure all of our ills, no pill to make

76 us “skinny”, and no vitamins to prevent all ailments. Staying well and healthy requires effort, planning and discipline, but it is an investment in our personal well-being. The rewards are certainly worth the effort. When we feel good we are more likely to exercise, make better food choices, take care of ourselves and our appearance, all of which in turn make us look and feel better. We start to develop ‘good’ habits. To get an accurate idea of how your current habits are affecting your life, get undressed and look at yourself in the mirror. Be brave and take a deep breath. This can be a scary exercise. Do you like what you see? Mirrors can either be our best friends or our worst enemies, but either way, they don’t lie. Mirrors show us the truth about our bodies. Think of your weight and physique as yours for a lifetime, and adopt a lifetime plan. So much of our lives are habit, partially because things flow

77 more smoothly when we have established patterns that get us through the day without having to think about every single action we make. By controlling or changing unconscious habits you can control your weight and the appearance of your body. A friend of mine in her mid-forties found herself unable to pull in her stomach; the largest clothes in her closet were too tight. After 2 weeks of frustration, disgust and dieting, she bought a medical scale. On November 1, 2008 she got on the scale and got a huge shock. Only 2 years had gone by since she had last weighed in, and she had gained nearly 15 pounds. This was even after dieting for 3 weeks. Sandy developed a plan based on the reality of the situation she found herself in. She changed her habits, and changed her life. When she had lost the 15 pounds, and was able to get back to and maintain her ideal weight, she told me that she has never cheated herself since the

78 day she faced reality. She realized that she had to change her eating habits and other non-activity habits in order to regain control of her life. Sandy made meaningful changes, and found that by being conscious of her habits, she was able to control her weight. Habits are like the foundation of our lives. With absolutely no effort, we naturally settle into comfortable patterns and habits. Good or bad, habits and patterns are structures that help define our lives and the “no brain” actions we rely on. It helps not to have to think about every step we make. We would be in a state of perpetual exhaustion if that were the case. It’s good to have comfortable routines in our lives. But as we grow older, some habits may no longer be in our best interest. The mad rush to dash out the door and get to work may no longer be necessary or appropriate. We made find ourselves happier and calmer with 30 minutes of quiet time spent with alone or a

79 family member before starting our day. We may be inspired by new information or changes in our lives. We may begin to pay better attention to ourselves, pursue renewed health and vitality by dramatically changing our health habits. It’s not true that as we grow older, we become less flexible or willing to change. Change is a constant part of life and renewal is possible at any age. A “clean slate” approach may be your style of change and is one way to start a new lifestyle. A gradual approach may better for some of you. You may want to start with a single change. Identify the roots of the problem. Ask yourself questions: Why did I stop working out? When did I let my weight get out of control? Why don’t I like the reflection I see in the mirror? Can I establish new habits that give me more satisfaction and benefits? Set your mind on what you really want for your health and fitness goals. Accomplish them in consistent

80 ways; set your goal and then develop new ‘good for you’ habits. A goal is a planned conflict with the status quo. In other words, you are planning to change your present way of being. You are planning to change the way you do things now. By the time you reach a goal, you will be doing something new, leaving familiar habits and comfort zones. When we set a goal, we set out to explore new frontiers. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had the same goal in the past, because each time you set a goal the entire journey is a new experience, different from any other time in your history. Sometimes exploring new terrain can be adventurous, and quite often; it can be a little frightening. Sometimes we don’t want to leave our comfort zones. Giving up old, comfortable patterns can be one of the most difficult things in life. In fact, this is probably the main reason why so many people don’t set goals or try to

81 change themselves for the better. Making the decision to improve our health pushes us toward new behaviors we’d rather not have to worry about. However, the prospect of looking and feeling better beckons us take on the challenge. But we hesitate because we are haunted by a time in our past when we set a goal, but never reached it. Right now, you can make goals for your future, so don’t waste precious time and energy on whatever happened in the past. The past is over. That’s the beauty of life; you can keep trying over and over, until you finally reach your goal. Just think about how sensational, sizzling and confident you will feel when you arrive at your goal. On some level, each one of us tries to deny our own aging, thinking that somehow it will be different for us. One of the essential elements for holding onto our self-respect is to accept the aging process as inevitable. That does

82 not mean we should take a passive stance and allow old age to “run over” us without doing everything within our power to remain healthy and strong. Instead, we must choose our actions wisely, and participate in activities that result in our success. We can control our thoughts, the way we care for ourselves, and our lifestyles. In our society, where youth is favored and age stigmatized, it is little wonder that people will go to great lengths and spend large amounts of money to look young. In general, it is important for each of us to look as good as we can because that promotes healthy feelings of pride and self-worth. And our looks are our introduction to people, even before we speak. While the substance of a person is not necessarily reflected in what we see superficially, appearance and dress do tell us something about that individual and we do make judgments on that basis. Looking good does not equate to looking young. Looking good is looking healthy,

83 confident, and happy. Looking good starts with how you feel about yourself. Remember, your body was designed to carry your brain. Your body can’t think, it takes its orders from the brain. From the types of food you eat to how much sleep and exercise you get, your brain tells your body what to do and your body just responds. So, you can make necessary changes. You have the power. Start to make changes in small, manageable steps. Many habits interact, so changing one may help you change another. No matter

84 which approach you choose, take on starting a new program or changing a habit when you feel strong and ready to give it your all. Set yourself up for success. Get support from family, friends, and co-workers to help support you in your new behaviors. Surround yourself with like-minded, positive people who really want you to succeed. Practice positive self-talk and realize that what you say to yourself is far more important than what is said to you.


Chapter 3: Baby Boomer Boomerang (The Phenomenon Lives On) The group known as the” Baby Boomers” were the unprecedented, largest number of babies born in an 18 year period. They represent the largest generation in American history and their impact is yet to be fully realized. The designation of Baby Boomers is a statistical abstraction, of course. According to sociologists, the Baby Boomers were born between January 1, 1946 and December 31, 1964 and as such, they represent a generation that reaches all the way to the conclusion of World War II, and is just now entering generational maturity. Some would argue that the boomers are redefining the term maturity. In January 2008, the oldest boomers turned 62 and became eligible to collect Social Security benefits. For the next 18 years, a member of the baby boom generation will reach age 62 every eight seconds.

86 Boomers have long been famous for their desire to stay or at least act young. Many predict that they will reshape the nation’s view of old age, as healthier boomers continue to work and stay active much longer than their parents. For years economists have warned that the enormous growth of the senior population will put extreme strains on government entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare; expenditures could rise from the current 8.5(2007-2008) percent of national economic output to 15 percent, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Economists worry that the boomers could upset the economy as they begin to spend down their asset all at once. The boomers have always been a “different breed”. Now, just like a boomerang, they have returned to the forefront of American history. The Boomers have left their mark on every stage of American history they have lived through. There is no reason to think that the Boomers in their

87 “senior years” will be any exception. Beginning in 1946, and ending in 1964 Americans began growing families at an amazing rate. The “Great Depression” was a distant memory, the war was over, times were good, and it seemed that all was right with the world. The generation that had gone to war, and seen the nation through those very tough times had jobs, bought houses, and started having babies; tens of millions of American babies. Sociologically, it was a natural occurrence. Birth rates trend up after all natural disasters or manmade catastrophes. Millions of lives were lost in the war, and in the forties and fifties there was a biological need to replace them. The baby boom was not limited to the United States. The population boom was also experienced by Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The parents of the Baby Boomers hold an illustrious place in American history. That generation gave us more than values,

88 unquestioning patriotism, and leadership. They gave us security and prosperity and they gave us BABIES. In truth, the nation was taken by storm as the Baby Boomers filled the cribs, schools, and playgrounds of America. Before it was all over they had produced nearly eighty million babies. This was the “baby boom” at its height with babies being born at the rate of one every eight seconds. That added up to ten thousand babies a day, totaling four million a year. But what took 18 years for all that booming? Sociologists have well-studied theories on the generation born between 1946 and 1964. Three main hypotheses are given for the sudden explosion. The first theory is that the generation that came of age in the 1930s would normally have married and had children in their twenties and early thirties but had to postpone marriage and childbearing largely because of the economic predicament of the Great Depression. And so, they waited to have children until the

89 middle 1940s when the economy was on the rise. They did so at the same time the GIs were returning from the war and their wives also began starting families, and that’s the second cause of the baby boom. The recently demobilized GIs came home to participate in a time of economic prosperity and “optimism born of conquering global fascism”. The young victors, many still in their twenties, were anxious to marry and start a family. The general euphoria that drove up marriage and births was soon complemented by Cold War- era anxieties over nuclear competition. In an uncertain world, the comforts of home and hearth provided a sense of calm against the atomic angst, and the stabilizing influence of marriage and parenthood offered a strategic advantage in the nation’s struggle against Communism. Coincidentally, these two generations came together and they were having children at the same time, whereas they would have probably

90 spaced those children out ten to fifteen years had circumstances been more normal. The third reason for the baby boom is simply America’s skyrocketing economy, which began to pick up during the war years and accelerated in the 1950s. Accelerated may be too mild a word to describe the growth of the American economy during that time. Finance expert Jeremy Siegel closely examined the postwar economy and reported; “Our parents grew up during the Great Depression and World War II when there was rationing, huge unemployment, when every penny counted and very few people had anything extra. All of a sudden the boys came home, rationing was lifted, and we had a boom. And when we saw that the financial situation was stable, that we weren’t going back into a depression at all…I mean, the fifties were very, very good times.”

91 There is one more explanation for the boom offered by Erica Jong, the author of the liberating novel Fear of Flying. “After World War II, as after every war in history that we know about, probably even the Trojan War, people want to make babies. There’s a great desire to make babies. People fear the population has been depleted. It’s particularly noticeable in the Jewish culture, which I belong to. After the Holocaust, where six million Jews were killed, women wanted to make babies and replace the babies that had been lost. And it was probably true all over Europe. And babies become very valuable after all those deaths; babies become hope, you know. God’s way of saying ‘human life will continue’ is a newborn baby. And everybody feels that. So I think that parents were so dazzled that the war was over and that they were giving new life to the world that they just adored their children”.

92 Other considerations also played a part. Columnist John Steele Gordon notes that the “Servicemen’s Readjustment Act”, better known as the G.I. Bill of Rights, contributed to the rise of the Baby Boom. Interestingly, Gordon notes the “undisclosed aim” of the GI Bill was to delay the entry of returning GIs into the workforce for as long as possible. Most economists expected a return of economic depression following the end of the war. Of course, the reality was the exact opposite. Instead of an economic downturn, the post-war period became the longest sustained period of growth in the American economic history. This prosperity allowed the Baby Boomers to grow up “nestled in the bosom of an economic prosperity”, such as the world had never seen. The boomers grew up to be the richest, most numerous, and most dynamic generation in the history of the world. Now the boomers return to the forefront of history once again. But this time

93 they are in the starring role of the most rapidly aging group in the nation. The Baby Boomers were the first generation to grow up with television in almost every home. T.V. evolved from being a novelty at the start of the baby boom to a near universal household appliance by its end. Between 1948 and 1952, the number of American households with television increased from 172,000 to 15.3 million. Television shows in the fifties and sixties were all about the way things “should be”. Family problems should be able to be resolved, couple should be able to stay married; life should be happy as long as people abided by the basic rules. Television not only created a kind of disconnect, it also created a kind of vision of what could be. It provided pictures of a world one could live in, so the possibility was there. You weren’t there, but you could be there, and in many ways television taught the boomers how the world behaved.

94 The Baby Boomers watched family drama, sitcoms, westerns and cartoons. The programs of the fifties and sixties were dominated by a particular view of what was right and proper. There was a shared moral sense of what things should be. Male or female, black or white, all boomers knew the Cleavers, the Nelsons, and the Ricardos. The media in those days focused more on the “ideal” families and the “American way of life.” The boomers soon discovered, the television portrayal of life was a far cry from the real America of the fifties. When the boomers came of age, apparently the Beaver and company somehow failed to fill the “new” need, the teenage boomers went shopping for something a little more “real”. American Bandstand represented an exciting, appealing world for teens. It gave them a look at a world they weren’t in, but could be in someday. As the boomers grew, so did their quest to be different form their parents and

95 all that was expected of them. And the age of the brooding and rebellious teenager was born. Blue jeans, T-shirts, and leather jackets became the uniform of the boomer generation, and their parents became concerned. A new phrase came into vogue in the late fifties: suddenly the teen boomers were also known as a “bunch of juvenile delinquents”. Boomers identified strongly with James Dean and Marlon Brando because they were irreverent renegades and represented the growing restlessness of boomer teens. As the teen boomers became more defiant, other sectors of society grew restless and the social climate of the fifties had no choice, it had to change. Up to this point in boomer history, black people were kept separate. Women were told to stay home. Gays were told to stay in the closet. People who prayed to a different God or wanted to do their own thing, express their personal freedom, or protect the environment

96 were told to keep quiet; in one way or another. And so society, on the surface seemed like a nice, calm, peaceful place. But for a lot of minorities, women, and people who were outside the mainstream, it was a very uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous place. Women could not get credit or home mortgages without a husband. Jobs for women were limited, if at all available. The majority of Americans at that time felt that an unmarried woman was sick, immoral, or neurotic. If you were gay, you could be imprisoned. If your parents thought you were gay, they could have you locked up for psycho therapy. In the 1950’s, if you were a man with a beard walking in a residential community, the police might have stopped you and asked you what you were doing there. In fact, if you grew a beard, it wasn’t unusual to be told you might be a Communist. Racism was institutionalized in America and there were bigots everywhere.

97 People wanted to believe that racism only existed in the South, where Jim Crow laws were prominent and enforced, but in truth , racism was everywhere in America. The Federal Housing Administration redlined all of its mortgages. As an institution, the FHA did not consider area that were racially integrated or economically integrated as safe for investment. If you were a white baby boomer, you probably grew up in a suburb; if you were an African American, Latino, or Asian baby boomer, you probably didn’t. That fact came about as a result of the way federal subsidies worked. Of course this is a hypothetical example and does not apply to everyone in any of the named groups. The Civil Rights Movement was borne of blood and violence because America was not prepared to treat all its citizens equally, as promised in the Constitution, and the Boomers refused to allow the injustices to blacks to continue. They refused to turn a “blind eye and a

98 deaf ear” to the atrocities that were being committed, unlike the generations before them. The modern Civil Rights movement in America dates from the 1954 Supreme Court decision in the case of Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. Prior to that, a few prominent blacks and dedicated groups had challenged discriminatory legal statues and practices that maintained the inferior status of blacks. But a majority of blacks accommodated themselves to the laws of segregation that regulated not only the South, but all of American society. The Brown decision striking down segregation in public schools, and the later success of the Montgomery bus boycott, electrified ordinary blacks and white activists alike, and marked the end of scattered protest and the beginning of an identifiable movement. The civil rights movement is important for the rapid advancement blacks gained during a relatively short period, but also significant are the lasting

99 changes it effected in American political processes, legal theories, and governmental policies. Various groups and organizations in the civil rights movement employed different tactics to try to achieve the same goals. The most successful early groups filed legal claims, befriended politicians, and lobbied governmental authorities to advance the cause of legal rights. The most vocal groups during the 1950s and 1960s marched, protested, and risked jail to win public empathy, provoke segregationists, and force federal government to enforce civil rights. Some groups sought the assimilation of blacks into mainstream American society. Some groups wanted an independent and equal position within American society for blacks. Some groups adhered to a philosophy of nonviolence. Others pushed for retaliation against racial violence inherent in the system of segregation. Regardless of how it was done, the civil rights

100 movement was a time in America where the course of historical development was thrust into a different direction. By definition a turning point is a great event, but it is even more; a great event with the explosive impact of altering the trend of man’s life on this planet. The Baby Boomers were instrumental in bringing about this turning point in American society, leaving effects and outcomes that have changed the course of history. The older American population had grown to approximately 35 million people over 65 in the year 2000. That figure was a ten-fold surge from statistics of 1900. That number will grow rapidly with each year after 2011 when adults from the Baby Boomer generation will join the ranks. By the year 2030, one in every five people in the United States will be over age 65 in an aging population of 70 million. The high birthrate following World War II produced the Baby Boomer generation that is moving

101 gradually from the work force into retirement. In 1975 Louis Harris & Associates, polling specialists, accurately predicted the significance of the Baby Boomer aging, as part of the coming wave of aging adults, along with aging immigrants and advances in medical technology. Fortunately, the boomers are growing old at an opportune time. The nature of aging is changing. Many boomers feel younger than their parents did at the same age. Life expectancy has gone up significantly during the boomer’s lifetimes, as has “health expectancy”. Fewer seniors suffer from chronic disabilities than was the case 25 years ago. Today, millions of seniors and baby boomers can choose to live active and productive lives until a later age. The percentage of Americans working in their late 60s has shot up by more than half since 1985. Surveys conducted by AARP show that up to 80 percent of boomers intend to work past age 65. Many have expressed the desire to pursue entirely new

102 careers in the second half of life. Still it remains an open question as to how much longer the boomers will actually work; and whether those who want to work will be able to find work that is more “meaningful” or lucrative than, say being a greeter at Wal-mart. A number of non-profit and job placement services have sprung up to help seniors interested in gainful employment, but some observers doubt boomers will be able much more than previous generations did during retirement years. At the same time, healthcare and government sectors realize that boomers make up a disproportionately large share of their workforces so they are offering accommodations to keep seniors on longer. By 2010, an estimated 26 million workers will be 55 or over; a 46 percent increase since 2000. The percentage of those who say they are exercising 100 or more days per year has jumped 33 percent. “Compared to older people in the past, boomers will actually have a

103 greater opportunity and ability to live a youthful old age”, write J. Walker Smith and Anne Clurman, senior executives at the Yankelovich consumer research firm which coined the term “baby boomer”. “Four decades of Yankelovich research”, they write in their 2007 book, Generation Ageless, “has found out one thing about boomers over and over again; an unwavering determination not to get old”. According to a 1996 survey, boomers believed old age began at age 79, and at that time life expectancy was just over 76 years. As Smith and Clurman point out in Generation Ageless, boomers literally thought they would die before they got old. “Boomers are not going to give up their aspirations for youthfulness”’ Smith says. “It is the defining characteristic of the boomer sensibility”. It is very clear the boomers intend to age very differently from their parents. They won’t all be exercise demons or work full time.

104 But because there are so many boomers, trends that take root in even a small percentage of them can potentially have an enormous impact on society. The fact that the boomers are coming of old age at a time when life expectancy is rising could pose some demographic and economic challenges. But many sociologists and gerontologists believe the generation that refuses to grow up can change how Americans think and feel about aging, in positive ways. “There’s no question that we’re going to change the meaning of ‘late life’”, says Joel Achenbaum, the University of Houston historian. Boomers turned aerobics into a multi-billion dollar industry and created the jogging fad in the 1970s. Though not everyone has been, is, or aspires to be a marathon runner, boomers are now returning to fitness training centers in record numbers. Millions of people over 60 ride the bikes across the country and run marathons, which is not really news today.

105 The Baby Boomers started life in a society of great material security. The “cornucopia” experienced by the Baby Boomers as children was translated into billions of dollars worth of hula-hoops, Davy Crockett raccoonskin caps, Hop-along Cassidy six-shooters, bikes and tricycles. The boomers popularized everything from hula hoops to bell bottoms. If the boomers said it was “in”, it was “in”. The first rock record had a secret, defiant meaning for kids whose parents were listening to softer sounds. The success of Bill Haley’s 1954 “Rock Around the Clock” was the first clue teenagers had that they might be a force to be reckoned with in numbers alone. The oldest boomers had been listening to Elvis, Buddy Holly, and the Big Bopper for some time while the young Mr. Presley and his pelvic gyrations sent many parents into near shock when he was finally endorsed by Ed Sullivan as a “fine young man”. Following the surprise

106 appearance of Elvis; enter the Beatles. The British invasion heralded the era of rebellion which brought with it drugs, a different way of dress, a different way to look, and unusually bold lyrics. It was also the period of time that African-American music found its way into the mainstream for the first time. The “new” music began to unite black and white Americans. It was the first interracial experience for all of them; black and white. The advent of rock’n’ roll music separated the boomers from their parents and created a feeling of freedom from the restraints that were imposed on their older siblings and certainly their parents. The boomers felt free to participate in the Civil Rights Movement, a movement that not only wasn’t there when their parent’s were their age, but became more appealing to them because of the “cross-over” experiences they had with music. The boomers listened to music on the radio

107 where the music wasn’t segregated like the music makers were. They ultimately discovered that the stereotyped world of their parents was not the real world, and they set out to create their own reality. Not everything was sunshine and light for the boomers. A big part of the emphasis on education was fueled by the competition in science and engineering with the Soviet Union, which challenged the United States’ superiority when it launched the world’s first satellite, Sputnik I, into space on October 4th, 1957. Then, in a world where children practiced “duck and cover” drills at school and the government encouraged citizens to build bomb shelters in their back yards, the Cold War was large and looming in the boomer consciousness. The baby boomers never forgot that their world could end someday in the flash of light and heat while they crouched helplessly in basements and make-shift bomb shelters. Even though the Boomers were

108 born in a time of great prosperity, it was an odd combination of having more, materially, and than any other generation of Americans, and at the same time grappling with the real fear that “it could all end”. For many boomers the lesson learned from the Cold War, the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 and the assassination of John F. Kennedy the following year, was carpe diem; seize the day. Perhaps as a result the boomers developed a philosophy that stressed the pursuit of personal fulfillment rather than focusing on mundane concerns, such as making a living. Many boomers rejected the “plastic” values of their parents. During the Free Speech Movement that began in 1964 at the University of California, Berkley, protester Jack Weinberg told a reporter, “We have a saying in the movement, never trust anyone over 30”, encapsulating an attitude that rejected the values of the past. The Free Speech Movement inaugurated an era of student protests, largely

109 focusing on the Vietnam War. Had the boomer trusted what the government was telling the people in the fifties, sixties and seventies, things might never have changed. So the distrust of the status quo actually turned out to be beneficial. The questioning and distrust of the government was good because so many rebelled against the things that were wrong with America that America changed, and changed for the better. It is predicted that the boomers are going to see themselves as young for a much longer period of time and act accordingly. Sheer numbers alone are going cause a change in societal perception. Just look at number of people over 50 are where you are right now. As you see more and more old people staying active, working full-time, and leading vibrant lives, the perceptions about “being older” will change. Boomers are going to redefine what it means to be old. Whether boomers resort to rocking chairs and playing with their grandchildren or end up changing the

110 nature of old age by living ‘longer and stronger’, staying healthier and continuing to work past 65, there are so many of them that American society must change in profound ways to adapt to this new senior population. As the boomers prepare to change the nature of senior citizenship; the world prepares for them. The Baby Boomer generation is the group who started the Civil Rights Movement and helped eliminate racial segregation by law in this country. They openly protested against the Vietnam War and preached “free love” that liberalized sex practices. These are the people who gave life to an environmental movement that began with Earth Day 1970 and led to the establishment of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Endangered Species Act. The boomers were the first generation to focus on earth issues and corrective measures to halt or eliminate environmentally destructive practices. The boomers took an older woman’s

111 movement and gave it new life. This is the group that set the model for all these other groups, for how they should behave and how they should fight for their freedoms. It is amazing to look back on all the movements the boomers gave life to. It’s not that the boomers invented these issues but they gave life to them. And because the number of boomers is so enormous, these movements and acts are a permanent part of American life and culture. Many of the dynamic changes resulted from the boomer proclivity to question authority. The old procedures, old standards, and old methodologies, all came up for question; no matter how tried and true. “Because we’ve always done it that way” was not an acceptable answer for the boomer generation. Now, the Baby Boomer generation stands at the height of its political power. We will need that power to reform programs that are not ready to handle the boomerang of the aging

112 Boomers. When the baby boomers were still just babies, the country’s leaders made a conscious decision to invest in research to develop vaccines and cures for childhood diseases. As a result, afflictions such as diphtheria, smallpox, whooping cough and polio, which once killed and maimed thousands of children every year, were all but eradicated. Vaccines for chicken pox, measles, and mumps became standard practice in this country. As the babies grew, we built whole new suburbs to house them, fast-food restraints to feed them, and schools and universities to educate them. Consequently, the United States became a better, stronger, and more productive society. Now, even the youngest boomers have passed 40 and are moving into middle age. When they were kids, 50 was considered old. But perceptions have, and will continue to change. It’s a sure sign of change when “old people’s homes” with specially tailored

113 recreation facilities and new communities are springing up across the nation. And just as when the boomers were young, the research and medical communities are focused on attacking their health problems, only this time the ones associated with aging. This effort alone may make a huge difference. Disability among older people is already decreasing. If successful treatments for arthritis, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease are discovered, the nursing home population could be cut in half. The millions of people who would be fee from these debilitating diseases would enjoy a much improved quality of live and be able to retain more of their independence and dignity. Everybody knows that longevity and the huge number of aging boomers will have a significant impact on this country. What we don’t know is how we should adapt to these new realities. The collective “we”, individuals, institutions, communities, businesses, and

114 government, don’t share a common vision of the societal changes that will have to be made as the vast majority of the population ages. We know from the experiences of older people today that shortsighted public policies and imprudent private sector practices threaten to smother many boomers ambitions of an active, productive comfortably-financed second half of life. For example, our current health care delivery focuses mainly on providing acute care, while more and more people are living with chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and coronary artery disease. At last estimate, over 45 million people are uninsured. Our society is aging, but new doctors are not studying geriatric medicine. While the cost of health care goes up, the quality of care is going down. At the same time, people are being asked to take more personal responsibility for their own health care costs. Out-of-pocket spending for prescription drugs and long-term care are the

115 greatest health-related expenses, creating a financial risk for older Americans. Even many of those who have access to affordable health care are in danger, as costs for care and insurance continue to increase daily. While there are many fit and healthy people over age fifty, many others are shortening their lives with sedentary lifestyles. Poor physical fitness puts people at greater risk for potentially fatal diseases such as high blood pressure and heart disease. In addition, the increasing incidence of obesity among all agegroups in this country threatens to reverse many of the strides made in health and longevity over the past decades. Meanwhile, retirement is being reinvented with each passing year. As more people live longer and healthier lives, they are looking for ways to continue to contribute to society while finding personal fulfillment in their own lives. Many are going back to school,

116 volunteering, or caring for an elderly parent. Regardless of what they are involved in, they don’t see life after fifty as a time to shift into neutral or slow down. But far too few boomers have saved enough to finance the lifestyle they want. The demands of raising their children, being maxed out at the top of the pay scale on their jobs, and the ever-increasing cost of living make it hard for them to save what will be needed should they ever be able to retire. At the same time, companies and businesses are cutting back on traditional pensions in favor of taxadvantaged saving and investment plans that make retirement income less secure. (Remember the Enron disaster and all the people whose hard earned retirement funds vanished into thin air). They are also trimming or eliminating retiree health care. So even those who planned well for retirement may only be one major medical episode from seeing it all go up in smoke.

117 Many Baby Boomers will have to or want to go on working into their so-called retirement years. With all the anticipation surrounding the baby boomers’ retirement, it’s rarely mentioned that in 2012 the generation that follows the boomers will probably be unable to fill all the available jobs. Some of the “smarter” companies, aware of the impending shortfall and eager to retain the skills and experience of their more mature workers, are encouraging the fifty, sixty, and seventy-plus workers to stay on the job. But some are still pushing the notion of early retirement or simply escorting their older workers to the door. This shortsightedness is bad for those who want or need to continue working to earn the money they need to live comfortably into the next stage of their lives and its detrimental to the well-being of the country as a whole. As the baby-boom generation ages, it has taken on an almost mythical quality. The

118 entire group of people has been lumped into one group and thought of as all “the same” in thoughts, words, actions, and lifestyles. But a recent research study conducted at Duke University found that boomers are a diverse group of individuals whose experiences differ not only from those of previous generations, but also from each other. Duke sociologists, Mary Hughes and Angela O’Rand analyzed numbers from the 2000 census to learn more about the generation born between 1946 and 1964. Their research provides a more in-depth snapshot of baby- boomers at middle age. When most people think about the baby-boom generation, they think about cultural and political hallmarks such as the Selma March, the mining of the Hanoi Harbor, and Woodstock, which were events shared by some of the boomers, the ones born in the early part of the baby boom. What most people fail to realize is that the boom lasted 18 years and the experiences of the later boomers

119 were significantly different form those of their older brothers and sisters, and in terms of social impact, it’s very significant. For example, in my own family there was an 18 year difference between my mother and her sister. Although most people use the term “generation”, demographers refer to it more correctly as a “cohort”, which is a group of people who experience a particular event at a particular time. Looking at how social change intersects with individual lives impacts people as they grow up. This is why the baby-boomers are continuing to reshape our society. They didn’t think like their parents did. And because of the size of this set of cohorts, it’s definitely of sociological interest. In their youth, the boomers crowded elementary schools, junior high schools, high schools and colleges, and the labor market. Because of the size of the generation, its timing, and its impact, the lore of the baby boomer has grown. There is now a huge bulge

120 of aging people in our population, and the beliefs and behaviors of these groups are going to create societal changes. According to the Duke study, there were actually two groups of baby-boomers; the early and the late boomers. The early boomers were born between 1946 and 1955; late boomers between 1956 and 1964. The latest of the late boomers were born the year of the Beatles’ first American tour and the earliest of the early boomers would have been eighteen years old and screaming in the audience. Nearly one-third of late boomers are minorities: Asian, Hispanic, or Black. In the early boomer group, the proportion of minorities is about 25 percent. Another factor that contributed to the diversity of the baby boomers was immigration; 12 percent of early boomers and nearly 15 percent of late boomers are immigrants. As this demographic bulge continues to move through the system, the differences among

121 boomers will continue as the generation ages. Since the baby-boomer generation is more unequal than others, it is not surprising that the boomers have the highest wage inequality of any recent generation. While some head into old age wealthy, many others will remain poor or be pushed into poverty. Families cannot necessarily be counted on to take care of the aged. Baby boomers are likely to extend midlife well into what used to be considered “old age”. Some will seize the opportunity to remain active and involved; others will have to stay in the work force to meet daily needs such as paying a mortgage, or rent, and buying food. All of these factors mean that there is no one answer to the question of how to deal with aging boomers. Policy makers will have to take into account the Mc Donald’s cashier as well as the doctor; the immigrant with no savings as well as the wealthy corporate lawyer. In many ways the boomers’ life experiences represent the postwar

122 transformation of American society. Americans’ ideas about race, gender, sexuality, and the family were profoundly altered. Parenthood changed, the labor force was transformed, and old age was redefined. And in the whole group of boomers, there is much more diversity, on all levels, than anyone ever realized.

123 Chapter 4: Aging With Attitude; Because Attitude really is Everything (You’re as old as YOU let Yourself Feel) Hardly a day goes by without the word “attitude” coming up in conversation. It may be used as a complaint or a compliment. It could mean the difference between a promotion or a demotion. It can be the driving force behind our successes, or our failures. Sometimes we sense it, other times we see it. Yet it is difficult to explain. The very fact that the attitude “makes some” while “breaking others” is significant enough for us to explore its importance. Research has shown that our attitude at the beginning of any situation will affect its outcome more than anything else. Coaches understand the importance of their team having the right attitude before facing a tough opponent. Surgeons want to see their patients mentally prepared before going into surgery. Job-seekers know that their prospective employer is looking

124 for more than just skills when they apply for work. Public speakers want a receptive atmosphere before they communicate with their audience. Why? Because the right attitude in the beginning insures success at the end. As Kahil Gibran once wrote, “How the thing begins is how it shall end”. Of course you’ve heard the phrase “attitude is everything” and it is certainly true in most cases. All of our feelings, beliefs and knowledge are based on our thoughts, both conscious and subconscious. Thoughts are very powerful. They affect our general attitude. We are in control of our thoughts, whether we know it or not. Our attitude can be positive or negative, enthusiastic or dull, active or passive. The type of attitude you carry around depends on you. The choice is always your own. In general, attitude is a mind-set, a state of mind. Attitudes encompass our opinions and beliefs and are based on our experiences.

