Instead of asking how to live a long, healthy, and active life – let’s invert the question and ask how to ensure that your life is short, painful, and miserable.
As you’ll see below, the mental model of inversion works wonderfully for highlighting the best healthy aging habits.
Inversion was made famous by Charlie Munger, the partner of investing legend Warren Buffet. You simply flip around problems and questions – invert them. Instead of asking how to find fulfilment and happiness, you ask how to be certain that you don’t find either.
The result is a list of exactly what not to do.
Honestly comparing your current behaviour with your list highlights the changes needed. By acknowledging where you fall short, you’ll be spurred into action.
Inversion and Healthy Aging Habits:
Each of five broad areas of healthy aging was given the full inversion treatment below.
The result is a recipe for a short and painful life.
Here are the sections below, combining them together all-but-guarantee unhealthy aging:
- Food and Nutrition
Food and Nutrition for an Unhealthy Old Age
Switching your diet is a fast-track to terrible health and an early death – making it the obvious place to start our inversion journey.
Best of all, the types of food that lead to the most painful death will provide delightful dopamine spikes. Think sugars, refined carbs, and processed oils. Combine these ingredients with chemical additives to have your neurones dancing with delight while you decline into frailty and bitterness.
Here is how to speed up your demise with food:
- Develop Insulin Resistance: Constant sugar intake will have you on the road to type 2 diabetes in no time. Chronic health conditions and death will quickly follow.
- Bulk up on Stored Fat: Those extra sugars and carbs, combined with insulin resistance will spur plenty of fat storage. A quick demise from cardiovascular problems and the immune system damage of chronic inflammation will follow.
- Sugar and Chemicals for Oxidative Stress: DNA damage caused by oxidation can be boosted further with added sugars and ultra-processed foods. Combine this with minimal anti-oxidative foods to inhibit effective repair.
- Avoid Healthy Oils and Fats: There are measurable benefits from Omega 3 consumption for healthy aging, let’s stick to gulping down factory processed Omega-6 oils instead.
- Damage your Gut Microbiome: Sugar and processed foods will ensure bad species of bacteria dominate your gut microbiome. After all, who really needs those benefits for immune, heart and brain health?
Inversion and Healthy Aging with Exercise
Stopping all exercise immediately is the best way to ensure an unhealthy future.
A close second would be to miss out on one form of exercise or another. Sit down all day to get a boost to your future pain a frailty.
Here is what to focus on for miserable aging with exercise:
- Boost Sarcopenia: As we age, muscle mass decreases. Frailty and falls are a big killer. A quick inversion of maintaining muscles as we age is to ignore resistance training altogether. It is then only a matter of time before a fall or injury sets you on the doom-loop of being bedridden and losing that precious remaining muscle mass.
- Ignore Cardiovascular Health: A little HIIT goes a long way to keeping your heart, lungs, and circulatory system in shape. Avoid both HIIT and Zone 2 cardio for a measurable increase in risk for heart disease and stroke.
- Avoid Stressing those Cells: Exercise creates hormetic stress, which triggers recycling of weak and damaged cells. Staying sedentary is perfect for ensuring that your cellular energy levels stay low.
Bad Sleep Boosts an Early Demise
Quality sleep is the archenemy of anyone actively seeking an early and painful death.
Regular shut-eye boosts brain health and makes it all-too-easy to stay accident free. Sleep also helps with willpower for healthy eating, exercising, and resisting toxic temptations. While great sleep adds an average of five years of healthy lifespan (and helps mood, mental health, and physical performance), we need to invert here.
Anyone looking for an agonising demise should consider the following:
- Disrupt Your Circadian Rhythm: Nothing trashes sleep quality like going to bed and getting up at random times.
- Easily Reduce Sleep Quality with Alcohol and Caffeine: Booze kills sleep quality, especially the most restorative deep sleep – While too much caffeine will keep you awake.
- Horrible Sleep Hygiene: Undermine your sleep with blue light (screens) near bedtime, food or drink before bed and going to bed full of stress and worries.
Invert Your Healthy Aging Plans with Toxic Chemicals
It is rare that society congratulates smokers. When it comes to the race to death and disease in middle-age and beyond – smokers win hands-down.
Don’t worry if you don’t smoke, toxins that will destroy your health are everywhere.
Here are the top opportunities to enlist chemical help in an early death:
- Smoking: Would the last person to challenge the fact that smoking is suicidal please turn off the lights on their way out…
- Alcohol: As someone who loves red wine, it pains me to write this bullet. No, alcohol is not healthy in small doses, those studies that show these effects are thin (at best). It is a toxin and best enjoyed in tiny / infrequent doses.
- Sugar: A repeat from the food section, though a reminder for anyone that did not get the memo yet – sugar is highly toxic. The amount added to processed foods is bordering on criminal. Chemical food additives are another source of ill-health.
- Environmental Toxins: Chemical cleaning products, air pollution, industrial pollutants and microplastics will all speed up your demise.
How Community and Psychology Contribute to Early Death
Speeding up the onset of chronic diseases gets a huge boost from social isolation. To properly invert, you should immediately ditch your friends, alienate your loved ones, and stop attending any social events (especially those you enjoy).
- An increase in dementia rates
- Stroke and heart attack risks significantly boosted.
- Higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide
Add to this that living alone means suffering a later-life fall is dangerous. Lack of that loving spouse to push you into seeing a doctor could also contribute.
Imagine being isolated, insulin resistant, full of visceral fat, sedentary, smoking and with a sugar-heavy diet. That sounds like the perfect inversion of a long and healthy life to me.
Still Seeking Speedy Survival Stoppers? Try These!
But wait, there’s more! Let’s top off inverting the healthy aging process with some important extras:
- Avoid Preventative Screening
- Take Supplements Without Measuring Levels
- Gorge on the Latest Fad Anti-Aging Supplements
- Ignore Symptoms of Chronic Diseases
- Avoid Sunscreen
Inversion and Health Aging: Enough Joking Around – What Comes Next?
There is an element of tragedy in this tongue-in-cheek list of how to accelerate disease and early death.
The tragedy is that an overwhelming majority of people are firmly on this fast-track.
They are unlikely to realise it beyond having vague plans for becoming healthy one day. And even more unlikely to change (until it is too late).
If ‘inversion’ of your own behaviour highlights areas of concern, here is how I’d proceed:
- Pick one behaviour, a small one.
- Review the science, facts can be powerful.
- Develop a new habit that turns a damaging behaviour around.
- Repeat for another area.
The best thing about inversion is that it works for many different behaviours.
Feeling lonely? Write down what someone would need to do be become isolated, bored, and friendless.
Wish your finances were better? Write down what you’d need to do to have no savings and pay extra interest to banks.
More Practical Guides to Healthy Aging: