Easy Come, Easy Go; Easy Come Back Again

Mike Tyson punching Tillis in the mouth.

Many of you may be wondering (some have even written) about the end of my quest to lengthen my telomeres.  When I began thinking about this endeavor, I intended the adventure to last a year. I planned to test my telomere length on October 1, 2017 (which I did), midway at April 1, 2018 (which I also did), and again to complete the quest on October 1, 2018. October 1 came and went with no discussion of a final test of my telomeres. Some of you, no doubt, are legitimately disappointed by my failure to produce a final test and would like an explanation.  The truth is, I simply stumbled.   I failed to test my telomeres again for the following reasons:  


  1. I was extremely demoralized after both accelerating my biological age (See Telomere Test 2 Results) and failing to complete two ultramarathons in a row.
  2. “Life” simply got in the way.  I was busy with work and other things, which took time away from quest related activities.
  3. Because my habits slipped, my biomarkers deteriorated.

Few things in life go according to the plan.  In the words of modern day philosopher Mike Tyson, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth…”  Nevertheless, make no mistake; the quest continues and I swear I will reverse my biological age, or die trying!  Yes, I faltered after some disappointing setbacks, but have since picked myself up, jumped back on my horse, and am galloping full steam ahead.   

Why I Stumbled

With respect to why I let my habits slip, the truth of the matter is manifold.  First, I was demoralized. Can you blame me? Training for ultramarathons is hard, time consuming, painful work.  I failed at two in a row. The first really didn’t bother me all that much, but I fully expected to easily complete the second.  Consequently, that second failure to bring home another belt buckle really hurt, both physically and psychologically. So, I limped back to work after the Beast of Burden and thought to myself, “Yeah, you can have 7-11 nachos and a sugar free monster.  You earned it!” Well, one thing led to another and suddenly I was back to drinking one or two sugar free monsters a day.  To make matters worse, I fell out of my routine so I stopped doing cardio as much.  I simply wasn’t doing all the things I promised myself I would do. I had lost momentum and consistency.   


I didn’t totally fall off the wagon with respect to reversing my age.  Yes my diet suffered, but for the most part, remained quite healthy. I cooked the overwhelming majority of my meals at home as I had since the beginning.  There was just more cheating, especially at work and on weekends. I have consistently been meditating at least once a day every single day, eating far healthier than previously, and continued lifting weights religiously.  I am, in fact, stronger than I have ever been in my life. I’m still doing most of the things I’ve written about, but there’s only so much time in a day. I’m busy. “Life” gets in the way. Yet again, maybe our conception of “life” is getting in the way of truly living.  What do you think?


I really shouldn’t have been so hard on myself.  What I was doing was extraordinarily challenging and one must be a little kooky and display a maniacal degree of dedication to maintain such a demanding regimen.  I was trying to do too much. One simply can’t do everything, especially if you have a full time job. Instead, I should have focused on doing a few things really well.


Why is it So Hard to Consistently Be Healthy?

There’s another reason I stumbled and it is why most people have such a hard time starting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  We are all constantly surrounded by people and organizations trying to sell us stuff. These organizations have literally made hacking our brains a science.  Needless to say, they’ve gotten extremely good at it. Food that is not only unhealthy, it is downright toxic, is a prominent item constantly being marketed to us.  Furthermore, this unhealthy food is also engineered to be addictive. Just about everything is loaded with sugar! It’s not an accident. Sugar not only tastes great, but is proven to be as addictive, if not more, as heroin.  


What everybody else is doing, thinking, and eating is, generally speaking, really unhealthy.  “Normal” is simply not normal anymore. Most people are fat, sick, and/or unhealthy primarily because of the food they are stuffing their faces with day in and day out.  Another reason it is so hard to consistently be healthy is that most people lack a healthy lifestyle support network. What is often considered “normal” eating habits by your friends, family, and work colleagues is likely pretty unhealthy.  If you want to get in the best shape of your life, but your husband is more interested in plopping down on the couch with a gallon of Haagen Dazs, it’s going to be difficult for you to get and remain healthy. Conversely, if your wife is a health nut or fitness freak, it will be far easier for you to adopt her lifestyle.  The same goes for your work colleagues. If everyone is drinking energy drinks, smoking cigarettes, and gorging themselves on pizza and candy all day long, it’s going to be exponentially harder to get and remain healthy than if they were drinking water and black coffee and eating goji berries, nuts, and kale all day. The moral of the story is that you would be well served by carefully selecting your spouse and work environment because while  jobs and spouses are replaceable, your body isn’t (well, not yet…). The alternative is to let them slowly kill you. Consciously make efforts to build a strong, positive, healthy support network to facilitate obtaining your health related goals enabling you to live long and well.



What’s Next?  The 90 Day Wellness Challenge

As a result of my failure to maintain my routine, my measurable biomarkers have slipped.  My VO2 Max, Resting Heart Rate, and Heart Rate Variability have all regressed. My body fat is also not as low as it was and should be.  My biomarkers just aren’t what I’d like them to be. I know that with some sustained effort I can quickly return them to more optimal level.  I will test my telomeres again, for the final time, to complete the mission on April 1, 2019. By then I expect to have the best possible Biomarkers of Aging that I’ve had during the entire quest.  


What I propose is a “90-Day Wellness Challenge” beginning January 1st, 2019.  I invite you, the reader, to participate along with me.  My primary objective is to improve all Biomarkers of Aging with the expectation that my telomeres will follow.  I hope, however, all kinds of people with all kinds of objectives do it with me.   Your primary objectives will and should be different than mine.  Some people might be looking to slap on some lean muscle mass.  Some might want to lose body fat. Others might want to reduce anxiety or alleviate the symptoms of ADHD.  Some seek to reverse diabetes; or high cholesterol; or high blood pressure.  These are all things that can be reversed with some focus, determination, and hard work. There are as many potential reasons to join the 90 Day Wellness Challenge as there are people.


I will publish my precise daily protocol to return to peak performance as well as my Biomarker Goals before the new year.  You may follow mine if you like, but I suggest you develop your own in accordance with your objectives, preferences, unique circumstances, and baseline.  Most of RMA’s readers are extremely knowledgeable about matters relating to health, fitness, and wellness, but if you’d like some help developing a plan to achieve your objectives, few things would make me happier than the opportunity to assist.  We all face different challenges and have different objectives. There is no one size fits all.

Remember this: should you choose to join the Wellness Challenge alongside me, you are not competing with me.  Don’t try. Rather, you are competing against your baseline. You can, most definitely, obliterate it, no matter how old, fat, sick, and nearly dead you may be.  The human body is truly an amazing thing. We all have the ability to make incredible improvements to our strength, health, and fitness levels incredibly quickly!  

Conclusion

One of the most astonishing of the many things I’ve learned during this whacky quest to reverse my age is you can get super fit, super fast.  Unfortunately, I’ve also learned you lose fitness just as fast.  Before you get too demoralized, bear in mind that you can get it back again just as, if not more, quickly.  Rather than trying to do everything imaginable that might improve my Biomarkers of Aging, the final, arguably most important, 90 days of my quest will utilize only the most effective and proven methods.  No matter what your objectives, you can you can become the best you’ve ever been.  I encourage you to begin making preparations to join me during the final 90 days of my efforts to Reverse My Age.

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