125 More formally, an attitude is a learned internal state of mind that influences personal decision making with respect to some activity or person. Attitudes are a result of learning, with positive attitudes developed from positive experiences and negative attitudes developed from negative experiences. New attitudes can be developed, and existing attitudes can be changed. One of the most important powers we have as human beings is the ability to say yes or no. Yes, stay the way we’ve always been, or no and take a risk and try something new. Many of life’s pivotal events happen because we change our mind and our attitude about what we want out of life. Life reflects on the outside the inner attitudes you have on the inside. If you don’t take care of your body and your health, your inner attitude is directly reflected in your outward appearance. If you don’t particularly like what you see when you look in the mirror, you develop an opinion about your reflection and

126 you probably experience some negative emotions. An attitude is born when an opinion is endorsed by emotion. Subjective conclusions and beliefs about facts of information form our opinions. An opinion is not based on objective truth, but on subjective judgment that may or may not be true. Our opinions are the root cause of our negative attitudes about our bodies, our goals, and our lives. Re-read the paragraph and really think about the sequence of thought. It makes sense doesn’t it? Unconsciously, we all seem to know that optimism and a positive attitude are virtues and that and a negative outlook is something to be concerned about. There are actually a host of concrete reasons that having a positive attitude is good for you. Medically speaking, anxiety and stress can do a lot of damage to the body and a bad attitude can have a significant impact on your health. Instead of viewing your body as hopeless in its current state, view it as something

127 that needs to be changed and then change it. Every challenge in your life and every seemingly impossible obstacle is actually a brilliant opportunity for you to show just how far you can push yourself to accomplish your goals. Expect some difficulties along the way and accept that they are an inevitable part of life. One way to get through difficult times when it is hard to “drum up” a positive attitude is by practicing “the Big O”, which stands for optimism. I used to think being optimistic was all hype, but now I know being optimistic really works. Whenever I encounter a problem or challenge , I try to extract the positive meaning from the experience. It isn’t easy to look at problems this way, as a matter of fact, it isn’t the way our brains normally function, but the alternative view only makes a bad situation worse. I ask myself, what is in this for me to learn? The more you can train yourself to respond optimistically to what life throws

128 your way, the stronger your ability to effectively handle any situation. Optimism can be learned, just like anything else. You can teach yourself through repetition. Convince yourself to willfully think positive as often as possible. We mentally talk to ourselves all the time. We give ourselves more feedback than anyone else possibly could. Self-talk can be positive or negative, and it can affect all areas of our lives, such as health, finances, relationships, and fitness. Self-talk is very powerful. Self-talk sends the same chemical messages to your brain as experiences do. Your body and brain believes your self-talk. What you say to yourself is far more important than what is said to you. As we age we have a tendency to be hyper-critical of our looks and our bodies. We see a wrinkle here, and a sag there and we begin the endless negative self monologue. We need to stop the litany of negativity. Being negative about what we see in the mirror certainly won’t

129 change the facts. We only make ourselves feel worse and discourage ourselves from changing the aspects of our bodies that we can change. We need to replace every negative thought with a positive one. We need to concentrate on consciously replacing the negative self-talk. It is a hard habit to break, but it is worth the effort because it is a habit that does not serve us well. Again, we need to make a conscious effort to replace negative thoughts, negative self-talk, and negative actions with positive ones. Negative self-talk is discouraging, while positive self talk is encouraging and helps us achieve our goals. When we engage in negative self-talk we convince ourselves that our efforts are futile. This belief leads to feelings of worthlessness and failure. Theses feelings make it easier for us to fall victim to even more negative thoughts, which eventually snowball into feelings of despair and defeat. When you say negative things to yourself your heart beats

130 faster, you breathe more shallowly, your stomach tightens, and adrenalin clouds your thinking. This negative self-talk creates stress in your mind and your body. However, when we engage in positive self-talk, we convince our minds and ourselves that all things are possible. By focusing on the positive we are able to believe in and realize a desirable outcome. If you truly believe that you can turn a negative situation into a positive asset, then you will. Through repeated positive self-talk you will see any possible affirmative out come as a fact of life, not as an impossible dream. In 2000, psychologists Seligman and colleagues began to look closely at what is now known as the positive psychology movement. Their findings revealed that people should be encouraged to adopt behaviors and mental practices that are “good” for them, and positive self-talk can be viewed as one of those practices. Studies show that being positive and

131 optimistic can affect how well you live and effect how long you live. The benefits of positive selftalk are numerous and include: a sense of wellbeing, less stress, reduced risk of coronary artery disease, and living longer. We can talk ourselves into or out of anything. We are constantly processing information from the time we wake up until we lay down to sleep. And throughout the span of everyday, we are talking to ourselves in our heads. You may not even be aware of the things you say to yourself. The first step is to notice the kinds of things that you say to yourself, and then make a conscious effort to change your self-talk from negative to positive. I guarantee it will be a process that takes time and you will never be “perfect” at being positive 100 percent of the time, but any positive thought is 100 percent better than a negative one. I catch myself all the time, but I do a lot less negative self-talk now than I once did. We all seem to be particularly

132 hard on ourselves, finding fault with parts of ourselves that others, frankly, just don’t see. The change starts with making yourself aware of your thoughts. Choose the words you use carefully. Try to phrase things in the present. For example, instead of saying “I never stick to an exercise plan”, say “I will exercise today”, and then do it. Talk to yourself about the way you want things to be. Accept occasional setbacks and mistakes as normal and natural and understand that any kind of change from our ‘normal’ behavior takes time. Accept them as part of the process, and move on. Focus on the solution, rather than the problem. Tell your- self what you “can do” instead of what you “can’t”. Be careful of words like “always” and “never”. These words are too dramatic and often cause us to make things worse than they really are. Instead of saying, “I never stick to a diet”, say “I can watch what I eat, and that’s a start.” Every time you hear yourself being negative,

133 replace self criticism with self praise. Try not to be so hard on yourself and learn to focus on the “good” in you and all that is “good” about you. I’m sure there is a lot more than you tell yourself. We all have a lot to be thankful for, no matter what situation or body we find ourselves in at the moment. It is important to remind ourselves of all the ‘gifts’ we have been given and to be positive and grateful about them. Take a minute to think about all of the positives in your life. Include things like your health, your family, your friends, and goals you have accomplished. Remember everything that you have to be thankful for or that you are happy about. Try to think of as many small things as big things. Make an effort to think of them again each night before you go to bed in order to end the day on a high note and prepare yourself to start the day in a positive state of mind. Just thinking of these things alone will hopefully fill

134 your heart with warmth and gratitude and help you to keep your positive attitude and positive self-talk on track. Lifestyle changes are especially hard as we get older. Most of us live in a world of denial, where believe that we can choose to not exercise and not be active, but still maintain the sleek, toned exterior we once had. We refuse to realize that in order to just maintain what we have, we are going to have be dedicated, persistent and work harder than we ever have. And since the reality of what it will take to get and maintain a healthy, fit body doesn’t really appeal to us we start concocting reasons why we can’t get fit. We’ve heard them all before. We have even used them a time or two. We call them reasons, but they are really excuses in a thinly veiled disguise. You think up all of the many reasons why you can’t loose weight, can’t find the time to exercise, or can’t eat right.

135 These pseudo-reasons are really excuses and they insidiously keep us from reaching our goals and living up to our full potential. At some point in our lives, we begin to hold ourselves hostage with our excuses. By definition, hostages aren’t free and they certainly aren’t happy, so why to we let our excuses keep us from living the way we know that we should? Part of the reason we make up and use excuses is because it’s easier than changing a bad habit or starting something new. Especially as we age, we have a hard time with change, even if it is for the better. We tell ourselves that we like things “just the way they are”, even when we really don’t. Sometimes we are too complacent or too lazy to make the necessary changes that will improve our lives. And sometimes we are secretly paralyzed by the fear of “failure”. Somewhere along the line we’ve adopted a defeatist’s attitude. True, it does require more effort, and take longer to see

136 results, but shaping up an over-50 body can be done. People do it everyday and the only difference between you and them is your attitude. When I’ve asked family, friends and co-workers why they don’t exercise, I get answers like, ”I don’t have time to exercise “, “I’m too old to start now”, “I can’t do it with my family in the house”, or “I don’t care how I look now, so why should I bother?” People don’t seem to understand that exercise is more about health then vanity. Besides, as you get older the old “move it or loose it” adage becomes truer with each passing year. So day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, people sit back and idly watch while their health and vitality slowly fade away. I don’t know about you, but those answers sound like the by-product of an ‘already beaten attitude’. How in the world are you ever going to get to the next level

137 of any place in life if you don’t believe that you can get there? People, who think they can’t be active, sit. And even when they do work-out it’s usually not any type of consistent activity, so they never see any results. People, who think they are old, act old. They have an old attitude and really aren’t any fun to be around. On the other hand, people like my dad who is well into his eighties, are vibrant fun and full of life despite what he refers to as “the aches and pains of old age.” This is one occasion in your life where your attitude really is everything. What you believe about yourself and your aging can either make you or break you, literally. This is the question of attitude, the question of how we chose to subjectively interpret significant age-related challenges as they arise in our lives. The point here is that our attitude toward aging may be even more important to our happiness in the second half of

138 life, than the changes themselves. Our attitude will determine whether we respond to agerelated changes by rolling over and giving in or whether we take steps to maximize our health and our involvement in life. Our attitude will also determine whether we interpret aging as an indication of personal decline and worthlessness, or whether we view aging as an opportunity to find new paths in life. With respect to physical changes, I want to point out that our objective health is certainly important, but our attitude about our health and our ability to continue to be active is just as important. For example, one person with a back problem might respond by stopping all physical activity, while another person may continue to choose to be active despite having to modify the level of activity and endure occasional pain. The person who continues to be active benefits in two ways; first he or she still gets pleasure from the activity, and secondly

139 being active may in some way slow down the progression of stiffness in the vertebrae, which in turn allows the person to continue enjoying the activity even longer. This person will quite likely be satisfied with his life, even though occasional discomfort may occur. The importance of how we choose to look at our lives has been pointed out by Martin Seligman in his book, Learned Optimism. This book was written for people in general, not just for those approaching or past 50. However Seligman’s observations are especially relevant for people over 50 because he was concerned with teaching us how to respond to stress. Well, we have seen that many people over 50 do tend to experience a great many stressors as we grow older, and we have also seen that the way in which we respond to these stressors will determine our psychological adjustment and our satisfaction with life. Therefore Seligman’s

140 ideas regarding the importance of maintaining positive outlook are particularly important for us. Some people are naturally optimistic and positive, and others are naturally pessimistic and negative. Many of you who are reading this book will have an optimistic frame of reference already. After all, you bought this book because you wanted to investigate ideas to help you get the most out of your second half of life. Just the fact that you are looking for ways to enhance, improve and enjoy your life implies that you are oriented toward taking positive action aimed at making your life better. Much of the information that I have discussed in the book up to this point has been intended at confirming the view that the future can be bright if you want it to be. By reading this far you have already given yourself a good deal of information supporting the fact that life after 50 can be a healthy, happy, and productive period. Furthermore, in the remainder of the book I hope to stimulate your

141 thinking regarding steps you can take to maximize your well-being with respect to a broad number of issues that many of us face as we grow older. On the other hand, some of you who are reading this book may have more of a negative view of life. Maybe you’ve been feeling discontented and depressed, dreading the prospect of aging, but you haven’t done anything to improve your situation. Maybe you are one of those people who tend to accept life’s difficulties without doing everything in your power to minimize their negative impact. You may have rationalized that getting older is “going down hill” and that there is nothing you can do to change that fact. Maybe you didn’t even go out and buy this book because you wanted feel better about yourself and your life. Maybe you came across this book by accident, or maybe a friend gave it to you because he or she thought you needed and attitude adjustment. Whatever the

142 case, give some thought to the question of whether you are positive or negative in your outlook on life. If you think that you could have a better attitude toward enhancing your health and happiness as you move beyond 50, there are things that you can do to improve your life. Although we are getting older, in many ways this is a great time of life. You are freer to follow your own pursuits. You know who you are and what things in life are important to you. You have probably mastered your career and enjoy being proficient in your field. You have more time to take care of yourself. Despite the physical changes, you still have plenty of “good material” left to work with. You may no longer be in your prime but you have plenty of “good life” left in your heart and soul. By changing your thinking from ‘poor me’ to ‘powerful me’, and your attitude from ‘sad’ to SASSY, you can take full advantage of these vibrant, exciting years.

143 A positive mind anticipates happiness, joy, health, and a successful outcome of every situation and action. Whatever the mind expects, it finds. Positive thinking is a mental attitude that cultivates thoughts, images, and words that are conducive to success, expansion and growth. It is a mental attitude that expects good and favorable outcomes. However, not everyone accepts or believes in positive thinking. Some consider the whole premise nonsense, while others scoff at those who accept and believe it. Basically, positive thinking and positive attitude are just two more extensions of the ‘law of attraction’. Simply put, whatever you believe, you will attract. Thoughts are under your control. Altering one’s mindset can open up a whole new world; this is the power of positive thinking. Positive thinking brings inner peace, success, improved relationships, better health, happiness and contentment. It helps the daily affairs of life

144 move more smoothly, and makes life look bright and promising. Effective positive thinking that brings results is much more that just repeating a few positive words and telling yourself everything is going to be alright. There is no magic formula or quick fix to get you to change the way you think about yourself or your life. In the beginning of any new process, you will not always be successful with your new strategies. There will be days when you do extremely well with keeping your thoughts positive. But there will also be days when you feel stuck and can’t squeeze a positive thought out of your brain. Realize these occurrences are a normal part of changing any pattern. Hang in there, and don’t let these negative thoughts stop you. Try to use the ‘negative thinking’ days as learning experiences that can teach you how to take control of your thoughts. There is no such thing as smooth progress when we are learning

145 or adapting to something new. It is important to

look at the “big picture” rather than being hard on yourself by making day-to-day comparisons. You will get there; it takes time and real desire to change thinking. To possess true positive thinking, it has to become our predominant mental attitude. It’s not enough to think positively for a few moments, then let fear and lack of conviction take over your mind. In order to reap the benefits of positive thinking you have to step out of your comfort zones, take the necessary actions, concentrate your efforts, and do the ‘inner work.’ It is possible to make a real change in the way you think. It is possible for you to develop mental power that can positively affect you, your environment and the people around you. Everyone wants to be in control of their life. This is one of the most compelling desires of all human beings. There is no worse

146 feeling than being out of control, feeling that other people or external circumstances govern what we do and when and how we do it. We feel like puppets on a string, being yanked back and forth by forces over which we have no influence. When we allow something or someone else control our lives, we are neither happy, nor healthy, and we don’t experience inner satisfaction. When we control our attitude towards life and the world we live in, we then regain control of ourselves. It doesn’t matter what other people think. The opinions of others often deter us from setting goals and trying to change. If we fail, people will think we’re good for nothing. If we succeed, people may not like the way we changed. If you accept yourself and elevate your attitude and live according to what you feel is best for you, the world will accept you too.

147 Your attitude can have a great impact on the level of success in anything you do. We have the ability to change our current attitude and adopt a positive attitude no matter what challenges and roadblocks are thrown our way. We can all work on our attitudes and practice being positive in our ‘self-talk’. Whatever we decide to do in life, our attitude will have a profound effect on the accomplishments we achieve. It has recently been suggested in several studies that those individuals who are optimistic about life as they age and have a positive attitude live longer. Whether this is cause or effect is uncertain. It is also unknown exactly how some people find ways to develop a positive attitude and make themselves happier. Feeling empowered and having some degree of control over their lives seemed to increase people’s happiness and has been associated with longevity.

148 Part of the reason that we can’t change our attitudes and try a new lifestyle is because we are secure in our comfort zones. We develop ‘comfort zones’ unknowingly, they are part of living like breathing and sleeping. Your comfort zone is a place where you feel comfortable, safe, and secure. In fact, we all have a natural tendency to gravitate to our comfort zones. Comfort zones can be very hard to leave, especially as we get older. We want to feel comfortable with ourselves and we are less likely to seek even positive change. External or physical comfort zones are easy to understand. We all have a favorite chair, a favorite place where we feel secure and comfortable. But these are not the only type of comfort zones we have. We also sometimes develop mental, emotional, and psychological comfort zones. These can be much more difficult to leave than our physical comfort zones.

149 An old friend of mine (I’ll call her Debbie) was a beautiful woman inside and out, who happened to be painfully overweight. She was a good nurse, a wonderful wife and mother with a gentle, sensitive soul. In fact, her weight became such an issue for her that she would rarely attend any social events and wound up going only to and from work. She had two young, school-aged children but she refused to attend any of the school functions or interact with any of the other parents because of her weight. She had tried and failed on multiple diets and seemed to have given up on becoming a healthy weight. Her husband became increasingly frustrated with her continuous eating and lack of motivation to the point of separation and subsequent divorce. She dove deeper and deeper into her eating comfort zone, ballooning up to nearly 300 pounds. One day when the youngest child caught her eating and crying she asked her mother, “Mommy why are

150 you eating so much? Are you trying to kill yourself with food? Don’t you love us anymore?” That moment proved to be the turning point for the young mother of two. Now, it’s obvious that Debbie needed to change if she was going to be healthy and happy in life. She needed to leave her comfort zone. But it might be helpful to understand that she was dealing with more than one comfort zone, as most of us do. Her home represented a physical comfort zone. When she felt overwhelmed by her emotional surroundings, she retreated into the comfort of eating. Venturing away from her internal comfort zone proved to be more difficult, but ultimately more important than leaving the physical comfort zone of her home. Before that fateful scene in the kitchen, Debbie had no internal motivation to change. Her children became the catalyst for her to really think about and to look at her life.

151 To truly get motivated about anything, you have to really want it. Motivation is the inner power or energy that pushes us into action. Motivation has a lot to do with desire and ambition. Motivation is more about overcoming laziness than lack of desire. Your desires are what they are, and trying to motivate yourself to do something you don’t really want to do or something that is very challenging requires an attitude adjustment. Attitude and motivation go hand-in- hand. A positive attitude fuels motivation. Motivation is usually strong when one has a clear vision of a certain situation or achievement and also has a strong desire to “make it happen”. Motivation pushes us forward toward taking action to make the vision a reality. In order to get motivated, you need to know exactly what it is that you want, have a strong desire, and be willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish your goal. Motivation can be applied to every goal and action. It could be

152 motivation to lose weight, build a better body, learn a foreign language, write a book, take a walk everyday, make more money, own your own business or become a doctor or a professional photographer. Motivation is present whenever there is a clear vision, knowledge of what one wants to do, a strong desire and faith in one’s abilities. Actually, motivation is an important key to success. Lack of motivation either does not bring results or brings only mediocre results. Whereas motivation brings faster, better results. A highly motivated individual will “git er done”, despite any obstacles that may crop up along the way. Achieving any goal takes desire, action (sometimes, hard work) and a positive attitude, along with motivation. Most projects fail or succeed before they even begin. Many times we start something new (diet, job, class) with an attitude of “already defeated” because maybe in the past we tried, but did not succeed. So we

153 view future challenges as the sunset of life rather than the sunrise of a bright, new opportunity. Believe that you are the architect of your destiny. Create the life that you want and deserve for yourself. Be willing and open to accept change. If you are determined to get strong, get in shape, and have fun then there’s nothing that can prevent you from gaining control over the events in your life that can be controlled. Once you have done your homework, prepared yourself mentally, and believe that you can succeed, then nothing needs to get in the way of achieving your goals. If you are determined and positive that you will achieve your desires, set goals, move out of your comfort zones, and control the events that make up your daily life, nothing can stop you. The future not only looks bright when the attitude is right, but the present is also much more enjoyable. The positive individual understands that the journey

154 is just as important as the destination. None of us are perfect, if we were life would be boring and we would have nothing to strive for. We are constantly growing and changing beings. Our attitudes need adjustment with every change that comes into our lives. You are nevert too old to start a program of health and exercise. You don’t have to accept or be the status quo. Remember that the second half of your life is a time to reap the benefits of your hard work and to open, explore, and enjoy new chapters in life, not close the book.


Chapter 5: Food is not your Master; Master your Food! (Eat Yourself Into Good Health) Despite our national obsession with dieting and weight-loss, more and more Americans are overweight, and millions are outright obese. As a nation, we are losing the “battle of the bulge”. Right now, nearly 8 out of 10 American are overweight. Armed with latest advancements of the modern world, we are fighting an all-out war against fat and inactivity, but statistics say otherwise. Here’s a scary statistic for you, today 65 percent of American adults over age 20 are overweight or obese. Despite widespread knowledge about how to reduce the severity of the problem, observed trends in obesity continue to worsen. These trends threaten to diminish the health and life expectancy of current and future generations.

156 The enormity of this increase is particularly disturbing when you consider how fast it has come on. Only in the past 50 years has obesity been an issue at all. Of course, there have always been heavy people. But they were the exception, not the rule. During the 1960s and 1970s, obesity rates were about 14 percent. Approximately 45 percent of adults were overweight, and only 5 percent of children had a weight problem. The early 1980s was the beginning of an upward trend that has continued, non-stop, ever since. During that time, the number of overweight adults has increased by about 20 percentage points; almost 1 percent per year. Twenty five years ago, type II diabetes was virtually unheard of in children; but now that obesity is at epidemic proportions it is being diagnosed in record numbers. Even the names of the disease have been blurred. Since children are now developing type II diabetes, no longer is type I referred to as “juvenile diabetes”, nor can

157 type II be called “adult-onset diabetes”. From resized clothes, and sturdier furniture to seatbelt extenders and bigger coffins, the fattening of America cannot be ignored. The U.S. government issued weight guidelines in 1990 that were up to twenty pounds heavier than those listed in the Metropolitan Life tables; the bible of healthy weight in America from 1959. These tables were already far too generous in their weight allowances. The National Institutes of Health has recently changed its recommended weight guidelines, a change that classified an additional 29 million Americans as overweight. Under these new guidelines 97 million American adults are considered overweight, which places them at risk for adult-onset diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Many people mistakenly believe that it’s fine to gain some weight as you age, but the truth is that people in their sixties shouldn’t weigh anymore than those in their thirties. Staying

158 slender is healthiest even as people go through their forties, fifties, and sixties. The extra ten, twenty, or thirty pounds most Americans carry pose a real health risk, especially when maintained over decades. Recent health surveys reveal that many American women are between thirty to forty pounds over their ideal weight. Many delude themselves into thinking they are thinner than they are by using clothing size as an indicator of fatness. Some manufacturers have helped continue the delusion by making sizes larger, while keeping the numerical size constant. Today’s size 8 is really a size 10 or 12 dress of twenty five years ago. Fad diets don’t seem to be helping at all. We’ve never had more diets or more technology, weight-loss pills, and fitness clubs. If you go on the Internet and put in the word “diet”, nearly a thousand diet tittles pop-up. But the diets aren’t working. In some cases, people are worse off after a diet than they were when

159 they started. Dieting in the U.S. is a billion dollar business. Everybody is looking for tat quick weight loss fix. Americans spend as much as $ 40 billion a year on weight-loss products, primarily diets and dietary foods. We buy diet books that claim to be the next miracle. We try high-protein diets, cabbage soup diet, the rice diet, the grapefruit diet, the banana diet, the South Beach diet and even the cookie diet! Still we have become a nation of overweight people with overweight, unhealthy children; one forth of American children are obese. As other nations adopt the “western way” of eating, including fast-foods, their people are also gaining girth. These trends seem to suggest that we will see an expansion of waistlines, thighs, and hips worldwide. It’s not hard to figure out where all this extra weight has come from. We are the nation of super-sized portions and mega meals. The more food you pile onto our plates or into our carry-out bags,

160 the more we like it. Everything from candy bars to breakfast bars comes in a bigger package today than it did in the past. Food portions have mushroomed to the point of gluttony. A “serving for one” at Cheesecake Factory could easily feed four adults. There is enormous commercial pressure for people to eat more. Food companies are competing for the American food dollar. They want you to eat their product instead of somebody else’s, and they want you to eat more. Look around and you will realize that you are not alone in needing to learn to master your food and not let food master you. You need to develop a new food attitude to control your weight and have the appearance you want. People who lose weight and keep it off succeed because they change their eating habits and the way they regard their food. They haven’t lost weight by finding the perfect crash diet or sipping a magical powder drink that

161 melts away their fat cells. They view their bodies and attitudes as tools for success and they use them for that purpose. Furthermore, they don’t pin their hopes on celebrities, or popular diets that dictate an absolute path of what to eat and when. Instead, they rely on themselves. Lifelong weight control has more to do with your brain than it does with your belly, butt, or thighs. Now is the time to explore outmoded attitudes that may have trapped you on a dizzying diet carousel and refocus your energy on more effective strategies; new strategies that put you in control. Stop treating food like the ENEMY. Quite simply, food is fuel and you can’t live without it. So you might as well learn to master it. Food is what your body breaks down into the building blocks of life. Food is brilliantly colored fruits and vegetables, rich brown grains, milk and butter, lean meats, and fresh fish captured from living rivers and oceans. Food is

162 an enjoyable, delicious, wonderful part of our lives that we should take pleasure in and appreciate. Food is something we eat to give strength to our bodies, to heal us when we are sick, to satisfy our appetites. We eat to satisfy a need deep within. When we eat when we are hungry, we savor the food that satisfies that hunger. Good food is truly one of life’s simple pleasures, so why do we make eating so complicated? The sooner you accept the fact that no foods are inherently bad, and that you can enjoy a healthy relationship with food, the sooner you will be in control of your weight. Control of your health and weight don’t just happen. As with everything else, you will have to put in the thought, the effort and the planning to reap the desired results. We are the most affluent country in the world, and the fattest. Forty percent of the population is twenty or more pounds overweight.

163 How did so many people get so overweight? The answers are simple; we are eating too much and not exercising enough. The obvious solution is to eat less. The problem of an overweight society comes from a combination of factors. First, portion sizes have increased. We are eating more food. As a matter of fact if we go to a restaurant and we don’t get a gigantic amount of food, we are not happy. Portion sizes have increased dramatically in the last 20 years. The average daily intake of adults rose by about 300 calories between 1985 and 2000. That means we have to work a lot harder to burn the extra calories that those larger portions add, and that’s just not happening. Secondly, we are eating more processed foods that have fewer nutrients. Over half the food available in America today is processed. We are also consuming a lot more added sugars hidden in carbonated drinks, fruit drinks, sports drinks, and processed foods.

164 Research shows that between 1977 and 1997, the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, like soft drinks and fruit juices rose by 61 percent. As a matter of fact, today many children get from 500 to 1000 calories a day from these drinks alone. Evidence suggests that drinking calorie-laden beverages may not even make you feel full. This can lead you to drink more than you need, adding even more insidious calories to your diet. We also eat out more than ever before. Most of us grew up only eating out on “special occasions”. But with the advent of the two working parent scenario, lack of time and outright convenience has led many working couples to feed their children and themselves “the quickest meal possible”. The danger is that many types of food eaten away from home, especially fast food and many take-home grocery items are high in saturated fat, sodium, cholesterol, and added sugars. So what seems to

165 be a harmless, good, and easy solution to the food and time crunch actually isn’t good at all. These foods can also be low in fiber, vitamins and minerals. So we wind up eating a bunch of “empty food”. Not only that, but because we have paid for “eating out”, we feel compelled to eat everything that we are served, so we wind up eating a lot more. The third factor that has contributed to America’s overweight problem is the plain and simple fact that we are, as a nation, are less active. Current estimates indicate that over half of the adults in the United States do not engage in any regular physical activity. As more and more children, as well as adults, spend more time in front of televisions, video games, and computers, more are likely to put on pounds. Our increasingly sedentary lifestyles are putting us at risk for serious health problems including cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, and colon cancer.

166 American children are less active too, and heavier than in any other time in history. They are now at risk for conditions that usually don’t develop until adulthood. Do you know the most important predictor of childhood obesity is? It’s obese parents. Obesity actually begins in the cradle. Sadly, many American mothers have misconceptions about feeding their children that increases that their children will become obese. Many health experts believe that after the age of five, the situation really boils down to this: Kids and teens eat too much and exercise too little. They take in more calories than they burn, and store the fat. Kids first learn eating habits from their parents. This places the burden of keeping children fit squarely on the shoulders of their parents. Parents take their children out to dinner and order dishes like fettuccine Alfredo, which the Center for Science in the Public Interest calls a “heart attack on a plate.” At the

167 movie theater they are treated to tubs of oilsoaked popcorn, which have a week’s worth of fat in a container that’s almost as big as a household cleaning bucket. Or they are given gargantuan sized candy bars as they sit to watch the movie. Science and technology have made it easy for kids and teens to grow fat. They spend more time on the computer or in front of video games, and little or no time engaged in any vigorous physical activity. Many of today’s children have never even manually opened a car window, and they believe the Wii-fitness is “working out”. Most children eat until their plates are “clean”; a behavior learned from their parents at home or when eating out. Given the size of restaurant servings these days, that is becoming an increasingly dangerous habit. As fast-food chains and theme restaurants have cultivated peoples’ tastes for gigantic burgers and even

168 larger milkshakes, America has turned into one “Super-sized Nation” of “Super-sized” people. Ten yeas ago, few people under the age of 40 were even screened for diabetes, which is why health researchers named the disease “adult onset diabetes”. Type II diabetes is the stage at which cells become so insensitive to insulin that glucose cannot get in, so blood sugar levels rise. We are currently experiencing an explosion of diabetes that is directly related to our epidemic of obesity. Literally, almost overnight, an increasing number of teens are being diagnosed with “adult onset diabetes”. It has been reported that in some regions of this country, four out of five new cases of Type II diabetics were children. More than 80 percent of people with diabetes are overweight, and a gain of just 11 to 18 pounds doubles the risk of developing Type II diabetes. In addition to increasing body size and body fat, blood pressure is rising among

169 U.S. adolescents between the ages of ten and fourteen. High blood pressure and weight go hand in hand. The more body fat, the more blood vessels and capillaries are necessary to nourish it; every pound or two of fat requires the addition of miles of extra blood vessels. This means today’s kids will be tomorrow’s heart attack and stroke victims. If we don’t pay attention to these trends, we may well see and increase in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality rates as the children become adults. This trend among our kids and teens is the result of large increases in average body weight accompanied by relatively small changes in height and it affects all races and both genders. The increases in systolic blood pressure may be directly related to increased weight. Unbeknown to most of us, high blood pressure often originates in youth. Increases in blood pressure during adolescence are an important predictor of subsequent adult hypertension.

170 The only way to stop these statistics from skyrocketing is to take control of ourselves and the food that we eat. We have to stop treating food as an enemy. We can’t live without it, so we might as well make peace with it. As Americans, we seem to have a love/hate relationship with food. We love to eat it, lots of it. Then, we get upset when we start to feel the pounds creeping up. It is apparent that there is an unhealthy attitude towards food in this country. We are a nation obsessed with food. We plan family events around food. Food is the “star” of all our American holidays. Just take a look at our traditions. The Food Odyssey begins with a special New Year’s meal to start the year out with “good luck”. Then, we have to woo our sweethearts with a meal to show our love on Valentine’s Day. And what would St. Paddy’s Day be without corned beef and cabbage? The Easter Bunny would be greatly disappointed if

171 there was no Easter ham, eggs to hunt, or jellybeans. Memorial Day wouldn’t be the same without a bountiful picnic, and the 4th of July fireworks would lose its fizzle altogether without the biggest cookout of the summer. Labor Day is probably the only designated “non-eating” American holiday, but I guess that could change someday at the rate we’re going. The candy and parties of Halloween get us prepared as we start to “rev up our appetites” for the Holiday “eating Olympics”. We start planning the ‘Fantastic Food Fest’ menus weeks in advance as we prepare for the biggest eating holidays of the year, Thanksgiving and Christmas. In American culture, we talk about food constantly, mostly in the context of what “I can and can’t eat”. Even our language is brimming with proof of our obsession with food. Listen to our terms of endearment, “Honey”, “cookie”, “sweetie”. We describe a gorgeous woman as “luscious”, “delicious”, “a real dish”.

