Counterclockwise: My Year of Hypnosis, Hormones, Dark Chocolate and Other Adventures in the World of Anti-Aging

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Overview

In this age of lunchtime lifts, wrinkle-erasing injections, furrow fillers, and lip plumpers, there’s no question that anyone who aims to look younger easily can. But Lauren Kessler wants something more than to follow the cosmetic path to youthfulness. She wants to live with energy, stamina, vitality, resilience, and health for a very, very long time. Her goal: to reverse her biological age from the inside out.

Guided by both intense curiosity and healthy skepticism, a sense of ...

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Counterclockwise: My Year of Hypnosis, Hormones, Dark Chocolate, and Other Adventures in the World of Anti-Aging

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Overview

In this age of lunchtime lifts, wrinkle-erasing injections, furrow fillers, and lip plumpers, there’s no question that anyone who aims to look younger easily can. But Lauren Kessler wants something more than to follow the cosmetic path to youthfulness. She wants to live with energy, stamina, vitality, resilience, and health for a very, very long time. Her goal: to reverse her biological age from the inside out.

Guided by both intense curiosity and healthy skepticism, a sense of adventure and a sense of humor, Kessler sets out to discover just what’s required to prolong those healthy, vital, and productive years called the "health span." In her yearlong journey, Kessler investigates and fully immerses herself in the hope and hype of the anti-aging movement. She delves into the new science of "biomarkers"—objective, measurable indications of how old you really are on the inside—going as far as getting a muscle biopsy to determine the state of her mitochondria, the parts of cells that control metabolism. She tries Tabata training, calorie restriction, a diet centered on 20 superfoods, hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), hypnosis to achieve a youthful mindset, and much more. In a voice that speaks to every woman who feels her date of birth and sense of self have little in common, Kessler explores her own fears, attitudes, and assumptions about aging. Counterclockwise is a thoughtful, hilarious, and informative tale of what’s really possible when you get serious about taking charge of how well and how quickly you age.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Kessler (My Teenage Werewolf), director of the University of Oregon’s multimedia narrative journalism graduate program, takes on the marketing, (sometimes pseudo-) science, and the psychology of the anti-aging industry in this funny personal tale. Game to explore every possible manner of aging gracefully, she interviews plastic surgeons and research scientists, attends conferences, has her mitochondria and telomeres tested, downs supplements and “superfoods,” takes online self-assessments, and tries new diet and exercise plans. It should be noted, however, that Kessler didn’t have many obstacles—other than a ticking clock—to overcome: she isn’t ill or obese; she’s just a typical middle-aged American woman in decent shape who would like to do a little better at achieving “compression of morbidity,” i.e. not necessarily living longer, but living better. In the end, she sidesteps the most extreme solutions, and the successful results of the metabolic tests she takes after a year of exploration reveal that the best options we have for slowing our biological clocks are avoiding stress, eating healthy, and exercising. Unsurprising, sure, but her journey through the temptations of quick-fix anti-aging options treats the fountain-of-youth–seeking side of us with humor and compassion. Agent: David Black, David Black Agency. (June)
From the Publisher
"The human smile is an anti-gravity device. Kessler’s delightful, witty book actually takes 20 years off your face!"—Mary Roach, author of Stiff and Gulp

"Lauren Kessler’s bold, bad-ass take on aging solves one of our great modern dilemmas: how to stay young and vibrant without spending the rest of our lives obsessing over how to stay young and vibrant. I feel a decade younger just having read it."—Karen Karbo, author of How Georgia Became O’Keeffe

"Lauren Kessler has journeyed to the far frontiers of the anti-aging movement and, using herself as an ever-willing guinea pig, delivers insights that are at once funny, reassuring, practical, and real."—Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter

"Counterclockwise is an amateur cultural anthropologist’s smart, inspiring narrative. It identifies the sensible, the ridiculous, and the dangerous and ultimately teaches that your birth date rarely reflects true age."—Sally Koslow, author of Slouching Toward Adulthood

"Finally a woman writer takes on lady aging without flinching. Honest, playful, and smart, Lauren Kessler’s Counterclockwise gives us a chance to read the story of our own lives without cringing and cosmetic surgery. Run, don’t walk, to buy this book before your next birthday."—Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Chronology of Water and Dora: A Headcase "Kessler takes on the marketing, (sometimes pseudo-) science, and the psychology of the anti-aging industry in this funny personal tale. Game to explore every possible manner of aging gracefully, she interviews plastic surgeons and research scientists, attends conferences, has her mitochondria and telomeres tested, downs supplements and "superfoods," takes online self-assessments, and tries new diet and exercise plans. Her journey through the temptations of quick-fix anti-aging options treats the fountain-of-youth–seeking side of us with humor and compassion."—Publishers Weekly

