“I feel lousy. Am I just getting old?” This was a serious question asked me by a 41-year-old female patient. I don’t know if she liked my answer, but here’s what I told her: “Aging isn’t optional, but feeling ‘lousy’ is a choice.”
I have plenty of patients in their 60s and 70s that feel great all the time. At 62, I would include myself in that group—but I work at it. I don’t think she doesn’t want to work at feeling better, but after so many years of being tired and being somewhat overweight, she didn’t know what to do anymore. From my consultation with her, it sounded like she had given up, resigning herself to just “getting older.”
Here are the top three things I would tell her to stop the aging process—and no, exercise isn’t number one.
1. Stop eating sugars. I know, I know—you don’t want to hear that, but it’s true. High consumption of sugary foods has been shown to be the number one aging factor. It ages us on the inside and the outside. With a little guidance, I have patients do it all the time—they totally give up the sugar except for an occasional sweet treat. The results are very often dramatic!
2. Get your hormones balanced. Aging is the process of losing your hormones. Men lose testosterone starting at about 40 years old. Women lose testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone starting in their late 20s. When a woman’s estrogen gets low, her skin is the first thing to show it: sagging, loss of muscle tone (despite working out), and wrinkles on the face that not even Botox can fix. Get a blood test done and have your hormones checked. If you would like to take a short written test online to see if your hormones might be low, go to www.utahwellnessinstitute.com and take one of their self-tests.
3. The right kind of exercise. We see far too many women burning out their adrenal glands (the stress-handling glands) by doing too much long-duration cardio. Interval training 3 times per week for even a half-hour will be enough if it’s done correctly. Find the best way of doing cardio for your age range at Fitness Peak by Mercola.com.
So there you have it. The three biggest things you can do today to slow down the aging process, but you will also reap huge rewards in how you feel overall. You can do it!
Dr. Robert Jones is the clinical director at the Utah Wellness Institute in Draper, Utah. (801) 576-1155.