172 Shapely women pose for “cheesecake” photos, and handsome males model for “beefcake” shots. Look up taste in the dictionary and you’ll find it linked to critical judgment, discernment, and a fine appreciation of life; whereas something tasteless is dull and uninteresting. A hard worker earns his “daily bread”, or is shown to be” worth his salt.” Even the word companion originally referred to someone with whom one shared bread. Most everyone is on the diet of the week. The sooner we accept that no foods are inherently bad and that we can enjoy a rich and rewarding relationship with food, the sooner battles with weight issues will come to a permanent end. Europeans love to eat too. But they control their portions and they take hours to “dine”. To them, food is a celebration. They use every mealtime as an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends and take the time to savor every morsel of food they put into their

173 mouths. When I first began to travel in Europe a teen, I remember being terribly frustrated at how long it took to get a meal in a restaurant. There were no Mc Donald’s anywhere in Europe at that time. Each meal was painstakingly prepared from scratch with the finest, freshest ingredients. It could literally be hours from the time you place your order, until the time the meal arrives at your table. As I got older and took more and more trips to Europe, I learned to appreciate and actually look forward to those long, relaxed mealtimes. The food was excellent, the time well spent, and I never gained a pound on any of those trips. I started thinking about the difference between the way we perceive our food and the way other cultures do. Just about that time, “French Women Don’t Get Fat” by Mireille Guiliano was written. I wondered why those people looked the way they did while eating all that wonderful, rich food and I wondered why

174 each time I was in France and ate the wonderful cheese, bread, pastries, and wine I never gained weight. If the French women had a secret, I had to find out what it was. So I launched my own investigation, and read her book. The book is based on the principle that it is possible to maintain a healthy figure while avoiding the experience of deprivation that is common with most diets. At the outset, let me say in my research I found that French women simply do not suffer the terror of pounds or kilos that afflicts so many of their American sisters. All the constant chatter I hear about diets at work, and everywhere else would make any French woman cringe. The author of the book recommends eating for pleasure and to focus on the enjoyment of food. No foods are forbidden as long as the portions are kept small. She says the biggest secret of French women is that they learn to eat with their heads and chose their

175 indulgences wisely. French women take pleasure in staying thin by eating well, while Americans typically see it as a conflict and obsess over it. French women don’t skip meals or substitute slimming shakes for them. They have two or three courses at lunch and then another three at dinner. And with wine, for sure. How do they do it? They eat with their heads, and they do not leave the table feeling stuffed or guilty. The way we eat is as important as what we eat. Making each eating experience meaningful and satisfying, creating an aesthetically pleasing setting for meals, eating from nice dinnerware with corresponding glassware and silverware, helps us truly enjoy the experience. She emphasizes quality over quantity, eating slowly, and savoring the unique texture and flavor of each food. Most importantly she emphasizes to stop eating when satisfied, not full. Learning that less can be more

176 and discovering how one can eat everything in moderation are keys. Guilliano highlights the value of fresh seasonal foods and encourages the use of fruits and vegetables in abundance as well as the use of fresh herbs and spices to enhance the taste of food without extra calories. She stresses the importance of breakfast, as well as eating three meals a day as a way to keep the metabolism functioning at an efficient and steady rate. She also recommends preparing as much food as possible at home to control what and how much you are eating. The sound, sensible suggestions are main points of the book. It has a wide variety of foods to prevent boredom. She suggests an abundant array of fruits and vegetables to provide many health benefits. There is no deprivation so all foods are to be enjoyed without guilt. She increases awareness of portion size and enjoying the act of eating. French women do not judge their successes by

177 obsessive attention to calories, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, or other chemical structures. They would be bored to death thinking about such things, especially when applying it to a part of life they consider sacred; food and its enjoyment. There is a “French Paradox” that extends far beyond the capacity to enjoy wine and cheese while preserving a healthy heart. Really, as it is with all paradoxes, the contradiction is only an impression that conceals a perfectly logical truth. French women don’t get fat because they have not allowed new attitudes and modern theories to overrule centuries of experience. They see no contradiction in eating bread and chocolate, having a bit of wine, and so on and remaining not only slender, but healthy. If we could adopt even a fraction of the French attitude about food, we could see its true nature as a part of the art of living.

178 Other pieces of the French food equation are activity and the timing of their largest meal. According to researchers, another reason the French have a lower incidence of heart disease than Americans is that the French have their main meal earlier in the day and then follow it with physical activity. They also adhere to the French custom of eating more fruits, vegetables, and fiber-rich whole grains and less meat. In observing the typical daily eating patterns of French culture, R Curtis, Ellison, a doctor at Boston University School of Medicine, found that most French families ate 57 percent of their calories before 2 p.m. and then stayed physically active until evening. By comparison, Americans generally eat only 38 percent of daily calories before 2pm and are much more likely to spend the rest of the day and evening involved in sedentary activities like watching TV or sitting on the computer.

179 In a University of Minnesota study in which all the participants followed a 2,000 calorie- a-day diet, those who ate most of their calories early in the day lost the most weight. The participants that ate later gained weight. Besides fueling the body’s fat- forming and fatstoring processes, eating late may spike blood sugar levels through breakfast and lunch the next day. Research also demonstrates that people who have dinner late are more likely to skip breakfast, which keeps the poor eating habit cycle going. Keep in mind that for results to be permanent, you have to devise an eating plan that works for you. There is no such thing as a “one size fits all” lifestyle plan. The key is to cultivate your own intuition of your offenders and pleasures and adjust each accordingly by degrees that suit you. I know what works for me, not for anyone else. And this is true for everyone else. You will have to try several

180 different styles of eating until you find the one that you will follow and gives you the results that make you feel good. One of the most important things you can learn is to know your body, and understand what works for you as an individual. It’s basically a process of trial and error. It took me many years of experimenting with different eating plans before I found the right style for me. I don’t follow any plan too rigidly, that’s just not realistic or fun. There’s nothing wrong with trying out different ways of eating. Just because one way of eating doesn’t work for you, doesn’t mean that you should give up trying to manage your weight altogether. Remember, at this stage of the game, the eating plan is all about health and less about weightloss. There are some basic principles involved in any healthful eating plan that you can actually follow, enjoy and stick to.

181 To begin creating a plan that works for you, you have to look at what you are really eating now. Most people have no idea what they really eat throughout the day. The first time I kept a food diary, I was shocked to discover the real amount of food that I was eating. I told myself one thing, but when what I had eaten throughout the day was all there in black and white the proof was undeniable. Even now, when I get off track with eating, I resume keeping a food diary until I get back in control. You say that you don’t understand why those extra pounds are clinging to your body like ivy to brick wall? You’re eating lowfat, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, avoiding “junk” calories, and choosing foods high in nutrients like iron and calcium. Are you really eating well, or do you just think that you are? The only way you’ll really know is to write down what you eat for several days. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but it’s the only way to

182 discover the truth of what you are really eating and drinking. Like I said earlier, I was very surprised to learn the truth of what I was eating versus what I thought I was eating. A food diary is an effective tool, and if you are really interested in controlling your weight I suggest you keep one for at least three days. Another fundamental of healthful eating is the simple fact that you have to eat in order to manage your weight. I know a countless number of adults who simply refuse to eat breakfast. I used to be one of them until I educated myself and became certified in sports nutrition. When people don’t understand the mechanism of metabolism, they mistakenly shut down their metabolism by not eating, which in turn triggers the body to store fat, which is the last thing they are trying to accomplish! Instead of watching our weight, we need to get really smart about the most effective ways to burn off excess fat automatically and continually by using

183 our body’s natural “engine” as an ally and a potent weapon against “aging weight gain”. That natural engine is our metabolism and learning to maximize its efficiency is key to maintaining a healthy weight. To get your metabolic engine going, you have to “stoke the furnace” with food. Most people don’t understand that when you finally break your overnight or midday fast and have a meal, you are more likely to overeat and make poor food choices. And, the longer you make your body wait between meals, the less efficient it becomes at burning fat, and the more muscle tissue you sacrifice to glucose production. So if you skip breakfast and make your body wait until lunch to get any nutrition, you are actually teaching your body to slow down metabolism and store fat. Muscle cells, unlike fat cells, are active; they actually work. Remember, the mitochondria are like little energy plants and are responsible for burning

184 many of the calories we take in each day. So when you lose muscle, you lose some of your body’s ability to burn calories. When the body uses up muscle tissue to compensate for the “starvation” of not eating, it accomplishes two things at once. It gets extra energy but also slows down your metabolism in the process. As you now know, when it comes to building a firm body, muscle breakdown is the virtual kiss-of death. In nature, most foods come in complicated “packages” that the body has to break open before it can get to the calories and nutrients inside. Just putting food into your mouth doesn’t mean that you are getting proper nutrition. Your body has to break down the food, then absorb and process those parts for distribution and use by the body’s cells. This process takes energy. The heat generated by your body during the ingestion, digestion, and

185 absorption of food causes a temporary increase in your metabolic rate. This phenomenon is known as the thermogenic effect of a meal and is most pronounced during the first 90 minutes after you eat. The more frequently you have a small meal or snack, the more thermogenic effect your body generates, and the more calories you burn as a result of eating. The thermogenic effect is an indicator of how many calories the body must use to process and store the food we eat. The remaining calories are either used to fuel the body’s processes or stored as fat. In other words, a person who eats five 300-calorie meals per day will have a faster metabolism and burn more fat between meals than a person who eats three 500calorie meals instead. And the greater the food’s thermogenic effect, the less likely it is that there will be calories left over for storage. The clear winner in postprandial thermogenesis (burning up calories in the

186 digestion process) is protein. Protein is broken down by the digestive system into amino acids, which are released into the blood stream. The body uses amino acids to make new proteins for tissue building and to create enzymes, hemoglobin, hormones, and other functional proteins. Unlike fats and carbohydrates, proteins are not stored. The diet induced thermogenesis of protein is 20 to 30 percent of the protein calories ingested which is a lot of energy expended by the body just to digest protein. Burning fat is obviously important for maintaining a healthy weight, and the good news is, you can turn on your body’s fat burning mechanisms by eating the right types of food. Since protein satisfies and burns brightly, it is front and center on the list of food that will help you get to and maintain the weight you want. Just be sure to choose low to moderate fat sources of protein to reap the maximum benefits.

187 Protein gets its structure from long chains of amino acids. Our bodies are able to make some of the amino acids, but the rest come from foods. We need to be sure that we’re getting enough of these essential amino acids by choosing high-quality protein sources. To get the maximum benefit from protein you need to know which foods provide them and how to incorporate those foods into your diet at regular intervals. An optimal protein intake instantly increases fat burning, or thermogenesis. In fact, a protein rich meal or snack can burn 40 percent more calories than a high carbohydrate alternative. Recent research has shown that high-protein, moderate-carbohydrate, lower fat meals produce a greater sense of long lasting fullness than high-fat meals. The chief reason for this fact is that protein breaks down more slowly than fat and even more slowly than carbohydrate.

188 Protein triggers the production of glucagon, the hormone that enables the body to use fat as fuel instead of storing it. It’s essential for building new muscle tissue, as well as for boosting energy. According to studies by Judith Wurtman, PhD, a research scientist at MIT, protein tends to change neurotransmitter balance in favor of alertness a sign that your metabolism is revving up. Researchers have also discovered that natural protein supports the production and secretion of human growth hormone (HGH). Consuming a protein-rich food or drink right after exercise may elevate secretion of HGH. Enhanced production of HGH appears to enhance fat-burning and energy production in both men and women If it sounds like I am a huge proponent of high quality protein in your diet, it’s because I am. It took me years and years to learn that carbohydrates were not “user-friendly” for my body. I had carbohydrate- induced

189 ‘highs’ and ‘crashes’ for decades. One day a friend of mine handed me a book called,”The Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet” and begged me to read it. We worked closely together and she had witnessed the carbohydrate rollercoaster ride I took on a daily basis. And let me be the first one to say, “It wasn’t pretty”. I decided to read the book and at least consider what it had to say because I was tired of feeling moody, starving, and then drowsy all in the course of one day and all related to the food I was eating. The book described all the symptoms I had, and from the day I finished reading that book I have been a “Protein Power” advocate ever sense. The difference in how I felt, once I changed my diet and my eating habits, was truly amazing. I had more energy and felt truly in control of what I put into my mouth. I eat a little bit of protein throughout the day in the form of cheese, cottage cheese, lean ham, protein bars or drinks, yogurt, and nuts. I don’t have those

190 horrible blood sugar peaks and valleys and as a result, my blood sugar, energy level and weight are all well maintained. Of course, the leaner the protein source, the better. There are so many great sources of protein readily available and easy to incorporate into your diet. Here are a few of my recommendations: Shop for seafood. Fish seems to be

particularly effective at turning up the body’s thermostat. Several studies have shown that people who eat lots of seafood have lower levels leptin, a hormone that beefs up appetite and fat storage, and are less likely to be overweight. It turns out that this may be because of the omega3 fatty acids that are especially abundant in mackerel, sardines, tuna, and other cold-water, fatty fish. Wild salmon is especially recommended because not only is it high in protein, it also contains an abundance of omega-

191 3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These “good” fats are essential for energy production and fat loss. When these fats replace other fats in animal diets, there is a decreased weight gain and accumulation of fat in the abdominal area, along with improved metabolism of fats and glucose. The fish doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, canned tuna and salmon are great choices for high quality protein. Most other fish and seafood enhance the efficiency of the hormone leptin, which also helps to reduce fat cell size and enhances fat loss. Fish oil capsules are also an option for those who do not like to eat fish and they provide omega-3 fatty acids. Eat Skinless Chicken and Turkey. I’m sure that you already eat a lot of chicken, as most of us do. As a matter of fact, some weeks I’m sure I’m about ready to sprout wings and fly as a result of all of the chicken I eat. But I have recently discovered several different Turkey

192 products that I really enjoy. For example, I use ground Turkey for tacos, and find that I prefer it to ground beef. And I’ve ordered Turkey burgers recently at ‘Red Robin’ and ‘Ruby Tuesday’s’ and found them both to be moist, tasty and delicious much to my surprise and delight. When you take off the skin (which is of course the best part), you greatly reduce the proportion of saturated fat to lean protein. Don’t Forget Dairy. There’s more and more evidence that people who regularly consume fatfree and low-fat dairy foods as part of their diets are less likely to be overweight. Besides their protein content, dairy products are the best dietary sources of calcium which has been shown to elevate metabolism and prevent fat storage. Calcium also helps the body burn existing fat while limiting the manufacture of new fat. Choose fat-free or low-fat yogurts which come in many flavors and textures. Cottage cheese is

193 another excellent high protein dairy food. Many companies now make portion sized containers that you can take anywhere and they taste good. Grab a Cup of ‘JOE’. Most of us love coffee and are addicted to it. More than half the world’s coffee is consumed in the United States. Coffee is our friend and there really is no reason to shy away from it. In the past, many experts frowned on coffee as a way of life but today many of those same experts extol its virtues. Coffee has recently been found to have a number of health benefits. It enhances cognitive performance, quickens reaction time, and promotes alertness and sustained attention. It restores fading energy, can stop migraine headaches, boost mood, relieve symptoms of asthma and even prevent cavities. It improves endurance so much that Olympic athletes can be disqualified for using high doses of caffeine. In addition, coffee is a good source of antioxidants.

194 As a matter of fact, a 2005 study revealed Americans get more antioxidants from coffee than from any other source. In recent decades, some 19,000 studies have been done examining coffee’s impact on health. And for the most part, their results have been as pleasing as the first sip of freshly brewed coffee. Overall, the research conducted at Vanderbilt University’s Institute for Coffee Studies shows that coffee is far more healthful than harmful. They concluded that for most people, very little bad came from drinking coffee, compared to a lot of good. For better or worse, we are a nation of caffeine consumers. Coffee, like so many foods, can be a healthy choice if you drink it in moderation. Too much coffee can have negative effects on the nervous and digestive systems. As with everything else in life, moderation is the key to unlocking the benefits of coffee. One of my most pleasurable daily rituals is enjoying a rich, smooth, delicious cup

195 of ‘PEET’S’ coffee. If you are going to drink coffee, get the good stuff, not gas-station sludge. ‘PEET’S’ brand is my personal favorite because all the blends I have tasted are low in acid, high in flavor, and deliver a wonderful coffee drinking experience with each and every cup. I have tried many other coffees, but the overpowering acidity of other brands does not agree with my palate or my stomach. There are many excellent coffee choices on the market, available from specialty stores and neighborhood grocery stores. Experiment to discover the coffee you enjoy most then sit back, relax, and savor the flavor while reaping the benefits found in your morning cup of java. Eat an Egg. Even though eggs got a bad reputation a while ago because of the cholesterol controversy, eating one every now and then is not a bad move. Eggs are an ideal source of

196 protein and they have no saturated fat. Plus they are portable and easy to find, store, and cook. Nibble on Nuts. Recently nuts have come into favor as a compact source of protein. While some varieties are high in fat, most contain unsaturated fats that help reduce bad LDL cholesterol. According to a study from Purdue University, almonds appear to help weight loss. Although the mechanism is unclear, researchers speculate that the protein in nuts may help burn more calories during the digestive process. With nuts, portion control is key. Since they are really high in fat, less is definitely more. Befriend Beans. Beans are among the most humble and versatile protein sources. They are not complete proteins, but they do supply essential amino acids. Beans are rich in soluble fiber which helps to balance blood sugar. And

197 because of their fiber content, beans help prevent insulin resistance that can lead to fat gain. Spice Up Your Life. Culinary spices not only turn on the flavor of food but also turn up your fat-burning mechanisms. These fat-burning enhancers include cayenne, black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric. While the effects of these foods are mild, they do increase thermogenesis. Remember when you broke into a sweat after eating hot peppers? Well, that was the phenomenon at work. Peppers contain a compound called capsaicin, which is the bet studied of these thermogenic spices. In addition to boosting metabolism, capsaicin has also been shown to suppress appetite. When researchers added red pepper powder to tomato juice or gave capsules to study volunteers 30 minutes prior to meals, they reported feeling full sooner, and ate less at mealtime. So if you like spicy food, I encourage you to turn up the heat with spices.


Wet Your Whistle. You’ve heard it and read it everywhere; drink eight glasses of water everyday. But I have uncovered facts, unbeknownst to me, that may make you more inclined to drink up. We all know that drinking water just before eating fills you up and encourages you to eat less, but according to a German study done in 2003, water also burns calories. Healthy, normal weight volunteers were given two cups of water to drink, and within 10 minutes, their metabolic rate had begun to rev up. After 30 to 40 minutes, their metabolism had increased by an average of 30 percent. The researchers who conducted this study estimated that 40 percent of this increase was due to the heating of the water from room temperature to body temperature while the remainder was attributed to an increase in fat and carbohydrate burning stimulated by the sympathetic nervous system. These findings

199 support that the recommended eight glasses of water per day will burn off a very significant additional 100 calories on the days that you drink 8 glasses. Also, there may be some added advantage to drinking ice-cold water. When you drink ice water, your body temperature falls, and in order to return it to normal, your body has to generate energy by burning calories. It takes 80 calories to heat two quarts of water from 32 degrees (freezing) to the normal temperature of 98.6 degrees. Do the math, drinking eight 8 ounces glasses of ice water each day can help you burn 160 calories without even trying. Since we have to drink water to survive anyway, this little known benefit of drinking cold water is definitely worth a try whether you are trying to loose weight or just quench your thirst. There is an additional group of ‘miracle’ foods that you may want to consider and think about incorporating into your eating plan. Although you are probably not familiar

200 with the term “functional foods”, you have probably been eating them for quite some time. Most of us have been eating rudimentary types of functional foods for years in the form of vitamin fortified cereals, iron-enriched breads; and vitamin A and D fortified milk. At that time, fortification was done to prevent nutritional deficiencies that could result in rickets, scurvy, and other diseases of malnutrition. Some foods provide health benefits far beyond basic nutrition. These foods are termed “functional foods”. Functional foods do more than meet your minimum daily requirements of nutrients. They also can play roles in reducing the risk of disease and promoting good health. While all foods are functional in that they provide nutrients, the term “functional foods” describes health-promoting ingredients or natural components that have a potential to benefit the body. This includes whole

201 foods as well as fortified, enriched, or enhanced foods and dietary supplements. The concept of functional foods is not new, although dramatic advances have been made recently. Swiss pharmacist Henri Nestle’ concocted one of the world’s first functional foods on 1867. He paved the way for bottle feeding by inventing baby formula. Nestle’s baby-food-in a bottle idea gave millions of infants who would have died without their mother’s milk a second chance at life. Early in the 1900s, food manufacturers in the United States began adding iodine to salt to prevent goiters (an enlargement of the thyroid gland), representing one of the first attempts at creating a functional component through fortification. Today researchers have identified hundreds of compounds with functional qualities, and they continue to make new discoveries about the complex benefits of phytochemicals (plant chemicals) in foods. Phytochemicals are found

202 in many foods and have been noted to provide many benefits beyond basic nutrition. (A more in depth discussion of phytonutrients is found in chapter 8.) Some studies have even noted that certain types of tea and chocolate have beneficial health benefits. Research has shown that many fruit, vegetables, grains, fish, and dairy and meat products contains several natural components that deliver benefits beyond basic nutrition, such as lycopene in tomatoes, omega-3 fatty acids in salmon, and saponins in soybeans. Other foods get a boost during processing with added nutrients or other ingredients. This is true of orange juice fortified with calcium, cereals with added vitamins or minerals and flour with added folic acid. In fact, more foods are being fortified with nutrients as researchers uncover evidence about the nutrients’ role in health and diseaserisk reduction. The scientific community has just begun to understand the interactions between

203 nutritional components and the human body. However there is already a large body of scientific evidence that shows eating functional foods on a regular basis as part of a varied diet can help reduce the risk or decrease the severity of many health concerns related to aging. As the knowledge about functional food grows, so does the interest in eating functional food for the potential health benefits. Here is a list of the top 10 functional foods. Look at the list and determine which ones, if included in your eating plan, could help keep you healthy. You will not be familiar, or en like some of the foods listed below. But don’t let that stop you from trying to find one or two you can ad to your diet. Don’t be afraid to try something new, surprise yourself. 1. SOY: Soy is good food and can be added to your diet in a number of ways. Tofu, edemame (soybeans), soy milk, and soy flour are just a few sources.

204 2. TOMATOES: Tomatoes offer vitamin C and a lot more. They are rich in carotenoids, including lycopene, a relative of beta-carotene. An interesting fact just recently discovered is cooked and processed tomatoes have 10 times the lycopene, ounce for ounce. 3. NUTS: Nuts have aways been valued for their protein, vitamins, and minerals. They are also rich in monosaturated fats like the kind found in olive oil, fiber, vitamin E, Folic acid and other B vitamins. 4. GARLIC: The garlic family, including the onion-family members such as chives, shallots, leeks, and scallions (green onions), contains allylic sulfides and other compounds that may reduce the risk of cancerous tumors. Benefits to the heart, blood pressure, and suppression of LDL (bad cholesterol) have also been demonstrated in some studies. 5. FISH: Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines contain large amounts of

205 omega-3 fatty acids that are known to reduce the risk of heart disease. 6. OATS & GRAINS: Oats, oat bran, and whole-oat products contain the soluble fiber beta-glucan, which aids in decreasing blood cholesterol levels by binding with bile acids in the intestine, helping to carry cholesterol out of the body. Wheat germ, brown rice, corn bran, oatmeal and whole wheat breads are good sources of insoluble fiber which act like a broom in the body, sweeping away the waste. 7. COLORED FRUITS & VEGETABLES: Deeply colored fruits and vegetables tend to have the most vitamins and minerals. Also the pigments have high antioxidant potential and mat help protect against some diseases. 8. TEA: Most teas, though not herb teas, contain a variety of potentially beneficial phytochemicals that may reduce the risk of many cancers. Tea has an abundance of flavonoids called catechins, which are a type of antioxidant.

206 9. PURPLE GRAPES: The purple grapes used to make red wine and purple grape juice have phytochemicals called polyphenolic compounds that support healthy heart function, help reduce plaque buildup in the arteries and help prevent LDL (bad cholesterol) from attaching to artery walls. 10. CHOCOLATE: Chocolate contains large amounts of catechins, the same compounds found in tea. One ounce of chocolate has as much beneficial catechins as one cup of brewed black tea. While the benefits of any food depend on a person’s overall diet, the evidence that certain foods provide specific health benefits and reduce the risk of certain diseases is rooted in scientific fact. The most effective way to reap the health benefits from any type of food is to eat a variety emphasizing fruits, vegetables, and foods that provide added health benefits. And while there are no magic foods that can ever

207 prevent us from contracting disease or cure disease, when we choose healthier foods we are maximizing our chances for an improved quality of life As you begin to master your food and eat for health, you will need to learn to adjust the way you are eating now. Review all the information provided for you in this chapter and you will have a springboard from which to launch a new eating plan. The trick is to eat differently than you do now. The easiest way to do that is to learn basic principles that help you to substitute high fat, unhealthy foods for foods that let you cut calories and fat grams without missing them. Obsessing about each and every gram of fat will not help you reach your goal. The ultimate goal is healthful eating and an awareness of all foods so that you can learn to balance high-fat items with low-fat ones. There is room in every diet for high fat foods, but you have to know which foods are higher in fat so

208 you can plan to eat less of those foods. Educating yourself with a general knowledge of protein, carbohydrate, fat and calorie content of foods is useful for planning what to eat. Eat all day long. You might be worried about how your body will react to so much food. Don’t be. Eating frequently does not make you fat. On the contrary, the more frequently you eat, the faster you will build a firm body. Most weight-loss experts agree that eating small meals more frequently throughout the day really helps keep you satisfied and prevents binge eating later in the evening. When people eat most of their calories earlier in the day, and then eat every three to four hours, they appease their appetites. I eat that way and I am rarely hungry. Athletes train that way and people whose weight is well controlled find this style of eating beneficial for appetite and weight control. The most important key is the choice of foods

209 eaten throughout the day. High quality, low to moderate fat protein wins hands down in the area of fat burning food. And finally, a word about bedtime snacks. We’ve always heard that eating around bedtime makes you fat. Well, that is not necessarily true. As a matter of fact, by using your body’s natural hormonal rhythms, eating before sleeping can actually help you get leaner faster. The key is eating the right type of food before bed. Protein is the most thermogenic food element, but most of its sources can be high in fat so it is important to choose a low-fat source such as fish, legumes, and poultry. Protein ingestion raises serum amino acid levels, which in turn, make new proteins for tissue building, create enzymes, hemoglobin and stimulate additional growth hormone release. Remember, growth hormone speeds fat loss, blocks fat gain, enhances muscle toning, and has anti-aging properties. Even though anaerobic

210 exercise raises growth hormone production, the majority of growth hormone release happens at night while you sleep. And unlike fats and carbohydrates, proteins are not stored. Some are converted into metabolic fuels and used as energy, but most excess proteins are broken down into uric acid and urea and excreted in the urine. So, just by eating a protein snack shortly before bedtime, you will maximize natural growth hormone secretion while you sleep. Learn to stop eating when you feel satisfied. Give up your membership to the “clean plate club”. Train yourself to stop eating when you feel full. Eating all the food in the universe will not help “starving children” in other parts of the world. Once you are able to distinguish between fullness and satiety it will be easier for you to control your weight. Fullness is the weight of food in your stomach, and it really doesn’t feel good. Satiety is the level of satisfaction that you get from eating. The best

211 way to be satisfied is to eat foods with a variety of flavors, colors, and textures. Think of baby carrots, tossed salad with mixed greens and chopped yellow and red peppers. Vegetables are naturally high in fiber which is also a big part of healthful eating. Fiber is not sexy, but it can help you fit into the clothes that you can no longer wear. High-fiber foods are filling and they prevent you from overeating. Fiber-rich foods take up more space in your stomach, so you feel satisfied longer. Fiber is found in plant cell walls and cannot be digested by the human body. Fiber has no calories and is not broken down like other foods. It moves through your digestive system, virtually intact, so it provides caloriefree filler giving you a feeling of fullness. Certain types of fiber also absorb water, making you feel even fuller. Fiber helps regulate your blood sugar by slowing the absorption of glucose resulting in fewer “sugar crashes” that leave you feeling tired, hungry and more likely to overeat.

212 Fiber is found in whole grains as well as fruits, vegetables, and legumes (beans and peas). For general health and cancer prevention, the daily recommendation is 20-35 grams per day. Most of us are lucky to get half that amount, but adding fruit vegetables and whole grains to our eating plans can help us eat more fiber. Don’t skip meals. As I mentioned earlier, it is a counter-productive act. Skipping meals is both a biological and psychological mistake. Skipping meals sets you up for drops in blood sugar, which leaves you hungry and more likely to pick at the very foods you want to avoid. The old “starve yourself thin” was a faulty and erroneous line of reasoning, which as research proves, does not work and may have a significant, negative effect on weight management. Research suggests that when a diet is stopped, the body gets to work restoring the status quo, plus interest. When you go back to “normal” eating after severe calorie deprivation,

213 the body starts packing the calories away into the fat cells once again, often with a little extra, just in case. As far as your body is concerned, it has one job; to keep alive and to keep those fat cells filled up and ready for the next time the food supply runs out. This phenomenon is the reason so many people gain more weight after a strict diet. The fact is you can’t trick your body into becoming permanently thin by temporarily depriving it of food. When you eliminate entire meals, you deprive your body of adequate calories for energy, not to mention diseasefighting nutrients and phytochemicals. Deprivation doesn’t work; it never has and it never will. As soon as you tell yourself that you can’t have something, you immediately begin to crave whatever it is that you have forbidden yourself to have. You don’t need to deprive yourself while trying to manage your weight. You can still enjoy all your favorite foods,

214 especially the ones you can’t live without. You just have to train yourself to eat smaller portions and savor each bite. Remember to slow down, and enjoy what you eat. I really have a problem with speeding through my meals, especially when I am at work. The company allots 30 minutes for lunch, from the time you leave the work area, until the time your break is done. Thirty minutes is barely enough time to select your food, let alone eat it. And while I am much better as I get older, I still have to watch my speed at mealtime. It’s an unconscious behavior that I have to remain aware of in order to change. Many people eat so fast that they don’t even taste their food, so they don’t really know when they are satisfied. And because of that they continue to overate and create a vicious cycle. The basic, underlying cause for any weight problem is eating the wrong amounts of food. No doubt about it, we eat too much, an

215 average of 250 calories a day more than we ate 25 years ago. You can blame this on food manufacturers or restaurants for serving up too much food if you want, but they wouldn’t be dishing it out if we weren’t eating it up. There really are no best or worst foods; only overall ways of eating that can be best or worst for you. You don’t have to give up anything other than your old attitudes about food. You need to enjoy a variety of foods, not too much or too little of any one food. Cultivating a new food attitude means making better food decisions, not relying on willpower to avoid temptation. It’s easier to stick to a healthful eating plan when you include some favorites. Plan your meals, shop from a list and go to the store on a full stomach. If you refrigerator is full of vegetables, fruits, protein and dairy products you have shopped wisely and your resolve to get and stay healthy will most likely remain strong.

216 Don’t make excuses for your eating choices; master what you put into your mouth. Lose your all-or-nothing dieting mentality and gain some peace. Nothing in life is black or white; everything is on a continuum of gray. Just because you ate more than you should at one meal doesn’t translate to dietary disaster. Don’t make one mistake the excuse for giving up on your plan. To err is human. Accept responsibility for your food choice, and then move on. little leaner at the next meal to counteract something with more calories you ate at the previous meal. And remember, you can eat more when you are working out on a regular basis. If you plan what you are going to eat before going out to dinner, or to a party you are already one step ahead of the game. If you choose to treat yourself to your favorite indulgence, go ahead. Every indulgence doesn’t have to turn into a binge. Have a small portion of decadence and really enjoy it. Never let Eat a

217 yourself be at the mercy of food or the situation. Value yourself and let motivation for change come from within. You may be pleasantly surprised that healthy eating is a springboard for other positive changes in your life. The road to long-term weight management, food mastery, and optimum health is paved with small day-to-day changes that add up over time. Small, consistent changes equal lasting results. For example, consuming just 250 fewer calories per day can translate into lower weight, without even trying. Most of us eat unnecessary calories mindlessly. But simply being aware of what we put into our mouths, and making minor adjustments can make major differences. If you are going to maintain a healthy weight in a lasting way, you need to understand the power of good food. High quality protein, fresh vegetables, and fresh fruit fall under the category of good food. Good food

218 actually balances your system and promotes health, whereas bad food creates unbalance and instability. When you take in bad food, your body suffers and in the same way, when you eat good food your body thrives. Consuming good food empowers you in a number of ways. Good food increases your energy level while decreasing your chances of developing illnesses. Eating well can also contribute to an overall youthful appearance and slow the aging process. Besides all that, eating healthy food facilitates weight loss because when you eat the right kinds of food, you feel fuller on fewer calories. When eating properly, you can eat more for less. When you eat good food, the calories are lower, but your body doesn’t go into starvation mode. Eventually, your body adapts to the change in food and you will experience fewer cravings for unhealthy food. Here are a few simple suggestions to help get you started on food mastery. I follow

219 these simple guidelines most days and manage to keep myself at a trim, healthy weight. So here is a list of some foods I recommend for a beneficial, easy style of eating. Try some of the ideas for a week and not only will you have lost weight, you will also feel more energetic, less sluggish, and ready to live. First and foremost, get rid of most of the “white” foods that you consume in your diet. All of the bread, potatoes, white sugar, pasta, etc. Keep in mind that most of the foods that are high in sugar are also high in calories and devoid of nutritional value. Foods that are high in carbohydrates and cause spikes and valleys in blood sugar which make s it very difficult to manage your energy, let alone your hunger. These foods taste good and satisfying while we are eating them, but they wreak havoc on our bodies and can contribute to losing control. Now I’m not suggesting that all carbohydrates are bad. That would be a ridiculous suggestion that is just

220 not true. Carbohydrates contain essential nutrients and many of our most healthful foods such as vegetables and fruits are composed primarily of carbohydrates. But the difference between the carbohydrates in simple sugars and the carbohydrates in fruits and vegetables is huge. What I am suggesting is that you consider the nutritive value of any carbohydrate that you decide to eat. The reason that I singled out white foods is that they are the lowest in nutritional value and do the most damage to your body in terms of blood sugar and empty calories. Most vegetables, legumes, and fruit promote slow sustained release of blood sugar. Starchy carbohydrates rapidly drive up blood sugar. And all those low-fat, refined grain products that have become a major part of our diet send sugar and insulin levels flying. You need to fully understand what is happening inside your body when you feed it the

221 wrong foods. Here is a synopsis of the carbohydrate- insulin problem in a nut shell. When you eat too much of the wrong kinds of carbohydrate it is quickly digested and absorbed, and you get a huge rise in your blood sugar. This triggers a correspondingly large release of insulin, which is required to clear all that sugar (glucose) from the blood. But this huge amount of insulin works too well, so within a couple of hours, your blood sugar level falls even lower than it was before you ate. Then your brain, the body’s single biggest user of glucose, senses a decrease in fuel. So your brain responds by doing two things to restore normal blood sugar levels. It triggers the release of hormones to mobilize stored glucose and it sends out powerful signals to get more glucose into the system. Then the effect of low blood sugar is to cause you to eat again. It wouldn’t be so bad if you ate the right foods, but you are looking for a quick fix to stop the hunger pangs so you grab a

222 candy bar, a muffin, or even whole wheat crackers, and you start the process all over again. When you get out of bed in the morning your body is burning fat because it has not had any glucose during the 8 to 12 hours between dinner and the upcoming breakfast. During your hours of sleep, your body has had ample time to deplete your glucose stores. If you eat cereal and an English muffin with jam for breakfast, you will send your blood sugar and insulin levels soaring. This causes the body to shut down the mobilization and burning of fat, and shift over to burning glucose (sugar) and storing fat. If you eat cookies and crackers for snacks and potatoes and pasta at mealtimes, you will go through the entire day burning glucose and the only time you will burn fat is when you’re sleeping. If you start the day with eggs, lean ham and unsweetened strawberries, for example, and continue with ample amounts of protein and green vegetables at meals, you will

223 burn fat all day long. The goal for maintaining a healthy weight and for weight-loss is to keep the body burning fat as much and as long as possible throughout the day. And don’t worry; your body will do fine with this alternate energy source. Burning fat is normal and our bodies are very efficient at performing this function. It is crucial that you understand this maddening cycle so that you can break it. When you start the day with a significant protein supply, your blood sugar remains more stable over a longer period of time. All of your meals and snacks should include some kind of protein, but in moderate to small sized portions. Protein takes the body longer to digest and process so your blood sugar doesn’t spike of dive like it does with high carbohydrate foods. Now you are armed with the information you need to make better food choices, right at the start of the day. And now you know why I am such a huge fan of high-quality, low-fat protein foods. It’s an

224 efficient and easy way to eat that doesn’t require a lot of thought or fuss. Here is a sample of a SASSY eating schedule that is simple to follow and portable which makes it convenient to carry with you throughout the day: 8 am: Protein drink and protein bar (like South Beach Brand), or cottage cheese and fruit, or yogurt with a ¼ oz of nuts and fruit. 10 am: Small can of tuna or string cheese and celery 1 pm: Large green salad with Chicken, Fish, Turkey or lean Ham. Dress with Seasoned Rice Vinegar. Low carb-high fiber wrap or tortilla 3pm: Protein shake or protein bar 6pm: Lean ham slice rolled around string cheese. 8pm: 6 oz. Lean protein (chicken breast, pork loin, fish turkey, low-fat beef (sirloin) and large serving of green vegetables (salad with tomatoes onion and bell pepper and green beans) 10 pm: Low-fat (100 calories or less) Yogurt, pudding, or frozen fudge bar.

225 As you can see, with the SASSY plan you eat all day long for under 1500 calories! Calories are important in that you need to have an idea of how many you are consuming in a day, but not so important that you have drive yourself crazy counting them. Of course, you can add or subtract food as you feel is best for you. The more you stay away from starches, sugars and refined carbohydrates, the more satisfied and successful you will be at maintaining or reducing your weight. Keeping a supply of protein drinks and bars can be a huge benefit on this plan. When you don’t have time, or don’t feel like having a meal, all you have to do is grab a drink or a bar and your body is getting the protein and nutrients it needs to function properly. You can always add more fresh vegetables to help keep you feeling satisfied. The crunchiness of cucumbers, carrots and celery seem to help satisfy the need to chew without adding

226 unnecessary calories. You can also add fresh fruit like apples, bananas, strawberries, grapes, blueberries, etc. But the main idea that I want to get across to you is that you don’t have to starve. You have a plethora of great options as food choices. As a mater of fact, it is very important to eat frequently throughout the day to keep your metabolism fired up and working. Now for those of you who need a little more structure and specific meal plans, I have included the following 2-Week Meal Plan to help guide you along and get you on track. Each day is roughly between 1200 and 1800 calories per day. These are just guidelines however. I do not believe in weighing and measuring food. It’s an unrealistic practice and most people abandon it soon after starting. Some days you will eat more, other days you will eat less. None of us eat the same amount or eat in the same pattern every day. You know what an over-size portion of food looks like. If

227 you want a larger portion, have it, but just make sure it’s vegetables or fruit. Have the food you enjoy, but do it sensibly. Make substitutions for high calorie foods that you don’t care for anyway, but keep the foods you really like. I drink coffee with real half& half and ‘Equal’. A lot of plans steer clear of “real” cream, but I like it so I would rather give up “real” sugar. On this plan you can eat whatever you like, just reasonable amounts along with some kind of exercise most days of the week. I don’t eat egg-substitutes or separated egg-whites, but if that is what you like, please feel free to enjoy those products. I use real eggs, real butter and fullfat olive oil and salad dressings. I know what they are made of, they taste better and I can limit the amount I use so I can control the calories and still get the benefit of full flavor. The brands named here are the ones I really use. All of the food on the following plan is as it is written,

228 plain and simple. There are no recipes, only lists of ingredients. That way you can experiment with the ingredients, spices, and herbs. Besides if you cook like I do, you don’t follow recipes too closely anyway. If there is no quantity listed next to the food item, you may have as much as you like. You can add all the spices and herbs that you like. As a matter of fact, I encourage the use of fresh herbs and various spices to add another dimension of flavor to any food. So let’s get started. By the way, these menus are taken from my actual food diaries. This is food I have actually eaten, and it’s good as well as healthy. Day 1 Breakfast 2 Scrambled eggs with mushroom, red bell pepper, green onion and a sprinkle of grated cheese. 1 piece whole wheat toast. Coffee or tea. Lunch

229 Green Salad topped with 1 Chicken breast and unlimited vegetables and enough salad dressing to coat top of salad. Mid-afternoon snack ¼ cup dry roasted nuts Dinner 6 oz. Salmon with baby greens. (I eat about 6 ounces of salmon. Most plans call for 4 ounces, but that is not enough protein for me to feel satisfied. Adjust the amount to suit you, but try not to exceed 6 ounces). Bedtime Snack 1 carton of non-fat or low-fat, sugar-free yogurt. Day 2 Breakfast 1 cup low-fat or non-fat cottage cheese ½ cup pineapple in natural juice Coffee or tea Lunch 1 Cup cooked Pinto beans

230 2 high fiber, low carb wraps ¼ cup Cheddar cheese Salsa Lettuce, Tomatoes, green Onions Mid-afternoon Snack 1 carton low-fat, sugar-free yogurt Dinner 6 Jumbo Shrimp sautéed in garlic, tomatoes, and fresh Basil and 1 Tbsp Olive Oil or Butter 1 Cup fresh green beans and red pepper slivers steamed in chicken broth and herbs Tossed Salad with Rice Vinegar Vinaigrette Bedtime Snack 2 containers fat-free, sugar-free pudding (100 calories or less) Day 3 Breakfast Turkey Rolls (4 oz turkey deli slices wrapped around 2, 80 calories string cheese sticks)

231 ½ Cup strawberries Coffee or tea Mid-morning Snack EAS 17-gram Protein Drink Lunch 1 Lemon Chicken Breast cooked with garlic and capers Tomato and cucumber slices with 2 Tbsps dressing of choice Mid-afternoon Snack Celery with 2Tbsps Peanut Butter Dinner 1 Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Breast cooked in Olive oil with oregano, black olives, tomatoes, garlic, and capers Grilled Asparagus Tossed lettuce and Yellow tomato salad Bedtime Snack Skinny Cow Fudge Bar

232 Day 4 Breakfast 1 100-calorie English muffin, 1 Turkey Sausage Patty, 1 slice cheddar Cheese Coffee or tea Mid-morning Snack 1 pear Baby Carrots Lunch Fajita Chicken Salad ; 1 sliced breast cooked with onion, red, orange, and green bell peppers served on Large green Salad 1 low-carb, high fiber tortilla Mid-afternoon Snack ‘South Beach’ 100-calorie Protein bar Dinner 1 small sirloin pork chop with Portobello mushrooms and onions Baby Spinach sautéed in 1 Tbsps EVOO and 3 cloves fresh garlic

233 1 Large sliced tomato & fresh Basil drizzled with Balsamic Vinaigrette Bedtime Snack Fat-free Pudding Day 5 Breakfast 6 Silver Dollar Pancakes (Aunt Jemima, frozen) with Lite Butter syrup 2 slices Canadian bacon Coffee or tea Midmorning Snack Cucumber and red bell pepper slices Lunch Tuna Salad Sandwich on Pumpernickel Tomato and Lettuce Baby carrots Mid-afternoon Snack Tangerine Dinner

234 Lettuce Wrapped Turkey Tacos (6 oz ground Turkey, Romaine lettuce for wrappers) Salsa, green onions, ¼ cup Cheddar Cheese, Chopped Tomatoes Bedtime Snack 1 carton Fat-free, Sugar-free yogurt Day 6 Breakfast 1 Chicken Breast on 2 slices 80-calorie Wheat bread Coffee or tea Mid-morning snack Small Pear Lunch Tuna on Salad (1 6oz can water-packed tuna) Large Lettuce and tomato salad with ½ apple and slivered almonds Mid-afternoon Snack Grape Tomatoes Dinner

235 Herbed Chicken Breast Garlic Green Beans Large Tossed Salad with 2Tbsps Ranch Dressing Bedtime Snack 1 carton Fat-free, Sugar-free Yogurt Day 7 Breakfast 8 oz. low-fat Cottage Cheese ½ Cup Strawberries Coffee or Tea Midmorning Snack Celery Sticks Lunch 6-inch Subway Low-fat Chicken Sandwich 1 Bag of Apple Slices (sold at Subway) Mid-afternoon snack Sweet Mini-peppers Dinner Grilled Beef Kabobs (Beef cubes, onion, red & green bell peppers)

236 Large green salad with 2 Tbsps Dressing of Choice Grilled Yellow Squash Bedtime Snack 1 mini-bag Microwave Popcorn Day 8 Breakfast 1 carton fat-free, sugar-free yogurt 1 140-calorie South Beach Protein Bar Lunch 6 oz. Chicken Salad 2 Wasa Multi grain Crispbread Crackers Grape Tomatoes Mid-afternoon Snack ¼ Cup Dry-roasted Nuts Dinner 6 oz Petit Sirloin Steak Grilled Onions Tossed Lettuce and Tomato Salad Bedtime Snack

237 1 Pear Day 9 Breakfast ½ Whole Grain Bagel 1 Tbsps Sugar-free Fruit Spread Coffee or tea Midmorning Snack Cucumber Slices Lunch 1/6 Digornio Vegetable Pizza Small Tossed Salad Mid-afternoon Snack 1 Cup Green or Red Grapes Dinner 1 Chicken Breast on Large Green Salad 1 Cup steamed Yellow squash Bedtime Snack Celery Sticks Day 10

238 Breakfast 1 100-calorie English muffin 1 tsp. Peanut Butter and 1 tsp fruit Spread Coffee or tea Midmorning Snack 1 medium Apple Lunch 1 Turkey and Cheese ‘Lean Pocket’ Lettuce and Tomato Salad Mid-afternoon Snack 10 Large Black or Green Olives Dinner 6 oz Sirloin Pork Chop Stir-fry with onions, red bell pepper, green onions, and bamboo shoots Steamed broccoli Bedtime Snack 1 carton fat-free, sugar-free pudding Day 11 Breakfast 2 Scrambled eggs with 1 slice deli ham

239 1 Tangerine Coffee or tea Midmorning Snack 1 carton Fat-free, Sugar-free Yogurt Lunch Turkey Burger, No bun, with lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard, relish, and ketchup Celery stalks, Green Pepper Rings with 1 Tbsps Ranch Dressing for dipping Mid-afternoon Snack ¼ Cup dry-roasted nuts Dinner Shrimp and Broccoli Stir-fry (6 Jumbo Shrimp with 5-spice seasoning) Large Spinach Salad (2 Cups) with Fat-free Oriental Dressing Bedtime Snack 4 oz Fat-free Cottage Cheese Day 12 Breakfast

240 2 oz Deli ham, 1 hard-boiled egg, 1 low-fat string cheese stick Coffee or tea Mid-morning Snack Cucumber Slices Lunch 1 Cup Cuban Black Bean Soup 1 High Fiber, Low Carb tortilla ¼ Cup Cheddar Cheese Mid-afternoon Snack Baby Carrots Dinner 1 Broiled Chicken Breast Lemon Pepper Green Beans Lettuce and Tomato Salad Bedtime Snack 1 Medium Peach Day 13 Breakfast 1 EAS Protein Drink (110 calories)

241 1 South Beach Meal Replacement Bar (180 calories, 12 grams Protein) Coffee or tea Midmorning Snack Grape Tomatoes Lunch 1 Chicken Breast on top of Large Spinach Salad 5 Black Olives, Diced Tomato, and 1 tsp Feta Cheese Balsamic Dressing Mid-afternoon Snack Red and Green Bell pepper rings Dinner 6 oz Salmon baked in salsa with cilantro and green onions Sliced tomato and Lettuce salad with Lime Vinaigrette Bedtime Snack Skinny Cow Ice cream Sandwich Day 14

242 Breakfast 1 Cup low-fat Cottage Cheese 4 oz pineapple tidbits in natural juice 1 slice 80-calorie wheat toast Coffee or tea Midmorning Snack ¼ Cup Pecans Lunch Taco Salad (6oz ground meat on top of Mixed Greens) Salsa, Onions, chopped black olives, ¼ cup cheddar cheese 10 Tortilla Chips Mid-afternoon Snack Strawberries Dinner Chicken Scampi (1 chicken breast cooked with garlic and 2 Tbsps Butter, and 1 oz white wine) Wilted Spinach Sliced Tomato and Fresh Basil Salad Bedtime Snack

243 1 carton fat-free, sugar-free pudding So there you have it, a simple, 2week eating plan that is packed with lots of food choices and lots of flavor. Once you start eating healthier foods, you’ll find that it’s really not that hard and you will automatically start to pay more attention to what you put into your mouth. The goal isn’t perfection, because we all “fall off the wagon” at one time or another. The goal is to eat healthier most of the time. Once you reach your health goals, I’m sure you’ll find changing your eating habits was definitely worth the effort. Good Luck!


245 Chapter 6: The “Physique Mystique” (Secrets of a Firm, Toned Body) The human body is undeniably the most miraculous creation of the Universe. It quietly performs millions of different functions simultaneously; many that we are completely unaware of, as we go about our daily business. For centuries, there has always been an aura of mystery surrounding the human body’s form and function. From the beginning of time, we have admired, shaped, scrutinized, and envied the human body. If you are unhappy with the current state of your physique, you have lots of company. You realize that you have to do some kind of exercise to improve your body, but exercise is a sensitive issue for a lot of people, especially those over fifty. Deep in your heart you know that you can’t just sit there and let the pounds pile up. At best, you become soft and

246 flabby and at worst, you set yourself up for all sorts of physical risks such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity. Did you know that the word exercise comes partly from a Latin word the means “to maintain, to keep, to ward off”? Exercise and activity really do “ward off” the ill effects of aging. The calories you burn beyond those required to keep you alive is where the rubber really meets the road, because this is an area over which you have complete control. Physical activity accounts for somewhere between 20 and 40 percent of calories burned daily. The amount of activity you do during the day varies and so do the amount of calories you burn on any given day. You may actually be surprised by how many calories you burn through your usual daily activities. An hour of housecleaning eats up 200to 300 calories, and vigorous yard work uses 300 to 400. Even little things such as crossing and uncrossing your legs, standing up,

247 stretching, walking across a room, maintaining good posture require energy. These small movements you may dismiss as trivial in terms of activity are known as non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT. Although it does not include formal exercise and intentional activity, non-exercise activity thermogenesis can be a significant form of calorie expenditure and weight control. Some people burn hundreds of calories a day through this kind of activity. These seemingly inconsequential activities do make a difference and the more we make an effort to move around in the course of a day, the more calories we burn without even thinking about it. Cardiovascular exercise stimulates the heart to pump blood faster and increase circulation. This carries vital nutrients into the organs and muscles more efficiently, and sweeps away fatigue-causing substances, such as lactic acid. Most people’s idea of “cardio” is aerobic

248 exercise, such as fast walking, running, swimming, biking, and other fast-paced activities. The benefits of aerobic exercise are undeniable, and if you are physically fit enough to engage in that type of exercise, go for it. But there are other ways to get the same benefits of aerobic exercise without the stress to the joints and strain on the muscles. Any form of regular exercise keeps the body balanced and the joints flexible, getting rid of that “rusty” feeling. It serves as a wake-up call to the nervous system, mobilizing the mind and body. It also raises the metabolic rate by increasing calorie expenditure. For many, exercise is an intimidating subject, associated with guilt for not doing it, along with failure for stopping altogether. Countless people complain that they don’t have enough time to exercise when in reality they don’t have the energy or the “want-to”. Don’t get me wrong, I understand how busy life can be. I have a busy life myself, but I make time to

249 workout because it is a priority for me. And the hard truth is, as I have discovered from talking with people, the majority who say they can’t find the time to workout will spend an hour or more a day in front of the TV, surfing the web on the computer, or checking e-mails. If you believe that you don’t have the time, you probably need to do some rethinking, because you can make it work if you really want to. Even the most sedentary person has vowed to become more active, at least once in their life. Millions of Americans waste millions of dollars every year on gym memberships and exercise equipment that they never use. You’ve read the statistics in this book, magazine articles and in the newspaper headlines. You’ve heard it on the new broadcasts. You’ve seen it with your own eyes. We are a nation of overweight, out-of-shape citizens. You’ve tried to be careful of what you eat. You started working out to try to get back into shape,

250 only to stop again. And then it happened; you gained weight, again. Worst of all, this time the weight settled just where you wanted it the least; in your belly, thighs, and butt. As we age, physical fitness seems to decline with how sedentary our lives become. That doesn’t mean that there is no hope for our physical health as we grow older. First and foremost, make health your primary focus. When determining your particular health status and how you want your body to look, the first thing you need to do is throw out those Hollywood supermodel and actor images you might be carrying around. More often than not, what you are really seeing in those images is not God’s handiwork, but a distortion of reality. We would all look “perfect” if we were airbrushed every morning before we stepped foot outside our doors. With the help of “miracle machines” any magazine editor can

251 create virtually any look he or she wants for a model. For every cover, busts are enlarged, hips are trimmed, stomachs flattened. The wrinkles vanish; lips are made to look fuller, eyes bigger, hair longer and thicker. Men are also objectified and sexualized in movies, ads, and magazines. Hollywood and television present male images of engorged arms and legs, six-pack abs, and well defined “pecs”, honed to perfection by hours of work with personal trainers and make-up artists. The pictures that you see are not “real”, so don’t feel bad. Marketing moguls create these images to sell products. Get your head out of trying to look perfect because that will never happen. Everyone has flaws, its part of the human condition. But no matter how old you are or what shape your body is currently in, you can look fit and trim and experience optimal health.

252 Recognize that our culture showcases unrealistic, rigid, and often unattainable ideas of beauty that are out of sync with the average healthy physique. Probably the best way to get a true idea of your body is to look in the mirror. How do you look? How do your clothes fit? Although many people, especially women, are concerned about their weight on the scale, this is a misguided preoccupation since pounds are not an accurate indication of fitness or whether you look fat. There are too many other variables. A muscular woman in excellent shape can weigh more than a flabby woman with little muscle. What really matters is not the number on the scale. What really matters is your health and body image. Don’t be a slave to the scale. There is, in reality, no such thing as the perfect weight for a certain height. Life is about being a healthy, vital, positive person. What counts is that you are active and you live your life to the fullest, at

253 every age. We’ve all known skinny people who never think they are thin enough. And we’ve all marveled at big people who are self-confident, active, and attractive. What’s the difference and what’s the secret? It’s body image. When you are comfortable and proud of your body you project confidence and exude natural attractiveness and appeal. This is where exercise works its magic. When you exercise regularly, gradually building up your strength and endurance, you learn to respect your body and all its capabilities. As you progress and achieve new levels of fitness, you learn to love your body and develop the innate self-confidence that is one of the secrets of attraction. Try to think for a moment how you would treat you car if you were only allowed one per lifetime. If that one car had to last you for your entire life, I’m sure you would treat it with tender love and care. You would keep it clean,

254 perform the routine maintenance, and use only the best oil and gas. Well, each of us only get one body that has to last us our entire lifetime. Yet most of us treat our vehicles with more care and respect than we do our own bodies. Unlike the human body, when a car needs repair, it can be done fairly quickly but that’s not true of the human body. Making positive, lasting changes to the body takes time. It’s a process. In other words, there are no quick ways to long-term progress. Anybody, no matter what age, can improve their bodies and change their physique in the process. One of the simplest ways to prevent wasting of muscle due to inactivity is to give the body something to do. Research has conclusively demonstrated that a person who takes up exercise at any age will receive the same increase in strength, stamina, and muscle mass. Researchers at Tufts University, where the federal government sponsored a major center for

255 the study of human aging, have demonstrated that the major symptoms of biological aging can be improved through increased activity. Two Tufts scientists, William Evans and There’s no reason you can’t stay healthy as you age, but it will take work. Honestly, there is no “mystique”, no aura of secrecy surrounding how you can achieve better health and a better physique. It is critical that you fully understand the connection between exercise and a healthy body. You have probably seen more than your share of television ads and infomercials touting that you can have a great body, lose weight and eat anything you want without exercise. Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but none of that is true. Just look at the majority of people you see on the street. If it were true that you could eat whatever you wanted and not exercise, there wouldn’t be so many obese people walking around. Without exercise, losing weight, keeping it off, and

256 developing the body you want is virtually impossible. You can eat all the right foods, drink only water, and take a trunk load of vitamins and supplements, but if you don’t exercise, you will never reach optimal health. To be optimally healthy, it takes a combination of good food and some form of exercise. Monitoring what you put into your mouth is only half the equation. It will work only if you burn more calories. Some of you are thinking, “Not me”. You think that you are too old to start “working out” or you think you have to join a gym or buy expensive equipment that you fear you will only use once. Not only that, but the idea of hard exercise appeals to you about as much as 10 hours of ditch digging. Now, I realize that whenever the word exercise is mentioned, all kinds of images come to mind, from complete drudgery to outright boredom, or a life filled with hours at the gym. But a physically fit lifestyle doesn’t have to be like

257 that. You never have to step foot inside a gym, and you never have to break a sweat, if you don’t want to. But, you do have to move your body in some way, form, or fashion. The chief reward of keeping physically fit is an enhanced quality of life; looking better, feeling better, and being able to do the things you enjoy for longer periods of time. Quality of life is a major concern of most people as they grow older, and exercise is not only about surviving in life, but about thriving in life for longer. Studies show that exercise may help slow the aging process by preventing or reducing the chances of disease and disability in people who engage in regular physical fitness activity. Just as exercise is an investment that pays immediate rewards and long-term dividends, it has also been confirmed that the lack of exercise can be detrimental to a person’s health. A recent article in the Journal of the

258 American Medical Association revealed that those who do not exercise, when compared with those who exercise consistently, could expect their risk of dying prematurely to double. The good new is you don’t have to be a part of those numbers. But positive change takes a determined choice followed by repeated action. The “weekend warrior” syndrome will not lead to the last, noticeable benefits you are looking for. To improve the quality of our lives, we have to break the tendency to slip back into unhealthy, ineffective patterns. One way to rise above this dilemma is to heighten our body awareness and our physical capability. That happens through lifestyle change involving consistent exercise. I’m not talking about a quick spurt that will burn you out in a few months; I’m talking about a slow, steady, building, lifelong commitment. But as you will discover in the following pages, exercise doesn’t have to be

259 grueling or unpleasant. As my dad would say, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat”. So as long as you find a way to fit exercise into your life, it doesn’t matter what activity you choose. Recognize that exercise is a necessary part of fitness and a necessary part of a healthy life. The secret is to find an activity that you really like, one that you will be happy to do. If exercise is fun, you’re more likely to stick with it. Experts recommend incorporating some type of aerobic activity into your lifestyle. And the really good news is you don’t have to do it all at once. Like most people who don’t exercise regularly, you probably associate the term aerobics with running, biking or spinning. But technically, any sustained activity that gets your heart pumping can contribute to your physical health and weight loss. You don’t have to huff and puff for hours; 30 minutes most days of the week will do the trick. When we talk about healthy lifestyle,

260 and quality of life issues, now days its less about ‘30-minutes, 75 percent maximum heart rate three times a week’, and more about just being generally active. The idea is to get a minimum of 30 total minutes of moderate activity throughout the day. We all know people who were active throughout their lives until they reach a certain age and begin to slow down without even realizing it. Even though they eat no differently than they ever had, they begin to gain weight. The extra weight made it more uncomfortable on the rare occasions when they did try to workout, so they put it off. The weight gain continued, and soon the discomfort felt while exercising crept into their daily lives in the form of pain in the knees, ankles, hips, and back. Oh well they thought, I guess this is what it’s like to get old. Does that scenario sound familiar of someone you know, maybe even you?

261 As you know by now, that experience is not an automatic consequence of aging. Unfortunately, more often than not, it is what happens when people decide to keep off their feet as much as possible. There are definitely individuals over the age of 50 who exercise at least three times a week at an intensity that would make ice burn. (I work out regularly, but I have to admit I haven’t seen anything burning or melting.) And we’ve all heard of people in their seventies and eighties who walk, jog, or do other things to stay as active as people half their age. They never seem to grow old. We shake our heads, smile and say, “How do the do it?” Those individuals however, are a small percentage of the population. That is not a way of life for most people, yet. Our bodies were made to move, and that fact doesn’t change when we hit a certain age. As a matter of fact, movement in the form of exercise becomes more crucial as we age. We

262 are all capable of staying fit into our eighties and beyond. The key of course, is to move it, use it, or lose it. Even if you’ve lost it, you can get it back. Doctors used to think that exercise could slow down the decline that comes with age but that once something was gone, it was gone for good. Now researchers know that older people, even those in their eighties, who begin a gentle exercise program, lose weight, rediscover lost energy, rebuild muscle tissue and bone, and suffer far fewer injuries and diseases. Armed with this knowledge, a host of doctors, government agencies, and fitness enthusiasts, including me, are working to get the word out: Your senior years may be the most important time of your life to start exercising. Most people will not carve out a part of their busy week to spend a lot of time doing something that they don’t enjoy. People who exercise regularly are generally those who enjoy

263 exercise. It’s not a big surprise. If you are forcing yourself to do something because you think you should, it won’t be long before you stop. But if you choose forms of fitness that are fun, you will be more inclined to keep going. While participating in an enjoyable activity, people often lose track of time. Take shopping for example; it is an activity many people enjoy. Did you know that a 3-hour window shopping trip consisting of 2 hours shopping and 1 hour standing burns 450 calories? It would be great if we could burn our calories shopping all day but, unfortunately time and money will not allow it. So my challenge was to research all kinds of exercise to find some that would appeal to anybody, a plan that anyone might try. My goal is to get all of you, but especially the sedentary reader, to give this a shot. It’s clear that the threat of disease and obesity are not enough to get and keep people moving. That’s why I promote the pleasure

264 principle of exercise. Positive conditioning is much more successful than fear. The best way to avoid being an exercise ‘drop-out’ is to follow your pleasure. Experiment and explore until you find the form of exercise that you truly enjoy. The most effective and efficient exercise routine for building a fabulously firm physique uses your body’s natural tendency for simultaneous fat burning and lean tissue development. What if I told you that I found three different exercise programs that require less than 30 minutes at a time to do? The programs are not difficult or strenuous. All the plans get you moving, no matter what your level of fitness, with the ultimate goal of burning fat and building muscle. You don’t need any fancy equipment or membership to a gym. If you could find exercise that would give you all the benefits of vigorous activity, but not so long in duration that it was next to impossible to fit into a normal person’s schedule, wouldn’t you try it?

