weekly blog--one for the ages
We are two months into the new year, and if you made a New Year's resolution to eat healthier and lose weight, now might be a good time to check on your progress. If you find that you have fallen back on old habits, don't be alarmed. About 45 million people in the United States go on a diet each year, with weight loss being the primary goal.
And for those who are struggling in that department, consider the Intuitive Eating Diet, which encourages people to eat what they want, with no rules about what to eat, how much of it, or when. Essentially, there is no such thing as a “good” or “bad” food.
Researchers have found that in the first week or two, new adherents of this diet sometimes binge on the things they had always tried to skip. But the vast majority then quickly habituate to burgers or donuts and then crave the variety and nutrition represented by the “healthy” foods they once used as punishment.
I don’t know many baby boomers who shy away from taking senior discounts for things such as movie tickets or public transportation. It’s another story when it comes to going to a Senior Center, now rebranding as “Community Life Center's” to cater to the boomers' aversion to the word “Senior.”
Call it what you want, for boomers like me these places are still the preserve of people like my grandparents. I’d rather be out there riding my bike or going on a hike or mixing it up with people a lot younger to prove, if nothing else, that I’m not as old as I look or sometimes feel.
And then there are the Tardigrades, probably the most paradoxical animals on the planet. They enjoy a legendary reputation as the toughest, most indestructible creatures on Earth. About 1 millimeter long, their blimp-like bodies contain biological superpowers that help them withstand conditions that would spell certain death for other organisms.
Tardigrades can be found almost everywhere on the planet. When they have enough food and water to support their bodily functions, they can live up to 2.5 years. Yet tardigrades can survive for much longer if they go into a state called cryptobiosis, which is triggered when environmental conditions become unbearable.
Cryptobiosis puts tardigrades into a "tun" state, slowing their metabolism to a halt, reducing their need for oxygen and ridding their cells of water almost completely. In this shrunken state, tardigrades mimic death so closely that they're able to survive in places devoid of water, at temperatures as low as minus 328 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 304 degrees F (minus 200 Celsius and 151 degrees C). That includes outer space.
When these mummy-like tardigrades are exposed to water again, they simply reanimate, returning to normal life in a matter of hours.
Anybody up for a swim?
Also, a warning from the FDA about anti-aging blood plasma treatments. See link below.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day...a new survey from the UK on a happiness (although I saw a similar report that was published in 2011). The bottom line: people tend to be the happiest, most satisfied and feel a greater sense of self-worth at age 16 and 70, respectively. Since today is Valentine’s Day, those feelings can extend to anyone at any age who feel a deep romantic attachment to someone.
After 70, many of the psychological attachments (work, kids, parent caregiving, etc.) which normally support our sense of identity fall away. This process of letting go brings a new authenticity, which brings people into contact with their ‘core selves', the essence which was obscured by all of these attachments.
Two years ago the “Puberty Challenge” went viral on Facebook by urging people to share photos of themselves before and after they hit puberty. Now it’s time for the “How Hard Did Aging Hit You? Challenge” which asks Facebook, Twitter and Instagram users to post side-by-side photos of themselves taken a number of years ago and a current one.
Alas, no one is immune to the aging process, and a lot can change over the years like marital status, fashion trends and hairstyles. Equally, it can also prove that the more things seem to change, the more they stay the same.
And while hunting for that old photo, consider delving into your family history and ask yourself whose stories you carry with you, and which ones you want to carry forward.