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Episode 59: How to slow down aging with Dr. Alka Patel

Brief summary of show:

Have you ever wanted to press pause and slow down aging?

When you think of aging, you may immediately think about getting older. As you’ll hear in this episode, these are two very different things.

Joining me to speak about this topic is Dr. Alka Patel, a TEDx speaker, GP, Lifestyle Doctor, Longevity Coach, author and podcaster. She is Founder of Lifestyle First®, Creator of The Lifestyle First Formula® and host of The Lifestyle First Podcast.

One of her greatest passions is to empower and equip passionate changemakers to connect to their D.N.A. and Discover, Notice and Activate who they are, what they want and where they are going so that they can outSMART stress and outLIVE life with Stress Modifying Age Reversing Techniques for a life of Longevity, Intention, Value and Energy- it’s time to LIVE!

She helps speakers to self-care, leaders to leverage health and wellness in business and high impact experts to live longer, younger. Her own biological age is almost 30 years younger than her chronological age- yours can be too!

Listen in as we talk about:

  • [2:40] The concept of aging and getting older

  • [5:20] The difference in getting older and aging

  • [6:40] Is it possible to slow down aging?

  • [7:20] Dr. Patel’s acronym that focuses on the 10 key elements of our lifestyles

  • [8:50] How to measure your biological age

  • [20:00] The impact of what we consume both physically and mentally

  • [22:50] The three F’s of food

Notes from Natalie:

Connect with Dr. Alka Patel

Connect with Me

View Transcript for this Episode

[00:00:00] Natalie: Are you that person that worries every time you are asked to go on camera, do you get asked to do an interview, maybe a zoom call and you don't know what to wear or what you'll say as an Emmy award-winning news anchor. Thousands and thousands of people struggle with their on-camera persona and appearance because I'm asked so often to give tips on how to be on camera.

[00:00:21] I created a guide that you can buy for just 24 99, and it has everything you need to know from what to wear, what makeup to use. And this is for men and women. I want you to feel empowered and calm. Every time you go on camera, find out more by clicking the link before you go on camera. It's in the show notes and it's on my website, Natalie dot com.

[00:00:44] Hi everyone. It's Natalie. If you're like me, you are always looking for ways to be healthier, have more energy. And of course, to feel better the age you look and you feel well, it doesn't have to be a number today. I am talking to TEDx [00:01:00] speaker lifestyle, doctor longevity, coach, author, and podcaster.

[00:01:04] Dr. ELCA Patel. We're going to talk about. Outsmarting stress, leveraging health and wellness to live longer and to live younger. Get this. Dr. Patel says that her biological age is almost 30 years younger than her chronological age. And she says yours can be too, regardless of what you have done in the past, that might not be so great for your body.

[00:01:29] You know what I'm talking about? Let's learn today. Let's get healthy. Here's my interview with Dr. ELCA Patel.


[00:01:37] Natalie: Dr. Patel. So good to see you today. I want to talk about slowing down the aging process and how we can do that by taking care of our.

[00:01:48] Dr. Patel: Oh, my favorite topic. Yes. Let's talk about that for

[00:01:51] Natalie: sure. Okay. So let's just dive right in. What are your tips and slowing this down? I mean, we all, we all want that, right.

[00:01:58] We try to prevent [00:02:00] wrinkles. We try to stay healthy, all of those things, but it can be kind of.

[00:02:05] Dr. Patel: Oh, for sure. I think before we kick off on the actual slowing down process, I think worth, just chatting a little bit about this concept of aging and getting older, because we often do to sort of avoid talking about this don't we, because it seems to be this to booze as you've just described around aging.

[00:02:22] And I think that was probably linked with. Association with just words. So I don't know about you, but you know, previously when I thought about Asia and I say previously, not anymore, but you know, when you talk about aging, what comes to mind? You're right. You mentioned wrinkles and being fragile and gray hair and slow body.

[00:02:39] And so we're sort of wired aren't we to really think visually. And so we always think about these images that appear. Um, in our, in our mind. And there's a saying, isn't there that I might not remember your name, but I will remember your face. So a lot of our ideas and beliefs get created in those officials.

[00:02:55] And I think what I find is a moment we talk about getting older and aging. We can drop this [00:03:00] very painful vision. And so we don't want. Talk about that. And it's also painful as well. Isn't it? That sense of nearing the end of our life, really? Um, and I find this particularly where the women, I'm sure, you know, you've been asked, how old are you?

[00:03:14] And there's this guest or, oh, I don't want to tell you. And so we tend not to even want to talk about it because this is. Judgment around it isn't there. but sting, I think it was sting who said something great. He's now 70 years old, the singer staying. And he said, uh, when you reach a certain age, you do realize that life is finite and you can either be depressed by that or say that.

