The Embrace of Aging
‘Anti-Aging’……….we have all heard the term and experienced its use associated with creams, potions, diets, supplements, lifestyles, workouts, and on and on and on. This is especially pervasive in our aesthetic or cosmetic profession. But don’t worry, wanting to hold on to or regain your natural youthful characteristics and look younger is not just mere vanity but a basic and hardwired human characteristic ingrained by many thousands of years of evolution. Looking younger and more attractive is essential to preservation of the species and thus a powerful biological drive and an essential part of our humanness.
But the use of the term ‘anti-aging’ would imply that any of these heavily promoted products or options would somehow potentially stop or at least slow down the aging process…..at least that’s what the marketers would like you to believe.
What they don’t want you to know, and what science clearly has proven, is that biological aging is an inevitable process that cannot be stopped……at least not yet. None of the ‘anti-aging’ products, treatments or services currently available have ever been proven to affect or slow the biological process of human aging. On the other hand, the good news is that the signs or manifestations of aging can certainly be reduced or improved as has been credibly proven in many peer reviewed and respected studies. Credible and proven aesthetic products and cosmetic procedures performed by appropriately trained professionals can restore natural and balanced youthful features, resulting in tremendous personal satisfaction and confidence for patients of any age. Just ask any of our evolv patients who have been consistent with their ZO Skin Health programs, and that includes myself!
Since it has been proven consistently that we cannot stop the aging process, what if we changed our attitude toward aging and just embraced it? What if we ignored the ‘hype’ of the ‘anti-aging’ marketing and focused our energies on living well, taking great care of ourselves, looking our best and just accepting the natural aging process?
I was asked to write an article for Emmy Award winning director Keith Famie’s documentary ‘The Embrace of Aging,’ which was a series aired on PBS several years ago. In the programs, Keith examined both the female as well as the male perspective on aging gracefully and well. He also interviewed a number of experts and professionals involved with aging research and in treating the aging population. So what were the ‘secrets’ to happiness and longevity? What might allow us to truly embrace our inevitable aging that is proven by the most knowledgeable and experienced scientists who have studied longevity and aging populations around the world? Actually the answers are not surprising, but here is a summary of their findings and conclusions:
– Pay attention to what you eat…..mostly plant based foods, less meat (especially processed), more seafood, less salt and less sugar and processed carbohydrates. Also try to reduce your portion sizes. In general, the less you eat, the longer you are likely to live.
– Increase your physical and mental activity, especially as you age. The more you sit, the less long you will live. We have an epidemic of ‘sitting disease’ in our culture! Do something active with your body and your mind every day….walk, jog, dance, lift weights, stretch…..just move…it’s all good! Regular mental activity can also reduce your risk of dementia.
– Please don’t smoke. Smoking has been proven to reduce your average lifespan by more than 10 years as well as cause widespread health problems that reduce quality not life. Smoking will also prematurely age the skin and dramatically reduce skin health.
– Be social and try to cultivate a positive attitude. Happy and optimistic people have been shown to not only live longer but also better! We are social creatures and we need each other…. loneliness is bad for your health. Cultures with a spiritual connection or religion that were studies tended to live longer and happier lives.
-Make an effort to control and reduce your chronic stress. Take the time to learn to meditate…..it works! A number of studies have clearly documented the many physical and mental health benefits of regular mediation. Yoga and regular mindful activities and exercise along with adequate sleep are all beneficial. Ongoing stress will reduce the quantity and quality of your life.
These are the ‘secrets’ of the longest living cultures and populations in the world that are supported by science.
So now that we clearly know what to do……..how do we actually do it?
There is always a predictable spike in new gym memberships and use of exercise apps after New Year’s Day, as resolutions are made with good intent. Unfortunately, reality soon sets in, and very few of us are successful long-term. Real life seems to get in the way of our best intentions and resolutions. The reality is that real change takes work, commitment and organization. Based on a recent study, here are some suggestions that can really improve your chances of sticking with those New Year’s Resolutions to improve your health, quality of life and well-being to embrace your aging!
– Integrate – incorporating the above health fundamentals or your resolutions are not just one more thing to cram into your busy schedule. ‘Integrate’ your new goals into your day, and find a sense of balance. What can you eliminate or reduce to find the time? Try to fit it in to your routine and schedule in a way that is practical and convenient.
– Be Realistic – try to set goals that are simple and realistic. Set lower goals. It is better to succeed at one resolution than to fail at many.
– Embrace the Fail – statistics confirm that you are likely to fail or not attain some of your goals. That is just human nature. Instead of being self-critical or quitting, simply embrace it. Don’t get discouraged, or if you do, embrace that too! The fundamental of mindfulness is to just notice it, acknowledge it, and then let it go! The funny thing is that as soon as you notice the failure, you are no longer failing. Let the failure go, and just move on…..it’s a new day, and it’s all good.
– Forgive – since we are all likely to experience some ‘failure’ in achieving our resolutions at some point, why don’t we just incorporate some forgiveness into our New Year’s Resolutions? Instead of making absolute or rigid goals such as ‘I will lose 10 pounds by February,’ try something more flexible. If you do fail, resolve to forgive yourself too, and move on with your goals. Allowing yourself forgiveness can result in setting yourself up for success and keep you in the game.
Our mission at evolv Plastic Surgery and Medical Aesthetics is not only to safely provide proven and state of the art aesthetic procedures, treatments and products but also to improve the quality of life and overall well-being for our patients, our families and ourselves. That is our promise and our commitment. We believe that aging can be embraced and enjoyed by incorporating the above health fundamentals for anyone at any age. We believe that through education, research and commitment, combined with personalized programs that achieve natural and balanced results for each patient, we all can ’embrace our aging’ and enjoy an improved and optimal quality of life.
As we begin 2019, Dr. Peter Koltz and I, as well as our entire evolv staff, would like to thank all of you, our patients and friends, for your ongoing support. We are especially thankful and appreciate your trust in us and in our patient care. We would like to wish all of you and your families happiness, joy and peace in your lives.