265 By now you are probably growing a little impatient with me, but I really want you to think about how much time you would really devote to becoming fit. I’m on your side and I want you to succeed. You won’t ever quit any of these plans because you can make any one of them part of your day. I know that everyone of you has 8 or 10, or 20 minutes, maybe two or three times a day to spend on exercise. Any one of these programs is doable, and you know it. When you do any kind of exercise, you are treating yourself well and you send a signal to your pituitary gland to release endorphins, your body’s natural feel-good chemical. The more endorphins you release, the better you feel. Jorge Cruise author of the “8 Minutes in the Morning” series devised a plan to develop muscle and lose fat in only 8 minutes a day. He has three million clients, so there must be some validity to it. With his program you target each muscle group once a week. The

266 exercises work to fatigues the area, then that body part is given a week to rest. During that week, the muscle fibers in that particular muscle group will build themselves up, becoming firmer, stronger, and more metabolically active. He recommends working out in the morning because your metabolism is sluggish from sleeping and when you exercise, your metabolism increases. In addition, in a study of 500 people from the Mollen Clinic in Phoenix, only 25 percent of evening exercisers consistently did their workouts compared to 75 percent of the morning exercisers. Another reason to move in the morning is to enhance your mood. In a study at the University of Leeds in England, researchers found that people who exercised in the morning reported less tension and greater feelings of contentment for the rest of the day. And there are still more benefits to exercising in the morning. A study at the Indiana University in

267 Bloomington suggests that morning workouts reduce blood pressure more than workouts done at other times during the day. In fact, morning exercisers experienced an 8 point drop in systolic pressure (top number) that lasted 11 hours. Their diastolic pressure (bottom number) dropped 6 points for up to 4 hours after exercise. Evening exercisers had no significant reductions in either their systolic or diastolic pressures. Finally, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, some evidence confirms that the body responds better to weight training in the morning. Testosterone, which is the body’s primary muscle-building hormone, is at its highest level in the morning after the body has rested during the night. In addition, after a weight training session, testosterone levels are more elevated in the morning compared to afternoon or evening. This finding suggests that the muscle-building potential of weight training may be at its peak before noon. If you are truly a

268 morning person, this type of program would be ideal for your lifestyle. You could fit your exercise in at the beginning of your day, and have the rest of the day to do whatever you like, knowing that you had already used your morning time to start the day in a healthy way. In his book, The Spark, Dr. Glen Gaesser outlines his plan to get fit and lose weight 10 minutes at a time. The idea appealed to me because anybody of any age can do it and the smaller increments of exercise time set you up for success. With this type of exercise program you no longer have to make an effort to “fit in your exercise.” You can forget about long, strenuous exercise sessions. You don’t have to plan your day, pack a gym bag, or push yourself mentally or physically to make exercise a part of your life. A “fountain of youth hormone” has been found to be released during exercise, not just while training for a triathlon or taking

269 kickboxing classes back-to-back, but by simply walking at a brisk pace for as little as 10 minutes or riding your stationary bike to your favorite television show or dancing around the house to your favorite song. Nothing that will cause you to break out in a profuse sweat. Nothing that a normally sedentary person can’t do. Ten minutes two or three times a day on most days of the week: maybe in the morning when you go out to get the paper before breakfast, during your lunch break at work, and when you get home, either before or after dinner. And if you are retired, you can do your 10 minutes whenever you like! Ten minutes two or three times a day is all you need to tap into your very own “fountain of youth”. As we age and put on weight, we lose our ability to produce and secrete growth hormone (GH), which in our youth, made our bones strong, our bodies supple, and our immune system hearty. Growth hormone is a major

270 player in numerous metabolic processes and can seemingly turn back the clock. Growth hormone, also known as somatotropin, is synthesized and secreted by the pituitary gland. The release of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) from the liver, combined with growth hormone affects everything from reducing body fat to promoting muscle development, to preventing cosmetic symptoms of aging such as thinning skin. GH injections are available, but are very costly and require a doctor’s prescription. Raising our own naturally occurring levels of growth hormone through regular physical exertion, proper rest, and nutrition, remains one of our most powerful weapons against the ravages of time as well as the threat of a flabby physique. With the right kind of activity, three times a day, your own body is stimulated once again to release this hormone, naturally. Growth hormone levels are at their highest during sleep, encouraging your muscles

271 to patch up any microtears and grow stronger. Your body is continually producing and secreting growth hormone when you exercise for short sessions a few times a day. When you exercise only once a day, regardless of how long that exercise session may be, your body compensates by slowing down the GH secretions. In the same way your metabolism slows down when you starve yourself on a strict diet, GH goes into slow motion. Your body feels the need to conserve its valuable surge of growth hormone and as the day goes on, you get less and less output. In other words, you might think that you are turning back the clock when you push yourself through a 45-minute Tae-Bo session, but in reality, you’re going to wind up secreting less and less GH throughout the day. If you are a diehard work-out enthusiast, you may find this hard to believe, but it is true. Studies have shown the more intermittent activity you do, the more spurts of

272 growth hormone you produce. If you spend one 45 minute session in the gym and that’s it for the day, your body compensates late by producing and secreting less GH. If you only did a couple of easy 10 minute kicks three times a day you would actually keep yourself younger, longer and you would be successful at being consistent due to the small outlay of time. When researchers delved more deeply into the phenomenon of aging and weight gain, they discovered that most adults were not only gaining body fat as they got older, they were also losing muscle mass. This fact alone has enormous bearing on why people tend to gain weight as they age. Christine Lydon, M.D. has written a book called, “Ten Years Thinner” in which she discusses, among other topics, her 20-25 minute exercise plan. Because the workouts do not require any special exercise equipment or dedicated workout space, they can be done

273 anywhere, anytime, by anyone. Between their ease and simplicity, anyone can fit the exercise routines into even a busy day. According to Dr. Lydon, there are three factors necessary for an effective workout. For improved body composition and heart health your exercise program relies on: the total calories burned during the workout; the muscle development that results from the workout; and the caloric afterburn induced by the workout. If you want to build flab-free physique, the calories you expend during your workout may be the least important factor. The overall number of calories you burn as a result of exercising is a much better predictor of weight loss than immediate fat burning. For many, this is a very difficult concept to grasp because it is contrary to everything you’ve been taught about weight-loss. In fact many “old school” weight loss ‘experts’ still prescribe moderate intensity cardio within the fat-burning zone as the most

274 effective way to speed weight loss, even though there is now cutting edge research that contradicts that idea. I believe that the strictness of this expectation and the time required was, and is a definite turn-off to people who might want to “try” to workout. Today, exercise physiologists are discovering the most efficient way to induce progressive and permanent fat loss isn’t spending tedious hours in the fat-burning zone of cardio workouts. Instead the most efficient way to fat loss is through elevating the metabolic rate around the clock which is best accomplished through activities that maximize muscle toning and afterburn, also known as excess postexercise consumption (EPOC). Exercise does not just burn calories during the activity; it also causes an increase in energy expenditure for up to two days after your workout. This increase in energy expenditure is reflected by elevated oxygen uptake. For every additional liter of

275 oxygen consumed, approximately five extra calories are burned. Unlike low-to-moderate aerobic activity, which is fueled by a combination of fat and glucose, afterburn (EPOC) is fueled exclusively by fat oxidation. Researchers have been exploring this phenomenon for more than two decades. However, it is only recently that they have begun to appreciate the tremendous impact that altering different exercise variables can have on the amount and length of caloric afterburn. Unfortunately, many fitness ‘experts’ have never even heard of EPOC, and there are even fewer doctors and weight-loss specialists who understand the implications of using it as a tool for improving the physique. To build a firm, lean body, muscle toning and caloric afterburn are far more efficient and easier to accomplish than exercising within the “fat-burning” zone. The most efficient and effective exercise routine for building a sensationally fit

276 physique uses your body’s natural tendency for simultaneous fat-burning and lean tissue development. This type of workout program is a far cry from the outdated fat-burning target-zone cardio exercises of yesteryear. Exercise physiologists are now discovering the most efficient way to improve the appearance of the body is best accomplished through a combination of resistance training and intense, short-duration exercise. Resistance training builds muscle, and a little muscle goes a long way toward increasing metabolic rate, caloric expenditure, and fat-burning. Likewise, brief intervals of intense exercise induce a hormone response that raises resting metabolic rate and increases overall fat-burning for up to two days. Dr.Lydon’s workout program is designed to mimic the anaerobic effects of interval training. The movements are intended to increase the heart rate into the anaerobic zone, but you are only required to exercise at a high

277 intensity for very brief periods throughout the 20-25 minute routines. Because the workouts were designed to exploit progressive conditioning, even someone who is currently sedentary and out of shape will be able to do them successfully. The exertion required to elevate the heart into the anaerobic zone is directly proportional to your level of fitness. So, the more out of shape you are, the less you will need to exert yourself. As your conditioning improves, you will progress gradually at your own pace. Regardless of your current fitness level, any one of the above programs can provide you with an entryway into getting back into shape or improving or maintaining your current state of fitness. I chose to expose you to these particular programs because they provide flexibility, they are easy to begin, they require very little investment of time, and they cost you nothing in terms of money and equipment. All

278 of the books mentioned here are listed in the bibliography at the end of this book. If any of the programs has piqued your interest, I encourage you to read further or better yet, pick out what you think will work for you and design a program for yourself. Be sure to choose exercises that you will really enjoy and activities that you will really do on a consistent basis. The tricky part is to get yourself to exercise when you are feeling sluggish. Try to exercise at the same time every day so that your workouts become part of your routine, a habit, that way you will be less likely to skip them. Any type of consistent physical activity will reward you with tangible results that are guaranteed to keep you motivated on your journey to a fit, firm physique. With all the myriad of physical activities to explore, there’s no reason not to try exercise. You don’t need to hike up a remote mountain or ski down a slope to savor the thrill of new physical experiences. The

279 world of fitness is a wonderful place to renew your adventurous spirit. Exercise can bring that sense of playfulness and fun back into your life. You can enjoy the confidence and know-how of midlife along with the sheer joy of youth. No matter how alluring I have made the prospect of beginning an exercise program, I know there are some of you who are still reluctant to even consider trying one of the three suggested exercise programs. So I have added this special section just for you. Hopefully, some of you will think I have saved the best (at least for you) until last. I haven’t given up on you die-hard, non-exercisers; I still have hope that I can to get you up and get you going. There is another way to fitness, and it’s a low-impact one that just about anyone, any age, in any physical shape, can do. I’m talking about good old-fashioned walking, a highly accessible, acceptable form of exercise that requires no equipment. I got you

280 now. Everyone can walk. Walking is probably the most popular and universal form if exercise in the world. It’s cost-free and natural. In fact, if we walked the way nature had intended, we might not need exercise programs at all. Walking is for everyone; fit and unfit, old and young, male and female. Some peoples think they can’t start walking because of a particular health concern, when the truth is; walking is probably one of the best things they can do for their health. Short of a very serious health condition, few health conditions exclude anyone from walking. However, if you have health concerns of any kind, check with your doctor before beginning any fitness program. Walking is probably the most perfect exercise anyone can do and is surprisingly effective for long-term health. Walking is a loadbearing exercise that places gentle strain on hips, knees, and feet. Walking imposes mild stress on the heart, which makes the heart work harder,

281 which in turn helps build a stronger heart muscle. You can walk whenever it fits into your schedule: before work, during the morning break, at lunch, before dinner, or in the twilight hours. You can go at your own pace and it’s an exercise that you can do everyday. Walking is an excellent social activity since walking is tailormade for talking at the same time. In addition, walking can be done for any length of time, and the intensity can be adjusted according to age, health status, and fitness goals. Walking is a miraculous activity that we tend to take for granted. Our bodies were designed to walk, and walk a lot. You will be amazed by how many good things fall into place once you make walking a regular part of your life. Fat will decrease. Your clothes will fit better. Your health and your mood will improve, your muscles will get toned; all by walking! Walking is so easy, in fact, some people are skeptical about whether you can really

282 get in shape by just walking. But studies have confirmed that walking is excellent exercise. You should be aware, however, that a sunset stroll or a walk to the corner is not necessarily aerobic, although it’s better than sitting. Whether or not the walk is aerobic depends on its intensity and duration. To get the cardiovascular benefits, you need to walk at an intensity where you feel that your heart is pumping faster than it is when you are resting. A brisk 30 minute walk that includes some hills will meet this requirement. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, walking just 30 minutes a day, three days a week, reduces the risk of death from all natural causes by 55 percent. That fact alone should help convince you to stand up on your own two feet and get moving. Walking also keeps you in the midrange of aerobic activity, where fat oxidation is most efficient. That’s right; you can burn fat through low-intensity activities like walking and continue to burn

283 calories after walking. Remember the afterburn phenomenon, well it also occurs after walking. Once you’ve been walking for a few weeks, you will have raised your resting metabolic rate, so that you will burn more calories all the time, even while you are sitting or sleeping. You can really reap the benefits of more strenuous exercise by simply walking. The same things that make walking a great exercise for people of all ages make it ideal for older people. Other types of exercises can strain backs and muscles, but no one get hurt walking. And everyone already has many years of experience doing it. I do not recommend using hand-held weights or ankle weights while walking. The extra weight puts stress on the joints and can cause more harm than good. Just go for a walk in good shoes and comfortable clothes, and you’ll do fine. Walking is your ticket to building strength and endurance at any age, and at your own pace.

284 And here is the final and most compelling reason that you too can begin a walking program; you can do it in your living room. You don’t ever have to go outside, if you don’t want to. You can get a walking video, put on some music, and start walking in place. Walking in place allows you to use a wide range of steps, so you work alot your muscles, not just a few. For variety, you can add kicks, side-toside movements, knee-lifts, fanny shakes, or whatever else will keep you interested and moving. You can design your own program around outdoor walks, your favorite TV show or the music that moves you. If walking is what it takes to get you started exercising, that’s great and I am happy for you. Once you build up your stamina and start see results and feel better about your health and your body, I’m convinced that you will venture on to other forms of exercise. Up to this point, you have learned quite a bit about different forms of exercise and

285 the positive effects of exercise on the body’s muscle tissue. In terms of metabolic activity, pound for pound, muscle tissue is second only to brain tissue. In other words, it takes more calories to maintain a given volume of muscle tissue than the same amount of just about every other tissue in the entire body. And because we possess many more pounds of muscle than any other tissue type, the vast majority of our daily caloric expenditure goes into using, repairing, and maintaining our muscles. This is true even if you lead a rather sedentary existence. In fact, if you are currently sedentary, very marginal increase in muscle activity can greatly enhance caloric expenditure and fat burning. And if you are currently active, very modest increases in muscle mass will accomplish the same goal. In other words, the more toned you are, the more fat you will burn. Don’t worry, you don’t have to spend hours in the gym lifting weights to reap

286 the benefits of a revved up metabolism; a little extra muscle goes a surprisingly long way. Additionally, the more muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate, and the more calories you will burn over time even if you are just lying around. Of course, lying around is not the ideal way to accomplish muscle toning. The old adage “use it or lose it” is especially true when it comes to firm flesh. Adults who don’t exercise regularly will typically lose between five to seven pounds of muscle every decade. To put this into perspective, a five pound muscle loss translates to about 250 fewer calories burned each day. This can add up to over 25 pounds gained in one year. Having said that let me emphasize that weight is not the only gauge of health. Most personal trainers will tell you not to worry about the scale anyway, but to focus on how your clothes fit. Instead of fixating on pounds, set

287 your sights on getting and staying healthy. It is certainly preferable to be as close to your ideal weight as possible. However, you can be in excellent cardiovascular shape, strong from weight training or Pilates, and fortified by eating a sound diet filled with lean protein, vegetables and fruit, and still have a thick waist or wide hips. Maybe your natural metabolic program tells your body to store extra fat, and you can’t lose it no matter how hard you try. Realize that your body is the hand of cards you are dealt by your genetic heritage, and there is nothing you can do about that. But you can learn to play the hand smart and improve your cards. People of any age who are physically fit naturally feel and look better. Maybe you’ve given up on your ‘looks’ and think vanity is a poor reason to shape up. Fine, but your appearance isn’t the only reason to ‘shake a tail feather’. Exercise is a great mood regulator. We’ve all heard about

288 “runner’s high”, but amore accurate term for this phenomenon would be “exercise euphoria”. Exercise stimulates the production of endorphins, which are the neurotransmitters released by the pituitary gland. These chemicals induce a feeling of euphoria and also alter nerve transmission in a manner that lessens pain. When you work out regularly and eat well, you will get in better physical shape. Remember, what we are talking about here is your health. The reason I place emphasis on exercise and good nutrition in the second half of life is to promote the development of ‘optimal’ good health as we age. Taking care of yourself, feeling great, looking great, and having fun while enjoying life are the fundamental components of the SASSY philosophy … Think fit. Think healthy. Think strong and flexible and lean and energetic. Accentuate the best of what your inherited genetic traits by adding exercise and a

289 healthful diet to your lifestyle. In the coming

years, as less and less aid in the form of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are available, the aging population will find more and more responsibility for providing their own income and managing their own health issues, falling squarely on it own shoulders. This not speculation, this is a matter of fact that will become reality in the very near future. I encourage you to look at your life from a different perspective and take matters of health into your own hands (and feet). How can you begin to re-shape your aging process? Easy. Start an exercise program designed to build and maintain adequate muscle tissue to fuel your body’s around-the-clock fat burning mechanism, also known as your metabolism. It really is possible to add muscle while you lose fat. One of the main objectives of any over-50 fitness program is to actually gain some

290 muscle tissue. With each decade of life after young adulthood, the average American loses 6.6 pounds of lean-body mass. Many people who become increasingly overweight after middle age assume that their problem is too much fat. But research has demonstrated that the actual problem is a combination of too much fat and too little lean-body mass, particularly muscles. Fat and muscle do not share the same metabolism; comparatively, fat is much more inactive. Fat serves as an energy-storage tissue, while muscle is an energy-spending tissue. Lean muscle tissue is extremely metabolically active, and additional muscle will ultimately increase around-the-clock fat burning. In a nutshell, strength training works because making muscles fires up your metabolism and keeps your body running at its fat-burning best. For every pound of muscle you have on your body, you burn between 30 and 50 calories a day, even when you are sleeping. Over

291 time, muscle-metabolism gains can add up to fat loss. Be aware that lean tissue is so much denser than fatty tissue; overall weight loss is an inaccurate gauge of real progress. Consider this: If you gained 3 pounds of muscle and burn 40 additional calories per pound, you could burn an additional 120 calories per day, or 3600 calories per month. At that rate, those 3 pounds of muscle would burn off 12 pounds over the course of a year. Adding muscle tissue will make you stronger and give you a leaner appearance although you may, in fact, actually weigh more. If you are really weight conscious that means you will have to readjust your ideas about “weight” and judge your progress by how you look and feel. So, don’t become a slave to your bathroom scale, it won’t accurately reflect changes in body composition. Instinctively, this idea seems illogical. After all, it takes an excess of calories to build tissue and a caloric deficit to lose tissue.

292 Right? Well, that’s what we’ve all been taught by many so-called weight loss experts, but that equation is not entirely correct. The idea that you need to spend more calories than you consume in order to lose body fat is deceptive. Dozens of studies indicate that appropriate nutrition, coupled with regular exercise, will induce simultaneous muscle gain and fat loss, without agonizing over calories, although you can’t ignore calorie intake altogether. Physiologists are discovering that the quality of the calories you consume is far more important than the overall quantity. Likewise, the quality of the food is far more important than the food group to which it belongs. Now let’s look at some exercises to help reshape and firm you up. But before we get started, let me remind you that there many ways to accomplish the goal of firming up your physique. There are literally thousands of exercise-instructional DVDs available that you

293 can do in the privacy of your own home. I currently own 25 exercise DVDs that range from Belly dancing to Zumba and everything in between. There are several that incorporate weight training with dance moves; those are especially fun and effective. I find the DVDs jump start my workouts and get me in the mood to go further. These are the exercises I use and I am happy and satisfied with my physique. I’m not trying to kill myself with exercise and I want to enjoy myself when I workout, so I keep it simple and realistic. I do my workouts 3 to 4 days a week, minimum of 10 to 30 minutes per session. That’s really all the time it takes to stay toned and fit. Sometimes I do more then one session in a day and I alternate weight training sessions with aerobic activity. In other sessions, I combine weight training with aerobics. Many people confuse strength training with bodybuilding or weightlifting. These sports are actually advanced or extreme

294 forms of strength training and far from what I am suggesting here. Whether you want to believe it or not, weight training of some kind is an essential part of any exercise program after the age of fifty. I’m not talking about an Arnold Swartzenegger body-building routine or weight training to make your body look like Mr. World or Ms. Universe. I’m talking about resistance exercises that tone, tighten and build muscle to help you boost your metabolism, feel stronger, and help you look better in your clothes. Lifting weights improves your strength and posture and reduces the risk of lower back injury. And although health is the primary reason for weight training, looking and feeling better are the extra benefits you will receive for your extra effort. Weight training is for everyone; male and female, all ages, all sizes and all fitness levels. We all need to maintain our physical strength just to perform the activities of daily living.

295 Another more important benefit of weight training is called “functional strength.” Think about the last bag of groceries that you carried into the house, it probably weighed between 3 to 8 pounds. As I said before, the SASSY lifestyle is about doing what makes sense, requires the least amount of effort, at little or no cost to you. Gerontologists have found that muscle is much more responsible for the body’s overall vitality than most people, including most doctors, ever supposed. Based on their research, the Tufts University investigators found that muscle mass, along with strength, is critical and that by building muscles late in life, elderly people can significantly rejuvenate their whole physiology. Since the rate at which you lose lean-body mass accelerates after age 45, the researchers concentrated on full-scale exercise programs for the 45+ age groups, reversing the social programming that says vigorous physical

296 activity belongs to the young. Previously, a decline in muscle strength was considered unavoidable, and expected with increasing age. The Tufts group conclusively proved that a decline in muscle strength was not only not inevitable, but also reversible. Twelve men between the ages of 60 and 72 were put on a regular supervised weight training program three times a week for three months. They were asked to train at 80 percent of their “repetition maximum”, the heaviest weight they could lift at one try. At the end of the experiment, the men’s strength had increased dramatically, the size of their quadriceps had doubled, and their hamstrings had nearly tripled in size. Milder weight training programs for people over 95 proved equally successful. This new evidence points out that the idea of “taking it easy” as we get older needs to be reexamined. Clearly, that idea is really not the best for your body or your brain. My suggestion to you and plan for

297 myself, is to remain at the most youthful level of functioning possible. Physical fitness is very closely linked to one’s general sense of wellbeing; most people who work out regularly report feeling younger and better about themselves overall. You already have comfortable clothes that you could use to workout in, right? Now the only other equipment you need is a pair of athletic shoes that provide you with adequate support and fit comfortably. Now I know you’re thinking to yourself, what about the weights? They will cost money and I will have to go out of my way to get them. Oh, yea of little faith, not so fast. First of all, you can do toning resistance training by simply raising and lowering your own body weight. Secondly, you can you “homemade” weight from soup or juice cans, milk jugs filled with dirt or water, or anything else that would provide you with weighted resistance during your workout.

298 Honestly, if you try weight training and decide that you are seriously going to make it part of your workout, I recommend buying some inexpensive weights. They are sold at Wal-Mart, K-mart, and Target as well as any sporting goods store. Hand held weights range from 3 lbs up to 12 lbs, after that you would have to purchase dumbbells and build your own weight category from there. But none of that is necessary to get you started. All you really need is the desire to train and your own body weight .One of the things that I really like about lifting weights is that it is a solo activity. I can do it whenever I want and I am the only one monitoring my progress. The main goals of weight training over 50 are two-fold. First, weight training is the only way to tone up the muscles that we already have and secondly weight training is the only way to build new muscle to add to our body’s resting metabolic rate. Be sure that your weight

299 training includes exercises for every major muscle group. Start with a weight that’s comfortable to handle and keep it for eight repetitions. Gradually add more reps until you can finish 12. As time goes on and you become stronger, you can add more weight or more repetitions for greater strength building. The remainder of this chapter will be dedicated to exercises involving the three areas people surveyed named as the most troublesome parts of their physiques as they age; the abdomen, thighs and buttocks (also known as potbelly, thunder thighs, and flabby butt). In order to keep from overwhelming you as you start your new exercise program, I am going to limit each area to five exercises. You can always add more to your personal program as you get more into the habit of exercising, but for now I don’t want to discourage you, or scare you off before you even begin so we will start with just five.

300 Your abdominal muscles confine your internal organs like a snug girdle. But aging, lack of exercise, and a poor diet can quickly transform the abdominal area into a spreading, overgrown pouch. Also known as the “middle-age spread”, this was the number one area of concern listed by both genders after age 50. The trouble is we don’t routinely tax our abs very much during the course of a day. If we worked them harder, or more often, or both, they would tighten up, get stronger, and our abdominal area wouldn’t protrude. Anything that you can do to tighten your abdominal muscles will help hold in your stomach. Your abs consists of four muscles, all of which shape your midsection:  The rectus abdominus (upper and lower), a vertical muscle that run from your rib cage to your pubic bone:

301  The transverse abdominus, the deepest ab, which runs horizontally from your ribs to your hips:  The external oblique, a broad, thin muscle that runs diagonally from your ribs to your hip:  The internal oblique muscle, which runs along the front and sides of your torso. To slim the abdominal area, you need a program of exercises that deliberately works the abs, especially the upper, lower, and the obliques. The abdominal muscles are an excellent group to start with because they respond very quickly to exercise. Compared to the buttocks, thighs, or other muscle groups, the abs get stronger pretty quickly. Now bear in mind, that strong doesn’t automatically mean flat. In order to get the entire benefit of ab work, you will have to limit the amount of fat that you

302 consume in your diet. Sorry, but that’s the deal. You can expect to have less fat around your abdomen unless you pay attention to what you eat and put less fat into your mouth. The workouts that follow produce results because they use the principle of overload. Overloading any muscle occurs either by increasing the number of repetitions of an exercise or by increasing intensity which means doing the same number of repetitions but adding weights to make the exercise harder. If you are new to exercise, start slow and build reps and intensity as you become stronger. Trying to do too much in the beginning will result in injuries and set-backs. Form is much more important than the number of repetitions or the amount of weight that you use. Proper form will get you the results that you want and prevent you from getting hurt. If you are consistent and stick to the minimum 3-day a week exercise plan, you

303 should start to feel a difference in your midsection after about two weeks. By four weeks, you should see some tightening or slight changes in contour. And by six weeks you should look and feel toned. I will provide you with a “workout” version and an “everyday” version of all the exercises that I recommend so that you can wok the same muscles in your daily life. Here are some more tips to help you succeed and get the results that you are looking for: 1. Work your entire body. Despite what you’ve heard, aerobic exercise can tone your muscles to some degree depending on the type and duration of the exercise. Most people do aerobic exercise for the cardiovascular effects, but research has shown that 20-30 percent of the effort carries over to strengthen and tone muscles.

304 2. Start Easy. Five to 10 repetitions should be the maximum for the first 2-4 weeks. Listen to your body and you will know when it is time to advance. 3. Be Consistent, Be Realistic, and Be Patient. Next to performing the exercises correctly, exercising regularly is key. Don’t expect results overnight. As mentioned earlier, you need to do the exercises at least 3 to 4 times a week for least 6 weeks to notice in real difference in your body. Rome wasn’t built in a day, your body didn’t get this way in a day, and it’s going to take more than a day to fix it. You get the point. No miracle fixes here, that’s a promise I made from the start. You have to put in the work to get the reward. 4. Be Mindful of What you are Eating. I’m not going to harp on this subject, but I want to make sure that you understand

305 the exercise/food connection. No matter how many crunches you do, if you are eating a high fat diet, your abdomen and your whole body will tell the story. 5. Keep It Moving. No toning exercises alone are going to sculpt your entire body, they will help but no one way will do the entire job. Combining aerobic type exercise ( like walking) with any other type of workout will help your body by burning calories which helps get rid of excess weight all over. 6. Do the exercises correctly to avoid injury. This is especially important if you are new to working out or haven’t worked out for a long time. Don’t rush through the exercises. Feel the muscles that are being worked. 7. Keep your movements tight and controlled. Don’t swing your way through or let momentum do the work.

306 Use the muscle group that you are working. Visualize that muscle in your mind. 8. Make yourself Comfortable. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Train yourself to look forward to your work-out session as a kind of personal escape where you do something good for you. Here are the top 5 abdominal exercises I recommend for beginning abdominal training to achieve the best results in a shorter period of time. Some are compound exercises which work two or more body part at once which also increases calorie burn. I will describe how to do each exercise, give tips on performing each, describe the “everyday” version of the exercise, describe the muscle group worked, and prescribe the intensity at which the exercise should be done. Hopefully you will find this format easy to follow and userfriendly. I incorporate this group of exercises

307 into my work-out routine, no matter which routine I happen to be doing at the time. I know they work. Lets get started, the sooner you begin the sooner you will be on the way to sculpting a sizzling, sensational, sassy physique. The SASSY Abdominal Series: Exercise 1: Knee-Up Crunches: Lie on your back with knees parallel to the floor. Fold your arms across your chest. Using the muscles of your upper abs, lift your shoulders and upper back off the floor. Hold for 2 seconds then slowly lower yourself to starting position. Do three sets of 5-10 repetitions. Muscles Worked: Upper Abs. TIPS: Make sure that your shoulders lift off the floor. Don’t use momentum to do the move. Keep the small of your back flat against the floor. Raise your shoulders during the exhale and keep your abdomen flat.

308 Everyday Version: You can simulate this exercise while lying on the floor with your legs up on a chair, sofa, or beach ball. Exercise 2: Side Bends: Stand with your knees slightly bent, feet shoulder-width apart, hands behind your head with elbow extended out to the sides. Bend to your right side in a slow controlled movement, bringing your right elbow toward your right knee. Return to standing position and repeat the bend to the left side. One bend to each side is counted as one rep. Repeat the exercise until you have finished your repetitions. Do three sets of 5-10 repetitions. Muscles Worked: Obliques TIPS: Do the exercise in a slow controlled movement throughout the full range of motion. Use your oblique muscles, not momentum, to perform the repetitions. Don’t lean forward as you do the move, try to keep your body centered.

309 Everyday Version: Stand with your feet comfortably apart in a semi-squat position with your hands behind your head and your elbows extended out. Bend to one side about 20 to 30 degrees and hold for 5 seconds, and then relax. Repeat on opposite side. Alternate sides until reps completed Exercise 3: The Bicycle: Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent. Clasp your hand behind your head with elbows out to the sides. Simultaneously lift your head and shoulders off the floor as you extend the left leg and rotate your right elbow to your left knee, then repeat the exercise in the opposite direction. Try to keep your abdomen flat and exhale as you twist. These exercises are really hard but they get quick results, so try to do 3-7 reps until you become stronger. Muscles Worked: Upper, obliques, and lower abs

310 TIPS: Don’t pull on your head and neck with your arms while lifting and rotating. Don’t twist too far. Don’t use momentum when alternating sides. As you turn your torso, keep your abs contracted throughout the movement. Everyday Version: While standing at your kitchen sink or waiting in line, fold your arms, contract your abs, and rotate your body slowly to one side in a slow controlled motion. Hold for 5 seconds, and then repeat to the opposite side. Exercise 4: Reverse Curls: Lie flat on your back with your hands behind your head and elbows out. Raise your legs with knees bent to a 90 degree angle. Using your lower abs, raise your hips toward your ribs and hold for a count of 2. Then lower your hips, keeping your abs contracted until your hips touch the floor. Do three sets of 5-10 reps. Muscles Worked: Lower abs

311 TIPS: Don’t rock or use momentum to perform the curl. Keep constant tension on your abs during the exercise. Don’t raise your head and neck off the floor. Everyday Version: While sitting, you can do pelvic tilts that work your lower abs in a manner similar to reverse curls. Slightly tilt your pelvis up, contract your lower abdominals, and slightly push your lower back flat. Hold for 8-10 seconds, then release. Repeat until reps are completed. Exercise 5: Punch and Twist: Stan with your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent. Bring your arms up to punching position. Twist to the left with the right hand punching toward the left corner of the room. Repeat the motion with the left hand punching toward the right corner of the room. 1 rep is a punch to each side. Do three sets of 5-10 reps. Muscles Worked: Upper abs and Obliques

312 TIPS: Keep your body stationary when punching from side to side. Don’t lean forward or backwards, stand straight and tall. Keep the movement small and controlled. Keep abdominal muscles contracted during the movements. Everyday Version: While standing with your feet comfortably apart, knees bent bring your hands to your waist and twist slowly from side to side. 1 rep is a twist to each side. Repeat until reps are completed. The other areas of concern identified by most people over age fifty, are the buttocks (and hips) and thighs. Unfortunately for women, men have it much better in this part of the body. Heavier thighs and buttocks are more of a gender factor than an age-related phenomenon. But, the good news for everyone is the muscles of the lower body are the largest group in our bodies,

313 which means they burn the most calories (when toned or used). I ‘m not going to go into great detail about exercises for the lower body. Walking is by far the easiest, safest way to firm and tone the lower body. Biking, outside or inside on a stationary cycle is also an excellent toning as well as great cardiovascular exercise. The main goal with the lower body is the same as the rest of the body, movement. Sitting itself doesn’t necessarily determine where fat is deposited but a sedentary lifestyle in general does that. Your muscles would be far more toned if you were more active. Purposeful exercise can make up for the kind of sedentary lifestyle that puts on the pounds overall. But to see a real difference in your lower body, you will have to add resistance training to the mix. And remember, the resistance used can be your own body weight. As with any exercise, there is a right and wrong way to go about working your lower body. Here

314 are the 5 lower body exercise that I recommend for their simplicity and efficacy. The SASSY Lower Body Series: Exercise 1: Lunges: Stand with your feet about 6 inches apart with toes facing forward. With your hands on hips, step forward with our left foot as far as possible, bending your right knee as you do. Lunge until your right knee almost touches the floor, and then slowly return to starting position. Do one set, and then repeat with the opposite leg. Do three sets of 5-10 reps. Muscles Worked: Quadriceps (Front thighs), gluteals (buttocks) TIPS: Keep your upper body from leaning forward by looking straight ahead. Don’t let your knee go past your toes as you bend. Everyday Version: Choose the stairs over elevators whenever possible. If there are stairs where you work, climb one flight for two weeks; increase the number of flights by 1 every 2

315 weeks. Or walk up and down the stairs in your home 3 to 5 times extra every day. Exercise 2: Squats: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Tighten your abdomen and stand straight. Lower yourself into a squatting position where your thighs are parallel to the ground. Return to starting position. Do three sets of 5-10 reps. Muscles Worked: Quadriceps, gluteals TIPS: Keep your knees in line with your feet as you squat. Don’t drop your buttocks lower than your knees. Everyday Version: Squat to pick up or lift objects. This movement is safer than bending and you will be less likely to injure your lower back. Exercise 3: Standing Abductions: Holding onto a wall for balance, stand with your knees slightly bent, facing one side. Lift the outer leg

316 to the side with foot flexed as far up as you can without moving your upper body. Return to starting position. Do one set, and then repeat on the opposite leg. Do three sets of 5-10 reps. Muscle Worked: Gluteals and abductors (outer thighs) TIPS: Use the muscles of the outer thigh and hip to lift the leg. Keep the supporting leg slightly bent. Keep your upper body still. Everyday Version: While standing, contract your buttocks, hold for 6-10 seconds, and then release. Do for 1 to 3 minutes, 2-3 times a day. Exercise 4: Front Knee Lifts: Stand with feet shoulder- width apart. Lift one leg to waist height, while supporting yourself on supporting leg. Return leg to starting position. Alternate to opposite leg for one repetition. Do three sets of 5-10 reps. Muscles Worked: Quadriceps

317 TIPS: Keep upper body still. Don’t swing the legs. Use the muscle to lift the leg and knee. Everyday Version: Stand in place and lift each knee to waist level, alternating legs. Do for 1 to 5 minutes, 2-3 times a day. Exercise 5: Rear Leg Lifts: Stand facing a wall for support. Extend one leg behind, bent at a 90 degree angle with your foot flexed. Lift knee and thigh until you feel the contraction in your buttocks. Return to staring position. Do one set, and then repeat on opposite leg. Do three sets of 5-10 reps. Muscles Worked: Hamstrings (back of thighs), gluteals TIPS: Use one slow, continuous, controlled motion throughout the exercise. Use your buttock and thigh, not momentum, to raise your leg.

