Introduction: The Ten Simple Steps to Age Loss
Take out your calender. Count ten weeks from today. Circle that date. I will make you a promise: On that date you will look and feel a full ten years younger if you follow my ten-step Age Loss Program. It will not be magic, nor will it be your imagination playing tricks on you. In exactly ten weeks from today you will actually feel stronger, sexier, and sharper. You will feel renewed and be renewed, and ready to take on the world. Sound too good to be true? It's not.
The promise of Shed Ten Years in Ten Weeks is a profoundly simple one: With the right intervention, a decade's worth of age-related damage can be reversed in ten weeks' time. Shed Ten Years in Ten Weeks will show you how to turn back the clock to a time when you felt stronger, more in control, healthier, and more vigorous; to a time when you looked terrific and functioned at your mental, physical, and sexual peak.
This unique and simple ten-step program is based on twenty years of experience with thousands of patients. Thousands of different men and women of all ages have come to the Whitaker Wellness Institute in Newport Beach, California, and have left feeling and acting mentally and physically "younger." When I say younger, I mean that their bodies became stronger and leaner, and had improved muscle mass and tone. Their skin looked markedly refreshed. Their brains functioned better. Their sex lives were enhanced.
These stunning and palpable improvements are only the external signs, however, of what is going on inside their bodies. Experience has taught me that we have to take care of ourselves from the outside in as well as from the inside out. In other words, we need to take care of our internal health as well as our physical appearance, and our mental and spiritual well-being. You may think I'm stating the obvious, but I think the reason so many programs fail is that they focus on one body part at a time instead of treating the whole person. What happens to one part of the body can profoundly affect another part.
Shed Ten Years in Ten Weeks is comprehensive and easy to follow. Each step contains specific information on what you need to do and exactly how to do it. Best of all, you will find the Age Loss Program an enjoyable, life-affirming experience.
Before I tell you more about the Age Loss Program and teach you the ten easy steps, let me tell you a little bit about me and my medical practice.
I come from a medical family. My father is a prominent surgeon in Atlanta, Georgia, and one of the most skillful and compassionate surgeons I have ever known. My older brother is a radiologist in Atlanta and highly respected in his field. It is no surprise, therefore, that from the age of ten I have wanted to be a doctor. I received my undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College, and I entered Emory University Medical School in 1966.
I did my medical-surgical internship at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, an extremely busy teaching hospital, and following my internship I began an orthopedic surgery residency at the University of California in San Francisco. It was there that I began to question the medical profession and my place in it. It bothered me that surgeons seemed to derive their greatest personal satisfaction from the drama of surgery itself rather than from relating to and working with patients. I felt there was something dreadfully wrong with the medical profession's narrow focus on surgery, drugs, and other risky procedures rather than taking a more natural, healing approach.
At about this time I began working in the emergency room of a hospital in southern California, and it was here that a patient inadvertently helped me find my calling. A thirty-four-year-old woman came in for treatment of a sprained ankle. Her ankle was swollen, but she was the picture of health. Her eyes sparkled, her skin glowed, and she was slim and muscular. She looked completely out of place in the hospital. As I bandaged her ankle, I asked her how she stayed so fit, and she told me that she simply took a lot of vitamins and minerals, exercised regularly, and ate a healthy diet.
As we talked, it dawned on me that she was the first healthy patient that I had examined in years. And ironically, the things that she was doing to keep herself healthy were the very things that I had not been taught in medical school. Suddenly I realized that the answer was all around me: We doctors tend to spend all our time looking at and studying illness. We focus so narrowly on how to cure patients after they get sick that we do not concentrate on how to overtake illness before it overtakes the body. From that moment on I knew that I wanted to practice a different kind of medicine and be a different kind of doctor. I knew that I did not want merely to treat patients who had already succumbed to disease. I wanted my practice to be devoted to maximizing my patients' health and keeping them healthy. But first I needed to do more research to fill the gaps in my education.
I went to work for Dr. William Currier, a physician in Pasadena, California, who had given up a career in ear, nose, and throat surgery to specialize in nutrition and preventive medicine. Since I had learned so little about nutrition in medical school, I was particularly intrigued by Dr. Currier's practice. He was one of the earliest supporters of Dr. Nathan Pritikin, a little-known inventor regarded in the 1970s as "radical" for proposing low-fat nutrition as a therapy for heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. With Dr. Currier's guidance I studied Dr. Pritikin's early monographs on diabetes. Numerous scientific articles published in the 1920s and 1930s demonstrated that diet could be used to treat diabetes and even eliminate the need for insulin therapy in some patients, yet I had not even heard about them in medical school. (And I'm sad to report that medical students today are still not being taught any more nutrition than I was.)
