Tag Archives: youth

Aging is Not a Botox Deficiency!

I recently attended an ANTI-aging conference in Denver dedicated to the concept of helping people deny the inevitable through any and every means possible…from perfectly sane approaches like optimal nutrition to less sane so-called cures for growing older, like ‘secretotropins’ meant to magically turn on growth hormone,* or hyperbaric oxygen chambers, and every sort of face fixer and filler in between. Stop the BS (bad science)…I want to get off! This idea of being against getting older is more than ridiculous…I mean it’s not like we have a choice in the matter – aging is inevitable. What is NOT inevitable is looking and feeling old before our time.

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Let the stress and the years fall away….

Hidden hormone imbalances at work behind the scenes can speed up the aging process, sabotaging our best efforts to maintain youthful energy and appearance. Our bodies are teeming with hormones from head to toe, so when they fall out of balance, we feel the effects all over – mentally, physically, emotionally. For example, did you know that there are more receptors for estrogen in facial skin than just about anywhere else on the body? So imbalances of estrogen are likely to show up first on our face in the form of fine lines, wrinkles, and crow’s feet. And what about acne when you’re a teen and now again at 40-something you’ve got breakouts… Tested your hormones lately? a surplus of androgens to estrogens and progesterone can trigger acne at any age. asianw:flowerSpeaking of androgens, testosterone and DHEA are the key building hormones for bone and muscle, so when these levels drop from high to low, we start to lose much more than our libido – think bone and muscle mass, firm skin, strength, and stamina. Now we get a backache just carrying a couple of grocery bags from the car to the house. Now our hair is thinning, that outer eyebrow gone, cracking, brittle nails, old looking hands…an under-active thyroid might well be the culprit, but who knew? Then there’s cortisol, the stress hormone that can sabotage sleep by disrupting the production of melatonin at night. Many studies have uncovered the relationship between stress hormones, lack of sleep and weight gain, but the impact of chronically high cortisol from too much stress, too much of the time, is a body burnout that can make us prematurely ill and aged before our time.

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Ageless aging in style… look how good it can look…if you can guess the age of the gorgeous silver-haired woman on the left and her gorgeous red-haired amie on the right…I’ll send you a free John Lee MD book on Hormone Balance Made Simple…just comment here on the blog.

During the years I lived in London I happened upon a book that drew some hilarious comparisons between the ways Brits and Americans think…one that stuck with me was to whit that Americans seem to believe that death is optional “given their penchant for juicing copious amounts of carrots and running endless marathons.” (Well…she was writing in the late 70s, when the average European’s idea of exercise was a Sunday stroll along the promenade or lining up to watch Tour de France bikers pedal by)…sure much has changed…we’ve progressed from carrots to coconut water and Europeans boast fountain of youth luxury spas known to pump fetal cells from the likes of sheep into women’s faces (sidebar alert: my own mother actually had that done …an expense that set her back from experiencing life in its fullness for a short-lived fullness in her face).

However absurd, the death is optional concept has always stuck with me as an irony in practice, particularly in respect to the ANTI-aging movement. Is that what we’re striving for? Frozen in time with a frozen face?? Can we realistically expect to look and feel great for our age if instead of eating, exercising, and sleeping well, we overwork, overeat, overreact, and overdo it most days. All that “crazy busy” stuff – it takes its toll. We can’t expect to hate aging and find happiness in face fillers.

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All the expensive luxury creams and moisturizers in the world (and by the way, many of these contain unregulated amounts of “endocrine disrupting” chemicals that in themselves can trigger imbalance) won’t solve an unaddressed hormone issue that’s undermining your best efforts to maintain youthful well being.
Dare I repeat myself: aging is NOT a Botox deficiency! No amount of lifting, filling or implanting (who wasn’t shocked at the sight of 81-year old Kim Novak’s once gorgeous face at the Oscars, distorted by plastic surgery gone terribly wrong!) can rescue us from unnecessary stress and other bad hormone habits that accelerate aging. Instead of being ANTI-aging, lets be FOR it. When you make the changes in your lifestyle that bring back inner balance, your outer vibrancy is restored, and it’s that reflected vitality that keeps us young, no matter our age. People will exclaim, “Wow you can’t be…40? 50? 60? really??” and you will smile inwardly and say to yourself…yes, really!

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The author and ageless colleague (rt) practicing PRO vs. Anti-aging…can you guess how old we are??? Another free book awaits the one who comes closest.
Scroll down or visit our archives where Kyle and I blog about every aspect of health, hormones and living in balance.
*(how apt that the the first few letters of the word secretotropin, spell ‘secret’* given that few of these costly potions disclose their true ingredients (although in fairness they mean ‘secretory’ but nevertheless… I hope I make my point.)