318 Everyday Version: Spend 3 to 5 minutes going up and down a stepladder for 30 seconds at a time, with a15 second rest between intervals. These are just a few easy, simple exercises to get you started and get your muscles used to being worked. Take your time and practice good form to stay safe from injury. I also recommend stretching before and after any workout. Experts recommend that you stretch all your muscle groups, not just the trouble spots. All your muscles and tendons work together, so if you ignore one group, then you won’t get maximum benefit from the others. Stretching should come fairly naturally. We raise our arms when we get out of bed; we wiggle our backs if we feel a muscle ache. All of these motions are really stretches. Stretching doesn’t take much time and you really don’t need any equipment. If you are going to stretch on the floor, a towel will do

319 nicely. If you’ve just stared working-out, its best to stretch each muscle group immediately after working those muscles. For example, if you are doing squats, stretch the gluteus immediately after the exercise. If you’ve been working out for awhile and are comfortable with your routine, feel free to do all your stretches at the end of your workout. The important thing is that you stretch. You can even stretch in front of the TV, there’s no reason to be formal about it. One last thought about the benefits of exercise. Exercise is both a stimulant and a tranquilizer. Believe it or not, exercise is also a great way to relax. Yes, I said relax. Exercise relaxes you in several ways. Aerobic exercise releases natural chemicals, endorphins, that automatically improve your mood and make you feel better. No matter how much or how little I exercise, I always feel better afterward. Exercise also helps disperse adrenalin common in people who are stressed

320 out. A walk around the neighborhood or in a different environment can help you to relax by getting away from whatever is bothering you, and let your mind wander. Out in the fresh air immersed in the beauty nature provides is relaxing all by itself. And by the time you return from your walk, you probably won’t even remember what you were concerned about. Stretching helps relax tight muscles that may be holding built up lactic acid that can make you feel stiff and sore. So now you know that you can use exercise as a way to wind down as you let your body and mind recharge their energy levels.


Chapter 7: Adjuncts for Optimal Aging: Vitamins and Supplements. (Why Vitamins are Essential Now) The age old controversy rages on. Battle lines are drawn and two schools of thought clash over the need for vitamins and supplements as an adjunct to a healthy lifestyle. It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you are

322 on, if you are 50 or older, your nutritional needs are different than they used to be. Everything else about your body has changed, and your body’s need for vitamins has also changed over the years. For years researchers were divided on the value of taking a multivitamin. Now there is a growing consensus that taking a one-a-day type vitamin is a smart move. As a matter of fact, in 2002, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a landmark article that recommended taking a daily multivitamin. Special attention to vitamins is needed after age 50 because changes in absorption and use of nutrients can lead to subtle health changes over time. Even if you are against the use of vitamins and supplements, at least read the research based information that follows, then make your final decision. You have nothing to loose, and quite frankly, a lot of knowledge to gain.

323 Vitamins are difficult to classify. They are not fat, not protein, nor are they carbohydrate and they not supply calories. Vitamins are not needed to produce energy; they are catalysts that spark the assimilation of other nutrients. They are organic molecules necessary for facilitating chemical reactions and for building molecules in the body that are vital to health. They are essential in varying quantities as links in the metabolism of other nutrients to maintain bodily function. No one food contains all the vitamins necessary for optimal growth and body maintenance. Incredible as it may seem today, vitamins were only discovered in the early 1900’s. Their discovery had significant implications on mankind’s understanding of health and wellness. Researchers learned that vitamins were not only necessary for life, but that not having enough of them contributed to major diseases. By 1930, the US government

324 had published its first RDA’s, or “Recommended Daily Allowances” to establish potency levels for 12 vitamins and eight essential minerals. As a result, illnesses such as scurvy, prevented by Vitamin C; pellagra, prevented by VitaminB-3; and rickets, prevented by Vitamin B-6, were virtually eliminated. Within 10 years, doctors were seeing such overall health improvements in people of all ages from vitamins and minerals, that they began to look at how much even more vitamins, mineral, and antioxidants could positively affect health. They discovered that the power of vitamins could not only prevent malnutrition, but also heal physical ailments as well. In the past, experts claimed that if people ate healthy diets, taking vitamins was not necessary. However, research is now showing that it is beneficial for the majority of adults to take a multivitamin every day. Scientists have discovered evidence showing that vitamins do

325 not just keep away deficiency disease such as scurvy, pellagra, and rickets. They also found that taking more than the minimum daily requirement of some vitamins may avert the onset of chronic diseases including osteoporosis, cancer, and heart disease. An unhealthy diet cannot be replaced by taking a daily vitamin. Multivitamins only provide a handful of vitamins needed to remain healthy and should be thought of as a nutritional backup. Generally speaking, deficiency diseases no longer prevail in today’s society. There have been some previous studies that suggest a multivitamin can benefit our health, especially among the elderly in which such a supplement helped make them more resistant to disease. In a Harvard study of 90,000 nurses over 15 years, results suggests multivitamins appear to reduce the risk of colon and breast cancers.

326 Although everyone older than 18 is lumped into a single category of adulthood, being 20 is quite different from being 70. People of different ages and different stages of life have different vitamin needs too. For example, after age 50 the body needs more of the vitamins D and B6. Because aging affects the amount of stomach acid the body produces, and the ability to extract vitamin B12 from meat, the over 50 crowd should consume B12 as a supplement or in fortified foods. And after age 70, you need even more vitamin D than you did after 50. Most people aren’t aware that your body needs different nutrients at different times during adulthood. No matter what stage you’re in, vitamins are essential to every process in your body. Ideally, most vitamins should come from a healthy, balanced diet, but most of us are too busy or just unaware of the vitamins that we should be eating. For most adults, daily

327 vitamins are an inexpensive insurance policy. Still, most people, especially those over age 50, do not get enough of five important vitamins thought to prevent a variety of serious diseases. These five vitamins are:  Folic Acid  Vitamin B6  Vitamin B12  Vitamin D  Vitamin E The purpose of this chapter is to provide you with research-based information on the function of different vitamins and their role as adjunct to health, why people should consider taking multivitamins, and and to present health. the The acknowledged role of certain vitamins in maintaining enhancing information provided in this chapter is not meant to encourage or discourage any choice you make regarding the use of vitamins or supplements.

328 Each one of us has a different physical make-up and different nutritional needs. decision about whether or not The final to take

supplements, as vitamins, anti-oxidants or both, is a personal choice. As with any other health decision, it is advisable and prudent to discuss any questions about supplementation with your doctor. The B vitamins serve many purposes, including metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins; red blood cell development; and the growth and repair of tissues; their main and most immediate benefit is a sense of well-being marked by enthusiasm, clear thinking, and relief from stressed nerves. This last benefit stems from the fact that the Bs keeps the nervous system in good repair. So, if you have insomnia, vitamin-B supplement may help. But, paradoxically, if you can’t stay awake they may also help. Biotin, one of the Bs, has also been found to help drowsiness. The most efficient

329 move is to take all the B vitamins in one tablet so you get all the benefits and keep your system balanced. B-vitamin supplements should be A reputable Btaken in B-complex form. RDA recommended amounts. Our opinion of vitamins is changing due to the various discoveries in research. Folic Acid has been found to lessen depression because it is involved in the production of neurotransmitters appetite. such as serotonin and dopamine, which help regulate mood, sleep, and Recent research is also linking Folic Acid and two additional B vitamins are now being linked to fighting various types of cancer and heart disease. After two children died from massive strokes in 1968, a pathologist in Boston began studying whether or not the high levels of a protein breakdown product called homocysteine found in their bodies could have caused the cholesterol clogging their arteries.

complex formula will contain the combination in

330 Following this initial study, others have been conducted disease risks. Vitamin B6, B12, and Folic acid have been found to help recycle homocysteine into one of twenty chemicals the body uses to create new proteins. If the body is deficient in any of these vitamins, the homocysteine cannot be converted and the levels increase. Increased levels of homocysteine have been linked to increased risks of stroke and heart disease. While some studies show that taking increased amounts of Folic Acid lowered risks of heart disease, other studies between do heart not show disease any and relationship homocysteine. Although the optimal daily intake is not known for sure, researchers believe that very few adults get the amount needed. In the past deficiencies of these vitamins was the cause of connecting high levels of homocysteine to increased stroke and heart

331 pernicious anemia, a fatal disease with symptoms including disorientation, tingling in the extremities, memory loss, and hallucinations. Today those who are diagnosed with the disease are generally elderly people who have trouble absorbing vitamin B12. The vitamin B12 deficiency is thought to sometimes be mistaken for Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. The use of a multivitamin is suggested and further research in the next few years will most likely stress the importance of taking theses supplements. The need for Vitamin D has been well-established for those 50 and above. Vitamin D promotes healthy bones and teeth and helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus. There is a lot of excitement around this vitamin lately because researchers have found a direct link between certain cancers and inadequate vitamin D. Studies conducted in laboratories show that vitamin D stops the division and growth of certain types of cancer cells. Those

332 living in the northern half of the country rarely take in enough vitamin D. Others who typically have deficiencies are those who spend less than fifteen minutes a day in sunlight. Vitamin D is not found naturally in many foods. It is produced in the body by exposure to direct sunlight. An association between an amplified risk of bone fractures and vitamin D deficiency has been found in various preliminary studies. increased risk of fractures. There has been a lot of discussion in recent years about the addition of antioxidants as an adjunct in the prevention of cellular damage due to the presence of free-radicals in our environment. When we talk about antioxidants we are really referring to a class of vitamin and nutritional ingredients that help fight and rid the body of cell-damaging free-radicals. In the 1990s, antioxidants were promoted to prevent cataracts, cancer, memory loss, and heart disease Taking vitamin D supplements is thought to prevent the

333 and became a popular commodity in the nutrition landscape. The importance of antioxidants is currently accepted by even the most conservative medical fields, and people report significant benefits from these nutritional supplements as a means to achieving optimal health. The main sources of antioxidants are vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin A, plus its precursor beta carotene, and Bioflavonoids. A free radical is a waste product produced by normal oxygen metabolism that goes on in the cells. Free radicals are harmful substances our cells must continually fight. They can cause damage to almost any body tissue or substance, including artery walls, DNA, and cell nuclei. Free radicals come from our food, the air we breathe, toxins in our environment, and are sometimes formed as byproducts inside the body. They are formed In during the process of oxidation in the body.

our bodies oxygen is transported through the

334 bloodstream to where it is required for normal cell function. If the oxygen molecule is lacking an electron, needed to maintain stability, it will use electrons from other molecules which set off a chain reaction that can turn the altered molecule into a new free radical. Think of the vampires who make other vampires out of their victims, the attacking free radicals convert their victims into new free radicals. When the body oxidizes the food we eat to obtain nutrients and energy, oxygen is used and unpaired electrons are released in the process. Free radicals are altered, unpaired oxygen molecules, which can cause a great deal of trouble in the body. The problem arises where there are excessive free radicals in the body, which damage the cells and tissues. In very high volumes, free radicals can alter the DNA of cells. Mutations that are formed by free radials can lead to numerous types of cancers as well as a host of other diseases. Not only can free radicals cause

335 disease, they can also damage the protective cell membrane which leads to retention of fluids in the cells, resulting in a negative effect in the aging process. To fight these free radicals, antioxidants can be taken into the diet. Part of the problem with free radical formation is the result of living in this ‘modern age’ and with it most notably, pollution, pesticides, and more. Before the industrial Revolution, food was grown and harvested full of vitamins and minerals that kept people strong and healthy. A rise in the number of factories brought an increase in the pollution of the air and water. Small towns rapidly grew into densely populated ‘big’ cities. By the mid twentieth century, cars and their exhaust were a serious factor in pollution problems. Many foods were stripped of most of their nutrients as the country began processing for mass consumption; chemical additives, refined sugar, and saturated fats started to be added to most supermarket

336 products. Hundreds of chemicals were used in housing materials, including asbestos and formaldehyde. Today, drinking water is chlorinated and infiltrated by pesticides used in agriculture and landscaping. Aerosol sprays and air conditioners continue to create further problems with air quality and damage the remaining ozone layer. Radiation from appliances, computers, digital clocks, nuclear energy facilities, and airplane exhaust don’t help make our modern day atmosphere any cleaner or clearer. The produce we get from the local grocery store is most likely wearing a film of pesticides used by the growers. environment. Based on the facts of today’s All this exposure to pollution Cancer, heart living, it’s easy to deduce that we live in a toxic results in free radical production that most of us cannot handle without help. disease, atherosclerosis, autoimmune diseases, allergies and learning disabilities such as autism

337 have dramatically increased in the past few decades. One of the most serious problems with aging is the damage to or the destruction of the immune system due to free radical damage. For some, this process happens quickly via some fatal disease. With others, the erosion of the immune system is slower and does not actually wear down until ripe old age. But this condition we call aging can be curtailed, slowed down, or in some cases, reversed, to a great extent with the use of antioxidants. Anti-oxidants can prevent or counteract body. damage by unstable oxygen molecules, helping to detoxify and protect the The body’s innate antioxidant forces defend against these invaders valiantly, but they can only do so much. When strengthened by antioxidant supplements, these fighting forces may win many battles and lower the risk of certain diseases. No one can say for certain that an antioxidant regime will keep us healthy. But

338 it is known from many clinical studies that antioxidants help the body fight off debilitating reactions to our ever more polluted world. More than ever, we need antioxidants to enhance our chances for feeling good and feeling better. We can’t change what the environment puts into our bodies, but we can choose what we put into them. Consider antioxidants protection for your body in a free radical filled environment. Vitamins E, Vitamin C and betacarotene are all powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants knock out viral and bacterial infections by strengthening the cells that activate the immune system to resist invaders. Vitamin E, also known as tocopherol, is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that has earned itself a reputation for banning wrinkles and fighting old age. antioxidant that Vitamin E is a powerful protects your cells from

oxidation, and neutralizes unstable free radicals, which can cause damage. This is done by

339 vitamin E giving up one of its electrons to the electron deficient free radical, making it more stable. While vitamin E performs its antioxidant functions, it also protects other antioxidants from being oxidized. diseases This antioxidant capability is heart disease, strokes, also great in helping to prevent degenerative including; arthritis, senility, diabetes, and cancer. It also helps with cellular respiration and protects the body from pollution, especially the lungs. Common sources of vitamin E are nuts, oils, vegetables, avocado. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a much talked about vitamin with people claiming it as a cure-all for many diseases and problems from cancer to the common cold. This “miracle” vitamin cannot be manufactured by the body, and has to be ingested. Vitamin C is required for the synthesis of collagen in connective tissue, neurotransmitters, steroid sunflower seeds, spinach, and

340 hormones, carnitine, and conversion of

cholesterol to bile acids. It also enhances the bioavailability of iron for absorption. Vitamin C is a great antioxidant and helps protects the body against pollutants. Because vitamin C is a biological reducing agent, it is also linked to the prevention of degenerative diseases such as cataracts, certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases. Ascorbic acid also promotes healthy cell development, proper calcium absorption, normal tissue growth and repair especially in the healing of wounds and burns. It also assists in the prevention of blood clots and bruises, in addition to strengthening capillary walls. Vitamin C is needed for healthy gums, to help protect against and clear up infections, and is thought to enhance the immune system. With all those vital functions, no wonder it is considered the “miracle” vitamin. The need for vitamin C is dramatically increased at times when the body is subjected to trauma, infections, strenuous

341 exercise, and elevated environmental

temperatures, including cigarette smoke Since ascorbic acid is a water-soluble vitamin, toxic levels are not built up or stored in the body, and any excess is excreted in the urine. Good food sources of vitamin C are green, leafy vegetables, berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, melons, and papayas. Vitamin A is also referred to as retinol and beta-carotene. Carotene can be obtained from either plant or animal sources. Vitamin A is required for night vision, and for the maintenance of healthy skin. It assists the function of the immune system by helping to protect the body against pollution, cancer formation and other diseases. Vitamin A is key in the development of the epithelial cells in the mucous membranes and skin. It is important in the formation of bone and teeth, fat storage, and synthesis of protein and glycogen. Liver, milk, egg-yolk, carrots, dark green leafy vegetables

342 and yellow fruits are high in vitamin A or betacarotene. A steady diet of protein-enriched antioxidants is a certain ticket to healthier skin; brighter, smoother complexions, and fewer wrinkles. Dark leafy greens, like spinach and collards are full of antioxidants and they are a great source of iron. Greens also contain zinc which is another wrinkle fighter. Salad alone as the answer for great skin seems to boring, so why not add other beneficial fruits and vegetables to your salad. That way you can add some pizzazz to an otherwise bland bowl, and you will get the added benefit of more antioxidants plus you will be closer to the 5-aday fruit and vegetable goal. Strictly speaking, bioflavonoids are not a vitamin. The term bioflavonoid refers to a nutrient that contains many different ingredients needed by the body. This nutrient is not made by the body and has to be supplied in the diet.

343 These are very active substances and can add a great deal to nutritional needs in health and disease. Bioflavonoids enhance the action of Bioflavonoids are thought to This nutrient vitamin C and for this reason they should be taken together. enhance the absorption of Vitamin C, and possibly prolong its effectiveness. acts together with vitamin C to help maintain the thin walls of the capillaries, therefore preventing bleeding or bruising. Bioflavonoids have been linked to having bile an antibacterial effect, stimulating production, promoting

circulation and even assisting with fighting allergies. Bioflavonoids are found in the pith of citrus peel, as well as in peppers, onions, garlic, blue and red berries, and green tea. Because vitamin C and the many B complex vitamins are water-soluble, they must be replaced daily. We need to understand that vitamins cannot work miracles and they are not a ‘cure’ for debilitated health or serious medical

344 conditions. However, correct supplementation More is not necessarily

can work to your overall advantage, especially in the second half of life. better when it comes to vitamins, but some is definitely better than not enough. If you are not getting proper nutrition, you will not be at able your optimal level of health. Although vitamins and supplement will never be a replacement for fresh food, you should consider supplementing your diet to ensure that you are getting enough of what your body needs as you go through the aging process. .


Chapter 8: Maintain your Brain (Ways to keep all of Your Marbles for all of Your Life) The ultimate medical definition of life is brain activity, if the brain does not function at a sufficient level, life cannot continue. Over 100 billion nerve cells, called neurons, form over a trillion connections in the brain, and these cells have to be fed. The brain consumes about 20 percent of the oxygen taken into the body and 25 percent of the body’s glucose to sustain function. On average, by age 50, most people experience a 20 percent drop in blood flow to the brain. This drop continues as people age, which means less and less oxygen, glucose, and other nutrients are delivered to the

346 ‘hungry’ brain. Insufficient blood flow is due to poor circulatory health, and poor circulation is largely due to physical inactivity, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The brain is a remarkable organ that can be repaired and strengthened throughout or lifetime. decisions, The brain is responsible for all learns, stores and retrieves intelligent thought. It reasons, makes rational information, and so on. The right and left sides of the brain are equal in size, but in most people, one side or the other is dominant, producing distinct personality traits . Left- brained people tend to be talented in science, math, reading, and verbal communication. Their decisions are guided by logic or reasoning. Right-brained individuals are often insightful, creative, perceptive, artistic, musical, and socially oriented. Their decisions are guided by emotion and intuition. Although society generally measures intelligence by left-

347 brain function, success in life has very little to do with which side is dominant. A person is said to have integrated intelligence when the intellectual and emotional functions of the brain are balanced and well integrated. A well-integrated intelligence is believed to be a major factor enabling people to live well into their 90s. Everyone faces the inescapable fact that the brain is vulnerable to the passage of time. Still, you have a choice. You can either slow down the brain-aging process or you can let the process slow you down. Life’s journey can be particularly unkind to the cells of the brain and the rest of the nervous system. The first thing you will probably notice is short-term memory “sputters”. You might think, “I must be losing my marbles”. And even though it is good to maintain humor as you go through the aging process, it will take a lot more than that to hold off age-related changes in the brain. The good news is that current research show that

348 most of the negative changes seen in aging can be successfully prevented and maybe even treated. And, although scientists acknowledge that genes play a large role in predetermining your brain’s aging, researchers are beginning to agree that taking care of your health might help your long term brain function. You can keep your brain young and thriving by maintaining total body health. Total brain health begins with a proper sustenance (the right, naturally occurring phytochemicals), brain-stimulating

activity, and physical exercise. Your mental fitness is closely tied to the health of other organs and systems in your body. Your heart, blood vessels, and immune system all have tremendous influence on brain function. Most of us give little thought to the intricate workings of our brains until its function starts “to go south”. All of a sudden we have trouble remembering names and we struggle to remember frequently dialed phone numbers.

349 Although theses experiences can be alarming, they don’t have to be an inevitable part of aging. As a natural process of aging, we experience a progressive decline in overall brain (cognitive) function. But recently, thousands of published studies have determined that a decline of cognitive function can be controlled. Some of these studies demonstrate that prevention will help maintain optimal brain function, while others show measurable benefit in reversing cognitive impairment caused by normal aging or by a specific disease of aging. Current research indicates that our brains continue to make new connections well into our senior years and we need to understand the value of nurturing our brains through every stage of our lives. Babies are synaptic sponges. Each time you stimulate a baby’s mind, its busy little brain cells make another synaptic connections so critical for healthy development. As a child grows and learns to walk, talk, read, and

350 socialize, even more synapses or connections are made. Amazingly, the same activities continue to build our brains as we age. The mental decline that comes with aging appears to be largely due to altered connections among brain cells. Studies conclude that keeping the brain active seems to increase its vitality and may build its reserve of brain cells, new brains cells may even be generated. With maturity, differently. our brains process information Think of it as a deepening and

enriching process that culminates in what is traditionally known as wisdom. While wisdom can be found at any age, it usually requires certain life experience, an experience that cannot be hurried. With advancing years, each of us has the ability to maintain our brains and become wiser as well as older. We know now that most people remain both relatively alert and mentally able as they age, and severe cognitive loss is the result

351 of disease. Without disease, older people can maintain mental acuity by participating in activities that stimulate the mind and body. Remaining actively and productively engaged in one’s community of friends, family, and social group and leading a healthy lifestyle are important in maintaining optimum brain power and function. to make new Severe mental decline is not connections, absorb new inevitable; the aging brain maintains the capacity information, and acquire new skills. Scientists are making significant progress in understanding what constitutes normal brain aging. Contrary to earlier beliefs, decline in neuron number is not significantly involved in normal brain aging. In fact, recent evidence indicates that the older brain is capable of generating new nerve cells, particularly in a region of the brain important for acquiring and processing information, the hippocampus. The implications of this new concept about the brain

352 are amazing. If the brain remains healthy and does not fall prey to disease, then it should continue to function normally for as long as we live. Nerve cells should remain alive and their connections. Even more maintain

important, nerve cells should be capable of making new connections and building new networks throughout life. Scientists now understand more than ever, the value of nurturing our brains through every stage of life. The mid-years offer fresh opportunities to learn what you really want to know. It’s time to enjoy learning a new skill, hobby or language. Without a doubt, your brain has rich undeveloped and underdeveloped capacities. Now is the time to allow yourself to enjoy the adventure of discovering these inner abilities. Albert Einstein took up the violin late in life, and Winston Churchill took up painting. So, go ahead and launch a new interest. Do something you’ve always wanted to do but never

353 have taken the time for. You have nothing to lose, and only pleasure, increased knowledge, a renewed sense of accomplishment, and better brain function to gain. Try something you’ve never done before. Who knows? You may find something you really enjoy. Here is a list of activities for you to consider: 1) Paint a Picture. Painting is relaxing and expressive. Even if you have no formal education and don’t think you have talent, painting is a great way to set your creativity free. You can buy inexpensive art supplies at many retail stores and art stores. 2) Take up Photography. Much like painting, photography can be a creative outlet that gets you out and about and helps you focus on different areas of life. 3) Go Window shopping. Check a store you’ve never been in before. It’s free to

354 look and you can get some great ideas to use at a later date. 4) Try a new recipe. Give your taste buds a treat. Making up new recipes is another way to express your creativity and have some fun. If you’re not that adventurous, you can get any recipe known to mankind on the Internet. 5) Volunteer. Take a plant to someone who is lonely. Take a meal to someone who is sick. Do some dishes for an elderly neighbor. Spending time in the service of others is a way to give back to the Universe and time to realize how fortunate you are to be able to help others. If you don’t use your brain’s cognitive capacities, they will weaken and you will lose them. While it is true that thinking and memory will dull somewhat with age, it has

355 recently been discovered that the adult brain can generate new cells well into old age. This means that we are capable of improving our attention span and memory at any point in our lives. Around the country, performance scores on memory and attention tests are lower than they should be. Most of us don’t reach our full potential due to brain-chemical imbalances and poor health. Mentally stimulating activity strengthens brain cells and the connections between them. The more we use our mental capacities, the stronger they will be, just like a weightlifter uses curls to build up his or her biceps. Similarly, you can do exercises to build up your brain. Remember, you can’t do one bicep curl and expect to build a big muscle, and the same is true of brain exercise. You will have to repeat brain exercise to make progress in strengthening your memory and sharpening your mental faculties. Research recommends exercising the brain as much as fifty hours a

356 month, which translates to 12 hours a week, or less than 2 hours a day. Regular challenges of the brain can help retain cognitive abilities and mental acuity. There are many activities that we can incorporate into our daily lives to help maintain better brain health and ensure peak mental performance. Mentally stimulating activity strengthens brain cells and the connections between them, and may help create new cells. As we get older, we need to deliberately challenge our brains. To improve working memory, scientists suggest trying to memorize names, addresses, and telephone numbers in local phone books, doing a couple of pages at a time. You can build your attention skills by having your mate recite strings of numbers and letters to you and then see if you can accurately repeat them back. Trivia games, brain-teasers, reading, writing, crossword puzzles, and/or trying a new hobby are excellent ways to get

357 mental exercise and flex your brain’s muscle. Research shows that if you continue to exercise your mind, your intellectual powers can be at their peak during middle years. The energies and the creativity of your mind will continue at high levels long after your body has slowed down, if you keep using it. Successful aging studies have consistently shown that higher levels of physical activity are correlated with better brain aging. Physical exercise plays an important role in mental acuity. Not only does it promote general health, which helps to minimize factors that contribute to memory loss, but maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system ensures proper blood flow to the brain, supplying it with the raw material it needs to perform properly. Physical exercise oxygenates the blood, maintains good blood flow to the brain, and encourages the formation of new brain cells. Exercise increases levels of brain chemicals that encourage the

358 growth of nerve cells. Exercise also helps maintain brain structure and function with aging and may delay onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, according to data presented in 2006 to the American Psychological Association. There is a diverse body of evidence that suggests exercise has beneficial effects on the brain from middle age to old age. Clinical data show that people who exercise several times a week show a reduced rate of cognitive decline compared with those who have low levels of activity. relationship improved elderly. Clinical between cognition, trials more also suggest a and brain fitness training efficient

function, and prevention of brain atrophy in the A 4- year study of the relationship and between physical activity and cognition

brain function in subjects 62 to 70 years old, showed that those who were still employed and retirees who exercised regularly had sustained levels of cerebral blood flow and superior

359 performance on general measures of cognition compared to inactive people in the same age range. In a 6 month study, elderly subjects who participated in aerobic exercise had a significant increase in gray matter volume in regions of the frontal and temporal lobe compared with the inactive control group. With human data, there has been enough clinical proof over the last 10 years suggesting that exercise and does does have decrease neuroprotective effects

depression ratings. Aerobic exercise appears to produce more positive effects on brain function with aging than other forms of exercise. Clinical findings suggest that physical activities that have a fairly strong aerobic component seem to be associated with delayed onset of dementia and maintained cognition. Other forms of exercise that have to do with stretching and toning and don’t affect cognition are also beneficial in that

360 they lead to increased flexibility and decreased falls in older adults. The current data support that levels of activity will help with brain function, but there is no exact prescription. Based on clinical results of exercising middle to older aged adults, it is likely that exercise 3 or more times per week is beneficial and walking 3 or more times per week for 30 to 45 minutes is also beneficial. Walking inside or outside can prove to be very beneficial, if made part of a daily routine. So, you are literally building the structure of your brain, just by moving your feet. And since dayto-day tasks such as walking the dog, doing yard work, and housecleaning all count as moderate physical activity, there’s no excuse not to reap the rewards. Any amount of activity is better than none at all. Still, to gain the greatest benefit from your efforts, you should try to get in 20 to 60 minutes of endurance exercise over the course of your day. Include “unstructured” activities

361 into your daily routine. Park your car at the far end of the lot, walk stairs, walk to a nearby destination rather than drive. benefit everyone at every age. There are many very specific ways in which exercise helps your brain. Regular exercise decreases the chances of disease and illness and allows your body to remain strong, flexible, and able to respond to the physical demands of everyday life. Regular exercise helps your brain by improving concentration and attention. A healthy body will carry you further and more easily through life. It will also make the journey more enjoyable. The advantage of exercise and an active lifestyle range from improved heart and lung function to better sleep patterns, from stronger muscles and bones to an overall healthier outlook on life. Taking care of yourself now means not depending on someone else to take care of you later. Remember; exercise is a powerful anti-aging tool that can

362 Eating a brain-healthy diet can reduce the risk Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and diabetes while simultaneously encouraging good blood flow to the brain. Fresh vegetables, fruits, and fatty fish are considered heart and brain healthy foods. In addition, the things you do to improve your cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and overall health will also improve your cognitive function. By strengthening the link between your diet and your brain, you will enhance your chances for keeping your mental edge. The biochemicals responsible for brain activity come from the foods we eat. You might think that the foods you eat go directly to your stomach, but everything we put into our mouths first affects our brain. Think about it for a minute. First you see and smell the food before you even put it into your mouth. And before you begin to taste it, your brain has already decided whether it will taste good or bad. So, when we

363 learn to eat for optimal body and brain health, we can eat to our advantage and maximize our chances for optimal brain function. Of the four essential nutrient groups, the most fundamental to brain chemistry is protein and its building blocks, amino acids. There are some 28 amino acids that are put together into various combinations to create all of the structural proteins in the body. Amino acids are the precursors to neurotransmitters, and the production of theses biochemicals can be directly affected by amino acids in your diet. There are 8 essential amino acids that the body cannot manufacture and so the body must get them from food. The ancient Romans were definitely on the right track with their famous saying, “mens sana in copore sano” which means a healthy mind in a healthy body. Today scientists are finding that if you keep your body supplied with a wide assortment of healthy foods and

364 nutrients, it may indeed enhance your ability to maintain that “brain power” as you age. The latest news from neuroscience confirms what Mom always said: Eat your vegetables! A federally funded study of 14,000 men and women that tracked their eating patterns for 10 years found that those who ate more cruciferous and leafy vegetables in their 60’s, including green lettuces, spinach, cauliflower and broccoli, had a lower rate of decline on learning and memory tests. The more of these vegetables they ate, the better they performed. To protect yourself against a variety of age-related conditions that can impair your memory and general functioning of your brain, a good first step is to concentrate on a healthful diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and oily cold-water fish. This is because these foods contain hefty amounts of key nutritional players in any brain-boosting program: antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and other important natural

365 compounds. Scientific evidence for the

importance of antioxidants in maintaining brain health is considerable. In research done by the Agricultural Research Service, antioxidants were not only shown to counter brain decline, but to actually “turn back the clock” to some extent. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables has long been promoted for its heart healthy and cancer fighting potential, so it’s not surprising that such a diet is also good for your brain. A poor diet wreaks havoc on your cells and diminishes physical functioning, creating health conditions and diseases. The DNA that stored within your cells has many ways to keep itself safe. However, research has shown that improper nutrition that is low in antioxidants and other important phytonutrients can cause your DNA to become damaged. The nutrients in your food provide raw material for the creation of new cells. Your cells need a full spectrum of vitamins to support energy production and keep free

366 radicals at bay. Your cells crave the nutrients needed to support healthy, protective membranes. Additionally, your brain cells need a high intake of antioxidants like the vitamin E family compounds found in the germ of whole grains, the vitamin C in citrus, and the carotenoids from vegetables protect your DNA. Vegetables and fruits are packed with antioxidants and other essential vitamins and minerals, and are low in calories. Remember, antioxidants help provide the body with tools to neutralize harmful free radicals, and are directly involved in the process by which the brain makes energy. To maximize the antioxidants in your diet you should eat as many different types of fruits and vegetables as possible, especially the brightly colored ones since they are rich in compounds called phytochemicals. So how do you get these oh-soimportant antioxidants into your daily diet? Take the “5-a-day challenge” which cancer fighting

367 organizations and the American Heart

Association encourages all of us to do. You’ve heard this advertised on TV. The challenge requires you to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Not only will such a goal make us look better, it will maintain health cells and antioxidant levels, keep us trim, and protect our vital organs. What do 5 servings look like on a plate? There are many ways to achieve it, but here’s one example: 1 cup of dark, leafy greens, ½ cup red tomatoes, ¼ cup of yellow pepper, 6 oz of orange juice and ½ cup of blueberries. Not only is that an example of “5-a-day”, it is also a rainbow of good food. Phytochemicals, also known as phytonutrients, are naturally occurring plant compounds that work with the body to fight disease and have beneficial effects on human health. active. Phytochemicals are very biologically They include antioxidants, and other

compounds that modify toxins and carcinogens.

