This 97 Year-Old Entrepreneur Has Important Advice
By Dennis Zink Feature photo: Michael De Martino
Sylvia Goldman, age 97, is a local Sarasota resident, with a website livthin.com, a book titled, Living Thin, An Attitude – Not a Diet, Living Young, An Attitude – Not an Age (Glenbridge Publishing Ltd) and a DVD titled, Aging with Style, An Attitude Not a Number and a weight-loss and stress reduction program. Like a fine wine, Sylvia expresses wisdom that comes with age and experience.
Here are excerpts from my interview about Sylvia’s stress reduction and weight-loss program.
Q: Your weight-loss program is a lot more than losing weight. What is the Living Thin program about?
A: It’s about weight-loss and managing stress. It’s a nine-week lifestyle program that gives you the skills and shows you how to have the self-confidence to take it off and even more important, keep it off. We all know how to take it off, but keeping it off is the trick. You don’t have to give up all your favorite foods. You don’t have to feel deprived. You can even have a cocktail every night. I do, even though I’m 97. Believe me, that cocktail is important to me. What you’re really learning is that you can have it all, you just can’t have it all, all the time.
Q: How is your program different from other weight-loss programs?
A: Living Thin is absolutely not a diet. I don’t believe in diets. I don’t believe in pills. I don’t believe in gimmicks of any kind. What are you going to do when you stop taking the gimmick or the pill? So many of you have taken pills and gimmicks, and I know darn well you’ve gained it all back. Diets make you fat. How do diets make you fat? Because when you go on a diet you restrict your calories severely and that slows down your metabolism. When you go back to your old eating habits you start gaining more quickly. You think it’s your age. It’s not your age, it’s the diet you’ve been on. Also, there’s no way you’re going to keep your weight off if you are suffering from too much stress. I can guarantee that. I discovered that people were gaining weight because they weren’t managing their stress.
Q: Who was Dr. Albert Ellis and how did he inspire you?
A: I wanted to find the most important person I could on helping with how to manage stress. That was . Dr. Ellis started a program in 1955, which he called RET, Rational Emotive Therapy can be summed up in one sentence: It’s not what happens that upsets you, it’s what you choose to tell yourself about it. It’s your attitude. Dr. Ellis is considered to be one of the two most important psychologists in the 20th Century. His work is respected and taught all over the world.
Q: What’s the problem in our society? People are getting fatter and fatter. What’s the reason for that?
A: A lot of it has to do with the food we’re eating. Much of the food we’re eating contains toxic chemicals. Many of these chemicals are not government regulated. Those toxic chemicals will not only make you fat, they’ll make you sick. If you’re not educated, and you don’t know what you’re eating, and you don’t have time to find out, you’re going to get old and fat.
Q: Your program is personalized, yet you say you can eat almost anything you want. How can that be?
A: You can have any kind of food. You just can’t have it all the time.
Q: Can you provide some tips on weight-loss?
A: Let’s start with the stress, because if you can control your stress, you can control your weight. If you can’t control your stress, forget it.
Q: Does your program count calories?
A: You don’t have to count calories. That’s boring and I’m opposed to counting calories. I favor being aware of the calories. If you want to eat less make a plan. Another good idea is to get weighed every day. It has to be important. It’s like anything else in life.
Q: I understand you don’t accept just anyone into your program. What are acceptable parameters?
A: Before I accept anybody into my program they have to deserve it. I only want people who are willing to practice what I’m preaching. My program is about being healthy. If you’re healthy you’re not going to be fat. The food you eat, what you put on the end of your fork and put in your mouth, that’s what’s going to keep you healthy and living longer. If you want a good recipe for aging well, what you eat and how much you exercise, that’s the ticket. The older you get, the more you need it. When you pick up something to eat, you better say to yourself, “How will my body like it?” I like it, but does my body like it? Because if you’re body doesn’t like it, your body is going to get even with you. What you eat can even affect your brain.
Q: Do you have some closing thoughts?
A: Everybody has the right to disagree with me. As much as I believe in my program, I believe that you have a right to do without it.
About the Author – Dennis Zink