[00:03:39] I'm going to appreciate every single minute to its maximum potential. I think it's really important to just pause on that thought before we sort of dive into how can we slow down aging?

[00:03:51] Natalie: Yeah, I think we get that stuck in our head. I want to slow it down. I want to stay young forever, and yet I turned 50 last year and I, I realized [00:04:00] with that.

[00:04:01] So much experience and knowledge and wisdom. And we know that we've always heard that, but to really appreciate that I've earned every gray hair I have.

[00:04:12] Dr. Patel: Absolutely. And one thing that, based on that, that I then also always talk about is in terms of getting older and aging. And I, I will share that with about the difference between the two as well is I've got this little phrase that says, uh, we gained the vitality of.

[00:04:29] But retain the wisdom of your years. And I appreciate, I love what you just said about that with time comes wisdom. So that's so important to, to hold onto, but we also want to feel that energy and that vitality and that sense of value as well, that way. So, maybe if I just touch on the difference between getting older and aging, because there is a, there is a difference here.

[00:04:52] Getting older is very much attached to the, to the tick tock of the clock. It is inevitable. Isn't it? It's the [00:05:00] way that life works. There is a beginning. There is an M getting older is part of that, but aging. It's very, very different. Aging is physiological. It's by a chemical it's epigenetics. It's your chromosomes shrinking.

[00:05:18] It's your cells breaking down. So I look at aging as the spirit. At which you get older. And really that gives us a little bit of a differential because we, we can't control the tick of that chronological calendar or the sun and the moon. But what we really can control is what I described this, the talk of the biological clock, the speed at which you age, how well you are, how vibrant you are as you get older.

[00:05:44] And it's actually gone, gone. No, I I'm

[00:05:46] Natalie: sorry. I don't mean to interrupt you because you're saying such good things, but I don't want to forget. The speed at which you slow down your aging, is that what we consume and how we exercise and those things are that's.

[00:05:59] Natalie: I think [00:06:00] what we really want to get to today is how do we slow that down?

[00:06:03] Is it possible

[00:06:04] Dr. Patel: to. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. and, uh, it's exactly that it is your lifestyle that is very, very much at the center of the speed at which you, which you age. And we can now measure that. I measure biological age in all of my patients and all of my clients to give us a real sense of number and data that really matters.

[00:06:24] And then we focus on mapping your lifestyle to. What you do to your biological age and then watching that change. Cause I think when we talk about, I talk a lot about strategic self-care, so your lifestyle is very much about how you care for yourself, the day-to-day things you do to, to style your life.

[00:06:44] Dr. Patel: And I've got this lovely acronym that I use to really focus on. What I described as the 10 key elements of your lifestyle. So I'll share that with you. That would be really useful. So it spells out the word lifestyle first, [00:07:00] because as it says on the tin, I think it's incredibly important to prioritize our lifestyle in terms of slowing down aging, living, living, living long, living long.

[00:07:09] Uh, so L is for your life's purpose. I is your identity. Ethics food eat for your guests. It exercise or sleep tea is timeout. Why is your connections? L is learning habits and E is emotion. So these are really, really important dimensions of your, of your health, of your lifestyle, which pay a very, very critical part.

[00:07:37] In, in the aging process and in, in the disease process, um, as well, um, and this process, what I call the lifestyle first method gives us lots and lots of ways to do that. So as I've said, what I do with my clients or my patients is I measure your biological age. We map lifestyle changes according to their lifestyle, first method to your age.

[00:07:58] And then we measure it because [00:08:00] none of us have got time for guests. So at camp, we were living in a busy. Well, so we have to be really strategic and focused on what changes we do actually make.

[00:08:11] Natalie: Okay. So explain that to me. How do you measure one's biological age? And then what I know in reading some of your background, you say that your biological age is very different from, what age would you call it from here?

[00:08:26] And what is the difference?

[00:08:28] Dr. Patel: Yes. So biological agent, chronological, chronological

[00:08:32] Natalie: age, what is the difference in yours? And then tell me how you met.

[00:08:35] Dr. Patel: Ah, yes. Well, this is a number that I love to share. So, um, my biological age is 20, which is almost 30 years younger than my chronological age. And really that's very, been related very much to my focus on my lifestyle.

[00:08:52] So your biological age is very much. Cellular age. And if we look at processes that [00:09:00] occur in our body, one of the key things, that regulates what happens to ourselves, uh, to our immune system is inflammation. It's a very, very cool process. And as we get older, inflammation tends to. Build up in our bodies.