I visited the Pritikin Longevity Center and in 1976 joined the staff -- a critical turning point in my career and in my professional point of view. For the first time I actually understood what it meant to make a patient well.
At Pritikin I saw desperately ill people suffering from advanced heart disease who were literally brought back to life, and not through dangerous drugs or risky surgical procedures but through diet and exercise. The difference between what I saw at Pritikin and at the hospitals where I had trained was shocking. I had admitted and discharged hundreds of patients, and although many of them had improved, none had actually gotten well. I remember seeing heart patients leave the hospital laden with prescriptions, only to return for surgery and other treatment, sometimes over and over again. But at Pritikin I did not experience this revolving door effect. I saw patients actually cured and given back their lives. I saw diabetics throw away their insulin. I saw patients lower their blood pressure enough to get off medication. I saw angina disappear.
I realized that Pritikin's approach was so successful because he did not just treat symptoms of disease, he treated the underlying cause of disease: poor diet and an unhealthy lifestyle. Once these patients made positive changes in their behavior, their bodies began to heal. This had a profound impact on me. I knew that I would devote the rest of my career to teaching patients how to make -- and keep -- themselves well.
I undertook the study of nutrition and lesser known but very effective remedies for many medical conditions, such as vitamins, minerals, and herbs. In the process I developed my own unique style of medical practice, which I have employed for more than two decades at the Whitaker Wellness Institute. Here my staff and I have treated more than fifteen thousand patients who have come to us from around the world. Most of these patients travel to the institute to undergo a rigorous week-long evaluation and treatment regimen embracing every aspect of their physical and emotional health. Without leaving your home, you, too, can follow my program. But before you do, it is important for you to understand our philosophy.
At the Whitaker Wellness Institute we do not confine our treatment plan to "fixing" one ailment or repairing one organ system as is done in conventional medicine. The underlying philosophy of our treatment approach -- and of the Age Loss Program -- is twofold. First, we operate from the premise that all the systems of the body are interconnected and that a weakness in one will affect others. In other words, for the total body to function well, each part must work well independently and in concert. Second, we help people who are ill to improve their nutrition significantly, using a therapeutic formula of vitamins and minerals. Health is almost always dramatically improved.
Although I do prescribe conventional drug therapies and even recommend surgery when necessary, I routinely depart from conventional approaches and employ alternative remedies, especially a wide range of nutritional supplements. When I say "supplements," I am not talking about the sprinkling of vitamins and minerals in the Recommended Daily Allowances, nor am I talking about the meager ration of supplements found in most popular multivitamins. Rather, I am referring to my Age Loss ODAs (Optimal Daily Allowance), a whole new generation of sophisticated, high-tech supplements -- vitamins, minerals, herbs, and essential fatty acids. Many of these are not yet known to the general public but have potent anti-aging and health-promoting properties. They are often more effective than prescription drugs and without the side effects. These side effects occur because drugs work against the bodily processes. In contrast, the supplements that I use get the job done by working in harmony with the body. I believe that the most effective therapies are not necessarily those that declare "war" on a particular ailment (and turn our body into a battleground) but those that fortify our body's own defense systems. These therapies give us the strength and stamina we need to repel or correct problems from within.
Accordingly, my Age Loss Program utilizes alternative therapies to renew the body by bolstering the same organ systems that are weakened by the aging process. Nearly all the supplements that I recommend in this book are sold over the counter at neighborhood pharmacies and health food stores. In some special circumstances I recommend that you consult your doctor about supplements that are available only by prescription.
Before you begin the Age Loss Program, you should be aware of the important rules that we live by at the Whitaker Wellness Institute:
1. It is Never Too Late.
Although I preach the virtues of wellness, many of the patients who come to my clinic do so because they are profoundly ill. I see patients who have serious heart conditions, debilitating diseases, sky-high blood pressure, and who are obese. Many patients are so sick that they have lost all hope and are resigned to living out the rest of their lives as invalids. They are ready to quit their jobs and cut back on the activities they love. After following my program, their lives are changed for the better. Many are now running businesses, traveling around the world, and leading full, active, and healthy lives.