 

 

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Doing Menopause the Chinese Way: Speaking Hormone Truth to Beauty

When I was asked earlier this month to give a lecture on hormone testing and balance, in Guangdong province, China of all places, I leaped at the chance with absolutely no idea what lay  in store. I had been invited by the inimitable Virginia Hopkins, co-author of  the John Lee go-to books on menopause (What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause, etc.(www.virginiahopkinshealthwatch.com). According to Virginia, the Chinese were becoming more interested in hormone testing and bioidentical hormones, having been made wary of synthetic HRT use after its greater risks than benefits were revealed in the landmark Women’s Health Initiative (WHI).

Images of balance are everywhere in China...spiral incense in a Macao temple

Images of balance are at every turn in China…spiral incense infuses the spirit at this ancient Macao temple.

So I figured I’d be preaching to the choir with my message of optimal health and aging through hormone balance and bioidenticals. My instructions were to keep it simple: women in China were only just getting into this and may not understand the mechanics of what hormones do. To be fair,  there are still hundreds of thousands of women in this country who are  still on HRT or are afraid to use hormones of any kind since the WHI, even though we now know that bioidentical (BHRT) alternatives have fewer side effects and can bring real relief. (for scientific resources visit: http://www.womeninbalance.org).
For a couple of weeks before the trip, I labored over my powerpoint, studying everything I could find on menopause among Chinese women, and learned that we all apparently suffer from similar symptoms, although hot flashes did not appear to be as common to our counterparts in the land of the dragon, as “menopausal melancholia,” worry, or rheumatism.
When in China you see women and men doing Tai Chi everywhere in the public parks and along the rivers...these are time tested paths to finding balance

When in China you see women and men doing Tai Chi everywhere in the public parks and along the rivers…these are time tested paths to finding balance that were here and will be still when the big Macs and botox are long gone!

I also queried my GP at Kaiser Permanente who grew up in the north of China and told me that women in her country don’t talk about the menopause and are expected to “step up and get on with it” when they feel unbalanced, sad, or out of sorts during the change of life…Dr. Xi also told me that weight gain was becoming much more of an issue in China as fewer people walk or bike to work, and choose MacDonalds or KFC (ugh!) over the traditional fresh fish, fowl, rice and vegetable fare. My doctor got a bit emotional as I left the clinic exhorting me to in my lecture help her countrymen comprehend that menopause is a significant life change that should be treated with a greater dose of natural medicine, compassion and understanding.  I took her words to heart and accepted it as my great challenge. After all, I would be working with an interpreter named Wen, who learned his english from American movies (an impressive feat given that he had mastered our language, slang and all), and was just learning about hormones.  I had sent him my powerpoint well in advance and once there gave him a crash course in hormone balance 101;  he could relate he told me …. his great aunt was driving  herself and the whole family crazy with her memory lapses and melancholy….they loved her very much he said. and needed answers. Though Wen got the message thanks to his dowager aunt, and I might add did a masterful job of translating, I cannot guarantee that my audience did in full, and not because they are not open to the subject of optimal aging, but because the more compelling message for the well to do, fast moving entrepreneurs of the new China is about youth and beauty. My job was to help them connect those dots to speak hormonal truth to beauty.

Candace and Dave aging to the fullest in the fastest growing economy in the world...if you can see them, the towering buildings behind us in the pic were ALL built within the last 10-15 years!!

Candace and Dave aging to the fullest in the fastest growing economy in the world…if you can see them, the towering buildings behind us in the pic were ALL built within the last 10-15 years!!

The evening of my lecture we had been treated to a grand banquet attended by VIP clients of the Biotechnology company hosting me…these were extremely wealthy women of uncertain ages, who as they swanned into the banquet room provided much to marvel at given their almost too-perfect beauty….after being introduced to me as their speaker and guest of honor flown all the way from America, they nodded politely and proceeded to inspect the contours of my face and discuss their findings in rapid fire Chinese as I sat there clueless…I finally gathered from my interpreter that they were trying to guess my age…. “but I don’t mind telling them how old I am,” I said….but before I could brag on 64 years sans botox, he politely shushed me….”No, I’m sure they would much rather guess.”

Following my hormone lecture in China I was treated to my very own 5 minutes of fame...

Following my well-received lecture in China I was treated to my very own 5 minutes of fame…

Well I never did learn what age they decided on but as they did smile at me often and gave me the universal thumbs up, I evidently met with their approval, though how I escaped censure in their eyes for not having perfectly planed skin and a smooth lineless neck is beyond me. Maybe they were just being polite. Or maybe I’m just lucky (so far, so good).  My own strong impression insofar as the Asian approach to balance, health and BEAUTY goes, is that the latter is of much more pressing importance to the modern Chinese woman, particularly in terms of how young one appears to be vs. how healthy one actually is! As long as you look young who cares how healthy you are?