[00:09:17] And most of us are, have got a lot of chronic inflammation within us. And that sets off a whole cascade of processes that then affect, um, the aging process. So what the biological age tests that I focus on measures, is it really the age of your immune system, the age of your sort of stress responses? Um, because stress is something that is something that we all know.

[00:09:41] Live with whether it's the stress of where are my keys on a Monday morning to, to the stress of, of losing a loved one, says stress really plays a very central role in aging and also so many illnesses, um, as well though, that it adds years, uh, to our, to our biological age, [00:10:00] um, as well. and in fact, there's a study that shows that you, accelerate aging by 10 years.

[00:10:07] If you're living with stress,

[00:10:10] Natalie: I believe that so much. So I want to hear more about how you test for that. Is it, is it a written test? Is it physiological, how do you test for some someone's biological age?

[00:10:22] Dr. Patel: You it's a blood test. So it's, uh, the test that I advocate is a very simple finger prick blood test.

[00:10:29] So it will arrive through your doorstep. Um, in most places around the world, I can, uh, I can get that to your rising, your doorstep. You take a simple thing to prick, test yourself and then pop it back into the post. And it goes to a fabulous lab where the analysis takes place. Yeah. Very cool, uh, genetic level, looking at your proteins and what we call your glide cans.

[00:10:50] These are little sugar molecules that attached to your proteins and all the data around this shows a very, very clear coherence to aging by map [00:11:00] matching and mapping, uh, these protein levels and these sugar levels. Um, and you know, How

[00:11:06] Natalie: quickly can you turn around your biological age? And let me give you an example.

[00:11:10] So I spent 20 years, doing work that required me to get up at two 30 in the morning. And I know my sleep was not good. My stress level was higher because of that. I had children during that time. So. I spent many years, um, biologically and at a cellular level level, not taking care of my body. Now in the last year, I'm sleeping better than ever.

[00:11:34] I've taken care of myself differently. But again, I spent 20 years doing that and for a lot of people they're thinking, okay, I'm now 50, I'm 45. I've reached that. I want to change things. Can you turn it around

[00:11:46] Dr. Patel: quickly? Oh, gosh, absolutely. That the difference is, um, is, is incredible. So for example, sleep, as you say, it plays such a key part in how we process our [00:12:00] emotions and how we renew our gut health and how we actually repair our DNA.

[00:12:05] And if you measured. Oh, a logical age at point a, when you were undergoing sleep deprivation and had high stress levels really changed that. And I'd been changing with consistency, not, you know, one good night's sleep, but really building those habits. Uh, within three months you would see a change in your biological age.

[00:12:24] So I'm certainly not recommend testing sooner than that, but you can really map and measure, map, and measure, map, and measure every three to four months to really get a good sense of is what I'm changing. Uh, effective and that's the key, isn't it? There's so much health and wellness information out there at the moment.

[00:12:43] I mean, we're very lucky. We're living in a time where information is incredible, but again, another survey showed that six out of 10 people now are feeling so overwhelmed. With the information that you, you end up just taking things off the shelf and trying this and trying that without a strategy behind knowing [00:13:00] that me, you know, the individual here, is this making a difference to me?

[00:13:03] So three months is my answer to your question.

[00:13:06] Natalie: You can turn things around in three months.

[00:13:08] [00:14:00]

[00:14:24] Natalie: Okay. Let's be a little bit more specific and fascinated by this because I think you're right. We have such an abundance of information that we kind of just reach for. Whatever's there. And there's not a full plan.

[00:14:36] So in, I know in what you do, you spend time with people mapping out what their lifestyle should look like to, uh, to help themselves. What are some of those other elements we talked about sleep reducing. Give me some more

[00:14:52] Dr. Patel: of them. So let's look at E four emotions and the lifestyle first method I got E for emotion.

[00:14:59] So there's [00:15:00] some research done. It was done at Yale university, which found that if you're optimistic and you feel good about yourself, as you get older, you add seven and a half years to your life. So I work with my clients to help create that feel good. How can you be that glass half full person, because it's actually helping you to live longer.

[00:15:25] And, you know, we've all got so many gifts and talents and skills to share with the world. It's just so important to be here for long enough to, to do that. Um, and so one way to really focus in on that is through affirmations and. Declaration. So actually, how do you go from not being that optimist to actually looking at life with a different lens?

[00:15:45] And, uh, some of the work that I teach is around looking in that mirror and really reclaiming yourself with those positive affirmations of I am healthy and I am happy and I am loving my energy. And we know about neuroplasticity. [00:16:00] We was your brain, and I'm not talking about just saying these things for the sake of it, but really sort of declaring them so that then you take the.