368 Thousands of phytochemicals are found

everywhere in the plant world, where they often function as natural defenses against biological hazards. Among other things, they give plants their color, flavor and natural disease resistance. Tomatoes alone are believed to contain an estimated 10,000 different phytochemicals. According to research, the best way to obtain the benefits from phytochemicals is through eating a variety of foods. Phytochemicals have a synergistic effect. For example, carotenoids

work best in the presence of flavonoids when they are eaten together in the same food. Phytochemicals react biochemically to one another within the plant, so the same is probably true in the body. Carotenoids are Eat a lot of fruits and the most common vegetables, the more colorful, the better. phytochemicals. They are responsible for the orange, red, and yellow pigments found in fruits and vegetables. The most commonly named of

369 the family are alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and lycopene. carrots, few. These carotenoids are found in broccoli, tomatoes, pumpkin,

watermelon, and pink grapefruit, just to name a Rest assured, if the food you eat is a brightly colored vegetable or fruit, you are doing your brain and your body a huge favor. In a recent report, the International Food Information Council noted that emerging evidence suggests that a higher level of omega-3 fatty acid consumption may be associated with reducing the risk of bone loss, certain cancers, and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s. Omega-3s are a particular type of polyunsaturated fats that are found in fatty fish. Scientific literature indicates that omega-3’ are important in maintaining brain function in early development and throughout life, and may protect the brain from aging. Fatty acids seem to work in part by counteracting free radicals that cause oxidative damage to brain cells, and some

370 research suggest they may help improve the efficiency of nerve signal transmission at synapses. Contrary to popular opinion, stress is not just another term for tension or pressure. Stress, in its most elemental form, is a normal physiological response to danger. occur. But when stress is chronic, all sorts of physical damage can Stress is associated with many health risks and problems. About 50 years ago, Dr. Hans Selye defined stress as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand placed on it”. In other words stress, is not an external an external force, but the body’s reaction to external stimuli. It is the way we react to mounting debt, rush-hour traffic, screaming babies, etc. Dr. Selye was the first to recognize the mind-body connection involved with stress. He claimed that it wasn’t stress that harms us, but distress. Distress occurs when we prolong emotional stress and don’t deal with it in a positive manner.

371 Neuroscientists are now convinced that people who overreact to stress lead shorter lives and are more susceptible to accelerated brain and nervous system disease. When your brain is healthy, your body does a better job of resisting illness. When your body is functioning at its best, your feelings are more positive. That is why understanding how stress works on your physical and mental health can help you manage stress better and live longer. Our bodies respond to stress by releasing 2 stress hormones, catecholamines (adrenaline and noradrenalin) and glucocorticoids (cortisol). These hormones

prepare the body to fight; this is the fight-orflight response. When this happens, the body begins to break down fats and stored sugar to provide energy. Heart rate, blood pressure, blood volume and lung function increase to enhance the performance of the heart and lungs. This instinctive mechanism was designed to help us

372 deal with short bursts of stress, like that caused by the attack of a predator. Running from a stranger encountered in a dark alley is an appropriate response made possible by the firing up of your sympathetic nervous system. But if your sympathetic nervous system fires up every time your boss walks through the door, the response is not appropriate. Constant, inappropriate stress is debilitating stress that can be fatal Our bodies have not adapted to handle the chronic stress that is so common today. The chronic stress is what leads to damage and destruction of the body. The cortisol secreted during stress may help us handle acute physical stressors successfully, but it can have a variety of negative effects if secreted constantly and in excess. In excess, cortisol can wreak havoc on the nervous system, especially on the area of the brain responsible for memory, concentration, and cognitive function. If you sectioned the areas of

373 the brain after you had chronic elevations of cortisol day after day, week after week , what you would notice is cellular death. In extreme cases, cortisol can compromise the ability of nerve cells to survive stress, resulting in neuron death. Chronic stress is also connected to Toxic Belly Fat Syndrome, which is the biggest indicator of cardiovascular disease. And chronic elevations of cortisol are toxic to every single tissue in the human body. Some of the other dangerous effects of excess cortisol are; fatigue, ulcers, depression, memory impairment, insomnia, and osteoporosis, just to name a few. Of course, there are going to be some life experiences that are inherently stressful and will evoke powerful negative emotions that we cannot avoid. Being told that you have a serious disease, is going to be stressful no matter how positive your attitude. That’s the reality of being a human being. But controlling the things that

374 we can to help us feel less stressed is up to us. Healthy aging is accompanied by a feeling of being in control of stressful situations. The implications to our health from stress, resulting in excess cortisol production, are clear and the solution to the problem is obvious, we have to find ways to de-stress. As a society, we are literally killing ourselves with our “hurryup” sickness. We can’t stand in line at the postoffice without getting upset, we get all workedup sitting in traffic, and heaven forbid if we have to wait for our food in a restaurant. We are all guilty of bringing this type of stress to ourselves. From time to time through out the day, we have to remember to take a deep breath and chill. We need to make a conscious effort to turn our stress response down. It doesn’t matter what you do to get yourself to relax, just take a few minutes and do it. Go for a walk, look at a tree, or listen to music. Anything you want, as long as it is relaxing. Your whole body

375 will thank- you. Your chances of becoming a centenarian and of living a long and healthy life, depends on how successfully you manage stress in your daily life. No area of brain-body interaction is as important as this, and no other is so much within your ability to control. Successful aging benefits not only the individual but our whole society as well. Thanks to having lived longer lives, older people have had the chance to see and learn more. Thus, they are in a position to pass their knowledge and life experiences on to us. We, in turn, pass what we’ve learned on to the next generation. Ultimately, succeeding generations and societies benefit from the wealth knowledge gathered and passed on by the mature brains.

Chapter 9: Sleeping For Beauty (The Body/Brain “Mini-Vacation”)

376 Sleep is something we do throughout our entire lives, from the moment we are born until the moment we are finally laid to rest. Sleep is such a natural tendency that most of us don’t give it much thought. When we do think about sleep it’s probably because we haven’t had enough of it or we’re having problems with it. No matter what your age, sleeping well is important to your physical health and emotional well-being. Think about this for a minute, the normal human being is supposed to spend about one third of his or her life sleeping. Why would nature have programmed us that way if sleep wasn’t of absolute importance? I’m sure you’ve noticed how good your face looks after a night of undisturbed, relaxed sleep. The bags are less puffy, the ‘parentheses’ at the corners of your mouth ease, your eyes sparkle, and the whites of your eyes are actually white, instead of pink or red. And the opposite is true if we don’t sleep well the night before. We feel tired all day and

377 are apt to be short and maybe even “cranky”. As we age, a good night’s sleep is especially important because it improves concentration and memory function, allows your body to repair any cell damage that occurred during the day, and refreshes your immune system which helps prevent disease. Sleep is a necessary time of renewal. Just as the food we eat affects our mood and personality, good sleep relates directly to the way we feel. Sleep is still a mystery. Researchers don’t even know why we sleep. It’s a basic question that should have a clear answer, but there is none yet. Sleep is the ultimate research topic. And although much more is known about sleep today than 20 years ago, research on the subject of sleep is still growing. The amount of sleep you get, and its quality is more important than previously thought. We all know that lack of sleep causes foggy thinking and poor concentration, but it is now known that chronic

378 lack of sleep can be a risk factor in type II diabetes and obesity. According to research studies on sleep, it seems that old “Sleeping Beauty” was on to something. As it turns out, sleep is as essential as food, air and water. There are many popular theories about why we need sleep. Sleep is a restorative process. During sleep, growth hormones are released, and are crucial to maintenance of physical and mental balance. Sleep enhances the brains ability to remember by enabling the brain to encode and store recently received information. REM sleep activates the parts of the brain that deal with learning. During sleep, various parts of the brain slow down, including the parts of the brain that control emotions, decision-making and social interactions. The resting of these parts of the brain during sleep allow optimal performance when awake. Neurons in the brain regenerate and repair during sleep so that our bodies can

379 continue to function as effectively as possible, both physically and mentally. Sleep enables the immune system to function effectively. Research suggests that deep sleep allows for more antibody production and stimulates the immune system. Antibodies keep the levels of bacteria in the system in check and help keep the body free of disease. Without proper sleep, the immune system can become weakened, leaving the body more vulnerable to infection and disease. During deep sleep, the body’s cells increase production while proteins break down at a slower rate. Generally most of us tend to be more receptive to sleep when it is dark outside, and we feel an awakening when it is light. Claude Monet described nightfall as “mini-death”. The hormonal effects of light influence body cycles, sleeping and eating patterns and activity levels that are regulated through the brain’s pineal gland. This gland secretes the hormone

380 melatonin, which is released at night and turned off during the day. You know that the appearance of your skin, eyes, and complexion reflects your age and health. Imagine getting a free face-lift every night without surgery and seeing a huge improvement billions of in your a complexion year on without marketing potions and pills. The cosmetic industry spends dollars campaigns, but never mentions how sleep can improve your appearance or how their products would work better in combination with sleep. Sleep can be thought of as “cosmetic medicine” because it truly acts as an all-natural anti-aging This is solution. the reason Our many bodies enter maintenance and repair state while we sleep. dermatologists recommend using your most “active” skin creams before bed. During the day you expose your body to a host of elements, such as stress and UV rays, all of which contribute to the aging

381 process. These are the “slings and arrows” your body endures day in and day out on life’s trail. Sleep is the ‘mini-vacation’ or time-out your body needs to make the necessary cellular repairs and zone in on restoring itself from the inside out. Deep sleep, in particular, becomes our own private operating room for all those little ‘nips’ and ‘tucks’ that occur normally within our bodies. This is the time the body uses for the skin to repair itself, grow new cells, and fortify its defenses against moisture loss and freeradical damage. Many cells also increase production of proteins during this time, which in turn become the building blocks needed for cell growth and repair of damage. This is exactly the reason deep sleep may truly be “beauty sleep”. In addition, as your skin dries throughout the day, skin that’s full of moisture will deflate and that stretched out skin will fall into wrinkles. As you sleep, one of the ways the body lowers its temperature is by sweating. This

382 perspiration helps moisture back into the top layers of skin, and fills the cells. Any cream or lotion applied to the skin before sleep helps to fill the top layer of skin cells and makes the skin look fuller and smoother, much like adding water to a balloon. Be wary of the topical skin products that guarantee to take years off your face. Putting products on the skin does not mean they get incorporated at the cellular level. They may improve the appearance of the skin by “plumping up” the cells. But the truth is, we have to nourish our bodies from the inside out by eating and hydrating well. There is no better place for our bodies to use its own nutrients and collagen building capacities than a good night’s sleep. Sleep is our own personal airbrush. The overnight skin repairing that takes place is our best all-natural weapon against aging and the onset of wrinkles. Sleep used to be studied by behaviorists. Their theory of what sleep is

383 focused on behavior. This prevented sleep from being understood because sleep is not a behavior at all. It is a metabolic requirement to continue life. Conclusions from the earliest studies about sleep indicated that the body entered a state of near paralysis during which time very little activity took place. This belief changed Recently sleep has dramatically when studies began to focus on brain activity during sleep. begun to be understood at the metabolic level. At its most fundamental level, sleep seems to be a metabolic imperative. When we are awake, the body’s cells are tearing themselves down to support the body’s need to be mobile, to obtain food, and produce. tolerate for so long. Being awake is a very After several hours of destructive metabolic state that the body can only wakefulness, the body must return to sleep, the metabolic phase when damage is repaired, growth can take place, and the immune system

384 can battle against any foreign organisms or viruses that have invaded the body. Later studies concluded that brain activity did not stop during the sleep state but was instead highly active and carried out several physiological processes that we refer to today as REM or Rapid Eye Movement sleep. There are two main stages of sleep, REM and NREM (nonREM). NREM sleep is the first stage of sleep in which your brain waves become slower and less regular. This goes on for about 1 ½ hours, and then the waves become more active, even though you are still sleeping. This brings you into REM sleep, the deep sleep when dreaming occurs. Each night, 25% of our time sleeping is given to REM sleep, during which the brain is anything but idle. The best sleep is when you go from NREM to REM over several patterns throughout the night. This type of sleep leaves us feeling rested and refreshed the next day.

385 While sleep patterns and needs vary from person to person, sufficient sleep is an absolute necessity for a healthy mind and body. Adequate sleep is vital for our bodies to repair and heal damage caused by everyday stresses. When we sleep, our immune system repairs cells needed to fight illness and diseases as well as replenish blood supply to our muscles. Statistics indicate that Americans are the most stressed people in the world. Because of this, as a nation we do not sleep well. Our sleep cycles, or lack of, are influenced by stress and lack of physical exercise. This in turn depletes our bodies of energy, reduces our ability to concentrate, and prevents our bodies from healing properly. Sleep deprivation is torturous. Terrorists and intelligence agents alike have starved individuals of sleep as a form of torture in an attempt to pry out information. It was a tactic used by the KGB and the Japanese

386 prisoner-of- war camps during World War II. Sleep deprivation may even be one of the oldest forms of torture, a way to induce paranoia, disorientation, and even hallucinations without drugs. The ancient Romans referred to sleep deprivation as tormentum vigilae, or “waking torture”, a method they used to get information from their enemies. Chronic sleep deprivation is not only mentally incapacitating, physically it can lead to high blood pressure, obesity, type 2 diabetes and memory loss. Most of us can miss one night of sleep and function pretty close to normal the next day. People do it all the time. There may be some unusual irritability, and some trouble staying focused, but overall the body handles the situation well. Beyond one restless night though, there is a noticeable decline in the mind’s capabilities, specifically in the areas of speech, memory, and planning ability. According to sleep research, the older you get the more likely you will experience

387 bouts of interrupted sleep. Older people still

need roughly the same number of sleep hours as they did when they were younger, but the manner in which they sleep changes. The height of their brain waves during sleep decreases, making these waves no longer meet criteria for deep sleep. They are easily awakened by noise, light, or pain from a chronic medical condition. In later years, sleep can become fragmented and inefficient, so the actual amount of time sleeping is less than the time spent in bed. I have already discussed the benefits of exercise for health and weight control; in addition, it is now known that exercise can enhance sleep. Exercise can help you sleep soundly by balancing and relaxing your body. It can reduce muscle tension and emotional anxiety that can exacerbate sleeplessness. Most athletes and active individuals do not suffer from insomnia or other sleep disturbances.

388 On the contrary, most people who have sleep problems lead sedentary lives and don’t exercise regularly. Exercise helps you sleep by helping you fall asleep quicker and by plunging you into deep sleep for a longer period of time. Studies on people who participate in aerobic activities show that they have a tendency to secrete more growth hormone at night, which aids in repairing and rejuvenating the body. There is a lot to be said for exercises’ ability to decease anxiety and depression by the release of mood elevating endorphins. The “runner’s high” mentioned earlier, is the result of a surge of endorphins that accompanies a strenuous physical workout. The mood boost brought on by exercise has been proven to enhance the overall sense of well-being, lowering stress, and lessening anxiety so you are more easily relaxed. By exercising at some point during the day, you might give yourself the “off” switch your mind needs to drift toward a deep, restful sleep.

389 I know some of you are wondering about naps. We have all had the sumptuous pleasure of closing the blinds, unplugging the phone, and drifting off into daytime dreamland. I love to nap, now. There was a time in my life that I wouldn’t have been caught dead in bed in the middle of the afternoon. Those days are long gone and I actually look forward to the afternoons I am able to sneak away for a little respite. The time I spend resting my body and mind feels like a special escape. I don’t let it replace my sleep, but I can supplement sleep after a particularly rough 12 hour shift at the hospital or a strenuous workout. In addition, I often enjoy an early afternoon nap with my hubby on weekends as a peaceful luxury. So, what is the truth about naps? They call them “siestas” in Spain and Mexico and “kips” in England. Half the world’s population naps during the hours of 1 to 4p.m. in the afternoon. If you’ve ever been in Europe and

390 attempted to pick up a few souvenirs during those hours, you simply found yourself out of luck, all stores closed with shades drawn. How ever you refer to the mid-day snooze, naps have been controversial from a scientific standpoint for quite sometime. It seems everybody has their own opinion on the subject. Some authors say to avoid naps entirely during the day to prevent a sleepless night. Others contend that properly timed naps enhance alertness in the afternoon, increase concentration, and actually help you to a sound sleep at night. Recent research indicates that the human body is inclined to rest in the middle of the afternoon as well as at night, even after adequate nocturnal sleep. A heavy meal at lunch doesn’t make you sleepy; it simply amplifies the physiological pattern that is already in your body. The “after lunch dip” in alertness occurs whether or not food is involved. Dr. William Dement, former director of the Sleep Disorders

391 Clinic and Research Center at Stanford

University, found that nature intended adults to nap in the middle of the day, probably to get out of the midday sun. He and his colleagues discovered that our natural sleep pattern is biphasic: We have a significant drop in core body temperature and alertness at night, and a similar but smaller drop in the middle of the day. There are states of drowsiness that come over everyone from time to time during any given day. So the tendency for us to get sleepy in the middle of the day is biological. The afternoon dip occurs approximately 12 hours after the middle of your night’s sleep. It’s then that you need, and want, a nap most. If you fight through the mid afternoon slump without a nap, you may feel increased alertness because your circadian rhythm has passed its low point and is beginning to rise again. This is what we call our “second wind”, and although we feel better for a while, the underlying desire for sleep still

392 remains. And once our activity slows down and we start doing something sedentary like driving a car or watching television, we could suddenly fall asleep. There is no “one answer fits all” on the subject of napping. Forget what you’ve heard or read about naps in the past. Recent studies reveal that naps can provide a wealth of rewards that go beyond just making you feel better. Naps have been shown scientifically to benefit many aspects of wellness by lowering the risk of heart disease and repairing cells, to lifting mood and stamina, reducing stress, and making you more productive. Because naps can improve heart function, support hormonal maintenance, and encourage cell repair, they can help you live longer, stay more active, and look younger. The MRI’s of nappers have shown that brain activity stays high throughout the day with a nap; without one, it declines as the day goes on. You receive the same benefits from napping that you

393 get from sleeping at night, so the purpose of a nap is to plunge you in and out of rejuvenating sleep as fast as possible. And in doing so, you get the same benefits without having to wait until nighttime to get them. Naps gained popularity and acceptance in the workplace, for a brief period in the late 1990s and the early 2000s. In fact, in 2004, the first MetroNaps facility opened in New York City’s Empire State Building. It offered uniquely designed “Pods” for power napping during the work day. The Pods blocked sound and light and offered a micro-environment for various length naps. The Pod creators hoped that taking a nap would become as trendy as taking a coffee break or going out to lunch. Some companies experimented with the idea, however naps in the workplace never really caught on, and like so many other trends, the nap at work idea just faded away. Even in some Latin American and European countries, siestas are

394 becoming a thing of the past. In the larger cities that have become more industrialized and congested, the siesta has all but disappeared. But in small villages, hamlets and smaller cities siesta time continues as an age old tradition. Sleep is a necessity, not a luxury. Once regarded as a waste of time, a dull monotonous period of unconscious activity, sleep is now known as “gasoline” for the mind and body. It took a long time for the scientific community to become interested on the study of “sleep”. In the last 4 decades sleep research has gone from practically nonexistent to mainstream, with new research studies being conducted continually and sleep-clinics cropping up nation wide. Brain scientists have proven that sleep is not a passive state, but rather an elaborate activity with its own positive functions. mood, thinking, performance, Sleep loss can have profound detrimental effects on productivity, communication skills, accident rates, and general

395 health, including cardiovascular functioning and our immune systems. The rhythmic patterns of sleep and dreaming that repeat themselves throughout the night serve as the body’s ‘filling station’. There are periods of movement and quiet, periods of active dreaming and periods of total unconsciousness. As we sleep, there are dramatic changes in body temperature, respiration, and heart rate. At any age, sleep profoundly affects the quality of our life. With adequate sleep, we are provided with the opportunity for peak performance every morning. In light of all we currently know about the importance of sleep, it seems that “Sleeping Beauty” was way ahead of the times.

396 Chapter 10: Nurture Your Soul (The only part that Really Matters) The majority of people believe humans have a soul. It doesn’t really matter what you call it, soul or spirit, it’s what separates humans from animals. Your soul is that interior location where the real you resides. Your soul carries your wounds. Your soul harbors the possibilities for growth, honesty and true change. Our souls are the very essence of whom and what we are. The soul’s purpose is to create and allow us to experience spiritual growth. Through our soul work, we learn to transcend the world as we know it, and come to a better understanding of the true meaning of our lives. Two major developments that happen in the second half of life and make it different from the first are spiritual awakening and spiritual growth. While this is certainly not true for all people, it is certainly true for many.

397 When we are younger, we rarely think about our inner life which is deeply connected to our spirits and our soul. As we mellow with age, our priorities change and we see things in a different light. Background aspects of life come into sharper focus, while others we once focused on so greatly, fade away. We begin to feel connected to others and we begin to experience life in a way that we never have before. It is important at this stage of life to spend some time thinking about our souls and finding ways to nurture the wonderful feelings that come forth when we feed our souls. “Soul food” is whatever makes you feel whole, alive, and one with your Higher Power. Soul food is whatever brings you a sense of inner peace and a feeling of well-being. Everyone’s soul food is different. Some common sources of soul food are; art, nature, music, dancing, prayer, relationships, and nature. Some uncommon

398 sources of soul food are gratitude, forgiveness, humility, and compassion. Soul “nurturing” is a lifespan process that frames life for changes spiritual as continuing and opportunities growth

understanding the true beauty of life. Despite certain losses, it feels as though aging does bear unexpected fruits, along with the expected physical aches and pains. This is the time of acknowledgement, reconciliation, integration, and peace. It is a time to acknowledge all you have to be grateful for and give thanks for all you have been given. It is about living fully into our lives with gratitude, joy, and intention. In the push and pull of life we seldom realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich. It is a time in our lives to openly express our feelings, to give and receive love, and to keep an open mind and a hopeful heart. The opportunities we are presented

399 throughout life help us nurture and grow or spiritual selves. But we all need time to get away from everything and everybody to spend time realizing how fortunate we really are and all we have to be grateful for. We have to take the time to collect our own thoughts and get in closer touch with our feelings about our blessings. Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. Gratitude for our past brings peace for today, and creates vision for tomorrow. If we take the time, no matter how crazy and troubled we feel, we can find something to be thankful for. Acknowledge all you have to be grateful for and give thanks for whatever it is that is happening in your life right now. Giving thanks is more effective than bemoaning the situation and usually helps clear our vision so that we can see the lesson in the most difficult situations. As we age, we are given the opportunity to look deep inside and settle into

400 the truth of who we really are. We have known both the joys and the sorrows of being a child, and then experienced the same emotions as a parent. We have experienced the exquisite pain of losing someone we loved deeply. We have made many mistakes, which were a part of our growth. We have been hurt, and we have hurt someone we meant to love. Finally, we have accepted the hard truth that all of those experiences have made us the changing, growing, loving person that we are today. We have learned, and now we know, that all in life is paradoxical in nature. You cannot have the rainbow without the rain. You cannot know light if you’ve never known darkness. There is no joy, unless you understand sorrow. It is from this place of knowing that we can create, renew and build relationships, strengthen our place in the world, and connect to something larger than ourselves. It is a time to look around our lives in awe of the

401 beauty and the little miracles that happen everyday, all around us. Dozens of studies have suggested that there is a direct link between spirituality and better health. Research has shown that people with deep spiritual beliefs enjoy greater health and longevity. Spiritually active people live longer and healthier lives and recover quicker from illness and cope better with stress, making them less likely to suffer from stress-related conditions. identified Dr. Benson, the researcher who the “relaxation response”, also

developed the theory of the “faith factor”. Benson observed that 80 percent of his patients used prayer to bring forth a relaxation response. In prayer, the group triggered the relaxation response, relieving their stress and finding a heightened sense of well-being at the same time. Spirituality is about personal meaning, not doctrine. No one person or religion can define what spirituality means to you. That

402 is a discovery you make alone, over time. When you find out what it means to you, let it speak to you. For some, spirituality and inner peace are achieved through religion and prayer. For others it involves being immersed in music, meditation, or yoga. And still for others, spirituality is experienced when communing with nature; a walk on the beach, a walk in the woods, watching a beautiful sunset or witnessing the majesty of a fiery sunrise. For all of us, spirituality is a way of finding inner peace, that calming sense of hope and well-being that gives us a sense of “good feelings” deep, down into our souls. Recognizing and celebrating your personal creativity is another way to nurture your soul. I’ve heard lots of people say, “I am not creative. I just don’t have a creative bone in my body”. But, in reality, that is not true. We are all creative in some way. Creativity is inherent in human personality but we tend to recognize it

403 only in certain contexts. Creativity is merely the ability to create things, to show imagination and originality. Creativity is natural and we should learn to acknowledge it and live with it joyfully. Creativity has many different forms. We are in a constant state of creating, although we may be unaware. Daily life is a form of creativity in action. Our creativity is how we make one day different than the next. At a basic level, we use or creativity to problemsolve or plan a garden. At a more specialized level we develop our gifts for mixing colors on a canvas or crafting sentences on a page. Creativity does not have to be obvious or spectacular to exist. Creativity can be subtle, almost imperceptible, yet present in each one of us. One of my creative outlets is cooking. My love of cooking started as a little girl, about 7 or 8. I would close myself off in my bedroom every Saturday morning to watch Julia

404 Childs, The French Chef. I sold cookies to the neighborhood children out of my back door. My grandmother allowed me “free reign” in her kitchen, and it was there, dressed in one of her many aprons, that I learned to experiment and have fun with cooking. I baked cakes for my parents, and I looked forward to the expression on my father’s face when I cut into one of my infamous “psychedelic” cakes. His expression was always a mixture of horror and humor, and he was always polite enough to “choke it down”. By the time I was 10 years old, I was preparing full meals without supervision. And although my mother was not a cook, she encouraged my budding culinary interest and indulged my need for special table cloths and candlelight on ‘spaghetti night’. I am very adventurous in the kitchen, and I love getting lost in the process of meal preparation. I love the planning, getting the ingredients, cooking the food, and creating an

405 atmosphere for the final presentation of the meal. I adapt recipes, and I make up recipes. Over the years, I’ve done a lot of cooking and transcended the function of cooking to change it into my own private art form. When I start a dish, I imagine that I am an artist in front of a blank canvas. And as I add ingredient after ingredient, the dish takes on a life of its own, and for that reason I am never able to duplicate a dish exactly as I prepared it before. If I am out of one herb or spice, I concoct an alternative. And if something doesn’t turn out as wonderful as I’d hoped, I ‘doctor it up’ the best I can, and look ahead to the next creation. When the meal turns out spectacular, I am rewarded with something wonderful to experience for my efforts. The beauty of the world we live in is another kind of ‘soul food’. nurtures, and soothes Beauty nourishes, souls. Beauty our

transcends religious and political boundaries,

406 unifying and uplifting all people. Beauty

satisfies our deepest desires and we are pleased when we look at beauty. The world is truly a beautiful place, despite all the horrific events that fill newspapers and news reports. It is one we can appreciate more and more when we change our vision. The ordinary can become the extraordinary. It all depends on how you see the world you live in. Sometimes extraordinary images occur in nature and we are lucky enough to see the; a double rainbow, a ring around the moon, thousands of schooling fish. When we are present in that moment, we feel awe, appreciation, and gratitude all at the same time. In that one special soul satisfying instant, we feel that all is right with the world. We feel we were meant to see and experience the event that moved us. Anything that awakens us to the unknown world expands our imaginations and feeds our souls.

