Women's Health: We Only Get One Body, Care for It (cont.)
Women are perfectionists, and I have a little one-liner for you: perfectionism is the enemy of done. Meaning that you can't get off first base, you're paralyzed. If you can't get your exercise in one day, if your physical activity is somewhat curtailed, take a deep cleansing breath and say, "it is what it is and I'll just get right back on it as soon as I can." Be kind to yourself.
Don't forget that strength training. I'm encouraging you to do that twice a week, separated by two to three days, so that you allow yourself to have that balance of strength training as well as physical activity, which involves aerobic or cardio activities.
MEMBER QUESTION: I am 63. Is it too late for me to start a program like this? I'd like to get more energy and I don't want to be an old lady. In my mind I'm still many years younger, but in the mirror I'm older than my years.
PEEKE: The National Institutes of Aging have clearly shown that there is absolutely no time in life when it's, and I quote, "too late." This is glorious news for someone like yourself who asks the perfect question.
One of my most successful patients started with me when she was 69. She is now 76 years old. She has lived through breast cancer, she has hiked mountains, she has gone to areas of the world she dreamed about but never thought she could do because of perhaps lack of strength. Boy, is she strong now! I have never seen someone so invigorated. She is, if anything, an inspiration for everyone else.
So I encourage you, at your very youthful 63 years old, to get up right now, put on those sneakers and take that first walk. Remember, every step of the journey is the journey.
MODERATOR: What can we do to help our daughters as they are maturing to help them living healthier lives?
PEEKE: When I wrote Body for Life for Women , I meant it to be an intergenerational book, meaning that women are giving it to their daughters, daughters are giving it to their moms, women are giving it to their sisters and their friends. Why? Because in it I have what I call "heads ups." These heads ups were things that I wished existed when I was growing up. That is, if I was 18, what is going to go on when I'm 28? What happens to me when I'm 38, 48, 58, 68? It's nice to see the full panorama of what's going to be happening.
The great news is we have enough information now to be able to give our daughters essential data to allow them to build a strong foundation for healthy living. For instance, one of the most important things is never to think that you don't have to worry about anything until you're 50. That's kind of what I was taught in my generation. Instead, right now, teach your daughters the fundamentals of eating well just at the time when junk food is all they really want. Show them through example -- think right now. I remember what my mother was doing when I was growing up. She was an example to me. Well, you are an example to your daughters. It's not enough to say to them, eat more fruit and vegetables if you yourself are not doing that. It is important, therefore, to live as a mentor and to help them through examples.
The same thing goes for physical activity. Ask them to take a walk with you, go to the gym with you, if you live together. When they come to visit, go out for some glorious bike rides. Show them that this is an integral piece of their lives.
Also, laugh right along with them about the stories of how our hormonal milestones can get to us. Show them that healthier living habits help them navigate those challenges and speed bumps, presented by the hormonal milestones.
MODERATOR: Doctor, we're almost out of time. Before we wrap up for today, do you have any final comments for us?
PEEKE: I want women out there to understand that the new philosophy for self-care is not only holistic and integrative, but it no longer cuts a woman up into little bites of "learn to eat well," exercise programs, and psychological issues. Instead, it is time now to pull it all together and to offer women a simple, straight forward, doable and most importantly, sustainable way of living throughout their wonderful feminine lives. Success equals sustainability.
I care more about where you are and how you are five years from now than I do five weeks or five months from now. If you are able to sustain this and refine it for a lifetime, then you have learned tools and techniques that are meaningful and valuable. That means I did my job well and that is the definition of happiness.
MODERATOR: Our thanks to Pamela Peeke, MD for joining us today. For more information, please read the book, Body for Life for Women: A Woman's Plan for Physical and Mental Transformation by Pamela Peeke.
©1996-2005 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.