So remember that it is never too late, and you are never too old to do something positive for yourself. You are never too sick to reclaim your health and body. The Age Loss Program will show you how.
Don't get me wrong: I do not claim that the Age Loss Program can cure every ailment or turn an eighty-year-old into an eighteen-year-old. What I do know is that my Age Loss Program can profoundly transform your life. Most of you can experience remarkable improvement over a short period of time, irrespective of your age or medical condition.
2. Just Do It!
Although most people wait until they are sick before they seek medical attention, I now see more and more "healthy" patients who do not have any specific diagnosable disease. My typical "healthy" patient is in his or her forties or fifties and is seeking my help not to treat a specific problem but to heal a variety of subtle ailments before they become acute. Typically, these patients sense that they are entering a stage of decline and are somewhat alarmed about what is happening to their bodies. They are concerned because they have put on weight and are losing muscle tone. They step out of the shower one morning, catch a glimpse of themselves in the mirror, and realize that their body is not as well toned or strong as it used to be. Most are surprised by how tired and drained they feel at the end of the day. They frequently have other concerns as well. Men and women alike tell me (sometimes reluctantly) that they are uninterested in sex or feel too tired to even think about it. In fact, quite a number of men -- many more than you would guess -- say they have experienced bouts of impotence. Yet the most frequent complaint that I hear is this: "Dr. Whitaker, I just don't understand it. I'm not doing anything differently, but I just can't seem to do what I used to do."
What these patients don't realize is that they are diagnosing their problem with remarkable clarity and accuracy. The problem is that even though they are not doing anything differently, their bodies are doing many things differently. They look and feel worn out because their bodies are running differently and in some cases running down. They, in turn, are not doing anything different to compensate for it. I explain that they have begun to age, that what is going on outside their bodies is very much a reflection of what is going on inside. The problem is more than "skin deep." I also hasten to add that all is not lost, that their situation is not hopeless, and that the age-related changes they are sensing are not irreversible. I then explain that in order to reverse what is happening, they must first understand why it is happening.
HOW THE YEARS CREEP UP ON US
At about the time we reach age forty, our bodies begin to undergo profound changes that affect every aspect of our lives, including how we look, how we feel, how we think, and, in sum, how we age. This "midlife slump" begins with a decline in the body's energy producing system. For most people one of the first signs of middle age is excessive fatigue. Just think about how many times you have heard someone, including yourself, say "I feel as if I'm running out of steam." This actually is a very apt description of what is happening inside our cells as we age and a very apt description of the aging process itself.
Every human activity -- even breathing and thinking -- requires energy. To satisfy this demand, our bodies function as energy-producing factories. Energy production is a very complicated process that works essentially like this: It begins with the food we eat, which is digested or broken down into smaller components in the gastrointestinal tract. After the food is digested, it must be metabolized, or broken down even further into a form that can be utilized by the cells of the body for energy -- in other words, into fuel. This fuel is converted into energy by tiny structures called mitochondria, which are the "power plants" inside our cells. As we age, the mitochondria begin to run down and lose their ability to produce energy as well or as efficiently.
This energy shortage affects every cell and system in our body. The heart, the brain, and the kidneys slow down. Cells lose their ability to repair themselves and die. Our immune system functions less efficiently. Our endocrine system stops producing hormones at youthful levels. Our skin dries out. And perhaps the most visible consequence of this midlife energy shortage is that our metabolism slows down, making it more difficult to burn calories. As a result we store fat, put on weight, and lose muscle tone.
Another, more complex cause of this energy drain is the decline in our antioxidant defense network that occurs at midlife. Although oxygen is essential for life, it is ironic that constant exposure to oxygen accelerates aging. Oxygen triggers the formation of dangerously unstable molecular fragments known as "free radicals." Free radicals bind easily with other molecules, and when they do, they can damage healthy tissue. Free radicals can also attack the DNA or genetic material within the nucleus of the cell, causing it to mutate and become cancerous. Fortunately, our bodies have an elaborate built-in defense system that works to repel these attacks. For instance, every cell produces substances called antioxidants that neutralize free radicals before they can run amuck. Food also contains other important antioxidants such as betacarotene, vitamins C and E, and selenium that we do not produce within our bodies.
