When Meredith* came to see me, she was 45 and the blush of youth in her face had morphed into the beauty of an adult woman with a significantly pear-shaped figure.
In her teens, Meredith had won many beauty pageants. Her crowning glory came at 20 when she almost won Miss Universe. She then retired from the beauty pageant world and became a lawyer, having decided to make better use of her brain.
The following 25 years proved a mixed bag for Meredith. Work was hard and success in the business world required her to place much of her true self on the back burner. Still, she was among those lucky women able to juggle career and family successfully. Three wonderful children, gloriously successful husband, a mansion in Westchester — all in all, a life to envy.
Despite her many blessings, Meredith’s focus became her oversized body. The erstwhile fashion plate found herself relegated to extra-large couture sizes, and her image in the mirror often made her cry.
Initially convinced her problem could be solved with a serious dietary makeover, she visited with the best and most famous nutritionists in town. She followed rigid diets, acquiesced to weekly IVs of mysterious potions, and swallowed dozens of supplements at all times of day. Spas became her sole vacation destinations and weight loss her Waterloo.
Yes, she did lose weight, hundreds of pounds she lost, but somehow it never stayed off. And while the glow of hope made her run out and buy entire new wardrobes every time she lost 10 pounds, the aftermath was always a disappointing gain of yet another 10 pounds.
Conscious of her options, she saw endocrinologists and bariatric surgeons. She wanted the weight gone before her 45th birthday and every time she ate a morsel of chocolate or a sliver of cake, she secretly swore to herself this was the last time. But alas, it never was. Her will power seemed to betray her along with her body.
As she turned 45 she thought her future held decades of physical decline and more weight gain. Not so.
When she came to see me on an early March morning five years ago, her future changed. Together we took over the task of restoring the puzzle of her life to its perfect and whole beauty.
Each piece fell into its proper place: the beauty queen career, legal feats, child rearing and marriage, sleep and exercise, diet and lifestyles, friends, and the largest piece of all — the wisdom women share.
As her last-resort doctor, I made it my mission to be the final doctor who would help her find her peace, lose the weight obsession, and drop the pounds for good.
Checking her hormones, I found her thyroid a bit underactive, her estrogens, testosterone and progesterone a tad low, her adrenal glands tender and drained. With the proper hormones and supplements balance was quickly restored.
Meredith just celebrated her 50th birthday last month. And she weighs 45 pounds less than when she turned 45.
She is gorgeous! Not just inside as we all are, but now outside as well. And with her hormones in balance we pushed the door ajar for Meredith’s most important transformation that helped her shed the pounds permanently; she started working out consistently five days a week.
Exercise, both Meredith and I agree, is one major key to eternal youth.
Making exercise part of your life, like brushing your teeth, is more important for your wellbeing than getting your hair done or getting a manicure. Believe me, I do them all!
If you take exercise seriously and look at it with passion and gratitude, not as a chore, your mood will improve, your heart will benefit, your skin won’t age, and your brain will stay sharp.
The results of exercising are all pervasive and, if done in balance and not to extremes, will literally keep you forever young. Just ask Meredith!
*Name changed to protect her identity.
Posts by Erika Schwartz, M.D
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