Who doesn’t aspire to live a long and healthy life? ‘Live to 100,’ the new Netflix documentary series, is brimming with valuable information to help us achieve that goal. I’m Ted Kackowski, a personal trainer at the Camelback Village, and in the upcoming series of blog posts, I’ll be unraveling the profound lessons from this series, providing practical examples, and showing you how to incorporate these health-boosting patterns and habits into your daily life.
Before we dive into the wisdom of ‘Live to 100,’ let’s take a moment to acknowledge the concerning health statistics that plague our society. In Arizona alone, over 65% of the population is classified as overweight or obese, with less than half meeting the recommended levels of physical activity and less than 25% consuming more than one serving of fruits and vegetables per day. Chronic diseases are on the rise, leading to increased disability and hospitalization rates, and the associated costs are spiraling out of control.
But amidst this health crisis, ‘Live to 100’ shines a light on a glimmer of hope – the existence of “blue zones,” communities around the world where people live healthy, independent lives well into their retirement years. These blue zones share common habits, and one of the most intriguing is the concept of eating until you’re 75% full.
In our modern world, we’re accustomed to oversized portions and the notion that a full belly equals satisfaction. However, the blue zones suggest a different approach. Imagine eating until you’re 75% full, leaving a little room for your body to breathe. Start with your evening meal, where you can practice this mindful eating habit. After reaching satisfaction, have a glass of water and brush your teeth – this helps signal to your body that you’re done eating. Additionally, it’s hard to crave snacks with a freshly brushed mouth. If you’re a night owl, opt for a small, nutritious late-night snack like a handful of unsalted nuts or a piece of fruit.
Another remarkable observation in the blue zones is that their inhabitants consume fewer calories than in western cultures. As of 2021, Americans and Europeans consume an average of a staggering 3,600 calories per day! In contrast, blue zones average around 1,800 calories daily. But here’s the catch: the food they consume is nutrient-dense. Think vegetables, fruits, legumes, complex carbs, nuts, and seeds. These foods are lower in calories but packed with essential vitamins and minerals – something missing from many western diets.
Consider the comparison between a soda, burger, and fries (around 1,500 calories) and a nutritious stir-fry bowl with tofu (about a third of the calories). Instead of settling for quick, calorie-laden options on the go, visit the Village and enjoy a power bowl or salad. The Valley offers several other healthy meal prep or to-go choices if you’re in a hurry. Focus less on calorie counting and more on nutrient appreciation. When your diet includes an abundance of fruits, veggies, and healthy fats, the calorie count tends to take care of itself. Nutrient-rich foods leave you feeling satisfied, energized, and rejuvenated.
While these are just a few insights from the first episode of ‘Live to 100,’ I encourage you to watch the entire series to gain a deeper understanding of the secrets to longevity. By adopting the two habits highlighted here – eating until you’re 75% full and prioritizing highly nutritious foods – you can significantly improve your health and well-being. These changes can keep you active, agile, and ready to tackle new challenges, whether it’s competing in pickleball on vacation or simply enjoying a fulfilling, vibrant life.
Stay tuned for more insights from ‘Live to 100’ later this month in our upcoming blog posts at the Village, where we’re committed to helping you thrive and lead a long, healthy life.
Ted was born and raised in Indianapolis and received his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Indiana University. He received his master’s degree in clinical exercise physiology from Carroll University in Wisconsin. Prior to working at the Village, Ted worked in several different rehab and clinical settings, including cardiopulmonary rehab, a diabetic education center, and stroke rehab. He has helped individuals of all ages and likes to focus his training on the health benefits of exercise and his client’s goals. He enjoys employing exercises to build strength, improve daily living activities, and increase his client’s health.