"An entertaining and informative investigation into growing old."—Kirkus Reviews "[Kessler’s] breezy style conceals an aptitude for reasoned analysis, and she incorporates a cogent summary of clinical research on aging into her tour of the fountain grounds, a one-woman guinea pig gamely trotting down a dozen different paths in search of the bubbling waters."—New York Times Science Times

"A fascinating new book…Essential reading for every woman who wonders whether problems ranging from brain fog to wrinkles can be reversed as she ages…incorporating humor, scientific studies and a sense of adventure, Lauren examines options ranging from calorie deprivation to super foods to hypnosis to dark chocolate…Take charge of your health and your options for feeling and looking younger with Lauren’s ultimate guide to anti-aging empowerment."—Examiner.com

"You could not hope for a smarter, savvier, more committed guide to the multibillion-dollar anti-aging industry than Kessler."—The Oregonian

"There is no ready-made travel guide — it’s every health explorer for herself out there. But arming yourself with a water bottle and [COUNTERCLOCKWISE] is a good way to head out on the expedition. If you can be half as diligent and honest about yourself as Kessler — you’ll learn plenty along the way."—The Seattle Times

"It took me less than a chapter to discover that [Kessler’s] year-long search into the $88 billion anti-aging industry was both great fun and highly informative…She writes with dry wit and humor, evoking a reality most of us share."—Eugene Weekly

"Have you ever found yourself glued to television commercials that promise miracle fat fighting after 40, P90x abs or creams that make you look better at 48 than you did at 28 and wondered, ‘Should I buy it?’ You might want to stop at the bookstore first…Counterclockwise is chock-full of good info and most of all, a writer who is not afraid to examine the questions we all ask ourselves as we look in the mirror but would never speak in mixed company. It’s money well spent."—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"[Kessler is] an intrepid explorer of all things anti-aging." —Psychology Today

"Kessler is fun to read as she perkily pushes herself to become biologically younger."—HARPER’S

"There’s no better season than the present to read books that bring good tidings, tested strategies and sound advice about how to live healthier, happier lives in the year—and years—ahead. Here are our recommendations for the year’s best books for staying fit in all ways as you explore the territory ahead…. In her informative and witty ‘Counterclockwise: My Year of Hypnosis, Hormones, Dark Chocolate, and Other Adventures in the World of Anti-Aging,’ journalist Lauren Kessler sets out to find ‘the best research and the worst scams’ in the wannabe-fountain-of-youth marketplace."—WALL STREET JOURNAL

From the Publisher
"The human smile is an anti-gravity device. Kessler’s delightful, witty book actually takes 20 years off your face!" –Mary Roach, author of Stiff and Gulp

"Lauren Kessler’s bold, bad-ass take on aging solves one of our great modern dilemmas: how to stay young and vibrant without spending the rest of our lives obsessing over how to stay young and vibrant. I feel a decade younger just having read it." –Karen Karbo, author of How Georgia Became O’Keeffe

"Lauren Kessler has journeyed to the far frontiers of the anti-aging movement and, using herself as an ever-willing guinea pig, delivers insights that are at once funny, reassuring, practical, and real." –Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter

"Counterclockwise is an amateur cultural anthropologist’s smart, inspiring narrative. It identifies the sensible, the ridiculous, and the dangerous and ultimately teaches that your birth date rarely reflects true age." –Sally Koslow, author of Slouching Toward Adulthood

"Finally a woman writer takes on lady aging without flinching. Honest, playful, and smart, Lauren Kessler’s Counterclockwise gives us a chance to read the story of our own lives without cringing and cosmetic surgery. Run, don’t walk, to buy this book before your next birthday." –Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Chronology of Water and Dora: A Headcase

