Saturday, August 25, 2012

Let Me Eat Cake!

I hear so many people these days bemoaning another birthday.  “I just want to crawl in a hole and forget I’m getting older,” they say,  “why celebrate one more year closer to death?"  They point out the wrinkles and the gray hair.  They talk about the “good ole days when they were young and beautiful.”  They cry about all of the calories in cake and ice cream.

Well I say, that’s bulls*#t!  Every birthday is a reminder that we’re still alive.  We’re another year closer to perfection!  And one gigantic chunk of birthday cake and a scoop of ice cream is NOT going to do that much damage, compared to lying face down in a salad, whining about belly fat and falling asleep alone in front of the TV at eight!

We celebrate birthdays because we still can!  Life is short.  A birthday is a joyous occasion!  So I say, every year we should celebrate another chance to be grateful for this wonderful life!  Today is my birthday, I’m sixty one years old, and I’m happy to be here!  And yes...cake will be eaten!


Friday, August 24, 2012

Andrea Beaman ~ Stop Dieting and Lose Weight

When I was younger, I had to try to gain weight.  Can you imagine?  I grew up in the South, on soul food and home cooking.  Fried was the preferred method of cooking, and dessert was mandatory.  But since I was so skinny, I got used to eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.

In my twenties and thirties, and even into my early forties, I still ate what I pleased.  But I had loads of energy and was crazy-active, so I rarely gained more than five pounds...usually over the holidays...and I would just cut back for a few days and lose it as soon as my waistband started getting a little snug.

Then in my late forties, I hit menopause. Wow!  I just looked at food and gained weight.  My energy level plummeted.  I started having migraine headaches, my thyroid was acting up, my joints ached, and I began to second guess every decision I had ever made in my life.  I cried all the time.  I was one hot mess!

I was desperate, and for the next ten years I tried every diet known to human-kind.  No, they weren't always healthy, in fact, many of them were downright dangerous.  But after I dodged the bullet with cancer, I decided that it was more important to love myself than to be skinny.  I began to research healthier diets...healthier lifestyles...and I found Andrea Beaman's website.  I really like Andrea because her advice is down to earth, but more important for's DO-able.

**** Here is Andrea's story, reprinted from her website, and the link to her website ****

At 12 years old, I wasn’t a fat kid. As a matter of fact, I was pretty skinny (that’s me on the right). But, all the girls at school were on diets, and the women’s magazines were recommending diets, and my mom was on a diet, too. I remember thinking, “I should really go on a diet.”
It began by eating “diet” food and drinking diet soda. I also ate low-fat or, better yet, non-fat, yogurt.
And, an interesting thing happened – I began gaining weight and didn’t understand why.
By the time I was 15 years old I had a warped idea about food.
I remember going to my best friend’s house every day after school. Omi, her grandmother, would prepare us the most delicious meal – Braised pork or chicken with gravy, creamy mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables. Twenty minutes after we ate, we would lock ourselves in the bathroom and forcibly get that homemade food out of our bodies.  I remember Omi knocking on the bathroom door asking, “Are you girls okay?”
We’d say, “yeah we’re fine,” and turn the radio louder so she wouldn’t hear us throwing up.
But, the truth is we were NOT okay. We were damaged. It was the 1980’s and we were brainwashed by the dieting industry to think food with fat would make us fat.
At 17 years old I attended Weight Watchers “fat camp” in Pennsylvania. It was sensible dieting. We ate meals that were very low in fat, drank diet soda, used artificial sweeteners instead of sugar, and slathered fake butter on our bread.
I remember one night at camp, I got stoned (hey… I was a teenager), broke into the food shack, and stole, and ate, an entire jar of peanut butter.  Apparently, my body was craving fat.
After fat camp, I joined weight watchers and bought a food scale. I weighed and counted every fat gram and calorie that went into my mouth. Unfortunately, this made eating a laborious task.
Eventually, I grew tired of weighing and measuring and counting, and joined Jenny Craig. They sold boxed food that was already weighed and measured. It certainly wasn’t delicious, but it did the job and I lost a few pounds.
With every diet, I initially lost weight but always gained it back…PLUS some! I was not obese, but I was chunky. And, it seemed the more I dieted, the chunkier I grew. At my chubbiest I was 149 pounds, which is not FAT. But, I’m a shorty! At 5’ 3” (and a 1/2), I was 25 pounds heavier than I am right now, and I felt bloated and uncomfortable.
My mom was diagnosed with cancer for the second time when I was in my early 20′s. After chemo and radiation we tried something called a Macrobiotic Diet.  It wasn’t about counting fat grams or calories; it was about the quality of food and how it affected the body energetically, physically and spiritually. It was an entirely new concept for me.
The diet consisted of whole grains, beans, vegetables, sea vegetables, fish, nuts and seeds, and fruits.  And, it was very low in fat, so it fit perfectly with my “dieting” mentality. Eating that food made my body feel good and helped me go to the bathroom – which, as a chronic dieter, was a rare occurrence. As a result, I dropped a few pounds… literally, right into the toilet.
After mom died, I kept some of the Macrobiotic principles and my weight leveled off at 139 pounds. But, mostly I went back to my unhealthy “dieting” ways.
Finally, a gift from the gods came. At 28, I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and a goiter. After watching mom suffer, and eventually die from chemo and radiation, I decided radioactive iodine was NOT an option for me (Radiate My Thyroid? No Freakin’ Way!).
I stopped the nonsense and stopped dieting. Instead, I focused on eating the best quality food to help my body heal.
Within the first 4 months I dropped 18 pounds. It’s been 16 years and I’ve never gained back that weight. I don’tever think about dieting anymore. I just eat food, real food, with all of its nutrients intact, including the fat.
Below are some steps to help you break free from a dieting mentality and lose weight.
STOP dieting:
  •   Dieting deprives us of physical and emotional nutrition
  •   Dieting creates dysfunctional behaviors
  •   Dieting contributes to weight gain
Eat Real Food: see pictures below. This is what food looks like.
Drink Water: there is no better beverage for your body.
Ditch Chemical Sweeteners: These chemicals disrupt endocrine function, lead to weight gain, contribute to depression, and destroy brain cells. Not only that, artificial sweeteners are so unnaturally sweet that they compromise the delicate palate in your mouth. No longer will a fresh berry taste as sweet as it naturally is if you eat chemical sweeteners.
Sit Down to Meals: Do NOT walk or stand and eat. Digestion needs relaxation to function properly. If you are stressed out, or walking and eating, stress hormone rises and digestion shuts down.
Move Your Body: A simple 35-40 minute daily walk can help. You don’t need to pump iron, you just need to move your butt EVERY SINGLE DAY.
If you find you are stuck, here are some common dieting mistakes:
  • Eating cold foods and/or too many salads – dampens digestive fire and slows metabolism
  • Forbidding foods – the dieter becomes obsessed with forbidden food
  • Eliminating fat – creates wild cravings and the dieter is never fully satisfied
  • Emotional eating – what are you really craving? Love? Companionship? Inspiration? Creativity?
  • Impatience – it took time to gain the weight, it’ll take time to take it off.
  • Lack of self love – if we don’t love ourselves exactly as we are right now, we won’t take care of our body.
Stop the nonsense and stop dieting!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Put a little life into your life!

It’s my day off, so I decided to get my errands out of the way and enjoy the rest of my day.  I went to the grocery store at seven.  Nobody was there!  Finished in record time!  Then I went to my favorite neighborhood cafĂ© for breakfast.  It’s a place where the locals hang out, and by locals, I mean people who have probably lived here their entire lives.  

It’s an older crowd, and when I say older, I mean the average age of most of the patrons is around seventy…which makes me the local spring chicken…although I do qualify for the senior discount.  Cha-ching!  I’ll take it!

While waiting for my food, I looked around the room at the other diners, and caught snippets of their conversations. (I’m not snooping…they talk REALLY LOUD)  One lady was telling her friend about another “scandalous” friend who had taken a part-time job doing phone sales because she found retirement boring.  One day, the scandalous friend talked to a gentleman that she found interesting (and vice versa),  They decided to meet at the park for lunch.  She was there the next day in a red dress.  He did not show up.  She apparently took it in stride, and moved on.  But a week later, she thought about him again and decided to give him a call.  She called information, his number was listed, so she called him.  A woman answered the phone.  It was his wife.  She said her husband had died the week before.  Wow!…better than TV…

Anyway, I looked around the room at the other diners, and I noticed that most of the ladies dye their hair.  How do I know?  Trust me on this one.  But the thing that I find curious is, dying their hair seems to be the ONLY thing they’re doing to look younger…AND…their hair color and style look to be the same color and style that they’ve probably had since they were in high school.

My question is, are they dyeing their hair because they’re trying to look younger, or is it just out of habit?  I ask this question, because for the most part, they are overweight, out of shape, and seem to have little desire to dress with any kind of younger style.

I know this sounds judgmental, but I’m not judging…it’s just an observation.  I found myself mentally making them over…the way I redecorate other people’s homes in my head when I visit…and I came to the conclusion that, if they would exchange the biscuits and gravy for the oatmeal with blueberries, get a little exercise, un-dye and loosen up their hair a bit, and let me take them shopping for an outfit that didn’t make them look like a sack of potatoes…they would look fabulous!  Right now, they just look and act so “old.”

I’m reading Jim Donovan’s book, “Don’t Let An Old Person Move Into Your Body,” and I wholeheartedly agree with his concept that we should challenge the myths of aging…that we don’t necessarily have to deteriorate as we get older.  I just want to tell these ladies, “C'mon, let’s get moving…let’s get saucy…let’s show a little attitude!

I’m not suggesting that they go the “dye/botox/lipo” route.  Frankly, it’s too late for that anyway.  I’m just saying, “put a little more life into your life!  I’m with the scandalous friend…put yourself out there…wear a red dress…meet a guy in the park for lunch!

And on that note…I’m outta here!  The weather is fabulous, and I’m going to the park!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hip waitin' to happen...

One of my favorite quotes, that I stole from my friend Deb, is “I’m hip waitin’ to happen.”  Don’t you sometimes feel like that’s what we are?

As far back as I can remember, I’ve lived in a youth and beauty obsessed culture…which was swell when I was young.  But now, I sometimes feel like I’ve been black-balled at sorority rush.

I was shopping the other day, and when I asked the young sales clerk what she thought about the dress I was trying on, she replied, “It’s cute…but kind of…not right…for someone your age.”  “What do you mean?” I asked.  “Oh…well…it’s a little sexy,” she answered.  (What?!!  I don’t like sex anymore?!  You could’ve fooled me!)  It was spoken in a tone that implied, “why bother?”

No, it wasn’t too short or overly tight…no major cleavage.  It wasn’t my usual black and I’ll admit, it was slightly out of my “comfort zone,“ but I was considering branching out.  Instead, I put it back on the hanger and slunk out of the store.

Why do I sometimes feel insignificant?  Invisible?  I’ll tell you.  Look at the size two mannequins.  Look at the salesgirl.  Look at the fashion magazines…check out the ads.  If it’s a middle-aged women, the ad is usually about hair dye, osteoporosis, or hormone replacement.  Walk into a restaurant behind an attractive young girl who’s having the door held open by a guy and watch the door slam in your face. (Not all men do this, but it’s happened to me and my older girlfriends more than once)

But times are changing, and we’re going to make it happen.  The youngsters just need to get on the program.  Before you know it, age will be a non-issue.  Because we boomers don’t settle for crumbs!

So today, I’m thinking about going back to buy the dress.  And I want to say to the cute, bleached blond salesgirl. “Honey, I’m not too old to wear this dress…I’m hip waitin’ to happen!  And I‘m gettin’ antsy!”


Monday, August 20, 2012

You Inspire!

In my post last Sunday, I shared my “a-ha” turning point...about how to approach aging and going gray, when I saw a photo of Yasmina Rossi in a magazine, looking vibrant, energetic, and gloriously gray.  Quite suddenly, I realized that...1. just because I was getting older didn’t mean I had to be tired, overweight, and out of shape, and…2. gray hair was beautiful, and could really be much more flattering than dying my hair the color it was when I was a teenager. It was a real epiphany!

I began to look for more images of Yasmina, as well as photos of other silver-haired icons and role models, and I found enough to convince me that getting healthy and happy, and keeping my hair long and naturally gray was the way to go.  But If I hadn’t seen Yasmina’s picture in the magazine, I might have caved to the pressure of well-meaning friends, thrown in the towel, purchased the “Mom” jeans, and cut my hair and dyed it brown.
My point?  Yasmina is an inspiration. as well as all of the other lovely silver-haired models, actresses, etc. whose photos I discovered online and in magazines.  BUT SO ARE WE!  Maybe you don’t even know it, but every time you go out into the world with your foxy silver locks…joyful, confident, stylish, not trying to look twenty, but lookin’ good…you could be the one who tips the scales…the one who changes somebody’s mind about going gray…who puts a positive spin on growing up with panache.  WE INSPIRE!  So when you leave the house today, and every day, remember…YOU could be the one who inspires someone else’s turning point!


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Silver Spotlight ~ Chris Zuzze

I started coloring my hair when I was about 22 years old.  So very young for the vicious cycle to begin.   I learned at an early age the meaning of that terrible word “roots”.  I was streaked, light blonde, dark blonde, light brown, dark brown, red – any color you can think of.  But not matter what I did, after just a few short weeks, it would turn orange!!!  I always blamed it on the Florida sun, but I now believe the color simply washed right down the drain. 

In November 2011 I had enough.  I was sick of looking at every picture of myself and seeing that horrible orange, unnatural color.   I was determined to end this self-destructive “every two” week color routine.  I did almost cave a few days before Christmas.  But I was strong and thought – NO, it’s only one day.  It will be over in a short 24 hours.  I endured!!!  

After Christmas, I buzzed my head so it wouldn’t have to deal with the two-tone horrible look.  It was very short and I received a lot of criticism.  The people I worked with thought I had lost my mind.  But I prevailed.  I held my ground and just kept smiling.  Because I cut it so short, it was over very quickly for me.  All of a sudden I had the most beautiful, healthy, shiny silver hair.  People started to take a second look.  As it grew longer, I was getting more and more compliments.   The people that were so against me doing this “horrible” thing of letting my natural silver grow in, started to come around.  I started getting rave reviews!  I have never, ever been so happy.  It is the best decision I have made in my life!  I feel freer than I have felt in 40 years.  I very often see admiring glances from ladies and gentlemen and they are looking at my hair.  Without saying a word, I have influenced woman I care about to do the same thing.  I don’t believe in pushing my decision on others, but if just by looking at my hair, I encourage others to try the same – it brings me much joy. 

Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  This is one happy lady here.  I hope anyone that reads this might be so inclined to try it themselves.  If not, that’s ok too.  It’s a very personal choice and not for everyone.  Thank you for allowing me to express my thoughts.

Chris Zuzze, West Palm Beach, FL  (one very happy and free 60 year old!)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Decorating with's not just for hair

We choose our wardrobe and makeup with our lovely silver tresses in mind.  So why not decorate our homes to accentuate our crowning glory!  

Friday, August 17, 2012

Inspirational Silver Foxes...

Here are a few of my favorite, inspirational, Silver Foxes.  These ladies are beautiful, confident, talented, and loaded with style!  They are not "spring chickens" and they're not trying to be. But aren't they fabulous?  C

American graphic designer and artist based in San Francisco, California

Fashion Stylist, and creator of cult-beauty product Olio Lusso

American Artist, lives and works in New York, NY

American businesswoman, interior designer, and style muse

American dancer and choreographer, lives and works in NYC

One more time...going gray does not mean letting ourselves go!

We Silver Foxes know the difference between “going gray” and “letting ourselves go.” However, it has come to my attention recently that a lot of people still don’t seem to understand why “choosing to go gray” is not necessarily synonymous with “giving up.”

And I say to those people…have you looked at us lately? Because when I look around at all of my silver-haired friends, I see happy, confident, energetic, attractive, healthy, well-dressed, well-groomed, intelligent, and joyful ladies and gentlemen who are living life to the fullest.  Not a slacker in the bunch. We care about our appearance.  Isn’t that obvious?  

However, there is more to life than spending all of our time and money trying to look the way we did twenty years ago.  We are smoking’ right now…just the way we are! 

But don’t think that we don’t work at it.  We eat healthy, workout, do yoga, zumba and pilates, choose clothing that is becoming, comfortable, and expresses our personality, and use natural, non-toxic beauty products when we can find them.  (beauty industry, listen up!)  We may not be dying our hair, but we are certainly not letting ourselves go!

Get on the program, guys!  Gray hair does NOT mean giving up!


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Spread the word...It's grayt to be gray!

Good Morning, Silver Foxes ~

Many of you have already heard my story, but for those of you who have not, here’s a recap…

A few years ago in my mid-fifties, I found myself in a dilemma…I guess you could call it a mid-life crisis.  I’d always been attractive.  Not beautiful.  But cute and confident.  To be honest, I kind of took my physical appearance for granted.  It was what it was, and I didn’t obsess about it.  I was really much more involved in what I was doing than how I looked…

But one day, after a couple of years of unfortunate events and relentless stress, topped off with a diagnosis of breast cancer, followed by surgery (lumpectomy) and six and a half weeks of radiation, I came face to face with an image in the mirror that, frankly, I didn’t recognize.  I was overweight and out of shape, my skin was puffy and blotchy, I had dark circles under my eyes, and my long, golden brown hair was turning gray.  “Wow!  When did that happen?” I thought.

I began to consider getting some “Mom” jeans and cutting and dying my hair at the suggestion of well-meaning friends who insisted that gaining weight was a natural part of aging, and that getting my hair cut and colored would make me look much younger.

Waiting for a radiation treatment, I was flipping through a magazine and saw a photo of Yasmina Rossi, with her waist length, silver hair, slim figure, and joyful demeanor.  She inspired me to be “me” again.  I realized I didn’t have to be the beaten-down woman that I was on the fast track to becoming!  I began working out again, resumed my yoga practice, and changed my diet.  Within a few months, I’d lost twenty plus pounds and was feeling great.  I was thrilled with my progress, however, most of my friends still wanted me to cut my hair and dye it.   I adamantly refused.  I loved my hair, and I loved the color.  And yes, silver/gray IS a color!

Flash forward to the present.  I’ll be sixty-one this month.  Still feeling great!  More active than ever.  And still love my long hair with the silver streaks.  So I was disheartened to read the eSalon article that pointed out that “my natural gray was dull, flat and lifeless,” and that “the truth is, natural gray hair makes people look older.”  How anyone can make such a sweeping, generalized statement is beyond my comprehension.  Oh, that’s right…Estelle is an “expert.”

My initial reaction was indignation and anger.  I’m so sick of the beauty industry and their relentless attacks on women who choose to age naturally and gracefully! Assisted by the media, they spread the mean-spirited message that we are lacking because we refuse to desperately cling to youth by dying our hair.  (I say women, because there doesn’t seem to be the same venomous prejudice toward men who don’t dye)  

But the real truth is…we look great!  We are a group of vibrant, confident, intelligent women, who will not be changed or brought down by a multi-million dollar industry that preys on fears and insecurities…for their financial gain!  

We are gray, and we are proud of who we are…the way we are! We are an enormous and formidable segment of the population.  Our numbers are growing like wildfire!  And we WILL change society’s dim view of aging and gray hair!  How?  

First, by example.  Who can resist healthy, active, intelligent, confident, and attractive silver-haired women (and men), enjoying every moment of life with joy and gusto?  After all, we are fabulous! 

Second.  We will put the message out there…with our books, blogs, posts, photos, articles, and a little help from Facebook and Twitter.  We will spread the word…”It’s grayt to be gray!”   

And third, with our dollars.  We’ve worked hard, we have the money, and we will buy…or not buy…the products we want.  And lets face it, the beauty industry is in it for the money. Eventually, they will come around if they want to stay in business.  If the demand is great enough, they will start developing products to care for our "foxy" silver hair…and abandon the horrible, toxic chemicals that cover it up!  We’re not bitter, but we are tenacious!  And we are not nearly as vulnerable as they think we are!

A special note to you ladies and gentlemen who dye.  We won’t stop you, criticize you, or judge you. (Although, we might one day inspire you to change your mind about dying :-)  It’s your hair, and you can do with it whatever you want to.  And you look lovely!  But please, just extend to us the same courtesy!  Estelle...are you listening?