November 2006 - Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who's the Fairest of them All?

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Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest of them all? I'm certain that most of us are familiar with the famous line from the fairy tale of Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs. Each time the wicked queen would look into the mirror and ask this question, the mirror would answer "You are". This went on for a while until one day, the mirror responded "Snow White". This so upset the queen, that she became obsessed with Snow White. I guess you're wondering what this could possibly have to do with health and fitness.

Last week, the latest photos of Janet Jackson were circulating on the internet. In each photo, Janet showed off all of her "assets"–great face, great figure. Let's face it, she simply looked great! To add to the furor was the fact that Janet is reportedly 42 years old. However, what amazed me even more than the photos was the reaction that the photos received from so many of my girlfriends. Each e-mail expressed shock and awe that she looked so great–especially at her "age". Moreover, everyone pledged to stop eating so much and go on an immediate diet and exercise regimen. All in the hopes that they too, could look like Ms. Jackson. Mirror, mirror on the wall–who's the fairest of them all–apparently "Janet"!

Hold on. This situation requires some serious analysis and a big reality check.

While Janet did look terrific, I had to remind each of my friends that lots of work goes into these types of photos. Certainly, Janet did her part–after all, this is a part of her job and she is very good at what she does. However, as with most photos of very glamorous women, there are other members on "team look great". These include: personal trainer, wardrobe stylist, make-up artist, hair stylist, lighting and photographer. If every woman that sent me an e-mail had that same "team" available to her–she'd look great too.

My point is simple: While Janet is a fine example of what a woman can look like at age 42, she should invoke inspiration, not anxiety and certainly not panic. Looking good takes work and time; looking great takes even more work and more time by even more people.

So, relax ladies–celebrate Janet, but also celebrate yourselves. Realize that you have the potential to create and radiate your own beauty–inside and out. Realize that there will always be someone prettier, richer, smarter. However, someone else should never be your motivation for eating right and exercising. Taking care of yourself should be about "you" doing what you know is good and right for "you". Instead of trying to keep up with someone else, try looking into the mirror to admire your own sense of style and beauty. Perhaps the question to ask is not " Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?", but rather, " Mirror, mirror on the wall, am I giving my life my "all?" Let's hope the answer will be a loud and resounding "Yes–you are!!"

With you on your journey to wellness...
Dr. Mary Harris

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