[00:16:08] That follow, you know, if you do declare I am healthy and you've got that level of optimism that says, yeah, you know what, I'm now going to take the actions of a healthy person. Well, of course, you're going to lengthen your life because you've got a different layer of, of emotion attached to what you. As well.

[00:16:27] Yeah, that's that's one way. Let me give you another, uh, another example. Um, if we look at LAFD S T Y Y Y for your connections, um, there's lots and lots of research about how social connectedness really makes a difference to us. So there's a study by the American physiological association showed that social connectedness reduces stress and therefore increases your longevity.

[00:16:54] So. Know, if we all just paused and thought about their system. Is [00:17:00] there a relationship that you want to work on? Is there a different way of connecting with someone that matters to you? Is there someone you haven't even connected with an agent is, would just send that text, you know, often we want connections and we don't take that, just that next step to make a difference.

[00:17:17] So again, I talk about and work with people to really take that next step. That's going to make that difference. And it's a ripple effect. Isn't it? You do some, one thing in your life. Feels good. That creates that positive feedback for you. And you move on to doing a little bit more.

[00:17:34] Natalie: And we saw so much, uh, during shutdowns and, and the pandemic of isolation.

[00:17:41] And I think some of that has carried over to people now, who are they? They feel like I'd rather just stay home and watch TV, then go make those connections or be with people. And, uh, there's so much to those connections. That social life that adds to our happiness.

[00:17:58] Dr. Patel: I think that we have to [00:18:00] remember why you're doing this.

[00:18:02] Um, cause again, as I said, there's so much that we can do, but why are you reaching out? Why are you focusing on staying connected, feeling that? And even if you put even something like aging or longevity or a reason that you want to be here and do good and feel good at the core of it, then you're much more likely to take that next step to do that next thing.

[00:18:24] Then you are just because. You've had it on this podcast or someone told you, or, you know, sounds like the right thing to do. So I really would encourage people to really think about, you know, purpose and reason. Um, and so one of the other key things I talk about is life's purpose. Um, and again, we know from a lot of research that if you have purpose in your life, Longer.

[00:18:47] Yes. So let's start there. You know, why are you getting out of bed every morning and ask yourself some of those difficult questions as well?

[00:18:57] Natalie: What about, uh, because I know this has to be [00:19:00] a piece of it, what we consume. and I mean, that coming from what we consume in our minds, and what we put into our bodies, I'm the amount of water, the type of nutrition.

[00:19:10] I'm so interested in that because I feel like it's so easy to describe convenience and especially in America, um, we have so much convenience, but how much of a difference does it really make? Are you genetically born to live longer? Can we really impact that by what we consume both mentally and physically?

[00:19:31] Dr. Patel: So that's a, that's a fabulous question, because again, we do, we often believe that we, that genetics, my genetics affects and that's that certainly with aging and longevity, genetics do play a part, um, somewhere between 30 to 50%. But what does that mean? That means you've got a whole 50%, but it's absolutely within your grasp within your hands to, to change and shape.

[00:19:59] So [00:20:00] I don't think any of us should be resigned to genetics being our destiny at all. Um, and so I think that's a, that's really the key isn't it is to, to take hold of, as you say, What are you consuming? And food is something that we love to talk about. Don't we, um, and there's so many diet debates, um, out there on these diet wars will continue to rage.

[00:20:23] And I think the reason is, is because when we really got to now move into the age of personalized medicine, personalized care, But every single person listening today, I really would advocate knowing your own personal data. This is such a fascinating time that we live in where our access to our own personal data in that core cellular level is so important.

[00:20:48] You can have tests. Now I do test now that tell you yes, genetically. How are going to metabolize X, Y, or Z add, or what is missing in terms of, uh, [00:21:00] nutritional elements that play a key part in some of your energy cycles. And if you don't measure that, then you're going to do what your friend said or cut out this from your diet.

[00:21:11] So there isn't a one thing that says never eat glucose and don't touch dairy and carbs are bad for you. And let's all eat proteins. Absolutely not. And I think if you listen to anybody who tells you that this is the way, and the only way is I would certainly certainly question that you need to know your own data.

[00:21:28] And even when it comes to things like the supplement industry, um, as well is to, you know, not just take the next trend or the next fad is really to get some measurements done. Cause we can, we can access all of that.

[00:21:42] Natalie: I think that is so valuable and so true because we are all so different. And so I've always said that the way to lose weight, if that's your goal is whatever works for you.