407 The way things appear has a profound and surprising effect on our emotions. We look and we react viscerally. Your eye knows true beauty. We all see physical things; a heartfelt smile, the rustle of the blossoms and leaves of a lemon tree, the prism of colors dancing out from a radiant diamond. We pick up the vibrations of energy, opening our senses, inviting us to feel everything more acutely. You are simply moved by a vision of beauty. Something stirs within you and you feel as though you have been touched by the hand of an angel. As we begin to enjoy this soul stirring sensation, we begin to seek it. It makes us feel good and we are able to radiate this wonderful feeling to everything and everyone around us. We learn to choose what uplifts our spirit and reject the things that depress us. When we nourish our soul, our soul nourishes us. The early Greeks thought the noble life to be the beautiful life. In classical Greece,

408 people talked openly about beauty, where everything fit together harmoniously, where nothing needed to be added or subtracted. The Greek consciousness was that of highly attuned people, letting go of ordinary awareness. When looking at a scene or object, they would study it until it was implanted in their inner mind and being. The Greek word exstasis, ecstasy, means to stand outside or above. Centuries later, the French master Henri Matisse recognized this elevation of spirit and described feeling both ecstatic and tranquil in the presence of beauty. Through seeing beauty you enlarge yourself, you experience going beyond the limits of your body through a process of self-transcendence. What emerges from the observation of beauty is a sense of being uplifted and aware. We see, feel, and experience beauty through our sight and our insight. Then and now, beauty intensifies our sense of living in the moment and is therefore of primary importance. Beauty is a

409 keystone of living well. Things of beauty should not be isolated in a museum or kept locked away on a shelf. We can foster a sense of everyday beauty by adding it to our daily surroundings. All too often in daily life, people operate on “auto-pilot”, blind to the beauty surrounding them. Unless you look for and identify what is beautiful in your life and your immediate surroundings life can become hollow and routine. Without exception all of our greatest teachers, and those who have made the greatest impact on humanity, Jesus, Confucius, Buddha, Bagvad Ghita, Rumi, Kahil Gibran; have been spiritual beings. All of these great teachings, philosophies, and religions left us with a similar message. “Go within, discover your higher self, and know God as love that is within you.” The spiritual masters were sent here to teach us about the incredible power that resides within each one of us. It seems ironic that as a people we have

410 been obsessed with what divides us, when without the skin and bones that covers our bodies, we are truly all the same. Our bodies are not our real selves. Our real selves have no form. Our real selves are our souls. Listen to the whisperings of your soul, it will tell you what it needs. Be inspired to bring gratitude, grace and appreciation with you wherever you are. My personal ‘soul food’ is art of any kind, music, dance, paintings, and photography. Art enlivens my spirit, feeds my creativity, rejuvenates my soul and pushes me to see the world from a different perspective. I feel a special connection to the works of the Impressionist painters. Their work moves me and speaks directly to my heart. I will never forget my first experience in Musee Dorsay, standing alone in front of a self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh. As I walked closer, I felt a lump growing in my throat and I could feel my chest tightening up. My lips began to quiver and

411 before I knew it, tears began to stream down my face. I was so moved by the raw beauty of his creation, I felt like my heart was going to burst from the deep emotion I felt while looking at the painting. There was something in his work that touched me in the center of my being. I have no idea how long I stood in front of that painting. It seemed for a lost period of time I entered into his world and became one with his image. As I headed out the museum door, I promised myself this experience was only the beginning of what would become my lifelong connection with beauty and the power of art. Along with works of Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edward Degas, Mary Cassatt, Berthe Morisot, Gustave Caillebotte, and Henri Matisse I have learned to see and appreciate everyday life from these artists. In their passion for nature and their love of home, they open us up to wider visions of our own lives, enabling us to see things in a

412 different way. These are men and women who went out into nature, into the cities, and countrysides, and through their paintings, brought in to us the natural light in clear translucent colors. This group of artists opened their windows and doors and let the sunlight stream in. Looking at their paintings, I realize the whole world can be changed in the flicker of sunlight. Feeling the emotion in their work, I think better of life and I see more beauty in the world. Having recently returned from the Chicago Museum of Art, I once again realized my powerful connection to the Impressionist artists. Individually and collectively they made a huge impact on society and the way we look at the world around us. The greatest gift left the Impressionists left to all is to look around and find the magnificence in everyday life. They taught me, and I continue to learn, that the ordinary experiences of life have beauty and

413 value. Through the instrument of their eyes we are inspired to see for ourselves. By seeing life through their eyes, we can learn to see more clearly through our own. The way you see the world is a personal choice. You can choose to see your world in a different, more beautiful light. Go out and look at everything you see with fresh new eyes. Focus on all the thousands of ways you can turn everyday living into a unique, meaningful experience. See for yourself, through your own eyes, just how wonderful your life is. Feel the breeze and let it make you feel peaceful. Remind yourself to focus on what’s really important. Today is all you really have and everything in this exact moment is perfect. Don’t neglect your soul. It is the only part of what you know as you that really matters. It is who you really are. Listen to it, nourish it, and feed it everyday. Feed your soul with all sorts of beauty, wonder, and intrigue.

414 Invite situations that challenge you, works of art that stretch you and events that excite you. to revive your soul connection. If you have neglected your soul, it is never too late Rediscover the inner you, the real you and rejoice in the treasure that you have uncovered. Find the joy and peace that live in the eternal well deep inside of you, and then give those gifts away. Share your treasures and the beauty in your life with all you come in contact with. Sharing doubles joy and diminishes sorrow. Touch and be touched by the beauty in your life. Make your life the canvas of your soul and fill it with all that you find beautiful and meaningful.


Chapter 11: Stay SASSY Forever! (Putting It All Together) The second half of your life can, and should be the frosting on the cake-of-life. We’ve worked hard throughout our lives, provided for our families, weathered hard times, learned from our mistakes and created many warm and wonderful memories in good times. Throughout it all, we continued to discover and to grow. Because we have been fortunate enough to get to this point in our lives, it is definitely time to celebrate all that we have been given and all that we are now. We’ve spent all of our lives learning and growing from the experiences life has thrown our way. We won some victories, lost

416 some battles, but we kept right on ‘pushin’. Life always goes forward, never backward. We are now in a place to reflect on all that has gone before. Now, we truly understand that we are the sum total of all of our experiences and our lives are richer and fuller because of all that we have been through. As Groucho Marx said, “Growing old is something you do if you are lucky”. And as another anonymous older person remarked, “Getting old ain’t for sissies”. To know and love oneself is the fruit of the labor of life. These are facts to live by. This is the philosophy of the SASSY lifestyle. Age has nothing to do with style, spirit, and spunk. SASSY is a celebration of the sweet life you have earned, a gift you give to yourself. Why not add some sizzle to the second half of your life? Dare to be sensational. The sizzling senior knows that extravagant refers to the spirit and personality, not spending habits. Simply put, a sizzling senior is stylish, smart,

417 and sexy. The sizzling senior celebrates life with healthy self-confidence, and knows that supreme self-care and living authentically are the true keys to a sensational life. The way you feel and how you look on the outside reflects your inner state. Though you can’t change your genetic makeup, many of the most compelling aspects of charisma are completely within your power to change. When you are open to new knowledge, ideas, and experiences, you are more open to a fuller, richer life. You’ve got to keep your mind, and your appearance, open to change. As the years pass, our outer appearance frays around the edges. That’s nothing to be ashamed of and a reality that everyone will face as we age. In fact, it’s all the more reason to take care of your body and your appearance, starting right now. Although it may not matter as much to you now, appearance does make a difference in this world. No matter what

418 your age, you should keep up your appearance and use it to reap benefits that are rewarding and enduring. You will develop stronger self-esteem, better health and more joy from life. We are a visual society, largely due to television, movies, and magazines. exactly how you feel about yourself. Your Your appearance speaks volumes to the world about appearance is the first thing people see when they look at you. Caring about your appearance and making yourself attractive does not make you vain. It makes you smart. Research shows that people who are perceived to be attractive get special treatment from strangers, potential mates, employers, and even their own mothers. And who doesn’t want special treatment? Simply put, we enjoy looking at attractive objects and attractive people. In reality attractiveness isn’t some shallow preoccupation. It matters at every age, to all levels of society. Studies have shown that people who feel attractive have more

419 confidence and assertiveness which are qualities that intrigue and attract other people. The way you present yourself to the world can either open or close doors for you, regardless of your age. But, it all starts on the inside. Everyone has some aspect of their being that others find attractive. It may be your smile, your sense of humor, the way you talk or walk, or a million other things that you aren’t even aware of. Beauty, attractiveness or whatever you want to call it is truly in the eye of the beholder, and none of us possess the ability to truly see ourselves as the world does. Anyone of any age can make themselves attractive; all it takes is a little time and a little effort. Attractiveness is very different from beauty. It has nothing to do with weight, shape, height, and hair or eye color. Attractiveness is an altogether different perspective. Attractiveness is an evolving kind of beauty and can be cultivated and developed.

420 Attractiveness is style with an attitude. What you may know but not often think about, is what’s on the inside is deeply connected to what shows on the outside. Attractive people radiate an inner glow. Our inner feelings and outer appearance are so closely linked that it is difficult to separate the two elements from the person we are viewing. So old or young, rich or poor, strive to keep your look fresh and current; adapt your look to your age. A pleasing appearance sets off complex reward circuitry in our brains that draws us to what we feel is attractive. Evolve, change and continue to grow, no matter what your age. Keeping connected and energized by life will reflect in your face in a completely positive way. All the people I know who are fully involved in life look many years younger than their chronological age. Energy, both mental and physical, is the master key to a fulfilling life because it has a

421 profound effect upon what you do, how you feel and how you look. Think back 10 or 20 years when it was normal for you to wake up refreshed, energized and ready to take on the world. You used to do more in one day then than you can barely get done in a week now. Now your ‘norm’ is to wake up reluctantly and wish that you could spend a couple more hours in bed, and even the smell of freshly brewed coffee does little to lure you out of your warm, cozy lair. If only you could get back that youthful “joie de vivre”; if only you could look in the mirror and see that bright-eyed enthusiasm. Loss of vitality does not have to be part of getting older. You can get your vitality back, if you want it back. To “sizzle” or not to “sizzle”, like most other things in life, is a choice. When I hear the word sizzle, energy, momentum, and excitement come to mind. Some people seem to think that their prime-time to “sizzle” was in their youth. I advocate extending your prime-

422 time until you’re ninety, at least. “Sizzling” in your second half is about going through life with a quiet confidence that comes from taking care of yourself and fully enjoying your life. “Sizzling” is knowing who you really are, accepting your flaws, loving yourself, and making the most of your unique gifts and talents. “Sizzling” is taking your senses to a heightened level of awareness where you can truly, deeply appreciate all you have been given and radiate that appreciation back to the world. “Sizzling” in life is taking risks to live life to its fullest, whatever that may mean to you. “Sizzling” is celebrating the lasting, soul-deep richness that comes with knowing yourself, loving who you’ve become, and living in your body with style, grace, and appeal; no matter how old you are. There is a whole world of things to do “out there” and still many goals to strive for. Age itself is not a limitation, for you are truly as

423 old as you let yourself feel. You want to be raring to make a difference in life whether you are 25 or 85. Nothing in your life is out of the question. I do not believe in “age-appropriate” behavior. If you have the energy and feel like you want to do it, whatever it is, then just do it. The only limitations you have are the ones you place on yourself. You want to feel attractive, healthy and fit, that you have some measure of control over your life, and have happy, satisfying relationships. You want to feel challenged and stimulated, not put out to pasture or stuck in a rut. You don’t have to feel stuck or limited. You alone hold the keys to the doors of your life. There is so much to see, to learn, to give, to do in life. Where should you start? It really doesn’t matter, as long as you begin. Do something that you have always wanted to do, no matter what anybody else thinks or says. Take up piano, learn a foreign language, write, paint; the possibilities are endless. Skinny-dip. Spend

424 a day at a nursing home. Make your own bread. Laugh out loud. Sing Karaoke. Dance the jig. Learn to sew. Be a mentor. Send someone a “thinking of you” card .Have your palm or tarot cards read. Rearrange all the furniture in your living room. remarried. Vote. Inspire someone. Get Plant a Change Tell your Be frivolous. Be a star. Give up being perfect. Let the phone ring.

vegetable garden, and then eat what you grow. Change jobs. your mind. Write your

memoirs. Make angels in the snow. children all about your life.

Sit in an empty

church. Allow yourself to be awestruck. Break a tradition. Trust yourself. Make out like a bandit. Give to the less fortunate. Play with puppies. Collect Sleep on satin sheets. Research a subject you’ve always wanted to know about. seashells. Start a conversation with a stranger. Get a tattoo. Burn bridges to the troublesome parts and people of your life. Inhale. Beat the odds. See a rodeo. Comfort the afflicted. Buy

425 someone a present for no reason at all. Soak in a hot tub. Write thank-you notes when it isn’t necessary. Show up. Slow up. Smell the Bake flowers, the cooking, and the rain.

brownies. Move. Keep a journal. Put 20 bucks in a slot machine. Buy a lottery ticket. Share the wealth. Tell the truth, especially when it’s hard. Expect nothing. Stand the test of time. Talk to Make a Take part your angels. Love more then once. moment without expecting it to last. in heaven on earth. forever.

wish upon a star. Witness a miracle. Enjoy the Accept mortality, but live

Fall asleep counting your blessings.

Celebrate your life every day for no reason, and for every reason. Explore your own potential and your own life’s possibilities. Sometimes it is good and invigorating to try something different or new. It’s easy for all of us to go on as we always have because it requires no effort. But once you stop

426 trying to make an effort, you start looking and acting old. How long has it been since you took yourself off, on your own, to somewhere you’ve never been before- to somewhere totally new even for an hour? It is a mini-adventure and a wonderful chance to keep your mind and eyes open. People look but often don’t see. Notice the architecture on the road you drive everyday. When you go strolling through the garden section of your favorite store, stop to pay close attention to the seasonal flowers and foliage. Go to a different mall or park and just sit and observe. Find a café and spend some leisure time watching people. Go to a different neighborhood or part of the city and absorb the different atmosphere. You never need to be bored when there are other people around. Being an explorer in your own life doesn’t have to cost you a penny. You can explore without going too far from home and discover a world you have

427 really never seen before. Perhaps its always

been there, but you just never saw it. Get yourself out of a rut by making a conscious effort to change habitual behavior. You may just find there is a different, even better way to live if you only break free of your rut prison. About 10 years ago I had a horrible habit of planning every single second of my life. I carried a “daytimer” filled with scheduled activity from the time I woke up in the morning until the time I laid my head down to sleep at night. When I met my future husband and he learned of my frenetic planning and time consuming list-making, he thought I was crazy. He watched me go about my merry frenzy and didn’t say one word until the fateful day I tried to add lists of activity to his life. He was adamant in his refusal. “I don’t live my life that way. I just wait to see how the day unfolds”. Well, of course that was a foreign thought, one that had never occurred to me. But slowly ,over time I

428 used my daytimer less and less and the lists became shorter and shorter, until one year I no longer had a planner. It was a gradual process, but well worth the effort. I had no idea how much of a slave I was to plans and lists. Without them, my life has become freer than it’s ever been. I still use lists for things I have to remember to do, but today’s lists are not even close to those lists of yesteryear. Now, I like being spontaneous it keeps life unpredictable. I gained some valuable insight when I ditched that planner. Amid the plans, appointments, and obligations, I learned to become unavailable to the rest of the world at some point during my “free time” so that I could be more available to myself. All that ‘running around’ was like being a hamster on a wheel, but I had never slowed down long enough to see that I was just spinning my wheels. By slowing down a little, I learned to be unpredictable and not always make up my mind in advance.

429 Wait to see what mood hits you, then act. If you always wear white, wear black, or blue, or pink. If you always get up at 8 a.m., get up at 4a.m. and enjoy a sunrise. If you aways do the laundry, let your mate do it for a change. If you always plan the movie you are going to see, one day just go to the theatre and decide what to see on the spur of the moment. And so on. You get the idea, mix it up. Change your world. Change how you see it and what you do in it. The point is, small changes can deliver big rewards by keeping your life fresh and new. When we are young we tend to push ourselves to see what our limits are, as we get older we resign ourselves to the status quo. There is no reason to do so. Tell yourself you can do anything you want, then decide what that is and go for it. When you look at your life from this perspective, the prospect of aging seems a whole lot better. If you can summon up

430 the energy, you can revitalize your life in ways you never dreamed were possible. Now take a look in the mirror; are you old before your time or completely out of touch with what’s going on in the world around you? Did you hide out or just drop out? Are you really happy with the current state of your situation or do you want to make the most of your life? Remember I said and I truly believe, as long as you are breathing, it’s never too late to do something different. So close your eyes, take a deep breath and make the decision to bring your “sizzle” back. In the second half of life, we come to realize that this is not a rehearsal and it’s the only life we are going to have. When I look back over the years, I can’t believe that I am over fifty years old, already. I still remember a time in my childhood when I was about 7 or 8; I was scared to death that my parents would die when they turned thirty-five. Back then thirty seemed

431 so very old. Boy, do things look different now. It is astounding how quickly the years fly by. I realize now that unless we take the time to enjoy each remaining day as much as we can, we may not get another chance. When we are young, we believe, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that we are immortal. We really believed that we would live forever. We were fearless and foolishly naive. We would fly brazenly into the face of danger and defiantly flirt with death. We lived with reckless abandon, not soliciting or heeding advice from our elders. So, since we have been fortunate enough to make it to this stage of the game, the passing of time and the lessons we’ve learned teach us that each moment of each new day is precious, we have no more time to waste. At some point, we realize that we can learn to be fully productive and decide to be happy. We understand that in order to really “sizzle” you have to be healthy on the inside and

432 the outside, and a lot of that comes from how you live your life day to day. No one gives lessons on how to do this. Our life lessons seem to teach us by presenting us with obstacles that we must find or develop the right tools to overcome. And with each success or failure we become stronger, wiser, and more compassionate toward all others. Sizzling” also means to celebrate yourself and your life on a daily basis. You don’t need any special occasion, every day will do. Don’t sit back and let your life drift on by. Extract the most out of every day, whether it’s savoring the first bite of your favorite food, playing with your puppies, enjoying a cocktail, or people-watching. Just savor, enjoy, and celebrate the fact that you are able to partake in the activity that you have selected for yourself. Consciously work to develop the habit of appreciating the smaller things in life that add up to a wonderful whole. I am a work in progress,

433 so some days my appreciation flows, and other days it is more difficult to be appreciative of everything. When I wake up and stretch, I realize how very lucky I am that my that my body is still flexible and the muscles are working in unison to grant my movement. When I smell the morning coffee, I linger on the aroma and marvel at how wonderful it smells. When I reach over to kiss my husband, I am so thankful that have someone to love and share life with. All of those moments and my gratitude for them keep the sparkle in my eyes and the sizzle in my life. “Sizzling” is also about energy, vitality, and zest the missing ingredients in so many people’s lives. So many people trade the sizzle for fizzle once they reach a certain age. We all have the opportunity to have full lives and be multidimensional people, with many different interests and desires. You can be whatever you want, especially at this age. You know so much

434 more now and you’ve experienced so much more than at any other time in your life. You have been given a gift by Father Time. There is no reason to have a narrow view of yourself and your life. “Sizzle” can help you get back to the source of an energy you’ll find refreshing and renewing. It will put you in touch with your younger, eager self, who was ready to take on all challenges, saw no limits to life’s possibilities and never thought of holding back because of insecurity or inner self-doubt. This is the end of the book, but hopefully a new beginning for you and the way you look at the second half of your life. I hope that you are inspired into action. Live, don’t just exist. Don’t be afraid, you have nothing to fear. Get out there and grab the gusto. Ultimately, we all want a long, rich, and full life. We want to remain independent, make our own decisions, and come and go as we please. I believe that we can have exactly the

435 life we desire. We can have that life because

there are things we can do right now to ensure that we can give that life to ourselves. It is never too late to adopt a new lifestyle or a different way of looking at life. choose how to use. As we age, we will still be able to do most all the things that we do now, only differently. It is so important to treat yourself well, live the life you want and take care of yourself; body, mind, and soul. Look for opportunities to expand the range of what you do and how you think. Push yourself to grow on very level. When you reach one goal, set another, and take pleasure in pursuing it. The person with the rich life never stops growing or adding to their life’s painting. He or she keeps developing and accumulating and adding new interests and abilities to their canvas, looking for ways to connect with other unexplored parts of Every day that we awaken from our slumber is a gift that we get to

436 life and cultivate new depths of feeling or more complete inner life. My hope is that you embrace the information within these pages to prepare yourself to live the SASSY lifestyle forever. When you put it all together, the SASSY lifestyle really boils down to a few fundamental principles; Attitude, Body Toning, Healthful Eating, Exercise, Nutritional Supplements, Maintaining the brain, and the Celebration of life, which all add up to one thing, a good life. The SASSY lifestyle is your life. We know how short and transitory our life is: I don’t mean what the statistical tables say about just how long we live, but how short it all is when we are alive, celebrating life together with those we love. We give a part of ourselves when we share, and each of us has something to share that no one else does. Savoring every about living well, savoring and truly living in every moment of

437 minute of life creates moments where living becomes art. Poets, writers, and musicians aspire to heightened moments of awareness; times they feel they have something unique and inspiring to give to the world. Most creative people do what they do because there is something burning inside of them; creating is a way of life for them. I believe we all have an instinct to create meaning in our lives. We want to feel the purpose of our lives. We want to know the reason that we are here. As Samuel Johnson so eloquently put it, “To improve the golden moment of opportunity and catch the good that is within our reach is the great art of life”. So, come on. Take the plunge. Dive in. Do something sensational, wonderful, crazy, or inspiring to put some “sizzle” into your life.


Epilogue: Future Shock America, along with the entire world is entering a unique period in history as everything we knew about “old age” is about to change dramatically. There is an “age wave” coming very soon and, just like a tidal wave, it will change the face of life as we now know it. All the modernized nations of the world are evolving from youthful to mature societies. Up to this point in history, sociologists have charted

439 all the stages of life to fit within the confines of a much shorter life span than we live today. Until recently, most people died relatively young of infectious diseases, accidents, and in war, or childbirth. During the past century, most of those threats have been eliminated. For the first time in human evolution, people have begun to routinely remain healthy and vigorous into their seventies and eighties, and tomorrow’s elderly will in all likelihood, live even longer. During the 20 th century, the number of Americans who are 65 and older has increased elevenfold, from 3 million to 33 million. This trend is expected to continue as birthrates around the world drop, and people continue to live longer and longer. According to the US Census Bureau, by 2035 about 70 million people will be 65 and older. Today, with the postponement of old age that is the result of increased longevity, we are witnessing a “new face of aging”. The current group between the ages of 40 and 60 are

440 not quite ready for late adulthood and old age. This new “lifestage” will be different from any other generation and will likely turn out to be a period of growth and ascension rather than retreat and decline. America has always taken pride in being a “young nation” and a “young society”, not an old one. Up to this point in history, the prevailing model has been, when you age, you retreat and retire. The model is different now, we are a once young nation growing old but living longer. However, longevity does not come without a price. Millions of baby boomers are about to enter health care system for seniors that isn’t ready for them. We face an impending crisis as the growing numbers of older patients are living longer with more complex health needs, while the number of health care providers with the knowledge and skills to care for them is decreasing. We will face unique problems in

441 society as youth is extended, new lifestages appear, and old age is postponed. First of all, programs like Social Security and Medicare will have to be re-vamped to correlate with the current state of aging. We can no longer afford to continue these entitlement programs that start at sixty five when sixty five is no longer the beginning of old age. This notion is dangerously out of touch with the current reality. Information from a study done of Sciences, paints a by the Institute of Medicine, an arm of the National Academy somewhat bleak picture for the aging boomers. The report concludes; there are not enough geriatric specialists to care for the number of elderly, insufficient geriatric training is available, the specialists that do exist are underpaid, and Medicare does not provide for team care that many elderly patients need. The study indicates that Medicare may even hinder seniors from getting the best care because of its low

442 reimbursement rates and lack of focus on treating and managing chronic problems. In July 2008, the government began steep cuts in Medicare physician payments, and 60 percent o physicians said that cut would force them to limit the number of new Medicare patients they could accept. In coming years, cuts in Medicare physician payments threaten access to care. Secondly, retirement will have to be pushed back to an age when people stop working and can actually afford to take care of themselves and whatever circumstances they may encounter as they age. Retirement was initially designed to last 3 to five years, not 20 or 30. Assuming that life expectancy continues to rise, only a minute fraction of aging boomers will be able to afford to retire as young as their parents did. And let’s face it, not many boomers saved enough money to live for 20 to 30 years after they stopped working. Also with pension

443 funds drying up and going bankrupt, that money cannot be counted on. Thirdly, another new factor of aging, is aging boomers will find themselves working much longer than their parents. This will happen either because they want to or because they have to. And lastly, longevity has changed the linear life plan. When people only lived 50 or 60 years, there was only time to work, get married ,have kids, work some more , and then die. Everything had its place and life was short. Increased longevity totally changes this standard. We will cycle in and out of different careers, living environments, and stages of life throughout adulthood. And rather than saving all of our leisure time and enjoyment for retirement at the end of our lives, we will take regular breaks and run-away vacations frequently while we are young enough and healthy enough to enjoy ourselves. We will not wait until the

444 waning days to enjoy the fruits of our labor and the lessons we’ve learned from life. We will live long and we will live well. Based on the number of aging adults around the world, the foreseeable future belongs in large part to the old, not only to the young. Each of us will have to address the issue of aging, if we are lucky enough to live that long. In some ways, the biggest challenges facing aging Americans will be psychological, especially for the “Baby Boomers”. One the one hand, boomers will live much longer than previous generations and enjoy new lifestages. On the other, they are going to face new challenges and experience life changes never encountered by their parents or current elders. Most of us boomers will have to work several years, maybe decades longer than our parents, just to support our current lifestyles. We have to prepare now for a different future than the one our parents had. If we prepare ourselves for

445 aging and adopt the SASSY lifestyle and attitudes, take care of our bodies, minds, and spirits, we will have enough energy and stamina provide for ourselves and to enjoy lifelong health and learning all throughout our senior years.

Afterward: An Author’s Note to the Reader


I hope you have enjoyed reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it for you. I learned a great deal in the process of writing the book, and I trust you may have learned some new and useful information as well. I hope SASSY uplifted your spirits and inspired you to treat yourself well, try new activities and live each day to the fullest. I encourage you to believe in yourself and your abilities, no matter what your age. Here is a personal invitation to open your eyes to a new way of thinking, seeing, and living. Take good care of yourself, continue to learn and to grow, look for beauty in everyday life, and celebrate each day as though it was your last. You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough… waiting for? So what are you


Please e-mail me a shgrbg@comcast.net with your feedback. I’d love to hear from you. May you and those you treasure be showered with the best of Love, Health, and Life… --R.N. Raelyn Gregory

Purchase and Contact Information  Additional copies of this book are available at Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com. If you have a

request for a lecture or book signing, please contact me through the e-mail

448 address listed above or @ (808) 2762833.

SASSY: Sizzling And Sensational Senior Years Bibliography 1. Doress-Worters, Paula B.and Diana Laskin Siegal, Ourselves, growing Older; Touchstone( New York, New York 1987,1994) 2. Cohen, Gene D., The Mature Mind: the positive power of the aging brain ;( Basic Books, Cambridge Massachusetts, 2005) 3. Erwin, Kathie T., Foundations of gerontology ;( P.A. Hutchison Publishing Company, 2006)

449 4. Crowley, Chris and Henry S. Lodge M.D., Younger next year; (Workman Publishing, New York 2004) 5. Croker, Richard, The Boomer Century 1946-2046 ;(Springboard Press, New York, New York, 2007) 6. Cooke-Kearney, Ann, Change Your Mind, Change Your Body: Feeling good about yourself after 40; (Atria Books, New York, New York, 2004) 7. Crandall, Susan, Thinking about Tomorrow: reinventing yourself at Midlife ;(Warner Wellness, New York, NY) 8. Levine, Robert M.D., Aging with Attitude; Growing Older with dignity and Vitality,(Praeger Publishers,Westport,CT 2004) 9. Pilzer, Paul Zane, The Wellness Revolution; How to Make a fortune in the

450 Next Trillion dollar Industry, (John Riley&Sons, Inc., New York, 2002) 10. Null, Gary, Power Aging; The revolutionary program to control the Symptoms of aging Naturally,(New American Library, New York, 2003) 11. Smith, Hyrum W., The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management, (Warner Books, Inc., New York, 1994) 12. Gerzon, Mark, Listening to Midlife, (Shambhala Publications, Boston Massachusetts, 1992) 13. Hollis, James PhD., Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life, ( Gotham Books, New York, New York, 2005) 14. Davidson, Sara, LEAP!, (Random House, New York, 2007) 15. Progrebin, Letty Cottin, Getting Over Getting Older, (Little, Brown & Company, New York,1996)

451 16. Dychtwald, Ken, Ph.D., Age Power, (Penguin Putnam Inc., New York,1999) 17. Novelli, Bill, 50+, (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 2006) 18. Haas, Robert, M.S., Eat to Win for Permanent Fat Loss, (Harmony Books, New York,2000) 19. Gaesser, Dr. Glenn A., The Spark; A Revolutionary New Plan to get Fit and lose Weight, ( Rodale Inc. ,New York,2001) 20. Schwalbe, Robert, PhD , Sixty, Sexy, and Successful; A Guide for Aging Male Baby Boomers, (Praeger Publishers, West Port ,CT, 2008) 21. Cruise, Jorge, 8 Minutes in the Morning; Extra Easy Weight Loss, (HarperCollins Publishers Inc., New York, 2004) 22. Lydon, M.D.,Christine, Ten Years Thinner,(Da Capo Press, Philadelphia, Pa., 2008)

452 23. Roulac, Ann Nichols, Power, Passion & Purpose; 7 steps to Energizing Your Life, ( Green Island Publishing, Larkspur, California, 2006) 24. Davis, Robert J., PhD., The Healthy Skeptic, (University of California Press, Berkley, 2008) 25. Sansone, Leslie, Walk Away the Pounds, (Time Warner Book Group, New York, 2005) 26. Smith, Kathy, Lift Weights to Lose weight, (Warner Books, Inc., New York,2001) 27. Stoddard, Alexandra, Living a Beautiful Life, (Random House, New York,1986) 28. Collin, Joan, The art of Living Well; Looking good and Feeling Great, (Sourcebooks Inc., Naperville, Illinois, 2007)

453 29. Winter, Paul A., Book Editor, The Civil Rights Movement, (Greenhaven Press, Inc., San Diego, California, 2000) 30. Weil, Andrew, M.D., 8 Weeks to Optimal Health, ( Ballantine Publishing Group, New York, 1997) 31. Chopra, Deepak, M.D., Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, (Harmony Books, New York, 1993) 32. Gullo, Stephen P.,PH.D., Thin Tastes Better, (Carol Southern Books, New York, 1995) 33. Balch, Phyllis, A., CNC, Prescription for Dietary Wellness, (Penguin Books, New York, 2003) 33. Torkos,Sherry and Wassef, Farid, Breaking the Age Barrier,(Penguin Books, Pearson, Canada, 2003) 34. Dyer, Wayne W., Real Magic, (HarperCollins Books, New York, 1989)

454 35. Wilson, Douglas, Doug’s rooms ,(Clarkson/Potter Publishers, New York, 2004) 36. Fifield, Katherine, Instant Style, (In Style Books, New York, 2006) 37. Simontacchi, Carol, Crazy Makers; How the Food Industry is destroying our brains and Harming our children,( Penguin Putnam Inc., New York, 2000) 38. Stoddard, Alexandra, Open Your Eyes, (HarperCollins, New York, 1998) 39. Fuller, Kristi M., R.D. Editor, Eating For Life, (Meredith Books, Des Moines, Iowa, 2001) 40. Haas, Robert, M.S., Eat to Win for Permanent Fat loss, (Random House Inc., New York, 2000) 41. Breus, Michael, Ph.D., Good Night; The sleep doctor’s 4-week program to better sleep and better Health, (Penguin Group, New York, 2006)

455 42. Maas, James B., Sleep Power,(Villard Books, New York, 1998) 43. Zhigang Sha, Dr., Soul Wisdom I (Heaven’s Library Publication Corp., Boston, 2007) 44. Bazilian, Wendy, DrPH ,MA, RD., The Super Foods Rx Diet, (Rodale, Inc., New York, 2008) 45. Somers, Suzanne, Slim & Sexy forever, The Hormone Solution for permanent weight loss and Optimal Living, (Crown Publishers, New York, 2005) 46. Brody, Jane, Jane Brody’s Nutrition Book; guide to good eating for better Health and Weight Control,(W.W. Norton & Company Inc. New York, 1981) 47. Lipper, Jodi and Vincent, Cerina, How to Eat Like a Hot Chick, (HarperCollins, New York, 2008) 48. Krupp, Charla, How Not to Look Old, (Springboard Press, New York, 2008)

456 49. Robinson, Chris, The Core Connection, (Simon Spotlight Entertainment, New York, 2009) 50. Westerterp, K.R., “Diet Induced Thermogenesis”, “Nutrition& Metabolism (2004) 1:5

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