Beauty above all and in every way, however it is achieved...

Making up for Mao time: an extreme example of glorified beauty perhaps, but extremely glorified it is!

To be fair, these observations should apply only  to the swath of life I happened into as a hormone health educator, and surely do not reflect your average menopause in China, but I never met a woman who wanted to talk menopause…the buzz word is beauty.  I have reasoned that this trend towards perfection is in a way making up for Mao time, that draconian period known as the Cultural Revolution when Chairman Mao leveled society and made everyone equals – equally poverty stricken, equally miserable, equally drab…. thus modern China’s fixation with youth, sexiness, passion, and everlasting youth makes some sense of the irony!

The day following my lecture I spent nine straight hours at the 10th annual International Beauty Symposium crammed full of thousands of flawless faces presumably seeking some guarantee of looking that good forever….judging from the multi-billion dollar industry they had going in umpteen massive exhibition halls,

Thousands flocked to find everlasting beauty at the International Beauty Symposium...but the expo halls were filled with cigarette smoke and I felt ten years older not younger by the end of the day!

Thousands flocked to the International Beauty Symposium but the crowds and cigarette smoke had me feeling 10 years older not younger by days end!

there appeared to be no limit to what women will do to remain youthful…reconstructive surgery of eyes, chins, cheeks, laser skin resurfacings, fillers and botox, robotic “tightening” technology of every imaginable sort, face lifts, bottom lifts, “rehabilitative pelvic repair” are about as common in China as getting braces in this country!

Whatever type of reconstructive tightening technology you're looking for from skin to pelvis ...the sky is the limit at the International Beauty Symposium

Whatever type of reconstructive tightening technology you’re looking for, from skin to pelvis, sky’s the limit at the International Beauty Symposium

Thus the challenge of speaking about natural health and balance. I suspect that the many women I spoke with or who attended my lecture were not quite as concerned about looking great for their age and  would rather have you believe they look great AND are at least 20 to 30 years younger than they really are… but then we’ve got plenty of that fountain of youth thinking over here too!  I am still sorting my own contradictory thoughts and feelings on this one ….talk to me in 10 years!

Cruising down the Pearl River, Guangzhou China...talk about dazzling beauty!

Cruising down the Pearl River, Guangzhou China…talk about dazzling beauty!

Epilogue: Back home after travelling 14,000 miles in 8 days, I debriefed with the US Chinese rep for the company that sponsored my trip. Li told me that my talk was a smash success, that it “hit the target” and that they are moving forward to introduce hormone testing and bioidentical hormones in China. The powers that be are confident this approach will go over very well with Chinese women who “do not like to use strong medicine, but do like to delay aging.” Clearly. (Presumably they do not equate reconstructive surgery with strong medicine.) In the next breath Li revealed that she is worried she looks older than her years because she has so much stress in her life. I asked her why and she replied that it is because she must work all the time, thus has no time.  It is obvious that as China thrives economically, there is a new kind of post-cultural revolution deprivation: no time to rest and recover from the rigors of becoming the fastest growing economy in the world.  In the course of my conversation with Li, I had commented that practically every man I saw in Guangzhou seemed to be lighting a cigarette, and every woman (interestingly I only saw one female smoking) breathing in the side stream smoke…Li says that’s because they all work too hard and smoking helps them relax. I guess smoking has always been an excuse to take a break, but talk about rapid aging! You couldn’t ask for a better guarantee of wrinkled, sagging skin!

Toxic effects of cigarette smoking = rapid aging of skin in the men who smoke and the women who breathe in the contaminants of sidestream smoke

You deserve a break, but not this kind. Toxic effects of cigarette smoking = rapid aging

So we live and learn. It wasn’t so long ago that my husband grew up in a house with a father who was a 2 pack-a-day man, and I as a kid developed asthma from the suffocating smoke of Dad’s cigars. Times are changing and raising awareness is my job as a health educator. All I can hope is that I was able to get across the message that achieving true health and lasting beauty, no matter your age, is about practicing balance in all forms: hormonal, dietary, stress, exercise, lifestyle, spiritual… that you cannot get a shot that will undo the bad effects of cigarettes,  sidestream smoke, or other toxins, and there’s no laser surgery that can fix the rapid aging of chronic stress….perhaps we all have to learn in our own way, the hard way, but at the end of the day, it boils down to BALANCE!

Contemplating the message of balance at ground level beneath the third tallest tower in the world: Guangzhou City

Contemplating the message of BALANCE at ground level beneath the third tallest tower in the world: Guangzhou City, CHINE

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