[00:21:54] Like I have had a really hard time, my whole life cutting out any type of carb. [00:22:00] It just doesn't work for me. I've done a little bit more of it because now I realize when I cut out a little bit, I have more energy cutting it out, completely depletes me. Everyone is so different. It's what works for you.

[00:22:14] Dr. Patel: Yeah. Yeah. And I always talk about the three F's of food. So food for fuel food for function and food for fun. And we must remember all of that must that way. Sometimes we can get so zoned in, into what's in this, you know, piece of broccoli that I'm having, or what does this have in it? And, and we get.

[00:22:36] Over-focus on that and take ourselves away from the pleasure of eating and the pleasure of connecting when we eat or the aroma of eating, or just slowing down, eating and tuning into our signals. Our body's telling us when we're full. When we're hungry. So really important to just again, slow down and take patients.

[00:22:57] Yes,

[00:22:57] Natalie: absolutely. Okay. [00:23:00] So anything else you want to add to kind of this prescription of lifestyle? I love that idea of how you've approached this, that doesn't have to be medicine, but your lifestyle is the prescription.

[00:23:10] Dr. Patel: Oh, absolutely. And I love that you brought that up because that's exactly what I do. I like I write lifestyle first prescriptions for all of my patients.

[00:23:18] So it's like stop the prescribing of the pills. And there's certainly a place for medication. I'm not saying that there isn't, so it's really important to remember that, but the first thing, isn't it, it's write you a prescription for your license and write it for yourself. Um, so yeah, another thing perhaps is.

[00:23:33] Exercise. Uh, because that, again is something that we know is a stress Buster, like no other, so really just walk or get on that bike or dance or do whatever you need. We're designed to move aren't we, but the one thing I always hear, and maybe you've said this yourself, and I've said this to myself is, is time.

[00:23:54] You know, it seems to get in the way he doesn't have enough time. Um, and so, um, I'm a real fan [00:24:00] of what I call my one minute. Move. So just 62nd bursts of activity that keep you agile. And you mentioned in your mind and in your physicality and that's, what movement does it keeps you agile, mentally and physically?

[00:24:13] Natalie: Well, yes, absolutely making it part of your full day. Instead of I have to block out an hour and I can't block out that hour. I, I mean, my husband and I joke. I'll go get that or I'll go do the laundry because it requires me to go up and down the stairs more and kind of looking forward to that instead of thinking, oh, I have to go to the basement or whatever, but oh good.

[00:24:34] I get an opportunity to have a burst of energy. That's good. No,

[00:24:38] Dr. Patel: and now we can all do that. We've got things that are at our fingertips. I mean, I'm standing up whilst we're recording this there's podcasts and of course we can all do that. We can work while we stand. And when you're standing, you're going to be moving.

[00:24:50] Well, you're going to be more agile. I, right now I'm balancing on one leg and no one can even tell, you know, so there were things that you can do. And I love that. [00:25:00] I love the idea of, I wanted to move more. I'm going to go downstairs and take the laundry down. Brilliant.

[00:25:05] Natalie: I am. I think that's that, as you were saying, that mindset shift of, oh, it's an opportunity for me instead of something I have to do or.

[00:25:15] Parking farther away from the store because I want that brisk walk. That feels good. I'm not going to fight for that front space. I don't need it. Okay. So people, who are listening, thinking, oh, I want more of this lifestyle prescription. How can they, if I follow you on Instagram and love your website, where can people learn more?

[00:25:34] Get more.

[00:25:36] Dr. Patel: Oh, absolutely. Yes. So both of those places, my website is www dot Dr. Alka So you're very welcome to go over there. You'll see a little pop-up actually where I offer a free test, which is called an LQ test. Your lifestyle questions. Like your IQ and your eat, you that this tells you how much [00:26:00] intelligence you have, how much attention you'll pay lifestyle.

[00:26:03] And there's lots of free resources attached to that as well. So that's certainly a, a starting point that I would recommend to everybody he's thinking I want to change something, but when do I start? So I welcome to do that. And yes, I'm on all the social media channels at dock truck Patel. And UK as well.

[00:26:20] And I'm a fellow podcast to like you as well as I've got lots and lots of lifestyle tips on my podcast, which is called the lifestyle first podcast as well. So listeners are very welcome to tune in and tap in and connect with me there

[00:26:33] Natalie: because of that, the lifestyle, LQ lifestyle quoted is that.

[00:26:39] Yeah, what a smart, smart thing we have. I mean, it's such a big part of who we are, so congratulations to you for creating that and, and all that you're doing. Thank you for taking the time and giving us advice today. I really appreciate it. And I look forward to connecting again soon. Thank you so much.

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