Hour of Power

Hour of Power

How I stopped fighting the media battle and got my garage clean

Like every mother of pre-teen boys, I spend way more energy than I’d like managing electronic devices. Despite my firm, loving approach, electronics seem to bring out the petulant side of my otherwise-awesome children.

Watch: Stanford Teaching Kitchen Elective for Medical Students

At Stanford, doctors, chefs (and doctor-chefs!) came together to create a course for medical students to learn to prepare delicious food that supports and promotes health. The goal is for students to live healthier themselves and to use food as medicine.


I had a busy clinic on a day where I might otherwise be marching. I was immersed in the world of patient care while others united for an impressive display of standing up for equal rights.

Spanx or No Spanx?

A funny thing happened when I was shopping at Nordstrom for flannel pajamas for my 12 year old son. The boys pj’s just happened to be adjacent to the women’s lingerie section and a colorful display of lacy underwear caught my attention. In need of a new pair, I swept over to take a look. A saleswoman saw my interest and, seemingly, her next sale…

“Nice, yes?” She pulled a couple off the rack for me. “Blue? Pink?”

“Oh, I am just looking.” I said, in a polite but “just browsing” tone.

“I love those. Such pretty lace detail” She persisted.

I kept my focus, kept looking.

“And have you tried this? Amazing, like Spanx.” She held up a shimmering tan, very, very tall underwear-type of contraption.

I needed to stay on task. “I don’t need that.”

And you know what? She was insulted. And not just because she wasn’t going to make that sale. But because I was nervy enough to say out loud that I didn’t need Spanx. “Well!” She huffed. “I have never heard anyone say that before.” And she put it back, clearly offended.

And she was right, I meant two things. One, I am not in the market for Spanx today. Two, I am not in the market for Spanx at all. I am happy with my body.

That counter-culture assertion, or state of being, is hard to come by. My satisfaction with my body is deliberate, purposeful, and more related to hard-earned maturity than to my weight. Sadly, I have met many, many women from size zero to 20, with various dissatisfactions with — even hatred of — their bodies. Too much of this. Too little of that. It is far less about the actual body, and more about the relationship you choose to have with it. And the saleswoman made clear that my relationship to my body, and disinterest in disguising my imperfections, was not normal.

So if I may rebel against our distorted mainstream way of thinking, I will say this:

I love my body. I take care of it. It does so much for me. I could nit-pick at my various lumps and bumps and feel like this could be better, that could be smaller, I wish I were taller. But what a bore. There are so many more compelling things to spend my emotional energy on than my numerous physical imperfections. And increasingly, I have good company. Read Amy Schumer’s book, “The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo” and you will see what I mean.

And when I talk to girls and teens about their weight — which I do all the time — it is never about a number. There is never a perfect weight. My most important goal is to cultivate healthy relationships. With your body. With your food. With the family and friends you eat with. And through that, prevent pre-diabetes and cholesterol disorders.

I want all of my patients to love their own body. Regardless of size. I want them to be in control, to eat delicious food, to know what makes them healthy. I want them to make health-supporting choices, and indulge some of the time. I want them to eat well because they care about themselves. Because they love and value their bodies, and not because they don’t. I want them to know that eating well takes care and investment, and is not a form of punishment. I don’t want them ever to feel controlled by the food they eat or by the desire to be different from what – or who – they already are, and are becoming.

Lastly, I want them to shun any sense that it is culturally appropriate to dislike their body. I want them to feel proud to be who they are, the size they are, to feel empowered to be kind and good and smart and completely kick ass in whatever they choose to do.

Spanx or no spanx.

Fast Food and Fitness Trackers

Before I had the chance to get one, they were gone. Missed another trend. Sigh. This one was the fitness tracker in Happy Meals. They were voluntarily recalled due to reports of skin rashes caused by the tracker. As rashes sometimes are, the skin issue is just a symptom of the real issue. A fitness tracker with your cheeseburger and fries? Seriously?

“America Runs on…Sugar”

In last week’s clinic, I was listening intently to a mother who couldn’t understand why she and her daughter – my patient – were having such a hard time losing weight. As she spoke, she clutched her coffee cup from Dunkin’ Donuts and my eyes locked onto a code in thick, black pen: “8C, 8S.” I asked, “What does that mean?”

“Oh, this.” She said, looking at her beloved cup. “I drink hazelnut, which is really bitter, so I need a lot of cream and sugar to make it taste good. 8 creams, 8 sugars.”

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