Can You Really Age Backwards? 10 Tips to Increase Healthspan
I’m turning 28 this week!
While some might say I’m about a quarter of the way through my life here on Earth, I’d beg to differ. That’s because my plan is to live until at least 150 years old.
Yes, you read that right: 150!
This is actually low compared to biohackers like Dave Asprey, who is very public about his goal to live to at least 180. Other biohackers say 300 or 400 years old, or even forever!
That seems a bit extreme to me, but I agree with them on one thing: I want to age without any major diseases or cognitive impairment. Because who would want to live that long while suffering with the chronic diseases that plague the eldery today?
In this post, I’ll share why I think aging backwards is completely possible. I’ll also share what I’ve done to dramatically improve my energy over the past year and 10 tips to increase HEALTHspan (not just lifespan).
Aging backwards: I feel better now than I did at 21!
I’m turning 28 this upcoming Thursday and I’ve honestly never felt better in my whole life. I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in, I have SO much energy, and I just feel very happy overall. Even just a year ago I was tired ALL the time, I had severe brain fog, and I was unmotivated and depressed.
One of the biggest changes I’ve made is actually my mindset: Instead of worrying about how I LOOK, I focus on how I FEEL.
Let me explain
I’ve had an athletic body type most of my life, until I went to college. Like many college students, I put on extra weight due to drinking & eating out all the time.
I thought starving myself + excessive cardio was the answer to losing that extra weight. If I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted, I would eat less & exercise more. Not only did this method not produce results, but I realize now that it wrecked my metabolism & disrupted my hormones.
After years of having little to no energy, I decided to start caring more about how I was feeling rather than my physical appearance. I wanted to feel energized, healthy, and happy. Here’s what I did to get into those feelings:
I stopped forcing myself to run because, well, I hate running! Now I do resistance training 3 to 4 times per week and only cardio that I enjoy (walking, hiking, rebounding, swimming, etc.). Once I made exercise a priority and started doing exercises that I actually enjoyed, I noticed a major shift in my energy levels and my physical appearance.
I stopped consuming foods and beverages that made me feel like shit & started to eat lotssss of foods that fueled my body (no more restriction!). I made a commitment to eat clean, whole foods because that’s what makes my body and mind feel good. I eat as much as I want until I’m full. I don’t count calories or macros. I feel a sense of freedom with food now.
I stopped drinking alcohol. As of January 2019, I have lived a completely alcohol free life and it feels AMAZING! Alcohol is such a toxic poison and I just really couldn’t see the benefit of drinking it anymore, especially when it made me feel so horrible.
I stopped looking at the scale because I realized a number on a scale is not indicative of health. A number on the scale doesn’t really mean much (unless you are overweight and want to track your progress). I was never overweight, but I’d track the scale and when I started gaining weight I’d feel ashamed. Once I stopped looking at the number on the scale and focused on my energy levels instead, I could tell my clothes were fitting much looser and my body composition was improving. I don’t even have the desire to weigh myself anymore.
I started practicing gratitude and the Law of Attraction. I believe this is actually the #1 change I made to improve my life so much. I used to have such a negative mindset. I thought the world was against me. I doubted myself and blamed others if things went wrong. Then, I read a book called “Ask and It is Given” and my entire mindset changed. I learned how my thoughts and feelings directly affect what is manifesting in my life, and that ultimately I have control over creating my own reality.
After just a couple months of making these simple changes, I dropped about 10 pounds + started to have way more energy than I did before! Now I’m in the best shape of my life, I truly enjoy exercising, and I can eat as much as I want without feeling guilty!
I don’t say all this to brag, but rather show you that…
It is possible to age backwards
Anything is possible. There is nothing you cannot be, do, or have.
All of this was possible because of one thing: MINDSET. I shifted my thoughts to focus on feeling great and having energy.
Next I’ll talk about what you can do to increase healthspan, not just lifespan.
What is healthspan?
Before we discuss how to increase healthspan, you may be wondering, “What is healthspan?”
Healthspan can be defined as the period of one's life that one is healthy. In contrast, lifespan is just the length of time that one lives, whether healthy or not. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to live to be 150 years old if I’m in pain and suffering from disease.
That’s where biohacking comes into play. Biohacking is the art and science of changing the environment around you and inside you, so you have more control over your own biology. When you have more control over your biology, you can increase your healthspan. Below I’ll talk about 10 tips that can increase healthspan.
10 tips to increase healthspan
In order to increase healthspan, we have to look at what really causes major disease, such as heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, etc. You may think, “Well, heart disease runs in my family, so I can’t do anything about it.” I’d like to disagree.
It’s true that genetics plays a role in disease, but not as much as you think. Genes can account for 10 to 50 percent of any given disease. Most people think that genes are set in stone and beyond control. In reality, this debate is relatively outdated because now we know that genetic expression is highly influenced by environmental factors.
You see, the epigenome (the on/off switch for genes) is receptive to environmental factors. Just as environmental factors can turn a certain gene “off,” they can also turn it back “on.” This is good news for people who are committed to achieving better health. It turns out we are not doomed to our current genetic expression that is fueling chronic disease!
In the biohacking and functional medicine communities, it’s now recognized that mitochondrial dysfunction plays a major role in chronic degenerative diseases.
Mitochondria are the tiny, bacteria-like organelles in our cells that are responsible for producing energy. They take in nutrients and then convert those nutrients into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the fundamental energy unit of the body. Mitochondrial dysfunction can occur due to many factors, including:
Exposure to dietary and environmental toxins
Fortunately, mitochondria are not in the least bit static; they are constantly changing. While they can be damaged and destroyed, they can also be improved, renewed, and hacked!
In addition to the simple changes I mentioned in the previous section, such as cleaning up your diet, exercising on a regular basis, and practicing gratitude, here on 10 specific tips to increase healthspan by improving mitochondrial function:
Reduce exposure to toxins. Toxic stress can kill or damage healthy mitochondria. Examples of toxins to be aware of and try to eliminate from your life include environmental mold, heavy metals, prescription drugs, synthetic food additives, pesticides and herbicides, toxins in household cleaning products and personal care products.
Encourage detox. Boost your body’s natural detox systems by exercising, sitting in an infrared sauna, and/or supplementing with chlorella (a type of algae that is very effective at binding and removing toxins from the body).
Therapeutic ketosis. Follow the Bulletproof diet (the best approach to keto, in my opinion) and intermittent fasting to get into therapeutic ketosis.
Avoid eating within 3 hours of bedtime.
MCT oil. I use Brain Octane Oil every day in my coffee
Creatine. Creatine helps your mitochondria work more efficiently, in two major ways: 1. Creatine helps make ATP. 2. Creatine activates AMPK.
Cold thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is the process of heat production, and cold thermogenesis is heat production stimulated by exposure to cold temperatures (cold showers, ice baths, cold plunge, cryotherapy).
Reduce exposure to HEV (blue) light. When you eyes have to function in unnatural spectrums of light, it stresses your mitochondria, slows down your energy production, increase free radical production, and can damage mitochondria.
Hack your sleep. During sleep, you produce increased levels of growth hormone, which stimulates neurogenesis as well as mitochondrial growth.
Supplements that improve mitochondrial function: Nicotinamide riboside, resveratrol, curcumin, D-ribose, coenzyme Q10, PQQ, fisetin, NAC (N-acetyl cysteine)
Since I want to live to be at least 150 years old, I practice all of these tips to increase healthspan, except for all of the supplements (not in my budget to purchase all of those supplements right now).
If you’re interested in learning how to age backwards and increase healthspan, book a free 30 min discovery call with me to discuss 1:1 coaching.
The Biohacker’s Guide. Anthony DiClementi. 2016
HeadStrong. Dave Asprey