'7 Years Younger' offers map to retaining youthful looks

| Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012, 9:03 p.m.

You want tight and radiant skin, pep and energy, and a body and mind that can do what they did in the 20s — no matter how old you are now.

Women's perpetual search for the fountain of youth — a goal with many paths and elements — might be fulfilled in a one-stop book coming out from the editors of Good Housekeeping. At least, the authors say, the program can wind the clock back on aging by seven years.

“We're very much a youth culture,” says Jennifer Cook, senior executive editor for New York City-based Good Housekeeping. “There's also that sense of wanting to feel good and look as good as you can. I think that looking as good as you can is tied to looking energetic.”

“7 Years Younger: The Revolutionary, 7-Week Anti-Aging Plan” — which Hearst Communications, Inc. is releasing on Jan. 1 — maps out a multifaceted program to looking and feeling seven years younger in seven weeks. The book covers topics like skin care, nutrition and diet, exercise, hair care, sleep, and it includes healthy recipes.

Good Housekeeping's “Dream Team” of experts — including the magazine's editors, and scientists at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute — put together the book over the past year and a half, after getting strong reader feedback from the monthly “7 Years Younger” column that ran in Good Housekeeping, and later in other Hearst magazines including Redbook, Woman's Day and Country Living.

“We just had a tremendous response from readers,” Cook says. “We put together a book that would address all the areas of anti-aging that a woman might be concerned about.”

In the institute, women ages 35 to 80 tested out many anti-aging products, and the results are published in the book.

“One of the great things about having a panel of testers ... is there are real women who actually went through the program,” Cook says. “They have their tips and their advice. ... I think it's nice for anybody picking up the book to see how other women did it, how people who had very busy lives ... managed to fit in the time to take on the program, and had great results in just seven weeks.”

Women who tried the system reported a reduction of wrinkles and age spots, loss of weight and inches, and an increase in energy.

“It works from the inside out,” Cook says. “It's like getting a new lease on life.

“It's not a philosophical book,” she says. “There are dozens and dozens of good ideas and tips.”

If following the entire, comprehensive “7 Years Younger” program — which has a Facebook page with more than 10,000 fans — seems overwhelming, that's all right, Cook says. You can focus on just portions of it, like skin care or diet, and still see results in those areas.

“You don't have to tackle everything if you don't want to,” Cook says. “We really wanted to create a program that had small changes that would have big and positive results, but also where you could do things incrementally.”

Why the number 7? It's neither unrealistic, like 10 years of age-reversal might be, nor too modest, like five years, Cook says. The research showed success with seven years.

“We wanted something that was scientifically based,” she says. “We realized we could do something in seven weeks in seven different areas. ... Number seven became even more powerful.”

The pressure on women to look younger seems to start earlier and earlier, and women often are seeking anti-aging products in their mid-30s, Cook says. Aging can creep up on you: One day, after a workout at the gym, you might look in the mirror, spot a wrinkle or a gray hair, and say, “Whoah! When did this happen?”

Women can take the equivalent of an extended spa break by following the program, Cook says.

“I'm no longer going to be a doormat for my family,” says Cook, echoing what readers can say. “I'm going to take care of myself.”

Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at kgormly@tribweb.com or 412-320-7824.

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