Transcript: Thanks Allan. This is David Brower with Your 20 podcast. Our guest today is Judy Gaman from Texas, the Dallas area and she is an age to perfection expert, author and radio host. Six-time award winning author actually. She’s got some books out, she loves to talk about getting old gracefully would be my guess. Hey Judy, welcome and glad you’re here.
Judy Gaman: Oh, thanks so much for having me on. And I’m so excited about this topic. There’s just always so much and it’s always ever changing.
David Brower: No question about it. It’s interesting friends of mine and I we talk about it from time to time and we look around we go, “Well that person doesn’t look that old.” Or, “That person looks a lot older.” It’s just tough to guess anymore and be even close sometimes I think because as human beings we’ve all changed over the last generation or so.
Judy Gaman: What is really happened and you’re absolutely right, is there seems to be a giant divide because there’s so many things out there that can age us so quickly. Usual things like smoking and drinking but even the packaged and processed foods, the artificial sweeteners, the sedentary lifestyle. And then when you have, you could have two people both of them age 50 and one could look 60 and one could look 40 so it’s really hard to tell but I tell you what, you can almost tell by people’s skin and the brightness of their eyes if they’re living clean, if they’re living healthy. It’s really becoming though the healthy versus the unhealthy and it’s becoming more and more obvious.
David Brower: That makes a lot of sense. I remember not that many years ago I went over to visit my best friend from high school, we hadn’t seen each other in probably 20 years and so he invited me to his home and I met his wife and all that good stuff and I looked at him, I’m going, “Oh my God, he’s 20 years older than me.” And we were the same age.
Judy Gaman: Wow.
David Brower: And it just kind of freaked me out. I know of what you speak. At least from that one experience. I’m sure you’ve seen a lot and you certainly have written a lot and been successful on your radio show as well promoting and discussing rather age to perfection.
Judy Gaman: Well that’s the thing. If people know, but they also have to have the desire. There’s two things, they have to know what can I be doing to increase my chances for a longer life? A healthy longer life. ‘Cause a lot of us are going to live to be 80, 90, maybe even a 100 plus but what’s that quality of life going to be? It’s not just one, about the education but two, it’s about the desire. You have to make the choices every day to do things like get moving. Make sure that you’re eating clean. Make sure you’re having those seven servings of fruits and vegetables and really try to step away from what I like to say the pantry or even when you go to the grocery store, shop the perimeter so you’re getting all the good stuff. Stay away from the bar-coded items. Just knowing and then desiring to want to be younger is two of the very elementary things that you have to do.
And then it’s just about the action. Putting it into action. And it’s not hard. Just little things every day are going to make a dramatic difference. There’s so much we know, I’ll just give you an example here of the gut biome. 80% of our immune system is in our gut. So the microbiome of the gut is very important yet we still have people out there that love their diet sodas so they’re killing off their gut biome. They’re not having enough fiber so they’re not getting the prebiotics. They hate yogurt or they don’t want to take a probiotic so they’re not doing anything to try to replenish it but that is just one part of something that people can do that makes a huge difference. Huge difference.
David Brower: You have a hidden camera in my house obviously.
Judy Gaman: I was looking in your pantry and it’s not good.
David Brower: Fortunately I’m married to a nurse and so she helps me in that arena which is a great thing.
Judy Gaman: Does she stay on you? I bet she does.
David Brower: You know what? It’s really, she doesn’t have to because we’re both of the same mindset, we just go about it a little bit differently and the way she prepares food is, I’m not a picky eater. I’ll eat what’s there. And so she’s very good about preparing healthy quality foods. So yeah, I feel like I’m, plus I have pretty good genes so I think I’m going to be okay. But you’re right, you gotta work at it. I’m exercising three days a week where I didn’t used to do that for a long time. I think some of the stuff that you’re talking about is first of all you gotta show up and recognize what are your goals? What are you looking forward to do? What do you want to do with your life? Do you just want to sit on your butt or do you really want to live another 10 or 20 years?
Judy Gaman: If people need motivation, I can give them a really good way to motivate them. For years, not just for a moment. Go out and visit your local nursing home and just walk around and ask people how old they are. There are people in these nursing homes that are 70. Then go out to the senior’s center or wherever they’re playing golf or they’re doing bingo or whatever and they’re having a good time and ask around how old those people are and you’re going to see that 70 can look very different. You are going to make a choice. Hey, what do I want to look like at 70? But you need to start making those choices even when you’re 30. And when you’re 40. I tell people all the time, this all begins in college. A lot of the decisions you make in college stay with you. So this isn’t something that you wake up one day and go, “Oh yeah, okay, well I’m going to give everything up now. I had all my fun.” You need to really work at it. As soon as you have this realization, start then.
David Brower: That makes a lot of, and you have the realization. It has to be in simple terms, it has to be your idea before you can commit to it, the switch has to come on. I’ve done that what you’re talking about. I’ve a friend that volunteers at a nursing home and in fact I just went over to the senior’s center a couple days ago and it’s like day and night when you realize how young or how old those people are and their quality of life. At the end of the day for me it is quality of life. If I live til a 100, I want to be able to enjoy it.
