I’ve spent a lot of time this week talking about the toll obesity takes—both personally and societally. And this topic has never been more urgent than in the face of a global pandemic that preys on those whose weight has negatively impacted their health status.
But of course, as a career “diet doctor,” nobody knows the roadblocks to weight loss better than I do. And I’ve found that, quite often, the biggest obstacle standing in the way of achieving a healthy weight is attitude.
The same is true for aging. In fact, a new study shows that our outlook toward aging could actually be the thing that’s sending so many people to an early grave…
Brighten up your thoughts
Researchers at Oregon State University set out to examine how self-perceptions about good health in old age are formed. And needless to say, it’s an important line of questioning.
Studies show that how people think about themselves at 50 years old can predict health outcomes as far as 40 years into the future—influencing everything from heart health, memory, balance, hospitalization frequency, and ultimately, death.
In fact, older people with positive views of aging live more than seven years longer than their more negative peers, on average.
This latest study looked at two influencing factors: “self-efficacy linked to possible selves”—in other words, a belief that you can be the person you want to be in the future—and general optimism.
The goal was to get an idea of how optimistic participants felt about getting older in general, as well as how capable they felt of becoming their “hoped for” self—and just as importantly, avoiding becoming their “feared” future self.
(Examples of “hoped for” selves were remaining healthy and active, and having strong social networks. “Feared” future selves were cranky, chronically sick, and in pain.)
Not surprisingly, results linked higher levels of optimism with a more positive self-perception of aging. And levels of “self-efficacy” were linked with both of these key factors.
Ultimately, the researchers concluded that the biggest factor behind how people view their aging selves related to how deeply ingrained stereotypical biases of aging—assumptions that older people are doomed to lose their memory, for example, or that they can’t exercise the way they used to—have become.
And honestly, I couldn’t agree more.
Subverting the myths of old age
We live in a culture where we just expect to feel the encroaching “signs of aging.” Weight gain. Aching joints. Not being able to work out as hard. Dwindling sex drive. The list goes on…
Illness is the status quo. And everything else is dismissed as an anomaly.
But let me be as clear as possible: As you grow older, you don’t have to feel unwell. In fact, you can feel good—no matter what your age. And if you play your cards right, you may even feel better than ever…
I’m sick of hearing people say, “I guess I’m just getting older.” Well, yes, we all do age. But you know what? That’s no excuse.
Just look at my patients: I have people in their 60s, 70s, and even 80s with the robust health of peers who are decades younger. Why? Well obviously, good nutrition and regular exercise are the practical answers.
But the truth is, you need to wake up every single day believing that you have control over your own health. And then, you need to take the necessary steps, every single day, to make it your reality.
Age really is just a number. And good health truly boils down to a good state of mind, first and foremost. So, whatever your age, and whatever your current weight or fitness level, I urge you to defy your own negative beliefs about what is possible.
A long, healthy, vibrant life is always within your reach. And if nothing else, this research reiterates that your state of mind matters as much as any other facet of your health. So, nurture it every bit as fiercely.
For more insight into healthy aging—and how to “age younger” and feel better every day of your life—check out my Ultimate Anti-Aging Protocol. To learn more about this comprehensive, online learning tool, or to enroll today, click here now!
P.S. Don’t forget! This Sunday, March 21st at 3PM (EDT), I’ll be hosting a 2021 CBD Summit. During this exclusive event, I’ll reveal the 5 secrets anyone must learn before trying one drop of CBD. And I don’t want you to miss out… so click here to reserve your FREE spot today.
“‘Aging well’ greatly affected by hopes and fears for later life.” Science Daily, 01/21/2021. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/01/210121150929.htm)