The following post was written by my friend and colleague, Dr. Frank Lipman. A New York Times bestselling author, Dr. Lipman has written 4 books: Total Renewal – 7 Key Steps to Resilience Vitality and Long Term Health; Revive – End Exhaustion and Feel Great Again; The New Health Rules – Simple Changes to Achieve Whole-Body Wellness; and his latest book, 10 Reasons You Feel Old and Get Fat.
People often think of a physician as a person who brings you bad news: “Your blood pressure is up.” “You are very close to diabetes.” “I’m concerned about your heart.” I don’t enjoy telling my patients those things, but as a physician, it’s part of my job.
My favorite part of the job, though, is when I get to give people good news. And when I wrote my latest book, I had the pleasure of sharing some very good news indeed. Here it is in a nutshell:
You don’t have to feel old or get fat.
Whatever your age, you can enjoy vigor, vitality, and a lean, healthy weight.
In fact, the title says it all: 10 Reasons You Feel Old and Get Fat…and How YOU Can Stay Young, Slim, and Happy!
The premise of the book is simple—and empowering:
Give your body the foods, exercise, sleep, stress relief that it needs to achieve optimal function…
Protect your body from the toxins, bad food, and unhealthy activities that interfere with optimal function…
And you never have to feel old or get fat.
If you know how to support your body in the right ways, you can remain young, slim, and happy—for life.
What Really Happens as You Get Older?
We’ve all heard it, from friends, family, even our doctors: growing older is synonymous with getting fat, slow, forgetful, and sick. All too many of us have been led to believe that the years from age forty onward are nothing more than a slow, painful decline, marked by the following inevitable outcomes:
- You gain weight.
- You slow down.
- You have to live with mysterious aches and pains.
- You get sick more often.
- It takes you longer to “bounce back” from any physical or emotional challenge.
- You develop memory issues, “senior moments,” and brain fog.
- You lose interest in sex or maybe lose some of your ability to perform.
- You feel sadder, more depressed, and maybe also more anxious.
Yes, of course, these problems are common—and they are becoming increasingly so even for folks in their twenties and thirties. But as a physician, I can assure you with absolute certainty that they are not inevitable.
How can I say this with such confidence? Because the real obstacle for most of us isn’t age. It’s loss of function.
Your digestion, for example, is a crucial aspect of your health. Your stomach and intestines function together to break down your food into the basic nutrients that nourish your body, fuel your energy, and keep your cells in peak condition.
But when you eat the wrong foods—foods that challenge your gut, stress your immune system, and fail to provide the nutrients your body needs—gut function begins to diminish. This isn’t because you are getting older. It’s because your gut is struggling to cope with a lot of unhealthy foods and toxins that it was never designed to digest.
So in your twenties, your gut soldiers on, and you might not realize just how hard it’s working. Maybe you have some minor indigestion, but nothing you pay much attention to.
In your thirties, maybe you notice some occasional bloating, and constipation. Now you’re a bit more concerned, but you’re still able to ignore the problems, and you might not even report them to your doctor. If you do, your doctor is likely to brush them off, or maybe suggest some over-the-counter meds.
Then, when you hit your forties, your poor gut just can’t take it anymore. Now you’ve got major acid reflux, plus gas so painful that it wakes you up at night. You’ve got a problem, all right, but isn’t because “you’ve gotten older.” It’s because you subjected your gut to a lifetime of challenges—not just poor diet and environmental toxins, but also insufficient exercise, lack of sleep, and emotional stress with no relief.
Now, here’s the good news. As soon as you start eating the foods you need and reducing the challenges—eating toxin-free food, getting good sleep, practicing some stress relief such as yoga or meditation—your gut health begins to improve. The indigestion evaporates. The gas and bloating are gone. The acid reflux disappears. When you give your gut what it needs to achieve optimal function, you feel terrific at any age—and your vitality, your vigor, and your weight all show it.
You Don’t Have to Feel Old and Fat if You . . .
- Eat the foods your body needs
- Avoid the foods that stress your body
- Support your microbiome—the community of friendly bacteria that lives throughout your body, governing your digestion, your immune system, and your mental health
- Balance your hormones
- Give your body the movement it craves
- Find effective ways to cope with stress
- Get all the good, restorative sleep your body needs
- Minimize as far as possible the medications that can interfere with your body’s natural state of health
- Supplement your diet with crucial nutrients
- Reconnect to your sense of meaning, purpose, and community
Don’t Worry About Age—Focus on Function
I was very excited to write 10 Reasons You Feel Old and Get Fat, because so many people ask me, “What should I do to be healthy?” Making healthy choices isn’t all that difficult when you’ve got the right information—but of course, most people don’t have that information.
There are so many myths floating around—“All fat is bad for you.” “Artificial sweeteners are a good way to lose weight.” “Soy is a health food.” “The best solution for a symptom is to medicate it.” “Stress is mainly a psychological issue, not a physical one.” The list goes on and on.
I wrote 10 Reasons to break through those myths and to provide a basic approach to health that you can easily follow. You don’t have to be a gourmet cook (I’m certainly not!). You don’t have to spend hours at the gym (I certainly don’t!). You don’t have to be an enlightened yogi or a naturally calm person who easily avoids stress (that doesn’t describe me, either). All you have to do is understand which foods and activities will support your body…and which will undermine your body. My goal for 10 Reasons was to provide you with everything you needed to know so that you could achieve those goals.
So yes, if you undermine your body’s function, you will almost certainly feel “old and fat before your time.” But if you support your body’s function, you can remain young, slim, and happy for life. It’s the best news I could possibly bring you.