These are the good old days

Gracey HitchcockSinger and songwriter Carly Simon said it very well in her classic love ballad Anticipation: “These are the good old days.” Darlings, these days there are a million things — from your omni-present cell phone and facebook to everyday stress — contriving pull you out of the moment. Resist. Learn to savor the sweetness every day, for you will never pass this way again. 

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Gracey Hitchcock


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Are you crazy about food –Or is food making you crazy?

Kirstie Alley  a saga of food fuelled crazinessI have just finished reading a fascinating memoir of a food-obsessed family. It’s called Hungry, A Mother and Daughter Fight Anorexia by Sheila and Lisa Himmel. The blurb on the back reads, “Sheila Himmel used to love irony. It made for the best stories. But Sheila found it harder to appreciate when she was reviewing exotic cuisines from bistros to brasserie, while her daughter, Lisa, was at home starving herself”. Sheila Himmel is an award-winning food critic in food-obsessed northern California; Lisa is anorexic.

I have known few women who are not, in one way or another, obsessed with food. Even those who disdain food are in their own way obsessed. The challenge most of us face is to turn our love of food a healthful and joyful lifestyle. Unlike alcoholics and drug addicts, those of us who struggle to shed an occasional few extra pounds or more cannot give up or avoid the source of the problem – food, glorious food.
An intelligent look a food issuesThe question is how and when does food become a problem? What is too big to be healthy or beautiful?  How do we learn to embrace food and ourselves in this contradictory and judgmental world?
It seems North Americans are crazy about food, can’t handle healthful eating. Obesity is on the rise. We know that being too thin is not good for you either. Queen Latifah is a wonderful example of a stunning full-figured woman in the public eye. Even as a Jenny Craig spokeswoman, she is not super thin, but she is fabulous and healthy. I have many friends who are generously built and fit women. They look fabulous and are healthy. These women eat well and work out.
Unfortunately, I know many women who are so unhappy about their weight. Their size has so damaged their self-esteem it has negatively affected their lives, relationships, and health. I also know a few women — like myself — who have had a narrow escape from a legacy of weight issues.
At a curvy five-feet tall, I was destined to have to watch my watch my weight. I was lucky to have been was born a fashionista. I started reading Vogue in grammar school and idealized the eccentric editor Diana Vreeland. I decided early on I would do whatever was necessary to look the way I wanted.
But I grew up with a mother who did not like to cook, a woman who hated her weight and shape. My mother binged on ice cream and adored junk food!  She periodically joined Weight Watchers. We should have lived on Mixed-Messages Lane. Luckily, I was surrounded by a community of women who dieted and exercised sensibly. They talked openly of the pitfalls of getting fat as they sipped Fresca. 
It’s interesting to note that the friends I grew up with are fit and active to this day. I am sure it is in great part due the active way we were raised. We learned that eating well and staying active was important, as were appearances. No one minced words about it either.
It was socially unacceptable to be lazy, unfit, or even to embrace a bad diet.
Things seem to go wrong when a young woman, usually a teenager, suddenly gains weight. I have been astounded at the cruel remarks some of my own friends made to their own daughters — or allowed family members to make — regarding sudden body changes. The impact on these girls has been devastating.
It is heartbreaking to watch parents react with anger and rejection to their daughters’ weight gains. Sometimes it is sadly ironic, when the one or more of the parents also has body issues. In one instance, a previously adoring father rejected his daughter so coldly she was never the same. She became a borderline anorexic and developed many social and relationship issues. She had been smart and charming, but sadly she became bitter, and had many problems.
Often families are well-meaning. Much of this kind of behavior is unconscious, as horrific as that may seem. Sometimes it is a form of child abuse.  I know two unhappy, middle-aged women who can never silence the sound of their own mothers’ cruelly-critical voices. The damage their mothers did to their psyches as well as their bodies has sabotaged most their relationships.
My own fitness guru ChristineOthers like me escaped all this narrowly. We learned to embrace joyful, healthful lifestyles very different than those of our own families. We found exercise and diet mentors to help.
One friend, who suffered many small insults from dear ones when she gained weight after high school, successfully shaped herself into a bombshell. She wryly noted that this feat earned her more kudos from supposedly ‘intellectual family and friends” than all her previous academic accomplishments.  It was a good life lesson.
Another friend who is fabulous after raising four children told me she has always discussed fitness and health with them. She thinks you have to. Her offspring all have different body types, but none has weight issues. They have seen her – and her husband — step on a scale daily, diet, and exercise. 
Darlings, to be as happy and fabulous as you deserve be in this life, you need to be — as the French say — bien dans sa peau.  You need feel well in your skin. You need the tools to be fit, vibrant and healthful. Remember you are lovely and fabulous at any weight. The sad women I spoke about were done in by psychological damage, not their bodies. If weight challenges your happiness or health, get help.
Dr. Brian Alman TrusageLosing weight alone can be hard. TruSage is one option. It is an affordable, professional medical support system designed by a successful weight loss doctor. They can help you if you have issues.  We know many women who love Jenny Craig too.  My favourite way to stay in shape in Toronto was to go to Christine’s all-women’s health club.  I can always lose a few pounds or just start feeling fabulous.
Darlings, you are fabulous. Your beauty should shine from within. Be proud of your own uniqueness. You deserve a beautiful, healthy, delicious life.



Life should be delicious

Darlings, I often tell you that life should be sweet. I believe it to my core. But it should also be savory and delicious; food is an important part of life. Meals with friends and family can be a rich part of life and help make it special. It so important to learn the true power of food and to be able enjoy it. It is also vital to embrace your own beauty and that of those around you. Life is too short to worry about what you eat or don’t eat. Food should not be crazy-making. It’s not healthy to think of food as good or bad (I mean real food; not processed stuff – that is not food and it is bad). If weight or food issues are stopping you from living life to the fullest; get help. You deserve it. Even if you are slim and look great, but don’t enjoy life or food, get help. Darlings, life should be delicious – and very sweet!

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Gracey Hitchcock
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