When we are young, we have sufficient antioxidant stores to keep free radicals in check. As we age, however, our levels of naturally produced antioxidants decline, and at middle age we experience a particularly steep drop in the body's primary antioxidant, glutathione. From that point on we live in a chronic state of antioxidant deficit, which continues as we age.
The cumulative effects of the energy drain and the loss of our antioxidant advantage are obvious and devastating. They are the proximate cause of almost every illness commonly associated with aging, including obesity and adult onset diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and arthritis. They even cause wrinkles.
When we reach this point in our lives, we have a choice to make. We can simply accept these changes philosophically as the inevitable consequences of aging and not respond to our body's changing needs. Or we can intervene and take steps to help our bodies meet and overcome these new challenges, which in turn will slow the rate at which we age and reverse much of the damage that aging already has inflicted.
Think of two new cars. They both roll off the assembly line at precisely the same time. One car is delivered to an owner who is a careless driver, who rarely takes the car in for scheduled oil changes and tune-ups, who fills the tank with low-octane fuel, and who leaves the car outside no matter what the weather. Ten years and one hundred thousand miles later -- perhaps even sooner -- the car is ready for the junk heap.
The second car, however, is purchased by a careful driver who is conscientious about maintenance. He fills the car with premium gasoline, takes it in for scheduled maintenance, and wouldn't dream of leaving it outside in bad weather, Moreover, as the car gets older, he takes it in for service at shorter intervals, maybe every three thousand instead of every five thousand miles. Ten years and one hundred thousand miles later, this car still looks and runs like a dream.
The human body is similar to a car in that it, too, is a complex piece of machinery that requires the right maintenance at the right times. Maintenance can make a huge difference in how our minds and our bodies, like our automobiles, last. If we practice maximum maintenance, we can actually slow the pace at which we age.
Of course, I do not discount other factors, such as genetics, that also play a role in how we age. There will always be folks who seem to live forever not because of how they take care of themselves but in spite of it. You've probably heard of the 120-year-old woman in France who didn't give up smoking until she was 100, or the great-great-grandfather who consumed large amounts of bacon and eggs every morning, drank heavily, at age 80 fathered a child, and lived to be 105. Certainly, some people do age better than others because they are genetically programmed for exceptional good health and longevity. Most of us, however, are not that fortunate. We are programmed to age "normally," meaning that by middle age we will begin to show signs of wear and tear, and begin to feel as well as show our age. What's worse is that through neglect and inaction, most of us actually accelerate the aging process.
To employ my automobile analogy again, consider how a skillful mechanic can perform wonders on a used car. In relatively short order an old clunker can be refitted with new parts, molded into shape, and recharged. With proper servicing, the car can look and drive almost like new, and if cared for, it can stay in peak condition for a long time. I want you to think of my Age Loss Program as the ultimate tune-up for your body and your mind. Over the course of the next ten weeks you will be the mechanic who performs wonders on yourself. You will mold your body into shape, tune up your internal environment, and erase a decade's worth of damage. In ten weeks you will feel -- and be -- recharged, revved up, and ready for life. You will have added a good ten years -- a very good ten years -- to your life. This is what Shed Ten Years in Ten Weeks is all about.
I want to stress that my Age Loss Program is not only highly effective but also highly enjoyable. I promise you that the next ten weeks of your life will be a pleasure, not a struggle. You will not feel deprived or unhappy; you will not feel that you could or should be doing better things with your time.
One of the guiding principles of my practice is that you cannot make people miserable in the name of good health. You cannot expect people to starve themselves, eat badtasting food, exercise to exhaustion, or turn their lives upside down. If you do, they will just throw in the towel and retreat to their old habits, That will not happen with the Age Loss Program. I have patients who have stayed on my program for close to two decades because it has helped them reclaim their health and they actually enjoy it.
Shed Ten Years in Ten Weeks consists of ten steps, each one designed to strengthen the body and mind in very specific ways. You do not have to follow every step to get results. Each step is powerful in its own right, and you will reap benefits from following any one of them. Yet I believe they work best synergistically, If you want to get the full ten-year advantage, I urge you to complete the entire ten-step program. Here is a quick breakdown of what each step will do for you.
STEP 1: ALL SYSTEMS GO!
This easy over-the-counter Rx will allow you to shed ten years and rev up your body! You will begin the Age Loss Program with a jump start in the form of new high-tech supplements that will reenergize your body and tune up your metabolism. These over-the-counter supplements will help you burn fat, build muscle, and renew your antioxidant defense system quickly, safely, and effectively.
STEP 2: LOSE A DECADE'S WORTH OF FAT
When we reach middle age, we gain on average about ten pounds of fat a decade. By combining the correct foods with the right supplements, the Age Loss Program's food plan can restore metabolic function to more youthful levels, enabling our bodies to burn fat before it is stored as extra pounds. This diet will enable you to lose ten years of fat in ten weeks...and keep it off.
STEP 3: SHED TEN YEARS' WORTH OF FINE LINES AND WRINKLES -- RENEW TIRED, WORN-OUT SKIN
This comprehensive skin care regimen will show you how supplements, food, lifestyle changes, and state-of-the-art skin creams can renew your skin from the inside out and the outside in. At the end of ten weeks you will see radiant, resilient skin that glows with health and vitality.
STEP 4: REGAIN TEN YEARS OF MUSCLE
From age forty on, the typical adult loses lean body mass or muscle with every passing decade. STEP 4 is a quick, simple, and effective way to turn a flabby body into a strong, sleek body in just ten weeks, without undue exertion or stress on your body. Designed by an exercise physiologist for the Whitaker Wellness Institute, the Age Loss Program's exercise routines use techniques employed by world-class athletes to achieve maximum results in minimum time, but they are simplified and refined for us to use at home.
STEP 5: BOOST YOUR BRAIN POWER
Age-related changes in your brain are causing a subtle but very real decline in mental function. From age forty on, we experience dramatic changes in short-term memory, we have greater difficulty concentrating for long periods of time, and we have a harder time learning new things. STEP 5 provides you with simple but highly effective ways to sharpen your mental edge and maximize brain function.
STEP 6: REVITALIZE YOUR SEX LIFE
STEP 6 explains how to prevent and reverse the most common sexual problems for men and women. Thanks to new treatments (some of the best are sold over the counter) and technological breakthroughs, almost everyone can enjoy an active and sometimes even better sex life well into their 60s and 70s and even beyond.
STEP 7: REJUVENATE WHILE YOU SLEEP
Every good night's sleep is like a mini vacation. Sleep recharges and reinvigorates every important system within the body, from your ability to cope with stress to your ability to ward off infection. A good night's sleep can be one of nature's most rejuvenating experiences. STEP 7 explains how you can maximize the power of sleep.
STEP 8: RECHARGE THE SPIRIT
The Age Loss Program is not just about a strong body and a sharp mind; it is about renewal of the spirit and recapturing the kind of joie de vivre that makes life worth living. Stress and the grind of daily living can sap us of our joy of life and make us forget what life is all about. STEP 8 shows you how to feed the soul and make your spirits soar.
STEP 9: REINVIGORATE YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
One of the first signs of aging is difficulty in shaking off a common cold or flu virus. Our vulnerability to illness is caused by age-related changes in our immune system, which grows weaker with each passing year. STEP 9 of the Age Loss Program introduces some novel techniques to strengthen the body's "weak link," to promote health and longevity.
STEP 10: REGAIN A DECADE'S WORTH OF HEALTH BY CORRECTING THE GLITCHES
With each passing decade we experience changes in vital body systems, which can cause disease. STEP 10 of the Age Loss Program addresses the needs of people with special health concerns and provides an Rx for treating and reversing such common health problems as osteoarthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and loss of vision.
Before you begin the Age Loss Program, I want to share with you some final thoughts. We are not the first generation that has attempted to slow the aging process, but we are certainly the first generation that has succeeded.
As many of you know, hundreds of years ago Ponce de León went on a costly and dangerous journey through the swamps of Florida in search of the legendary fountain of youth. Until very recently the concept of reversing aging has been shrouded in myth and superstition. But keep in mind that years ago the concept of curing disease seemed to be a myth as well. There was a time when it was believed that disease was caused by supernatural forces. Intervention was regarded as pointless and foolish -- tempting the gods.
Today we have as rational an understanding of aging as we have of disease. We are learning how to slow and even reverse the aging process. There is a body of solid, compelling scientific research which shows unequivocally that life can be not only extended well beyond what we ever thought possible but also that our health and destiny are very much in our own hands.
And now you are ready to begin the best ten weeks of your life.
Copyright © 1997 by Julian Whitaker, M.D., and Carol Colman