Healthy To A Hundred: Patricia Greenberg On 5 Things You Need To Live A Long, Healthy, & Happy Life

An Interview With Savio P. Clemente

Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine

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Attitude is Everything. Being positive goes a very long way in keeping you alive longer. If you are not feeling peppy, watch something funny, write down something you are grateful for, or find a change of scenery. Boosting your mood will improve your energy and do wonders for your self-esteem. You will start to see the world as a beautiful place.

The term Blue Zones has been used to describe places where people live long and healthy lives. What exactly does it take to live a long and healthy life? What is the science and the secret behind longevity and life extension? In this series, we are talking to medical experts, wellness experts, and longevity experts to share “5 Things You Need To Live A Long, Healthy, & Happy Life”. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Patricia Greenberg.

Ushering in a new era of bite sized livable health, nutrition and fitness solutions, Patricia Greenberg, Aging Well Coach, is an expert in all aspects of living life to the fullest at any age. As the creator of Eat Well, Live Well, Age Well she consults, teaches, and hosts a weekly show, and speaks at seminars nationwide. She has a special interest in enhancing the education of the general public, and providing accurate health information to today’s consumer.

Passionate about wellness for life, Patricia completed 20 marathons and 115 half marathons, and loves the sport of tower climbing, having conquered buildings all over the country. Married with a grown daughter, in her downtime she is an avid reader and knitter.

Education and Credentials:

BA in Nutrition and Food Science from Queens College, NYC,
Degree in Culinary Arts, from Le Cordon Bleu in Scottsdale, AZ
IACP — Certified Culinary Professional
ISSA Certified Nutritionist and Health Coach, specializing in Aging Well
ACE Certified in Personal Training, Group Fitness, Weight Management, Sports Nutrition and Senior Fitness.
Medfit Educational Foundation — Supporting member

Books:
The Whole Soy Cookbook, Random House 1998
Soy Desserts , ReganBooks, Harper Collins 2001
Scrumptious Sandwiches, Salads, and Snacks, 2017
Eat Well, Live Well, Age Well, The Fitness Gourmet, 2021

For more information:www.thefitnessgourmet.com

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?

I spent 30 years as a nutritionist, chef and wellness educator teaching people how to eat and exercise for optimal wellness. I started to see how every aspect of our lives were interconnected, our physical well- being, social interaction, emotional wellness, financial status, and mental health. If one area is out of whack, the whole system breaks down. This led to my quest to learn more about the human body, to find ways to be happy forever, why we have a finite lifespan, and how we can improve and expand ourselves on every level, at any age.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

Having spent a lot of time researching how aging affects us, when I started to share it with the world, most of what I had to say was rejected by my peers. The pushback was strong, and shocking to me.

Most people I interviewed seem to be terrified of getting old, so they reject the notion that it is a blessing to live to an advanced age. I learned that many of the respondents did not value older adults, even those who were close to the age of the target population of over 60 that I was studying. Embracing the concepts of what to do at different stages of our lives to ensure vibrant health doesn’t come easy, especially I learned, to middle aged adults when asked to prepare for later in life.

Knowing that, I decided that I would shift my professional expertise to helping people be less afraid of the future and start to enjoy all that life has to offer to a ripe old age.

The number one takeaway is that we need to be 100% personally responsible for every aspect of our lives, every day of our lives in order to age successfully. What helps is to make that as easy and fun as possible.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Yes, that person would be my father, David Greenberg. He is no longer here with us but his legacy lives on. He never ever gave up on an idea or a project, always seeing everything through to the end. If something didn’t work out, or things weren’t going well, he would say, “When you are down, the only place to go is up”.

When I am feeling down, discouraged, or defeated, I remember those words and it lifts me up.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Perseverance — I learned through trial and error that the only way to achieve greatness is to persevere, no matter what the obstacles. Success can’t happen overnight. When I am working on something that doesn’t seem to be moving along, I step away and laud myself for the hard work that I have put in. It keeps me proud of what I am doing and keeps the discouragement at bay. If something isn’t working, you can re-direct your energy and time to try something new.