Judy Gaman: That’s right. The chances that you’re going to live to a 100 at least close to it are getting greater. We have so many medical advancements, things that people died of much earlier, we’re not doing that anymore. Now with the exception of some of the food deaths and things we have some of the major things that would knock our population out just don’t exist. Or we live through the heart attack and that is whole rehab and then what choices do you make after that heart attack? Because you can take two people that have gone through the same thing, the same blockages, same heart attack and how they handle the recovery of that really sets the pace for the next 10, 20 years. It’s miraculous what difference it’s going to make. A lot of it too is attitude. This is something I think we really overlook and that is having a good attitude. I like say, “Do you wake up and say, good Lord it’s morning. Or do you wake up and say, good morning Lord.” Which one are you?
David Brower: I love that.
Judy Gaman: And how you approach each day is so critical. I had a wonderful friendship with a lady named Lucille. I just finished a book that should be out this year called Love, Life and Lucille. It’s a memoir of all the things that this centenarian taught me. She died just shy of her 104th birthday. She had her wits about her and everything about her until just the day she died. It’s really amazing the things that she taught me about enjoying life. She was still out making friends. She said, “You gotta make them younger and younger ’cause everybody just dies off.”
David Brower: That’s right.
Judy Gaman: You’re always making friends and you have to, she ate a lot of blueberries. She was really good about what she ate. Making sure there was plenty of vegetables in her diet. She made sure she always walked. Even when was in assisted living she’d say, “I want the apartment the furthest away from the dining room because I want to get my steps in.”
David Brower: Nice.
Judy Gaman: That’s the kind of attitude that we all need to have instead of, “Oh just put me in, I want to be convenient, put me really close.” So you want to be far away. You want to get that exercise.
David Brower: And you want to do that when you go to Walmart.
Judy Gaman: Yeah.
David Brower: You want park far away.
Judy Gaman: Park far away. That’s right. Take the stairs. Don’t take the elevator. There’s all these things. Just little choices you can make that are going to make a huge difference. But getting back to attitude, she laid out her clothes for the next day the day before. She fully expected to wake up the next day.
David Brower: That’s awesome.
Judy Gaman: We all need to be fully expecting to wake up the next day. By those green bananas. Be of the mindset that you’re not throwing the towel in. And don’t whatever you do, walk around and say, “I’m getting so old.”
David Brower: Oh my gosh.
Judy Gaman: Because there actually have been studies that people that walk around and talk about, I’m so sick, I’m so old, or they constantly verbalize their, even their symptoms or physical ailments, it actually makes them worse and can take years off of their life.
David Brower: I had a dear friend, she was, I manage some radio stations in northern California and she was my office manager and she retired probably late 70s. But she was like, she listened to her body more than anybody on the planet that I’ve ever met which was great but and she also kept notes and track and she’d go to the doctor and she’d share all this stuff. Just minutia of everything about her life ’cause she was so concerned about it. And it got to the point where she did it so much it was almost like the cry wolf story. Yeah, we love you Gloria, we’ll see you in a couple weeks.
Judy Gaman: You’ll be fine.
David Brower: Yeah, yeah.
Judy Gaman: Yeah. It’s true. You can write some of that right into your life. You can invite it in. So you gotta be careful with that. Definitely you want to get your checkups but you don’t want to become a hypochondriac.
David Brower: Exactly.
Judy Gaman: You want to listen to your body but you don’t want to assume everything you feel and see and hear is the next worse thing that could possibly happen to you.
David Brower: Yeah, that’s what she was doing.
Judy Gaman: And then we got the whole internet issue. Something we see all the time. Don’t Google it. I promise you any symptom you’re going to Google leads to death. Trust in your healthcare provider and yeah, we want you to listen to these things, we want you to do these things. If you have chest pain, yeah, we want you to go to the emergency room. But if you sit on Google all day long and look up all these symptoms, you’re going to have yourself with one foot in the grave long before you’re due.
David Brower: Lot of times we are who we surround ourselves with and we are who we think about ourselves too. The attitude is obviously critical. Being as positive about your life day in, day out as way to go. But you also need to surround yourself with people that you can support and that can support you to help you feel younger.
Judy Gaman: That is such a good point. I’m glad you brought that up. One thing that I always say, us women, we’re really good at nagging our husband to go get his physical but sometimes we don’t go get ours. If you’re married and you have a significant other, even if you just want to get a buddy or a friend to do this with you, make it a point to have somebody that you check up on each other. Okay, and this month we’re going to get our physicals. Just have somebody, an accountability partner ’cause it’s really easy to go two, three, five years and you go, “Oh yeah, I’m fine. I haven’t been to the doctor.” Well the key is to find out if there is anything wrong, find it early and reverse it.
David Brower: Yeah, absolutely.
Judy Gaman: Oh my gosh there’s so many things that we can prevent now. You just want to get ahead of it.
David Brower: The hardest thing for me whether it’s medical, health, grandkids, whatever it is, is the unknown. If you don’t know something you can’t create a plan. You can’t have an accountability partner, you can’t do lots of things. No matter good, bad or indifferent it is, you have to know what it is and then figure out the plan that’s going to work best for you.
Judy Gaman: And one plan doesn’t fit all.
David Brower: Absolutely.
Judy Gaman: That’s the thing.
David Brower: Absolutely.
Judy Gaman: Just because your friend decided they’re going to take up yoga and they’re jog five miles a day, doesn’t mean that that’s your plan. Find out what works for you and then stick to it. Accountability doesn’t mean you have to do everything exactly the same. It just means you got somebody going, “Hey yeah, okay, good. We’re good.” You check the box. You did a few things that are good for you.
David Brower: Yeah, I like it. I like it. I had an experience this last year, many of them health wise, too long to go through but the one that was interesting to me was they did my stress echo test. We got done and they said, “Well you have heart disease and we’re going to send you over to this oncologist.” And the guy says, “Okay yeah, you got heart disease.” And he prescribed me some beta blockers and some nitro and scheduled me for an angioplasty two days later. So I go in for the angioplasty and the doc that’s performing it says, “I don’t know why you’re in here man. You must have had a false positive on the stress echo because you have one artery that’s perfect. The other artery is only 30% down.”
And since my dad died at 65 of heart disease, my grandfather died at 40 of heart disease, I just figured, okay, let’s go. Because of that it’s like, wow. Not only do I have a new lease on life because I paid attention and followed through but I was able to call my son and say, “Hey we have a change in family history and you need to know about this.”
Judy Gaman: That’s a great story. It really is a great story because a lot of times those stories end differently. I’m glad you brought up the family history because I want to touch on that. And that is it’s very important to know your family history but you have to understand the difference between genetics and epigenetics. What that means is we all have these genes. We can all be susceptible to different things. My mother has Alzheimer’s I actually had my DNA sequenced, I have an increased risk for Alzheimer’s. I know that. But I also know that just because it’s in my genetic code that I have an increased does not mean I’m going to get it. But it does empower me to say, “Okay, I’ve got a family history with me personally, I have the DNA backing that yes this is an issue but now I can be proactive because we know that genetics plays a small portion in that.”
But epigenetics, meaning our environment, how we take care of ourselves through our lifestyle, all these other things are bigger components to whether you’re going to get something like heart disease for you or Alzheimer’s for me. Really empowering yourself with that family history and not saying, “Oh geez, Bob had a stroke and Uncle Tom had a stroke and dad had a heart attack, I’m doomed.” No, that’s not it. Yeah, you need to know these things but you need to take that information, make sure you’re okay and then get a plan on how you’re going to prevent it because these things are preventable.
David Brower: And I think sometimes you would know better than I, but I would think sometimes people just go, “Okay, I got it. My dad it. My mom had it. Okay, I’m going to have it. Let’s move on.”
Judy Gaman: They’ve already diagnosed themselves long before they ever have it, right?
David Brower: Exactly right.
Judy Gaman: I’ve seen it time and time again. Yeah, I don’t want to get up. I don’t want to upset my heart. Is something wrong with your heart? No, my dad had it. Oh my gosh, this is the completely opposite of what you need to be doing.
David Brower: Absolutely right. My gosh. So in addition to all the health things that you’re involved in and age to perfection and health and wellness and longevity, mindfulness is certainly the buzzword of the last few years isn’t it? Whether it’s health or food or exercise or walking your dog or whatever, it just seems like you hear that word more and more all the time.
Judy Gaman: Well you do. I don’t know if you saw this recent study that came out and this just slays me. 29% of Americans say that they have to have their phone with them when they eat a meal. They can’t actually get away from their phone to eat a meal. This is a major problem and there’s all kinds of other issues on digestion and everything else that go along with that but this just proves that it’s not just about being able to sit down and eat a meal and not have your phone. This means that your brain’s always on and you’re not having those relationships. You’re not having those conversations. You’re not having the things that we need in our lives, the social interactions, the real ones, not the how many friends do you have Facebook but those real ones. And that alone is going to cause all kinds of health issues and it’s going to decrease your longevity.
There was a study out of BYU here recently and then there was a TED talk on it so I’m not sure if you saw either one of those.
David Brower: I didn’t.
Judy Gaman: Either in print or the talk. But they looked that the top 10 indicators of longevity. I think it would shock people because exercise, yeah, it was on there but it was five from the bottom, somewhere in the middle. The number one indicator or whether people were going to be alive at the end of this study, it was a longitudinal study, was their social interactions.
David Brower: That’s part one with Judy Gamon. Part two coming up next time.
Allan Blackwell: Your 20 Minute podcast with David Brower has been brought to you by Audible. You can listen to any of David’s podcasts anywhere podcasts can be found including iHeart Radio, the Spotify mobile app, and at davidbrowervo.com/your20mminutepodcast. Until next time, thanks for listening.