Sticking Together

Posted: 2344 days ago in Sex & Relationships


My best childhood friend was doing her residency in radiology while she was pregnant.

Her boss, another female doctor, made it very clear that she was not to expect any concession for her condition, and in fact, was harder on her than any of the other doctors.

Really, sister? Was that necessary?

Michele is one of the smartest and hardest-working women I know, who does way more than is expected of her every time. It upsets me still that some women seem to delight in taking other women down. I am definitely not a flag-waving feminist, but don’t we have enough to deal with, considering glass-ceilings and pay inequality? Wouldn’t it be nice to know that you have guaranteed support from your home team?

We’re not in high-school any more, Dorothy.

Tearing someone down does not build you up. Some men and women alike don’t deserve your support, but undermining another woman out of jealousy or spitefulness does not look good on you.

I personally pinch myself every day when I think of the team I was blessed with throughout my time in practice: three smart, accomplished, and beautiful (ahem) female doctors, supported by equally smart, accomplished and beautiful support team members. Although we don’t work together now, we love each other dearly, worked like a well-oiled machine, and still support one another to this day.

So, just be kind to your own kind. There is a whole lot more to gain in building each other up, than there is in tearing someone down.

You feel me, ladies?

Don’t Die Trying

Posted: 2695 days ago in Everything Else

dontdietryingThere is no trying, there is only doing. Have any of you ever said to yourselves, “I’ll try to exercise”? Uh-huh, sure you will. I’ll bet you’ll, “try to wake up earlier,” too. Let me know how that works out for you.

Here is the thing: You either do something or you don’t. All of the in-between excuses aren’t doing anyone, any good.

Even though I live my life by this philosophy, it doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot to learn. To be honest with you, I’m only saying this out of love, and it’s all because of this article that recently came across my virtual desk. It made me realize that the more I, or anyone for that matter, let “I tried” be an excuse – the more likely we are to end our lives with some regret.

If I had my life to live over, I truly wouldn’t change a thing (even if in some moments, I was cursing like a truck driver!). However, I’ve got quite a few miles left in me, and I’m not sure that I won’t have some of those regrets if I don’t change the current path I’m on. For you lazy girls who didn’t click on the link, here are the top five regrets:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Do any of these resonate with you? Number 4 hit me in the solar plexus. I’ve moved around a lot, and to be honest with you, I think some of those moves were me running away from something instead of running towards it. The fallout for me is too few long-term friendships, so it’s my goal to work on that.

What do you need to work on? Thinner thighs take a back seat to these greater concerns, don’t they? Nike did get it right, girlfriends. Just do it. Whatever it takes to be happy, and to live a life free of regret.

The Scale Is Not Your Friend

Posted: 2697 days ago in Wellness

thescaleisnotyourfriendThis is from a girlfriend of mine; an incredibly hot, 40-something woman who took up competitive body-building a few years ago:

“So it has been almost 10 weeks in my contest prep and the scale says I’ve lost only 3lbs. I had my body fat tested yesterday, and I have put on 9lbs of muscle and lost 12lbs of body fat!! That means I have lost 9% body fat, which makes me 12% body fat. Proof that the scale is not your friend!!”

She’s right, and I also know this to be true.

In the last 20 years, I have accumulated jeans in every size from 2-14. Please don’t judge me. In that time, I had two kids in two years, went through a divorce, started competing in triathlons, and got remarried. Oh, and I have a habit of spending my winters in bed, watching bad TV and eating bagels. My balance point seems to be in the size 4-6 range, and I am happy to report that I have been there for about the last 10 years.

However, here’s the funny part: back when I used to step on the scale as a benchmark for how “thin” I was, regardless of my pants size, my weight was pretty much the same. It sounds crazy! How can I weigh the same in a size 4 as I did in a 14? But I did! (And duh, yes, I tried several scales because I couldn’t believe it myself). I’ve been a ‘fluffy’ size 14 at 140 lbs, and a svelte size 4 at the same!

Here’s the deal. Muscle weighs more than fat because it’s denser. So, the same amount of muscle will look smaller – and tighter! – than fat. A pound of popcorn kernels takes up much less real estate than a pound of popped corn. You feel me?

To effectively change your body for good, you not only need to change your eating habits (I abhor the word “diet” – it screams of deprivation!), but you also need to exercise to burn calories. More importantly, you need to exercise to build lean muscle mass. The more muscle you build, the more calories you will burn, even at rest! Just know that even though those muscles are sexy, they can cause you to put on a few “pounds”. (I use that word loosely here…)

If the scale is your barometer, and it’s a small number you’re after, you will lose your enthusiasm very quickly, so don’t let that number define you.