Loyalty — It is important to maintain relationships and stick with them. Staying loyal through good times and bad, forges healthy, trusting, and nurturing bonds, and I urge you to expect the same in return. If you are not feeling fully engaged and respected, take a look at how each relationship you are in serves you.

Kindness — I believe that being nice should be the prevailing theme in your business and your life. You are not responsible for someone else’s happiness so if kindness is not being reciprocated, move on to surround yourself with others who make you feel good about yourself and the work that you do.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview about health and longevity. To begin, can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fields of health, wellness, and longevity?

In my career as a nutrition and fitness professional, I studied the latest developments in health habits related to aging, while dealing with the ups and downs of my own life as it continues to unfold.

I then embarked on a journey spending 18 years of intensive research, on how to understand how our bodies change and adapt as we get older. I started by closely following the lives of everyone around me, noticing bodily changes, attitude fluctuations, and witnessing their response to the everchanging dynamics of our world. I took to studying the science of aging, and across the board, eating well, exercising, and having healthy long-term relationships were the key elements to a long life.

I spent countless hours organizing the information and then put it to paper. In 2019, Eat Well, Live Well, Age Well was born. In the last several years, interest in Aging Well has exploded, so my books and media appearances have become very popular.

In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?

I am here to let everyone know that it is okay to get old. I encourage everyone who is now over 50 to stop caring what others think about our choices, likes and dislikes, and live the rest of our lives on our own terms, without the “socially acceptable” rulebook.

Seekers throughout history have traveled great distances and embarked on mythical quests in search of the “elixir of life,” a mythical potion said to cure all diseases and give eternal youth. Has your search for health, vitality, and longevity taken you on any interesting paths or journeys? We’d love to hear the story.

The big questions that need answers always circle back to the meaning of life. Eating well and living well help us age well, yet how profound it is that some people die young and others seem to live well beyond their life expectancy. Well, that is life! What I have learned and what I am so happy to share, is that there are no guarantees, no single path, and no one gets out alive. Only you have the power to control your own happiness and quality of life for however long you will be here on Earth. Believing in yourself and following your true path will make living and aging worthwhile.

Based on your research or experience, can you please share your “5 Things You Need To Live A Long & Healthy Life”? (Please share a story or an example for each)

  1. Attitude is Everything. Being positive goes a very long way in keeping you alive longer. If you are not feeling peppy, watch something funny, write down something you are grateful for, or find a change of scenery. Boosting your mood will improve your energy and do wonders for your self-esteem. You will start to see the world as a beautiful place.
  2. Eat Well and Engage in Daily Movement. Our daily meals should be a pleasurable part of our day. As far as choices go, make an effort each day to drink water, sipping slowly throughout the day and make sure to have at least one serving of colorful fruits and vegetables with each meal.
    Put out the nice dishes, savor your food, chew slowly and make dining an elevated experience. Whenever possible eat with others, it will make the whole experience more rewarding.
    Exercise should never be viewed as punishment or a necessary evil to stay alive. Movement is critical for healthy aging. Research is showing, that walking is the best form of fitness we know of today, especially if you are outdoors in nature. Being upright and off the couch is good for the three B’s, bones, balance, and the brain. The time you spend moving is less important than the frequency. 10 minutes, 2–3 times a day is a great baseline for all of us. Encourage your friends and family to join you so that everyone benefits.
  3. Health Habits for longevity. Do not smoke, and keep your waistline below 35 inches. Make sure you have the necessary medical exams every year, and get screened for your risk of illness effecting the elderly. Eyes, ears, heart, lungs, GI tract, and your reproductive organs all need to be examined. Anything detected early, dramatically improves treatments and outcomes of all illnesses. Make sure you bring a friend or family member along so you don’t miss any necessary information.
  4. Never stop learning. Read a book at least once a month. Taking up a foreign language or studying history and cultures other than your own are great ways to challenge your brain. The new buzzword is neuro-plasticity and we are finding when stimulated, the brain can regenerate new cells and improve your memory. Keeping up with your education will also make you a more interesting person.
  5. Keep your social circle close for life. Life is better when shared with others. A spouse, family, friends and colleagues make every aspect of living easier. Periodic solitude is a healthy outlet but loneliness is a silent killer. It turns out, keeping close relationships throughout one’s lifetime is what makes old age peaceful. Repairing damaged relationships is important for stress reduction and the peace of mind that come with it is priceless. Having someone else to rely on, and knowing you are their “go to” person keeps the body and mind at ease.

