Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. is a Gynecologist, Director of the New York Menopause Center, Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Assistant Attending Obstetrician and Gynecologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She is a board certified fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Allen is also a member of the Faculty Advisory Board and the Women’s Health Director of The Weill Cornell Community Clinic (WCCC). Dr. Allen was the recipient of the 2014 American Medical Women’s Association Presidential Award.
This week, as the world knows, Oprah Winfrey famously begins her journey back to a healthy weight. As Jo Levy writes for

It is something to think about when a billionaire with chefs and
personal trainers has a hard time saying no to food how the average
person without those resources can. Thus the struggle for so many to be
and stay fit. It is a struggle and I am well aware of it. That is why I
am so excited to be the New England Fitness Examiner. I am struggling
as I see 60 closer than I see 57 and will be looking toward Oprah and
her upcoming shows for some of my own inspiration and tips to use.

Here at WVFC, many of us are doing the same — knowing as we all do that after 40, the journey is much more challenging. Every week in January, we’ll explore a different New Years’ resolution — from travel to relationships (Suggestions are welcome). This week, we’re looking at how we can keep our physical selves meeting the great potential we bring to this stage of life. Last week, our Dr. Pat gave us all some helpful guidelines on diet and exercise.

And this weekend, some readers have been offering glimpses of their place on this path Dear Dr. Pat and friends,

Tonight, as I am hovering over my five year old son to ensure he brushes his teeth, he asks me, ” How old are you, Mummy?”
“40” I lie.  (A white lie.  I am really 46)
“What will happen to you when you are 100?”
“100?” ( i dread to think about) ” whatever happens, I will love you more than ever/”
“But you do have all those lines on your face, Mummy.  Will they still be there?”

STAB ME IN MY HEART. I know I am older.  I know I have lines. I know that I am sleep deprived and stressed.  But somehow, when your 5 year old comments on it, agh.

What do we do?

I am so opposed to going into surgery or “under” if you do not have to — sorry ; but why would anyone take such a risk?  And yet. I don’t want to look older.

But I feel older.  wiser. yes.  smarter. yes.  And happy in my marriage and well, basically, in a good place.  But why can not I take the time for me?  Just to chill. To help erase those lines?

Any suggestions, anyone?

Happy New Year,


Dear Dr. Pat,

I certainly identified with Peggy. Her story keeps my memory
green about where I was when I started my own weight loss program. It
also refocused my recovery from mindless eating. Whatever else is going
on, the extra food only makes things worse. It drugs me, makes me tired
and less in touch with my feelings, needs and true potential.

When I stick with my healthy plan of eating, I have more physical and
mental energy and am less distracted. It is actually easier not to have
to constantly make food choices. I have been in a plateau over the
holidays, but I want to acknowledge that in 162 days I have lost and
maintained a 30 LB weight loss. I feel better about my body and my
ability to change other aspects of my life that I am unhappy about.

I started this diet out of fear of developing diabetes. My
blood tests indicated that I was at risk. At my lower weight the blood
tests are less threatening. Now I want to lose the remaining 15 lb. to
reclaim my body. Exercise is a part of my day no matter what. My
children are young adults, my youngest just turned 18 and is getting
ready to go off to college. I can’t think of a better time to put the
focus on my own health and well being. I was never able to get my
husband to support my weight loss program. My kids were supportive and
everyone benefited by a healthier menu. My husband kept trying to
sabotage but eventually he came to understand that I was serious about

Once I gave myself permission to put my needs first, I was able to stop
sabotaging my attempts to lose weight. The other key element was having
daily encouragement. It is hard to change behavior. You kept me honest
and focused. You were my cheerleader and drill sergeant. They say when
the student is ready the teacher will appear.

Appreciatively yours,


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  • Cathy Warren February 27, 2009 at 11:33 am

    I have to agree that after 40 it is really hard to lose weight. No gimmicks work, no magic pills or diet drinks. Good old fashioned exercise is what it takes. If you workout every other day for 30 to 45 minutes, cardio and strength training you will lose weight and build muscle. Dieting will then only consist of moderation and good healthful choices.
    Make part of your routine, soon you will crave the rush you get from exercise.
    Live strong!
    Cathy Warren

  • Andrea-Your Feet Make You Unique-Large-size shoes January 15, 2009 at 10:12 am

    I’m going to jump on the bandwagon starting next week.If you’re over 40, it’s so easy for weight to just creep up on you. I don’t like the way I feel or look, so it’s time to take action. Cutting back on portions and Pilates work well for me. I don’t fault Oprah, it’s really easy to gain weight when you love food!

  • Judy Orlando January 5, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    For Jennifer:
    Sorry, Mum, chilling isn’t in the cards yet. Short of child-murder (which is still frowned upon by society and would probably increase your lines in the long run), why not wait until your son is in school all day? Then you can sleep. By the time he’s a teenager and the lines return, you’ll be far-sighted and won’t be able to see them as well (nature’s historical gift to those clawing back middle age).
    Meanwhile, you might experiment with the “no personal comments” mantra. Nothing wrong with a little repression where it counts.

  • Elizabeth W. January 5, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    It bothers me that Oprah’s very public weight loss struggle leaves the mindful aspect unexamined.
    So many people look to Oprah as a role model- she could promote a deeper, mindful, healing understanding, instead of a very surface-appearance-based superficial diet plan.
    Kate Harding’s blog makes some astute points on the subject as well.