Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Turn back that clock!

 My latest favorite health-related book: Lauren Kessler’s Counter Clockwise: my year of hypnosis, hormones, dark chocolate, and other adventures in the world of anti-aging.

 I previously enjoyed and blogged about Kessler’s My Teenage Werewolf (2010,) so I trusted that her writing would be accessible and amusing—and I was not disappointed. And let’s face it, this book is speaking to all of us who are aging--i.e., everyone--, but I may be in the primary demographic. As a woman on the brink of middle age (and the brink, my dears, is wherever I say it is) I can easily relate to Kessler’s point of view—the desire for good health and high energy warring with time pressures, vanity, and skepticism for the products of the anti-aging field, which are often tainted with snake oil and shaky science.

CounterClockwise is a combination of research and self-experimentation, similar to A J Jacobs' Drop Dead Healthy (which I liked very much and blogged about a couple years ago.)  Kessler starts out by trying to determine her “real age,” as determined by the state of her body rather than the calendar. (Want to try it? There are many free online tests. I tried RealAge.) She’s able to get some extensive medical testing done as well to give her a baseline for her health before trying to turn back the clock.

Then she jumps in, learning about many different approaches to prolonging health and wellness. Supplements, cleansing, plastic surgery, electrical fields, Earthing, calorie restriction, raw food diets,
superfoods, hypnosis, hormones, and exercise, exercise, exercise. She interviews experts, reads studies, and determines what seems safe, affordable, and promising before committing herself to it. But commit she does—from what sounds like a very unpleasant and possibly dangerous three week trial of an hCG hormonal regimen, to a fourteen day cleanse, to a month of eating only superfoods. And all the while, ramping up the workouts, because the science on this point, at least, is perfectly clear—exercise will turn back the clock, or at least keep it from ticking so damn fast.

This is an inspiring book for the health conscious, and motivation to become health conscious if you’re not already.  I’ll give away the end—yes, she really does achieve a lower “Real Age” by the end of the year, and if we’re willing to do the work, we probably can, too.

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