Friday, April 9, 2010

Healthy You Now

A Blog I Wrote for Healthy You Now

Lighten Up on Yourself
By Martha Frankel and Janea Padilha

Excerpt from BRAZILIAN SEXY: Secrets to Living a Gorgeous and Confident Life

It seems that we women are always killing ourselves over something. Is there one woman who doesn’t say, “My life will start to be good as soon as I…”? And then we have a dozen things that fit right in to complete that sentence. As soon as I lose ten pounds; as soon as I make some more money; as soon as I find the right man; as soon as I finish remodeling the kitchen; as soon as I start working out every day. As soon as… As soon as… As soon as… We give ourselves no leeway, no avenue to feel that everything is good just the way it is, right now. We seldom look around and think, Now is a good time in my life. Maybe not perfect, but pretty close.

If our kids don’t do well in first grade, we are already talking about the difficulty he or she will have getting accepted into a good college. If we sleep in, we feel like we have wasted the whole day. We are so rigid that sometimes it seems like we might just snap. And the truth is that all that stress does add up-that’s why women are so at risk for high blood pressure and stroke.
Image: Brazilian Sexy Book Cover

I had a client who came in one day in baggy pants and a huge shirt. I could see that she was feeling very bad about something. We started to talk and she finally told me that she couldn’t stand herself because she had gained a lot of weight after she stopped smoking. She told me that she didn’t want to buy any clothes in her new size because then she would be committing to being fat, that maybe she wasn’t going to lose the weight and she would always be that heavy. She could barely meet my eyes, and her diminished self confidence turned into tears and she was crying so hard. I told her that she had to stand up straight, not to hide her face, and embrace this great thing she had done. Although her physical appearance did not match the image she wanted, to stop smoking is a huge accomplishment. There are people who try for years and years and fail, but she had done it! I told her to be proud of her accomplishment, not ashamed of one of the effects; besides, her determination and discipline was her real beauty. The extra weight? It will go away.

I made her promise that she would go out and buy some pants that really fit her, some blouses that were not so big that two other people could be in there with her. Because oversized clothes do not make you look smaller, despite what a lot of women think. I wasn’t saying that she should wear skintight clothes, but she should wear something that really fit, that flattered her. Buying clothes in her size would only make her feel better, not worse.

When she walked into the salon a month later, she looked like she had lost half the weight. When I asked her how she did it, she admitted that she hadn’t lost one pound. Her clothes fit her properly and looked so much better on her that it made her seem as though she had slimmed down. And because she made the choice to focus on her accomplishment, she was standing straighter and no longer had big circles under her eyes. She looked like all the weight of the world had been lifted. She was finally able to see herself for the dynamic, wonderful woman she was. She stopped apologizing for being overweight, and she realized that when people saw her, they liked what they saw. No one was judging her the way she was judging herself. Isn’t that always the case?

If you are always uncomfortable in your own body, if you are spending all your time wishing you looked different or had different hair or a different body, well, that all comes through. Having faith in yourself, recognizing that you aren’t perfect but you are the best you can be for now will change the way you stand, the way you move, and the way you carry yourself. Believing in yourself is the foundation of real beauty.

Martha Frankel has interviewed actors (Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Watts), writers (Richard Ford, T.C. Boyle), directors (Spike Lee, Nicolas Roeg), musicians (Branford Marsalis, Mariah Carey), gods (Elizabeth Taylor, Robert De Niro), and supposed monsters (Lee Atwater, Mike Tyson), for magazines and newspapers all around the world. Her memoir, Hats & Eyeglasses, was called "Intimate and exuberant" by O, The Oprah Magazine. Visit her website:

1 comment:

Ruby Rose said...

Martha, I had emailed you re: a completely different blog entry... re: the large and wonderful painting that you own. [I used to be dear friends with the painter from Vieques as I mentioned in my email, which I do hope you received!] BUT, I revisited your blog tonight and found this entry, about a friend of yours, a woman not so comfortable in her own skin now and have begun to consider how to go about feeling better about myself while beginning the adventure of weight loss at age 60. Not liking one's body and how we fit our selves, our heart and minds, into our bodies... that is conundrum for so many women AND men. I appreciated reading your thoughts on this so emotionally charged and sensitive issue. Your friend has a very dear friend in you.. She is lucky! Thank you. All my best regards, and hope to hear back from you re: Terry's painting.
Ruby Rose (Pamela)