Kirkus Reviews
One woman's quest to halt the aging process. In today's society, old age is equated with being "weak, sickly, sexless, boring, crabby," writes Kessler (Graduate Program, Multimedia Narrative Journalism/Univ. of Oregon; My Teenage Werewolf: A Mother, a Daughter, a Journey Through the Thicket of Adolescence, 2010, etc.). To be young, by contrast, is to be "healthy, vibrant, sexy, creative, adventurous." Wanting to forestall the effects of aging for as long as possible, the author used herself as a guinea pig to explore the myriad ways this can be done…to a certain extent. What she uncovered was possibly more than she bargained for, as she navigated plastic surgery, hormone replacement therapy, fad and extremely low-calorie diets, colonics and cleansings. By studying her own aging process at the cellular level, Kessler gained a better understanding of how she was moving through life. Her extensive research on the thousands of approaches being used to slow a natural process reveal that staying physically fit through aerobic and weight-bearing exercises, eating healthy foods and getting sufficient sleep top the list of effective anti-aging methods. Kessler uses humor to help readers digest the information and develop their own strategies to combat the inevitable physical decline of advancing age while maintaining a high quality of life. Growing older is part of the process of life, she reminds us; the goal is not looking younger, but feeling younger--to have, as she writes, "an abundance of energy--physical, intellectual, and creative…continuing to feel in the thick of things." In her view, it's all about "choosing to do something with this prolonged health span, about making use of a fit body and an agile mind." An entertaining and informative investigation into growing old.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781609613471
  • Publisher: Rodale Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/4/2013
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 782,854
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Lauren Kessler is the author of My Teenage Werewolf: A Mother, a Daughter, a Journey Through the Thicket of Adolescence; award-winning Dancing with Rose; Washington Post bestseller Clever Girl; and Los Angeles Times bestseller The Happy Bottom Riding Club. Her journalism has appeared in the New York Times Magazine; Los Angeles Times Magazine; O, the Oprah Magazine; Ladies’ Home Journal; Woman’s Day; Prevention; and Salon. A national speaker and workshop leader, she directs the graduate program in multimedia narrative journalism at the University of Oregon. She lives in Eugene, Oregon, with her writer husband, Tom Hager, her teenage (werewolf) daughter, four carefree chickens, and a cat that thinks it’s a dog.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted June 4, 2013

    Lauren Kessler¿s Counter Clockwise - ¿My Year of Hypnosis, Hormo

    Lauren Kessler’s Counter Clockwise - “My Year of Hypnosis, Hormones, Dark Chocolate, and Other Adventures in the World of Anti-Aging”, as her book is subtitled, is an odyssey of discovery… and a search for the truth behind the hype… through the anti-aging ‘realm’.  A market that some estimate, in the next couple of years, will exceed $200 billion in revenue.




    Lauren explores the pills, supplements, creams, lotions and assorted devices pushed on a largely unsuspecting public that is in search of the fountain of youth.  She tackles fitness and exercise regimens that would make even the most hardcore Marine boot camp drill sergeant toss in the towel and head for the lockers.  The lure of cosmetic surgery, guaranteed to take years off your body (if not your mind), along with thousands of your hard-earned dollars, sings its siren song to Lauren.  Does she succumb?  




    Diet.  When we hear that word, most of us think in terms of losing weight, but remember this… ‘diet’ is not just a verb.  Diet, in the noun form, is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and if your quest is to ‘turn back the hands of time’, what, when and how you eat is even more important.  Think you know what a superfood is?  Want the real lowdown on dark chocolate and red wine?  




    Even a good diet doesn’t mean your body, and mind, can’t use a little help from the supplement market.  Lauren has done a great deal of research in the area of supplements and come up with her own list.  I think this is a list worth paying attention to.




    Exercise… how important is it?  Lauren gives us the ‘sweaty truth’




    I hesitate to say that there is one single thing that will ‘turn back time’, that will slow down that clock and turn you into an ‘anti-ager’… but in a very real sense there is.




    One thing, from which everything else flows…




    Attitude.  As is pointed out in the book… “expectation rules outcome”.  This is a simple, yet deeply profound truth that, it seems, humans need constant reminding of.  What we think… how we think… is what we become.  




    Attitude.  




    Getting into the proper mindset.  Why does anything fail?  Diets… exercise… jobs…. relationships… all have one thing in common for not succeeding.  Our attitude.  If you don’t ‘expect’ to meet that weight goal… if you don’t ‘expect’ to finish that marathon or 10K race… if you don’t ‘expect’ to get that job you want… you won’t!  It’s that simple.  You can’t just want something to happen… you have to make it happen.  All of the research and advice Lauren offers in Counter Clockwise will help you make things happen.




    Think young… live young… be young.  Remember… “expectation rules outcome.” 




    We can ‘turn back time’.  But…




    You can’t just want something to happen… you have to make it happen.  




    After reading Counter Clockwise, I recommend it without hesitation.  I don’t say this about a lot of books I read, but this one… it will be life-changing.  Lauren covers all the bases here with good solid advice, as well as some resources, to set you on the path to a more fulfilling life.  Lauren's keen sense of humour, and occasional snarkiness - gotta love it! - made this a thoroughly enjoyable read, as well as being very informative and educational.




    One final thought… 




    “Lauren, I have to side with your daughter on this… don’t mess with my smoothies!”








    Thank you,












    Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw
    4 June 2013
    Writing under a large mushroom, somewhere in the Pacific Northwest

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted May 24, 2014

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