Ageless Philosophy

Annette’s Ageless Philosophy

Ageless with Annette

On Eating

You are what you eat (repeatedly).

All of us have feelings about food and eating that we have learned over the years. Food is a symbol of many things for different people—love, celebration, reward, comfort, a bond with family or a boredom reliever. Our relationship with food is a lifelong marriage. And, since divorce is not an option, we need to make it as healthy and happy as possible.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” Well, I like Aristotle’s version better, “You are what you repeatedly do.” You can substitute ‘do’ with ‘eat’ or ‘think,’ but the key word here is repeatedly. How you repeatedly feed yourself will determine whether you are adding or subtracting quality years from your life.

Adding years to your life…

So, what should you eat if you want to add years? If I had to boil it down to one sentence, it would be—eat a variety of real, wholesome foods at least 80% of the time, and enjoy every bite.

By variety I mean an assortment of colors and flavors, foods raw and cooked, and meals that are balanced in carbohydrate, protein and fat. Real and wholesome primarily means, “NOT in a box!” Real and wholesome foods are fresh, all-natural, seasonal and preferably organic. They are nutrient dense, chemical-free, non-genetically modified and minimally processed (if at all). If you’d like some examples of wholesome real foods, be sure to check out my Ageless Superfoods Guide, which includes over a dozen delicious recipes.

There’s another layer to ageless nourishment than just eating the right foods. It’s about eating consciously. Are you hungry or are you feeding something else? Do you consider where your food comes from? Do you woof down your meals or do you relish the flavor and texture of each bite? Are you depriving yourself of chocolate? Just a little food for thought…

Subtracting life from your years…

You may have noticed a few items missing from the “adding years” food list. Things like soda, fried nuggets or cheese spread…which brings me to the top “food” major agers that will shorten your years (or at the very least, fill them with dis-ease).

I believe there are three categories of food that cause the most harm to your body and health—added sugars, denatured fats, and pre-packaged, stabilized, colorized, flavorized ‘foods’. None of these grow on trees, yet they are what’s overstuffing the grocery store shelves these days.

Excess sugar is not so sweet when it comes to being ageless. It causes inflammation and glycosylation in the body, leading to plague build-up in arteries, less elasticity in your joints and skin, and damage to your nerve cells. Too much sugar gunks up the functioning of your body’s hormones and organs, and sets you up for degenerative diseases. It’s best to limit your added sugar intake to no more than 6-8 teaspoons (24-32 grams) a day…that’s sweet enough!

Fat is not your enemy when it’s real and wholesome (think omega-3 fatty acids, coconut oil, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, organic butter, flax, nuts and avocado). But, denatured fats have lost their wholesomeness through processing and/or exposure to light, air, and/or high temperatures (think trans-fats, hydrogenated oils, margarine, fast foods, and deep-fried anything). Denatured fats expose your body to free radicals that cause oxidation, inflammation and degeneration. So, be sure to choose healthy fats and avoid melting away their goodness with high heat.

The content of most pre-packaged, processed items is usually more chemicals than food. I don’t know about you, but if I can’t pronounce the ingredients, I take that as a sign it’s probably not too good for me. Is convenience worth the chemicals? Sometimes it is, but not as a daily habit. Remember, we are what we repeatedly eat.

Food, glorious food…

As for me… I am a part-time vegetarian who loves to cook, and sees food as a source of energy, creativity and joy. Eating a nourishing diet is a top priority for me and it’s what I repeatedly do. I’m a firm believer of a plant-based diet that is earth-friendly and sustainable. I am gradually becoming a more full-time vegetarian, but there are days I choose to eat fish or meat, and I think it’s important to know where it comes from and how it was treated and to sincerely thank the creature who gave its life for my sustenance and enjoyment.

My hubby calls me a “food snob” because I always want the best and freshest ingredients. I’m quite all right with this moniker because I know my body deserves it. And, yours does too!

Well, that’s enough about my ageless philosophy on eating—all this talk of food is making me hungry…

Ageless with Annette

On Exercising

Do as I say, not as I do.

