You can see some of the lasting images of my youth here. I grew up in North Nottinghamshire which during the 70’s and 80’s was going through something of a tough patch. I have spent most of my adult life weaning myself off the habits of my youth, including the poor eating habits that are rather inevitable in the UK. These poor habits have seen the average life expectancy in the UK drop from first to second-last in the G7 countries, only USA is worse.
I managed to get off 20 kgs in the last ten years here in Singapore. It’s hard work. These days I’m mostly pescatarian, lots of green stuff, and I try and eat food without too many airmiles, not easy. I also try and follow the 12 and 3 fasting rule: Don’t eat for 3 hours before sleep and wait 12 hours before eating again. I almost always skip breakfast these days and if I’m busy can usually skip lunch too, without too much concern. But I’m not always successful and the evening is my downfall. The carbs and the sugars call to me before bedtime and I really struggle to resist.
Low or reduced carb eating is again something I aspire too, but cheat a lot. Little or no potatoes, rice, pasta and bread. In theory. In practice its hard to stick to the rules and the cheese sandwich before bed or mars bars can be difficult to resist.
(I have no science based books to recommend on this. They seem to be mostly fads and scams.)
For me light exercise is key, but lots of it. walking, swimming and a little light weights for upper body strength
So I walk a lot, in the jungle and on the beach. See my main page at tunstall.sg for links to IG and TikTok where I document what I see. I usually aspire to 10 miles a day or 20k steps on average. As I am not a very fast walker as I have impingement in both hips and permanent damage to my right ankle, this takes me around three hours a day. But that’s a good thing as I get more sun and more vitamin D as a consequence.
I also try and swim most days. Not always easy and after a bad accident in 2013 it’s taken me a decade to get back to the sort of performance I expect.
I taught myself to always breathe in and out through my nose. Well, except when I’m talking or swimming. Training the nose passages to widen through breathing exercises then meant I could sleep with my mouth shut. Very important to me for sleep benefits as you will see below.
Recommended reading: Breath, The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor
Once I retrained myself to sleep (mostly) with my mouth shut I significantly reduced my chance of snoring. Reducing snoring meant I now get a better night’s sleep without the headaches (caused by Lin hitting me with a blunt object). I monitor my nightly sleep with a tracker and aim for 7 hours. As Matthew Walker says, anything below this on a regular basis will affect the health span if not the life span.
Recommended Reading : Why we sleep Matthew Walker
Sleeping better is a key contributor to the body working better.
I used the Circle DNA Premium solution to get a very detailed review of my Exome. Massive amount of useful data and guidance. Strong recommend. I was very impressed by the founder of Prenetics the company behind Cirle DNA, Danny Yeung who I have been at conferences with a few times.
My exome (about 15% of the genome I believe) indicates likely no genetic predisposition to any cancer – which is helpful. But that then just means if I do get something it’s been down to my lifestyle choices along the way. Still has the same outcome of course, but it feels empowering to understand for me the cancer likelihood is all about nurture not nature.
My mother died with Alzheimer’s disease. My exome says I’m at low risk genetically, so that means it was likely poor behaviours that led to this outcome for my Mum. I’m trying everything I can to not follow this path if I can. Good sleep, good food, good exercise, etc etc.
David Sinclair has been studying healthspan and lifespan all his working life (no, they are not the same. You can live a long time, but in poor health, who wants that?)
David was the guy who scientifically proved that red wine is good for you, by noting the impact of resveratrol. Unfortunately, the resveratrol in red wine is in such low does that it would be necessary to drink 400 glasses a day to get the full benefit. The side effects would seem to be counterproductive.
So instead David takes one gram of resveratrol a day in powder form. He mixes it with yoghurt as it does not act as effectively in a water-based solution. I take the same amount with milk, hoping that has the same effect.
I also take one gram of NMN and one gram of Metformin daily, also following David’s lead.
I don’t take Rapamycin yet as whilst there are potential life extending benefits it may be carcinogenic. I already have potential advantages there according to my exome, I don’t want to undo the good work.
I also take a significant range of heart medications along with multivitamins (no iron – causes cell senescence), omega 3 supplements and anti-inflammatory Piascledine along with anti-hair loss tablets minoxidil.
Recommended Reading : Lifespan David Sinclair
Underlying David’s Lifespan work is the work done by many teams on Telomeres. The best book I found to learn about this in layman’s terms is
Recommended Reading : The Telomere Effect Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel
Building on the chemistry, attitude to life and the speed bumps along the way is also critical
I was extremely lazy as a child and teenager. I still have not shaken that off. What I learnt was to apply the 80/20 rule as often as possible in life. You can usually get 80% of the goodness out of something with 20% of the effort. Perfectionism is anathema. Constant learning and self-improvement is critically important for everyone, for ever.
Don’t bottle it up, don’t kick over the traces forever, bad things happen, don’t belittle the bad things but need to address manage and move on.
Recommended Reading: Emotional Agility Susan David
A big part of changing the mindset for the future is choosing a growth rather than a fixed mindset. You do have the power to change your intelligence, skill sets and future career, just don’t do everything at once if it can be done progressively with small changes over time:
Still the seminal book in this space is :
Recommended Reading : Mindset by Carol Dweck
Building on Mindset is understanding your locus of control and taking responsibility for your life. An almost unknown book that is amazing at explaining this to young and old alike is
Recommended Reading : Choice or Chance Stephen Nowicki
If you don’t know where you are going, then any road will get you there. Finding what you love is a life long quest. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up but this book helps:
Recommended Reading : Finding your Element Ken Robinson
By squishing all the above attributes together I have managed to build a work/life I enjoy and can sustain over the last decade. I have built myself a portfolio career which is still unstable and sometimes I still feel on the edge financially. However, it’s getting better all the time, and I have not had to spend the entirety of my working life sucking on the corporate greasy pole. This means I have spent a disproportionate amount of time with my wife and my three kids as they have been growing up. Its never perfect, it can always be better, but the balance is not too bad, I feel.
I’m hoping now I can keep doing what I do at the moment, on the work front at least, for the next 30 years or so, with some gradual reduction over time. Perhaps.
I have known too many people over my lifetime who have ‘desired’ to retire or even been ‘forced’ to retire. Glee seems to soon become boredom in more than a few cases. Then in one or two very specific and shocking instances, death soon followed. What was the point of that?
One of my (financially very successful) Facebook friends gleefully announced on his retirement “Yes! After 40 years, no more getting up on Monday mornings to work” . He was not so impressed when I pointed out, well if you were not happy, why did you not find something more enjoyable to do on Monday mornings many years ago?
One of my role models was my wife’s great, great, grandad who passed away at 103 having retired at 86. He was an amazing font of knowledge and experience even in his final year. Completely lucid and able to tell me exactly what he paid for beer and cigarettes from the NAAFI when he was a driver here in Singapore for the British Army after World War 2.
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough” Mae West
I am often asked where I find time to do all the different business and not for profit projects I’m engaged with. My reply, my motivation, and the big question (paraphrasing one of my heroes, Jack Sim), if I am on my death bed aged 80 looking back on today, did I least do something useful and productive with some of my time today?. Or did I spend all day binge watching “The Last of Us”.
Do the works, what else are you going to do with your day?
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