Fit or Fat (8/31/05)

Dear Zelda,

How do you manage to keep your looks?  You don’t look any older than the first time I saw you on TV.  What is your work out routine?  I want to look that good!


Dear Trina-

Lookin’ good is a state of mind, and trust me, I’ve taken up permanent residence in my state!

Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t take a small village to keep me looking good, and in fact, most of my tricks for staying healthy are simple rules which, when incorporated into our daily routines, will slowly rewind the wrinkles of time, or at the very least slow their precarious progress.

1. Sleep.  Without a good night of “beauty sleep,” my eyes look like they’re on a hobo’s vacation with a full set of worn, torn, hand-me-down baggage (that’s right, not even the good stuff). In this hectic world of cell phones, cable TV, and email, we often forget the importance of catching Z’s (you can imagine this is dear to my heart) for at least eight hours a night. Personally, I shoot for closer to fourteen or sixteen, but then, you don’t have to deal with the kind of baggage I do.

2. Water. Given the fact that the human body is 55-75% water, this is second in importance only to oxygen. (My inner diva screams to correct that a great pair of shoes is second to oxygen, but... who am I?) Consume buckets of this fountain-of-youth fluid; it flushes the bad toxins, aids in circulation, helps regulate body temperature (very important) and carries important nutrients the body needs to maintain its healthy glow.

3. Exercise. UGH! Remember the days when a few rounds of “fetch” was enough? Wait, who am I kidding; I have never fetched anything in my life. The good news is that the choices are not only endless, they can end up leaving you somewhat starry-eyed: power walk with Oprah, karate chop with Billy, or Sweat to the Oldies with Richard (I’d pick the lesser of the evils and go with Oprah... no sequined shorts to blind you through your workout). It doesn’t really matter what you choose, as long as it works for you. This is an absolute necessity for achieving a stronger, healthier you.

4. Eat right. Food is obviously important, and the right food is even more important. Eat fresh to feel fresh, consume plenty of fruits and veggies, and try to avoid excess amounts of anything overly processed or fatty. Fruits and veggies have loads of antioxidants, which help contain those nasty free radicals, and some evidence now suggests that not overeating may in fact cause you to age more slowly. Nothing wrong with a little “reward” now and then, just be careful not to reward yourself into a whole other pant size.

5. Accept it. Here is one of my big secrets for aging happily and well: be proud of your age, it’s a natural process! Taking care of yourself is wonderful, but in our youth-obsessed culture, the line between “aging gracefully” and “fighting a losing battle” is very thin, and trust me, it’s a slippery slope. Staying healthy, well-rested, and active is important to me, but for as much as I complain about them, I’m also proud of my wrinkles: they make me who I am!

Finally, the number one secret for aging well is staying young at heart:
always dance like no one is watching.


Dear Zelda,

Every time I look at one of your cards, I can relate.  Zelda we’re not fat, we’re fit.  Like you, I was born big boned.  My problem, however, and where I’d like your advice, is what should I wear to make me look fit, not fat.  I know that horizontal stripes are out, but any other fashion suggestions?

Fellow Fit Not Fat Friend

Dear Fellow Fit Not Fat Friend-

You are correct, horizontal stripes are meant for three things: bumble bees, Easter eggs, and convicts (I assume you are none of these).

Your quest to be stylish and appropriate for your body type is admirable. With the current trends in fashion finally beginning to cater to us “bigger boned” gals, our options are becoming limitless. You are on the road to “dressing for success” and there's nothing wrong with giving those curves of yours an attractive and slimming bear hug... just make sure to keep them free of any eye-bulging (and flesh-bulging) death grip… soooooo not attractive.

Stick to one of the “Zelda Rules of Fashion:” make black, white and tan your new best friends. Ideally you want harmony between you and your clothing, and trying to hide your frame inside a big floral Mu-Mu (they are called that for a reason) will only bring chaos to your closet. Stand straight and tall, choosing clothes that “fit” with solid colors or tone-on-tones that contrast, resulting in flattering lines. Match a dark skirt with a light-colored jacket, and add color around your face with a sassy silk scarf. Choose fabrics that mirror your frame and try to remember to “ac-cen-tuate the positive.” Big bust? How about a form fitting single-breasted jacket or shirt that shows a little skin, and says that you’re proud of what your mama gave ya. Large behind? Flaunt it girl...if it’s workin’ for J-LO, it can work for us too. Pick a pant that’s fitted at the hips and waist, but flares just a bit at the bottom. Do yourself a favor and leave the big floral prints, stripes and polka a dots for… who am I kidding, no one should wear these. Anyway, if it’s question-a-bull, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can get away with it “just this once.”

You can't.

Following a few of these basic rules of dress will help to transform your wardrobe from “frumpy faux paws” to “flawlessly fit and fabulous” in no time.


Dear Zelda -

Like you, I am a very confident woman.  However, the one thing that really bothers me is my weight.  I have been trying to lose the same 25 pounds for the past 5 years!  I start out motivated, but always eventually fall back into my same routines.  Any advice on how I can keep motivated to reach my goal is greatly appreciated!

Ready to Go (again)

Dear Ready to Go-

Unfortunately you suffer from what I like to call: Empty Resolutionitis. In laymen’s terms it means “This time I'm doing it... but I don’t.”

In your letter, you used two words crucial to conquering most any challenge you may face: confidence and motivation. However, there is one word you forgot, and I think it’s one of the most important: dedication. In this case, dedication means finding ways to take that initial motivation and make it stick, even when it’s midnight and you are locked in a staring contest with that tub of Ben and Jerry’s in the freezer. Take a healthy dose of dedication, mix with equal parts confidence and motivation, and you’ve got yourself a slimming concoction worthy of a New Year’s celebration.

Now, before you start singing “Auld Lang Syne,” think about the things that motivate you EVERY TIME you want to shed the unwanted pounds. Was it a sultry silver screen siren you saw, so gorgeous you HAD to look like her? (Angelina Jolie?) Or was it a gentleman, so incredibly handsome and devilishly debonair you promised yourself you'd do anything to get him to say “hello?” Or maybe, just maybe, it’s simply that you want to do it for YOURSELF. Because you know it’s healthy, you know it’s right, and you know that once you reach your goal, you’re going to “toast” the auspicious occasion with a snacky pair of delicious jeans (pricey, but worth it). You know that pair, the one that you’re absolutely sure will make your new butt look amazing, as well as give you the confidence and dedication needed to endure a life-long commitment to that “New You” resolution that will have glasses clinking for years to come.

Should old unwanted pounds be forgot, and never brought to mind?

I’ll toast to that!