This is an area where you might want to do as I “say” and not as I “do.” As a hard-core adventuress, I’m a little bit crazy when it comes to exercise, and unfortunately, it’s taken a toll on my body. I recall a particular definition for ‘athlete’ stated, “one who partakes in physical endeavors that challenge his/her body to stay in one piece.” That’s me! However, as I mature, I’d like to think I’m wiser on how far to push my body.

What I’m trying to get at here is if you are exercising more than 7 to 10 hours a week, you’re going beyond what’s necessary for tapping into its health benefits. If you cross that line, be sure to take tender loving care of yourself with proper training, rest & recovery, nutrition and supplements.

A little exercise goes a long way.

When it comes to being ageless, a little exercise goes a long way. A daily walk for half an hour followed by a few strength & balance exercises and stretches is all you need to keep your heart and muscles happy. Of course, when I say “walk” I don’t mean “stroll.” You want to walk like you’re late for an appointment—you can stroll when warming up or cooling down.

The important thing is to create a daily exercise habit that works for you. A routine you enjoy that makes you a little heated, breathless and sweaty, with movement that makes your body bend, reach, stabilize and resist (gravity, weights, etc.). That way when you’re in your nineties, you can put on your own socks, walk without a walker, and still be able to squat in public restrooms. How’s that for motivation?!

Hold on to your muscles.

One of the most important things you can do to stay fit and ageless is to maintain your muscle mass. The saying, “use it or lose it” is so true when it comes to your muscles. In fact, if you lead a sedentary life you can start losing your muscle mass as early as your thirties. This is scary because muscle is crucial for so many stabilizing functions of the body that keep us ageless (blood-sugar tolerance, fat metabolism, bone density, etc.). The good news is it’s never too late to gain it back. It doesn’t matter what age your muscles are—young, middle-aged, or old—your muscles will respond positively to strength training.

The best way to build and keep your muscle mass is with strength and balance work. Again, it’s important to find a strength routine that you enjoy and will continue (and, of course, one that won’t cause injury). I just want to say in my two decades of personal training, I’ve seen and done the gamut when it comes to strength training, and my all-time favorite method is Pilates. I love how it incorporates mind-body awareness and core stabilization, lengthening and strengthening at the same time, from the inside out. I will always be a student of Pilates and it is the foundation of my ageless fitness videos.

What drives me crazy…

One last ‘rep’ before I cool down on my exercise philosophy. I have to say something that drives me crazy is seeing fellow runners take off without warming up. My knees ache just watching them! Please, please, please take a measly 5 to 10 minutes to warm up before you start pounding on your body. Your muscles and connective tissues will greatly appreciate it, and in turn, will keep you fit and healthy in the long run.

Movement is magical!

Moving my body is magical. My most creative and brilliant ideas come to me when I’m moving (especially in nature). Exercise leaves me flushed & invigorated, and allows me to go about my day with a clear mind and fluid body. Most importantly, it connects me intimately to the rhythm and breath of Life, reminding me that I am completely & joyfully alive. I wish the same for you!

Ageless with Annette

On Aging

Becoming a little old lady (or gentleman).

My 97-year-old grandmother and I had a regular ritual for greeting the new morn. First—for dignity—I would bring my gram her freshly polished teeth. Second—so I didn’t have to yell—I would hand over the hearing aids. Then, I would give her glasses to her, so she could see how she lit up my eyes. Once she was put back together it was time to get out of bed.

There’s no doubt if we’re going to live into our nineties, we’ll need a little help with seeing, hearing, chewing, and a few other things. And, for most of us, it will probably be a lot sooner than our ninth decade. What’s important to remember with aging is some body parts do wear out, so you need to enjoy them and take care of them for as long as you can.

I have an inkling deep within that I’m going to live to be a little old lady like my grandmother. My intention is to thrive all the way to triple digits! I know my body will naturally age—biologically speaking—and I accept this with all of the liver spots, sagging skin and uncontrollable flatulence. I believe acceptance allows us to age more gracefully and appreciate all that our bodies do for us. I look forward to the trade-offs that only come with living over time, like wisdom for wrinkles, and seeing less on the outside for understanding more of my ‘inside.’