My advice to you? Eat well, exercise, and ultimately find your healthy balance point. Then, I order you to find a pair of jeans that make you feel like you belong in the pages of a magazine, and let those jeans be your barometer. When I see a little muffin top squeezing out the top of my Joe’s Jeans, I know I need to clean up my act a bit. On the other hand, if they slide right up without doing the ol’ shimmy-shimmy, I know there’s a big bowl of Ben and Jerry’s with my name on it!

Toss your scale. Eat well. Move more. The only number that should matter is the bargain price you got on those magazine-worthy jeans.

Love ya!

To Go or Not to Go….Commando?

Posted: 2715 days ago in Everything Else

PANTIESI am surely going to hell for this one, but  I can’t keep my opinion to myself about this any longer.

It’s also clear to me that other women are thinking the same thing since I got a text message last night asking me this very question: “Should I or should I not wear underwear under my workout gear?” World peace does not hinge upon the answer to this question. I know. However, I spend about half of my waking hours in spandex of some form, so it is a subject near and dear to my own heart.

Ladies, I applaud ALL of you who get out of the house day after day, week after week, and hit the gym in your spandex. At the same time, I implore you; please check out the rear view before you go! Hardly anything makes me gag more than seeing the VPL’s (Visible Panty Lines) that only your spandex can accentuate.

Now I hear you. Some of that spandex can be stretched rather thin by, ahem, limitations of matter, and the only thing worse than VPLs is VBC (B as in Butt, C as in Crack). Thongs seem like a happy medium, but they can definitely irritate your netherland as you squat, leap and jump through your workout.

What is a girl to do? Alas, I don’t have an answer, only a plea. Consider all options. Perhaps wearing a long t-shirt,  going  commando or wearing those granny panties you know you own. How about doing yoga in dim light and/or the go-to of wearing a thong?

You get the drift.

Skorts are cute and solve the above problems, but then you are faced with exposing your thighs, so go with the lesser of all evils on any given day. Don’t even get me started on the dreaded camel toe.

Just be aware that although you see your front, many others see your back, and don’t you want to look as cute going as coming?

No conversation about foundational garments and exercise would be complete without talking about the “beastie yeasties” (sorry girls, I’m going to continue to offend you). You need to keep Virginia clean and dry if you want to stay healthy down South. What good is having a tight body if you are dealing with a chronic yeast or bladder infection?

Definitely not sexy.

So whatever undergarments you choose to use or not, make sure they have a cotton crotch, and that you get out of them ASAP after exercise. If you wear thongs and this is an issue for you, you should know that they are particularly good at wicking bacteria up inside of you, so you may want to steer clear for a while.

Sorry for the visuals, but us girls have to stick together on certain matters. And for the record, I’m a thong girl myself.

You CAN Handle The Truth

Posted: 2737 days ago in Health

youcanhandlethetruthDoctors lie to their patients all the time, and by lie, I really mean, “lie by omission”.

As I say this, I’m thinking of a patient I had a long time ago that taught me that lesson. She sat in my office, and told me that despite all of the doctors she had seen and all the treatments she’d had for chronic heel pain, both of her heels hurt all the time, for years and years.

So, I took a deep breath. I looked at her and with all the love and kindness I could muster.

And said…

“Sweetheart. Your heels hurt because you’re morbidly obese. They simply weren’t designed to hold up a 400 lb. body.”

She looked at me with total shock and disbelief, and said, “No one has ever told me that. Now hear me, I know I’m a big girl. That’s no secret, but no doctor has ever had the guts to tell me that my feet hurt because I’m fat!”

I said, “Well, I can’t lie to you. That’s why.”

All of the doctors she saw were more willing to give her drugs and procedures to mask the pain, all of which had potentially serious side effects, rather than have an honest and difficult conversation with her about losing weight.

Now flash forward. I’m a mom and a doctor. I doctor my kids fairly regularly, but occasionally, I want a second opinion or another set of eyes on a problem. Case in point: Jules had a lingering cough. Coughs don’t generally bother me, but this was lasting longer and sounded a little more serious than I was comfortable with. So, I took her to my pediatrician whom, by the way, I love very much because he lets me have these difficult conversations with him, and loves me back anyway.

I explained the situation to him, and he said, “Alright, we’ll give her this,” as he proceeds to write her a prescription. My reaction went something like – “Whoa, whoa, whoa. I didn’t come for drugs I came for information.” I was there to make sure I wasn’t missing something, and to find out if he felt strongly whether or not we should intervene in some way.

His reply was, “I think you can safely watch her, and hold off on the medicine unless A, B, and C happen. But quite likely she’ll be better in a week or so.”

I told him, “I’m a little confused. The very first thing you did was tell me to give her medicine, so if she’s quite fine without it, why did you do that?”

To which he said, “Well, I figured you took the time to come in and paid your co-pay, so I assumed you wanted me to do something, as most parents do. Most parents want me to give more than advice. They want me to take action to make their child better.”

I want reiterate that Jule’s pediatrician is not a bad doctor, and the prescription wasn’t a wrong recommendation. It just wasn’t the best recommendation at that time.

He could have said things like:

  • “Let’s practice watchful waiting.”
  • “I think she’ll be fine, but if she gets worse instead of better, come back and see me.”
  • “Try these home remedies.”

I want to make it clear that most doctors practice really good medicine. However, in these days of managed-care and 5-minute office visits, I think to write the prescription first, ask the difficult questions later, is common. I don’t want to be inflammatory, because their intention is to be helpful and to ultimately make their patients better, but to all the moms out there I say this:

Make it your responsibility to get all the information before making a decision, and ask your doctor to be more of a counselor than a prescriber.

You’ve Come A Long Weigh, Baby.

Posted: 2738 days ago in Mirror Mirror

longweighbaby2I was a svelte size 16 with a four-month-old hanging off one breast, and a two-year-old crying for lunch when my mother made the mistake of telling me that when she left the hospital a few days after I was born, she wore her size four pencil skirt. However, she was gracious enough to add that she couldn’t button the top button, so she used a safety pin…

I can still see the smug look on her face when she mentioned that. My mom is not at all cruel, but I still hate her a just a little bit for that.

Generally, you can give two women the identical set of circumstances surrounding their pregnancy, a.k.a. the same diet and exercise routines. One, will look like my mom, and the other will look like me.

C’est la vie.

I think that’s why it’s our job as women to:
a.) Not compare ourselves to others, and;
b.) Not let ourselves be defined by a number.

I was so adamant about not being defined that when I would go for my check-ups with my midwife, I would intentionally stand on the scale backwards so I wouldn’t see how much I weighed.

What was I going to do, eat less?!

There’s no perfect number for how much weight you should gain when pregnant. Yes there are averages and guidelines, but I’ve always considered myself to be above average (*wink, wink*). In this case it was probably true.

So, if you eat real foods, in appropriate amounts, and basically eat when you’re truly hungry (and not bored, or sad, or feeling entitled to eat for two), you’ll gain exactly how much you should to have a healthy baby.

This is not rocket science! Give yourself time and be honest with yourself. While pregnant with our girls, I ate really, really well. For dinner I’d have a dark-green salad with salmon, or chicken and tons of veggies. Afterwards, to satisfy my cravings, I would have McDonald’s french fries (with Francesca) and Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food (with Jules) (I’m not really proud of that, but it is what it is!).

Let’s be clear though; it wasn’t a reward. I just ate well, and if I had a craving, I filled it. If you’re someone who wants that sort of thing all the time, then I’d consider whether you’re feeding your mind and not your body.

My message to you ladies – be healthy, and if you are healthy, give yourself a pat on the back. Please also remember that there is just one you, and only you hold the manual to know what that truly looks like.

Tell Me No Secrets, I’ll Tell You No Lies

Posted: 2742 days ago in Health

tell me no secretsWhy do we do the things we do?

Better yet, why don’t we do what we know is good for us? It certainly isn’t for lack of available information. Pretty much everything we need to know about being healthy is out there – so why don’t we do it?

Day after day, patients come in and ask me what they can do to be healthier.

I flip it. I ask them to tell me three things they KNOW they need to do to be healthier. Guess what? They can often rattle off TEN things! So why do they need my advice?!

Here’s what I hear: “I drink nothing but Diet Coke all day, I don’t exercise, and I hate my husband.” Or, “I sit 18 hours a day, I never eat until dinnertime, and I only sleep 4 hours a night.”

Duh. And they wonder why they are sick? Most chronic disease roots itself in LIFESTYLE CHOICES. Nothing I do TO a patient can overcome poor lifestyle choices. Sure, treating them gives them the best chance they have to stay on this side of the dirt, but unless they make major changes, they will never be truly well.

Health crisis often motivates lifestyle change, but I challenge you to start those healthier habits now. Think about what those changes will bring to you: wouldn’t you love to have more energy to play with your kids? Wouldn’t it be nice to feel more attractive at a healthier weight? How nice would it be to live without daily headaches, anxiety or pain?

A better life is possible, but you will not likely find it in a pill or patch, or at the hands of someone else. You will – you must – find the courage within yourself to admit that you need to make changes, and the strength to do it.

Beer Goggles of Pregnancy

Posted: 2756 days ago in Parenting

Beer Goggles of Pregnancy

I was pregnant about a hundred years ago, back when Demi Moore was on the cover of Vanity Fair, naked, and pregnant (with Gossip, Tofu, or some other Moore-Willis baby).

She was beautiful and quite likely airbrushed within an inch of her satiny smooth skin. “I feel that beautiful! I should take a picture like that,” I thought.

Hmmmph. Sure I should have…

Well, I did. And thankfully this was before digital photography, because I didn’t get the pictures developed until AFTER said pregnancy was over. Let me explain…

My ripe belly was the ONLY part of me that might qualify as remotely beautiful. My face was twice its normal size. I stopped my chin count at three. My upper arms resembled mutton-shaped bags of cottage cheese. And my thighs… Oh, my thighs! Never naturally thin; now they were very thick. So thick that the heat index must have risen by 10 degrees when I walked. And veiny. I think I may have been able to navigate the entire Eastern seaboard by the veiny roadmap that used to be the skin on my legs. My boobs are a story for another day, but suffice it to say that if my thighs could navigate me south to Florida, then my boobs took me west of the Mississippi.

My saving graces were my spindly wrists and ankles; cursed for years because of their frailness. Only in these four delicate joints could I see any semblance of the body I used to have, and yearned for once again.

So ladies, I am all about documenting the most wonderful journey that is pregnancy. However, to save yourself from the image of your less-than-perfect (but still oh-so-beautiful) naked-selves being burned into your retinas forever, save the viewing until after you are holding your bundle of joy into your arms. Because then, you will know that it has all been worth it.

If You Don’t Want to Be Alone with You, Why Should Anyone Else Want To?

Posted: 2771 days ago in Mirror Mirror

whyshouldanyoneelseOne of my favorite authors, Marianne Williamson, said something like this in her book, “A Return To Love”: “Of course, men didn’t want to spend the night with me; even I didn’t want to spend the night alone with me!”

Being unhappily single at the time, that really struck a chord with me.

It kills me to see women who are basically throwing themselves at men like flypaper, hoping that they stick. And when it doesn’t work out, and the guys start doing things like not answering their phone calls, or being vague about plans. It kills me even more to see the girls beating themselves up about it, AS IF THEY DID SOMETHING WRONG!

Hello, is anyone out there?

Yes, in fact there is about 7 billion people out there in the world. Now tell me, what are the chances that you’re going to be successful on the first go around? Ok, how about the second? Why would a woman beat herself up over a failure involving 1 / 7,000,000,000th of the population?

Braden once told me that he would ask women that he went on dates with, what they love about their lives. He gauged his interest in them by their answer, and even though that may seem a bit heartless, it’s a good, honest question!

Think about your answer to this question for a second: What do you love about YOUR life?

If you’re having a hard time answering, then you don’t need to be dating, you need to be doing some soul-searching, sister. Here are some tools to discover who you are, so you can create a life you love living. A life worth sharing with someone else.

  1. Create a Lifeline. Past, present, and future. Know who you’ve been, who you are, and who you want to be. I suggest making an actual timeline and writing down major events. Recall everything, those awkward phases, the hard breakups, and the triumphs. In the end, you should have a better idea of the trajectory your life has been on, and whether or not you want to change it.
  2. Create a Dreamboard. Checkout my post on this subject for more details.
  3. Look at Your Relationships Like a Closet. Get rid of the pieces that don’t look good on you anymore. We all change, and sometimes people from our past aren’t okay with it. Make sure you surround yourself with people who are willing to let you, be you. No matter what that looks like.
  4. Gain Independence. If you’re still living at home with your parents, or relying on an unhealthy relationship for support – first things are definitely first. You can’t make decisions that are good for you until you have total control over your finances, and life. So start that job hunt, look for a new place to live, and consider your slate cleaned for the life you want to start living.
  5. Spend time alone!!!!!!! This is huge, and it goes back to the quote by Marianne Williamson. Learn to be good company for yourself. Stay in, treat yourself to a bubble bath, play your favorite music, cook some really good/healthy food, call up an old friend, and most definitely give yourself permission to relax. This is you time baby – do whatever you want and call all of the shots.
  6. Find out what you love. Search for local organizations, volunteer, start a new hobby, reconnect with old friends, take them up on offers to do fun activities – or propose to a group of friends to do a fun day trip. Whatever it is, find things that you love doing for sheer enjoyment.
  7. Be okay with failing. There are going to be bad days where you’ll probably want that ex boyfriend of yours back. Or maybe you just think you’re failing entirely (even though yesterday was a great day). If you can’t tell, ups and downs are inevitable and totally normal. It’s our internal being giving us a reality check to make sure we’re okay with the current situation. So don’t go ape-sh*t judgmental on yourself at the first opportunity. Give yourself a “get out of jail free” card at least once a week.
  8. Give back. Even though it may seem like the world is crumbling in around you, chances are there are thousands of other people within a stones throw of where you are that feel the same, or worse. Volunteering is a great way to do this, and to start feeling better fast, about who you are and what you stand for.

These are just some suggestions, but I guarantee that if you do these things, and even come up with some of your own, you’ll end up surrounded by some good company. The best of which will be your own, because you’re the one who made it all happen.

Wishing love and happiness to you in all your pursuits!