Can you suggest a few things needed to live a life filled with happiness, joy, and meaning?

Get your future plans and wishes on paper and then start by staying in today. This doesn’t mean we should ignore the future, but to make every single day special in some way, will bring us much happiness.

How do we find joy when we are struggling? Find something you love to do, and devote anywhere from 5 minutes to 1 hour a day on it. A hobby, connecting with friends, walking in a garden, anything will alter your mood and make you forget about all that is going on around you.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to give back to the world. Volunteer, offer to help someone less fortunate than you, or simply just give someone a call or a visit to cheer them up, you will feel fulfilled and complete with very little effort.

Some argue that longevity is genetic, while others say that living a long life is simply a choice. What are your thoughts on this nature vs. nurture debate? Which is more important?

Inherent genetic risk factors, or nature, one has for disease or pre-mature death, are just that, a risk not a death sentence. One may have to work a bit harder to stay well, but nurturing your health in a positive way, has been shown over and over to keep us healthier and alive longer.

I saw many of my friends and family, both professionally and personally, making decisions based on what they thought they “should” be doing at their age. They then stopped doing what they loved based on pre-conceived notions about what is age appropriate.

Like many self-fulfilling prophecies, what we expect as we grow older, we can make come to pass — but the reverse is also true, so with a little effort and the idea that “age is nothing but a number,” we can keep youthful health and glow long into our advanced years.

Choose the path of wanting to live a rich, happy, long life, ad watch the miracles unfold!

Life sometimes takes us on paths that are challenging. How have you managed to bounce back from setbacks in order to cultivate physical, mental, and emotional health?

As the years went by, I started experiencing a number of rejections for work opportunities based on my age, sight unseen. I found that infuriating, and yet it seemed that there was nothing I could do about it. It finally hit me why so many people were lying about their age, knocking off up to 10 years of experience from their resumes. The concept of empowering people as we age didn’t even exist 10 years ago, and 20 years ago people were forced to retire with no means of fighting back.

My friends, family members, and colleagues, all faced this kind of baseless age discrimination, and the emotions that come with it are devastating. This is what first sparked my interest and sent me on the journey of learning about how and why we age. This became my driving motivation in life, and I became determined to make Aging Well my life’s work. Now I strive to make each day meaningful filled with purpose and intention to live life to the fullest on my terms. I now am sure that no one can take that away from me at any age.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Life Is Short”

Every moment counts, and by slowing down to realize that, you will feel that the days are longer and more full than you ever imagined. You can never get your time back, and you won’t forget the past, but learn from it. If you stay stuck in your “should- have-done, could-have-done,” life will pass you by. Most of us are just good people who want to continue to enjoy our lives, be healthy, live long, and age well. Doing all the things we like, that make us happy and feel complete is a common goal. Looking at the issues facing us as we age helps us cope with these issues, work through them, and feel fulfilled.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I would like to see TV, movie theaters, and streaming services flooded with shows featuring older adults. Comedy, drama and documentaries should be showcasing how amazing it is to get old.

What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?

FB. Patricia Greenberg

Insta @thefitnessgourmet

LinkedIn Patricia Greenberg, The Fitness Gourmet

Youtube Patricia Greenberg, The Fitness Gourmet

Twitter @fitnessgourmet

www.thefitnessgourmet.com

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.

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Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine

TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor