I want to live a very long time in good health. Now in my fifties, I figure I have a shot at another 50 years. Here is my plan.
For the first fifty years of my life, my only health preoccupation was pretty much avoiding serious injuries. I did very little to curtail any poor dietary habits, I exercised on week-ends (and not every week-end...), I slept when I could, I did not pay attention to stress. I knew my probability to reach 50 was very high provided I avoided any stupid accidents. Even, when I was diagnosed with a thyroid cancer at age 30, I still thought my chances to overcome it were very good. The statistics did not fail me and I completely recovered.
Over the last ten years, I have gradually realized that this approach may not work so well if I wanted to prolong my health span for another 50 years. My muscles were not responding as well to physical stress, while my weight seemed to respond too well to food intake! I understood that I unfortunately had to adjust my ways. This acknowledgement did not come easy and I even wrote an article called 'I hate the journey. I love the result'.
Most people eventually come to terms with this reality that some adjustments are necessary during your third lap. And quickly they face the daunting issue about which adjustments to make. There is so much conflicting information floating around that you do not know what to do. The earlier consensus about eating too many eggs or excess fat being bad for your health have been shattered. Nowadays it is all about avoiding carbs, dairy products and even juices. We are all searching for a new healthier source of proteins. The traditional food pyramid has been turned upside down. It is a mess.
I find doctors are not too helpful on the matter. Nutrition was never a major part of their curriculum and anti-aging is a new field anyway. They are reluctant to commit and give clear and precise nutritional advice. They are not to blame. There may not be a fit-for-all solution. More importantly, they must strictly adhere to a scientific and statistical fact-based approach that may have made the World a healthier place today than hundred years ago, but that also makes medicine somewhat dogmatic, entrenched, and slow to embrace new information. Strong corporate lobbies favoring the status-quo rarely favor this transformation either.
Faced with a constant flow of (often contradictory) information, you are left with two options: one is to study as much as you can about the subject and make up your own mind; the other is to follow a health influencer you trust to do the research and to issue his/her best informed and uninterested opinion (knowing that even this opinion may evolve after new discoveries).
I am definitely too lazy to do the research. So I relied on the second option and put my faith in the hands of Zora, the nutritional expert at Hack My Age. I am a fervent supporter of her work and her approach to health span. Following her advice led me to a great transformation and allowed me to maintain harmony in our couple (Zora is my wife 😂). Do not deduct that this bond resulted in automatic adherence. I can be quite a contrarian and tend to live on my own terms (especially when someone wants to cut bread and cheese from my diet!). I am not sure that this is the part she loves most about me...
Zora's dedication to studying anti-aging for the last 20 years, her extensive experience advising clients, her willingness to challenge her ideas and learn from anybody, and her total integrity in living what she preaches, have resulted in a clear general framework modulated by a strong individualized component.
So I have embarked on the following roadmap that I am trying to embrace as diligently as I can:
Sleep 7 to 8 hours per night.
Eat mostly vegetables and some meat / fish - Organic as often as possible - Reduce sugar, bread, rice and pasta - I have kept the cheese for now 🙄.
Move daily with a focus on five key aspects: squats, lifting weight, grip strength, walking briskly / running, and embracing floor life.
Reduce stress by adopting a digital nomad, minimalist lifestyle - 'Be water, my friend'.
Train your brain by learning new skills or languages (at this moment: video editing and mandarin).
Know your body by experimenting and analyzing its response to food types, supplements, daily routines, temperature and other stimuli.
If I maintain this plan with the same discipline I am advocating in some of my money articles, then this blog has a good chance to be a huge success, for no other reason than its longevity!
Please follow me for the next 50 years and share your own approach to a long health span.