As someone who thinks a lot about the effect of exercise and eating and whether or not it will do anything to prolong my life, the headline in the NY Times immediately caught my attention:

Eat up: Skin-and-Bones Diet

Fails to Extend Monkeys’ Lives

Well, I thought, that’s kind of a drag but not as much of a drag as it was for the poor monkeys involved in the experiment. For 25 years, these monkeys were kept “semi-starved,” the Times wrote:

“The males’ weights were so low they were the equivalent of a 6-foot-tall man who tipped the scales at just 120 to 133 pounds.”

See the idea for years has been that, if we humans could only restrict our calories each day to about 700 or so, we’d live much much longer. Severe calorie restriction was said to be the key to the Fountain of Youth and I was banking on it. Of course, if you’ve ever seen me in real life or in photos, you know that I’ve yet to put my grand plan into action but I was thinking about it long and hard. I was convinced that one day — very soon — I was going to more or less eat nothing but rice crackers and grapefruits and lose half my size. Thus, I would live forever or at least as close as I could get.

There were a few problems with my plan. I love to eat way too much and I wasn’t sure life was worth living if I had to exist on rice crackers and grapefruits. But the idea of it kept me going. I was thinking that, somewhere around the age of, I don’t know, 85 or so, I was going to put my plan into action and live forever.

Now, however, that plan is dashed. If it didn’t work for the monkeys, it sure as hell wouldn’t work for me. I celebrated by having an ice cream sundae because, after all, if I’m not going to live forever, I might as well enjoy this life while I can.


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