pills illustration
Image: Nomad

You’ve said your book, Counterclockwise: My Year of Hypnosis, Hormones, Dark Chocolate, and Other Adventures in the World of Anti-aging, is all about “aging well.” What do you mean by that? I’m not talking about physical appearance. I’m talking about the health of our muscles, brain, heart, arteries, etc. I believe that we have significant control over how we age from the inside out. 

You put yourself through a gauntlet of anti-aging methods—including a monthlong superfood regimen and two weeks at the Biggest Loser Resort. What was the worst? I tried homeopathic pills containing a small concentration of the hormone hCG, which women produce when they’re pregnant. I lost 17 pounds in 21 days. But 5 pounds were water and 5 pounds were muscle. The severely restrictive 500-calorie-per-day diet that went along with the hormone made me weak. Three weeks after I stopped, I gained all but 2 pounds back. 

Is plastic surgery stigmatized here in Oregon? I think that youthfulness is defined here as physical, intellectual, creative vitality as opposed to wrinkle-free skin and perky boobs. 

What’s wrong with perky boobs? I am trying very hard to be a model for the importance of taking care of yourself from the inside out. I don’t know if my message can cut through the culture’s message: that as you age, you might as well give up, or get your entire body redone in a surgical way. 

So what should we be doing? Staying intellectually creative. And physical activity—not exercise, but activity—needs to be completely integrated into how you live. You can’t go to the gym and work out for an hour and then the rest of the time sit in front of the computer or sit in the car. An active lifestyle gets you where you want to be.

Lauren Kessler reads at Powell’s City of Books on June 12 at 7:30 pm