Actress and author Suzanne Somers continues her campaign to challenge conventional wisdom about aging in “Bombshell,” citing a multitude of advances about health, beauty and longevity. Here’s an excerpt.
Chapter 1: Making a Plan, Defining Your End Point
Getting old is not for sissies!
What if I told you that you were in complete control of your end point? You are.
What if you approached aging as a coach would ready a baseball team for the World Series ...to win? What would happen then?
How do you see yourself at the end point of your life? Are you standing straight with energy, vitality, and an intact brain? Or are you stooped over in a body that cannot hold you up, in a brain fog of confusion?
One of the greatest things anyone has said to me in the last decade was at a recent Vanity Fair Oscar party. A beautiful young woman came up to me—I mean gorgeous, pure perfection—and she said, “I hope I am like you when I am your age.” I smiled, felt very flattered, and said, “Then start now.”
She wanted what I had. She was young and perfect, yet she wanted what I had. And when I thought about it, instead of wishing for her youth, I realized I liked what I had more. I had experience and knowledge, I had wisdom and perspective, and I had an innate confidence and sexuality that made me feel great about myself. I like the way I look and I feel I deserve to be comfortable and happy. That took a lot of work. Daily, I am achieving my vision of how I see my life playing out. And by never taking my eye off that “picture in the sky,” my personal projection just keeps on getting better. My end point has great clarity, and I work to make it happen. You can achieve the same results for your life; you just have to choose it.
All my life, my success has come from visualizing an achievement, whatever it might be—really seeing it before me—and then doing the work to get there.
I have visualized my end point already: I am going to live a very long time, I will be in great health, I will be thinking clearly, I will be happy, I will have abundant love in my life, and I will be sexual. I will have energy. I will have strong bones and a good working brain, and I will be a productive member of society. I will be wise, I will have great perspective, and I will be sought after as the matriarch for ad- vice. I will be satisfied with who I am.
No wonder aging is a thrilling experience for me. It has taken on the vibe of a great adventure.
Every choice you make on a daily basis brings you closer to or further away from that picture you have of your end point. Are you vibrant? Are you healthy, energetic, and happy? Do you eat right, exercise, sleep well, and manage your stress? Every time you make a positive choice you move yourself toward your projected goal. Every bad choice leads you in the other direction.
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How many times have you sat in wonder when someone close to you (usually young) has just had a debilitating, massive heart attack, and you say in amazement, “But he was so healthy!” ?
I write again and again of the “language of the body.” My work not only relates to these symptoms of hormone imbalance, which are so “in your face” and certainly their very own language, but also to the other “noise” the body makes: the symptoms of distress that are your body’s way of alerting you to pay attention now! These symptoms are akin to the red warning light that goes on in your car, alerting you when the oil is low and needs checking. If you experience shortness of breath or if you are easily fatigued, you need a tune-up. If you have gut problems such as bloating or constipation, yeast or bacterial infections, autoimmune disorders such as lupus, MS, or fibromyalgia, stiffness in joints, skin problems, headaches, and a lack of vitality, your body is talking—screaming—to be taken in and checked. If your car had such symptoms, you would tend to it immediately. No sane person would run a car into the ground in spite of warnings from the dashboard light; otherwise, you might face a catastrophe that could result in the engine burning up or some other devastating fatality. Of course you wouldn’t do that to your car, absolutely not! As soon as you could, you would take that car to the mechanic and have the oil checked and usually tell him, “While you’re at it, give the rest of the car a good ‘going over.’ ”
It boggles the mind that we don’t revere the health of our bodies in the same way. Perhaps it’s because the body is so forgiving . . . until it isn’t. We continue to feed it badly, we don’t rest it properly or exercise it properly, and then we are startled when the “red warning light” goes off and we end up in the ER having a first heart attack or sitting in the doctor’s office being diagnosed with cancer.
It’s not until something devastating, that “catastrophic event,” hap- pens that we panic. Then we try our best to pull out all the stops to cure what could have been prevented, except now it’s like climbing uphill. Why don’t we tune in and recognize the body’s language for what it is beforehand and circumvent the catastrophe? Men generally are the worst offenders; many of them minimize, thinking it’s more “manly” to do so. Men don’t want to appear weak or as hypochondriacs, which, sadly, results in the early deaths of so many men who leave widows behind when they could have had more enjoyable years together. The common thinking about health, or a lack of health, is that it will all be rectified with the next “miracle drug.” How has that worked out for you?
We have hit the wall with pharmaceuticals. There will always be a place for them, but the reign of allopathics has clearly come to an end. The pharmaceutical companies will not go softly into the night. They will kick and scream and discredit and ridicule and violently oppose. I understand. It is their bottom line, and oh what a bottom line they have had—the greatest ride in the history of business. They even figured out a way to get the government to pay for the drugs while they continue to make the profits. In addition, they pay off some doctors with irresistible bonuses, not only monetarily but also socially—trips to Ireland, golf excursions, yachts, lavish parties—all for writing prescriptions.
Pain, infection, mental illness, and other conditions outside my understanding may always require pharmaceuticals . . . or will they? How long will antibiotics, with the tremendous overuse of them, continue to do the job? For symptoms of menopause or andropause, why would we take drugs instead of replacing lost hormones with natural bioidentical ones? Why take dangerous synthetic drugs proven to cause cancer for the symptoms of declining hormones? Then there are the drugs for cholesterol, drugs for the heart, and drugs for blood pressure, water retention, and stomach problems. Drugs to sleep, drugs to wake up, drugs to take away depression. What are we thinking? That’s the issue! We are not thinking. In fact, the overuse of drugs for every ailment is robbing our brains, leading us right to our final rest stop, the nursing homes, where patients require more and more drugs to facilitate every function of their bodies. What a bonanza for the drug companies. What a perfect business template— and we are the suckers who have bought into the sinister plan.Video: Somers: Choice about treatment is important (on this page)
The pharmaceutical model of approaching medicine is ingrained in our mind-sets from the constant bombardment of television ads. These ads all say, in effect, that we need not worry as there is a drug for every condition. Think, for example, of the little butterfly that flies into our bedroom to put us to sleep (Lunesta), or the happy couple holding hands and going upstairs now that they have Viagra. There are SmartMouth drugs so you don’t have bad breath, dry eye drugs, nail fungus drugs, and don’t forget the doctors in white coats or the celebrities hired to tell us we can’t live without these drugs. Together with big government these companies create barriers to novel and even natural treatments that can cure or prevent diseases or conditions. This makes going alternative or integrative thornier and bothersome. Most people go along without thinking of the long-term effects of taking so many drugs and their inevitable premature deaths as a result.
There is hope, great hope. The enlightened minority who seek true health and longevity understand that changes must be made. To keep on doing as we have been leads to the end result we are seeing all around us. The doctors in this book are passionate and reveal alternative, natural ways to live healthy lives while advising on not only what’s coming but also what is available right now that we do not know about. These new Bombshell advancements will extend life and reverse aging. These doctors and professionals also give information on how to access the new methods of healing yourself, the goal being long life with maximum brainpower, strong bones, and the vitality of youth.
With a healthy body we can live drug-free and allow for our wisdom to emerge. Being an elder of the tribe to whom the younger generation comes for advice is part of nature, and it is the big payoff for taking care of yourself . . . wisdom is what no young person can have. Imagine having superb health and energy, plus the wisdom of our years regardless of our age?
Who do you go to for wisdom? Who are the elders of your pack? Think about it; your aunts, your grandparents? Sadly, most of them are on the “old age cocktail” of drugs that unfortunately, slowly, over time, eliminates the ability to think clearly. Years of wisdom are lost, which is a tragedy for them and for us.
Our generation has an important contribution to make because we are catching on. Our vigilance will save not only ourselves but also the coming generations. We are starting to see that the drugs are not working. Each drug creates a need for yet another and another drug. It’s essential for a “call to arms” to preserve our brains and the only way to do that is to change our current habits.
Many people cannot grasp the concept of living beyond our expected eighty or ninety years (or longer). However long you desire to live, I know that you’d like to eliminate the suffering that goes with being decrepit, frail, and unable to care for yourself. It’s going to take some work. But it’s simple work. There is no quick fix . . . instead there are series of things you will do daily that will change the quality of your life for the better.
Remember this point at all times. You are the driver of this car. You are in control. Focus on the work that needs to be done on a daily basis to get to your end point. It’s the food you eat, the thoughts you think, the supplements you take, the sleep you get, the stress you manage, the chemicals you avoid—that’s the cocktail. It only takes a simple shift in your thinking and proactive corrections to your diet and lifestyle. By doing this you will form a great picture of your life and your future.Video: Suzanne Somers on growing old (on this page)
If you were to make two columns, on one side listing the positive choices you make on a daily basis and on the other side the negative or destructive choices, you would see very quickly what you have al- ready decided as your end point. You might want to maintain a daily journal to keep yourself honest. It will show you with clarity which direction you are choosing.
The journey toward joyous and successful aging can redefine your life experience. What’s happening and/or coming? Stem cell surgeries, designer supplementation, tune-ups for the internal organs and glands, cellular rejuvenation, and nanobots to wind through your body like little detectives finding disease and genes that are overexpressing and turning them on or off depending on the need; for example, little bots that can find islet cells and turn them on to eliminate diabetes by regenerating insulin-producing cells or stop cancer cells in their tracks. Oh yes, the future is exciting.
AGING IS REALLY ABOUT CARING FOR WORN-OUT PARTS.
Now we can tune up aging organs and parts before they are a problem. “Before” is key; waiting until the catastrophic event makes the job much, much harder and sometimes impossible.
Redefining aging also means creating a new philosophy, one that em- braces aging as the gift that it is. If you couple this new thinking with the emerging groundbreaking science and technological advances, you will be one of the ones who doesn’t deteriorate, age prematurely, or become disease-ridden and decrepit. You will flourish in good health and with wisdom.
SUCCESSFUL AGING IS CHOOSING WELLNESS
To age successfully and redefine aging, you must imagine a road map you can follow to remain youthful and vital. It takes awareness to understand what you need to do to keep your brain sharp, what you need to do to live a long life of health and quality. The antiaging world, with all its advantages, is an exciting new branch of medicine. Is it ex- pensive? Until our government officials recognize how much healthier people will be by eating right and eliminating chemicals, it will re- main an out-of-pocket expense. Currently, pharmaceutical companies largely “own” the FDA, plus they financially back the reelection campaigns of most of our officials. This certainly creates a conflict of interest, and we are the losers on this one.
To age well requires a shift in thinking, being open to change, and approaching health differently; most of that doesn’t cost us anything.
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When chemicals were introduced into our lives through common household products and pesticides, we had no idea of the harmful damaging effects. Chemicals were seen as modern-day miracles; we blindly ate them, cleaned with them, breathed them, and drank them. But now we know the seriousness of trying to live and navigate within a poisonous environment on an ongoing basis. And for optimal health, we must start now to do everything in our power to combat the assault. Those who do will live longer and be healthier. Those who don’t will most likely, sadly, die prematurely. For me, it’s not a choice.
A lot of the change that must take place is simply returning to a more natural way of living life. Again, food choices are crucial. Relying a little less on modern conveniences won’t hurt either (that means moving your body more and living more actively in general). Going back to cleaning your house the old-fashioned way, with lemon and vinegar and mineral oil, is not expensive and can save your life. Reading product labels will also keep you conscious and heading toward toxic-free living and long life.
IT’S A LOT MORE EXPENSIVE TO BE SICK.
Perfecting aging is a new paradigm. I live it, breathe it, and love it. I think about it every day with every choice I make, with every bite I take, with every breath I breathe. The payoff is huge. I have none of the aches, pains, and complaints of my contemporaries.
I said this recently to Oprah, who stared at me and said, “Gee, I have a hard time taking my vitamin B each day.” I responded by saying that I am my own living experiment. I fully plan to get to the end, very old, very healthy, and full of life. I laughed and said, “I may be alone, but I’m going to get there.”
But I really don’t want to get there alone. I want all of us to be there. It’s not hard, truly.
Let me be your coach. I’ll be with you every step of the way. It’s not a lot of work; it’s a series of daily choices. I promise you the food you will eat will be plentiful and delicious, better food than what you’ve been eating. I promise that you are going to feel great and alive. I promise you your age will not be a factor, and then like me, you will want to shout it from the rooftops. Who knew it could be so great from here! As I said, I’m sixty-five. I love it. What a view! I must say it looks more beautiful than ever. I have so much left to do, and the great news is that I have the health and energy to do it.
Redefining aging is not about denial; it’s about having plenty. It’s about bounty, the bounty of great health. Redefining aging is about restoration (putting back what has declined) versus deterioration. It’s about understanding that the planet has changed and, therefore, so has the human experience. To live the way we always have will no longer work.
When I was a kid, sixty-five was old age. People either retired or died. I feel so far away from that scenario. I feel young and vital. And it’s all because I decided to redefine the aging experience and learn what I needed to do to navigate the new uncharted waters of these millennia. What are you going to decide? Let Bombshell be your wake-up call to the changes you can now make that will change your life experience.
Explosive medical advances are happening moment to moment and changing exponentially how we live. It seems that new information comes out almost daily. Once you realize that sickness and disease do not have to be part of the equation, your life can be whatever you choose. Once you learn how and where to access these new advances, you will never look back.
Start today to think about your end point. What do you want? Who do you want to be around for? What are you doing now that is helping you get there? What’s blocking you?
Sit with these questions awhile, then jot down your thoughts. Paint a picture for yourself of what you want.
The chapters that follow will help you get there. First up, a glimpse at what causes aging in the first place. Then we’ll look at what the future promises from the viewpoint of one of the world’s most respected scientists, Ray Kurzweil; his information will give you the inspiration to make the changes needed to live your longest, healthiest life possible.
Reprinted from BOMBSHELL by Suzanne Somers. Copyright © 2012. Published by Crown Archetype, a division of Random House, Inc.
© 2012 MSNBC Interactive