What really ages us…

As for what really ages us, I’d like you to consider my seven “S’s” for speeding up the aging process:

  • Smoking
    I know, I know, I shouldn’t even have to mention it. After all, it’s a given and we all know better, right? I’ll just say one thing and leave it at that… smoking yellows everything about you.
  • Stress
    Stress is a stealthy ager. It tenses, inflames, and constricts—disrupting your body’s balance. Stress is like driving your car with the ‘pedal to the metal.’ If you constantly stay revved up at those rpm’s, you’ll definitely shorten the life of your engine.
  • Sun
    Too much sun exposure can be aging, if not deadly. I still remember how soft and smooth (and stark white!) my grandmother’s thighs were compared to her arms. Her upper legs never saw the light of day (well, maybe a dozen times), and it really made a difference. They looked like the thighs of a 30-year-old compared to her sun-drenched 97-year-old arms. If you’re going to expose yourself, please wear sunscreen.
  • Sleep Deprivation
    It’s a little crazy to think we spend about a third of our lives asleep—some more than others—but if we didn’t, we would literally go loco. Sleep is necessary recovery time for our bodies and minds. We need it to rest, process, and restore ourselves. Sure, you can get by with missing a wink here and there, but frequent sleep deprivation will damage your health and leave you drained—physically, mentally and emotionally.
  • Sh***y Diet (for lack of a better “S” word)
    I guess I could have used sugary, synthetic or saturated, but you get my point. You’ve probably read my ageless view on eating already (above), so I’ll just add this Chinese proverb, “Whatsoever was the Father of a disease, an ill diet was the Mother.”
  • Social Disconnection
    We are social creatures and those of us with strong social ties tend to be more youthful and happy. Supportive families and close-knit communities are bonds that all of the world’s longest living people have in common (Okinawans, Symiots, Hunzakuts, etc.). If we don’t share ourselves, we shrivel our spirits and shrink our lifespans.
  • Sitting
    Sitting may be easy, but it’s hard on the body. I don’t care how comfy that recliner is, a sedentary lifestyle is not your friend when it comes to being ageless. It’s important to be as active as possible during the day, in addition to your fitness routine. And, if you must sit for extended periods of time, be sure to get up every hour—move your legs, stretch them, or change positions—just don’t sit for hours on (your) end.
The ancient secret to being ageless…

One last thing to sum up aging…it does not serve you to be stuck in the past (how young you used to look) or be worrying about the future (how not-so-young you’re going to look). Your best bet is to live whole-heartedly in the present moment. That’s the ancient secret to being ageless.

Ageless with Annette

On Living

A soul with a body…

“You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” These words from C. S. Lewis really resonate with me, and they complement my ageless philosophy on living. I think we get hung up on the human side of living and forget that we are spirit—first and foremost. I believe we are each unique expressions of one universal spirit (you can call it what you like). As spirit we are forever ageless, and when we connect to our source, we are truly alive. I believe we can reach the infinite through living fully in the finite.

Why we’re here…

I’ve done a lot of contemplating about living, and I think we are here to grow our souls (spirits), share our gifts & talents, indulge our senses, and love with all our hearts. I believe it’s that simple.

Life is not about getting what you want, it’s about becoming who you are meant to be. That is your true journey. Who do you want to be in this world? What would you like to share? How will you live and love fully?

My mission statement is, “Be kind, be real, live, love, learn and make a difference.” Of course, the short version is “To let my love light shine!” My daily intention is to be a vibrant vessel of creativity, healing, inspiration, peace, love & laughter. I believe what you put out comes back to you, and this is the energy I want to give and receive.

Preserving the temple…

In order to do the meaningful work of my spirit, I need to preserve its temple—my body. This is my primary reason for honoring and taking care of me and my health. It’s what motivates me to be ageless and allows me to take part in life. It’s why I’m passionate about helping others stay strong so their bodies can keep up with their lives.

Always remember that how you nourish and stimulate your body & mind, and how you connect with your spirit plays a huge role in the health and quality of your life.

May you live happily and healthfully ever after!

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