O: We can't all move like Tina, though…

Laure: No, but women who feel good naked approach life with that same spirit of boldness, that same use-it-or-lose-it zest. And by the way, that spirit is very sexy. I know a professor in his 50s who's been single much of his adult life and who's had relationships—or at least relations—with many women, some in their early 20s. At a dinner party recently, he told me that sex with a woman over 40 is way more pleasurable and satisfying than sex with a younger woman—because a woman with the joie de vivre that comes from having a bank of life experiences is a much bigger turn-on than a youthful body.

O: That's good to know.

Laure: I was delighted—especially because part of my message is that the feel-good-naked lifestyle involves living with a sense of adventure. Eleanor Roosevelt was onto something when she said, "Do one thing every day that scares you." It doesn't have to be anything earth-shattering. I can't tell you how many of my former beets- or Brussels sprouts–hating friends have become converts in their 40s.

O: And what has that done for them beyond broadening their options in the produce section?

Laure: Eating is the most primal thing we do, and the way we do it inevitably carries over into other parts of our lives. It's the great metaphor. If you're going to try Brussels sprouts, you might be more likely to climb a mountain the next time you're on vacation. It's about breaking out of the fear zone. You're training yourself to move away from the world of can't, don't, won't.

O: So women who feel good naked are adventurous eaters?

Laure: Adventurous, purposeful, and aware. I often hear women say they eat with blind abandon in an effort to avoid unpleasant feelings. Yet mindless eating will not eliminate these feelings. In fact, it compounds them, since in addition to carrying your mental pain, you won't be able to manage your weight effectively. Changing this destructive pattern means finding a balanced, sensible approach to eating that can become permanent because it's satisfying and sustainable.

O: The holy grail.

Laure: Yes. I'm still amazed by how many women let themselves be ruled by eating disorders—not anorexia or bulimia, but things like cutting out whole food groups or routinely skipping entire meals. Women try to avoid accountability with eating; they tend to believe in the magical thinking of random restriction. But this means their lives are directed by deprivation. No wonder we're obsessive and compulsive about food. On the other hand, when you eat with purpose and awareness, it's such a relief. You're happier, calmer, not constantly bitchy or tense. Suddenly you can enjoy social outings more, you can be more conscious of your interactions with other people.


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