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Why Tuesday?

The Girlfriend's Guide to Health will be updated every Tuesday.... Stay tuned dear readers and let me rock your world.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

This is How the Heart Breaks

Ah sweet sisters. Welcome to a new month…. Shall we call it February? Truth be told February is always my favourite month. Why you ask? Well even if you didn’t….

Firstly it’s my birthday month. I know there are some girlfriends out there who don’t want any attention around their birthday. They shun the whole getting older and don’t want people to make a scene. I say BULLSHIT. Make a scene. As a doctor I’ve watch far to many people NOT get another birthday so I am taking them whenever they come and in style.

Think about it my sisters…. One day in the year when cake is sanctioned and presents are expected. Trust me – the day in question is three weeks away and already I have picked out a gift (God bless you John Hardy for always meeting my needs) and a cake to go with it. Don’t worry I will only have one piece – as for the jewelry- it won’t be so lucky.

Secondly- the spring lines tend to appear in stores right now and a big shout out to my sisters in retail who always keep me informed of the best and the prettiest. Nothing says February better than being able to try on all those fabulous outfit you saw on the runways in September.

Next, there is the Fall Fashion Shows in New York, London, Paris and Milan. Need I explain? I didn’t think so

Finally, I love me a good short month. You know- one that is over and done with- 4 weeks and lock that shit up. So February… you are indeed my bell of the calendar ball. Mazel Tov.

But kidding aside my sisters- February is also Heart and Stroke Month – a time for awareness of the number one killer of women. I know we always promised to keep this Tuesday blog light but the truth may be heavy and times and I have always prided myself on being a sister who tell it like it is.

If you can’t trust this girlfriend to tell you that bangs are for Michelle Obama and not for you, then who can you trust? Is it not my job to educate and inform and sometimes my darlings- the truth- is more Issey Miyake than Chanel- it’s downright messy.

I’ve been thinking a lot these days about how we live. Perhaps it’s the change of seasons…. Perhaps it’s the change of hormones…. But every now and then I stop and take a spiritual inventory and lately I’ve realized as both a doctor and a patient- we tend to talk about quality of life but pursue the quantity of it all more often. What I mean by that is that all too often we talk about the number of the years lived and not the years themselves. We count birthdays and events and time gone by. We talk about how we are living longer than our parents….

But I can’t help but wonder what it means to have a life of substance. This brings me back to birthdays and Heart and Stroke month.

A recent report from the Heart and Stroke Foundation shows that 80% of Canadians think their doctor would rate them as “healthy” but that most of them would not pass the grade. Indeed the boomer generation is living longer than their parents before them but the rates of chronic diseases are higher than ever.

I know what you are thinking- the longer we love the more susceptible we are to chronic disease like Diabetes and High Blood Pressure- but what really is interesting is that it’s not such a straight line. The evidence does suggest that modern medicine will indeed help us live longer- but I wonder what we- each one of us is doing to make those extra years on the planet better?

Studies show that 10% of Canadian women drink heavily, 25% drink more than they should (no more than one drink a day) and 20% of Canadian women smoke.  Oh yah – 80% of us don’t get enough exercise.

Here’ s the thing my sisters- don’t feel bad, don’t get pissed at me….. ask yourselves what can I do today that I did not do yesterday in order to live better tomorrow?

I would argue that we worry more about the health of our skin than we do about the health of our arteries and that has got to change. 

Here’s the thing, if I may ponder- HEALTH is not a default state of being. We have been taught to believe in the past that if we don’t have a disease than we are by default, healthy. Not so….. Just because you don’t have Diabetes or High Blood Pressure or something else does not mean that the life you live is a healthy one. Contrarily- I know a lot of healthy people with Diabetes and Hypertension.

The point is that health, my sisters- is something we should be fighting for like a crazy lady at a Barney’s sale. Think about it my girlfriends- women as a community have fought for the right to vote, the right to have or not have babies and the right to marry whom they want to- let’s start fighting for the health of our tomorrow.

Get your asses moving ladies…. I’m watching you. Happy February my sisters and Amen. 


  1. My dad, the healthiest human being I know, had a cardiac arrest last month. His doctor says that if he had not been so fit and healthy, it would have killed him outright. My sister says that the rest of us are doomed, if someone as healthy as Dad can still have a heart attack so severe that unrelated doctors come by to see the chart and marvel that he survived. So much of what you wrote in today's blog resonates so strongly with me. February is also my birthday month, and at age 53 I not only want to live longer, I want to live well.

  2. I love the message and the concept of changing small things and adding them to your routine. I would love to read your book but it isn't available on Amazon in the UK, any chance it will be on Kindle soon so that a wider audience is opened?
    Thank you!

    1. Stephanie- thanks so much for your feedback, Below is the link to Penguin Canada's website. I think they ship to the UK and there is also an ebook. Hope this works out. Would love to have my book available to a wider audience. Will keep you posted..... Thanks again, Ali,,9780143187677,00.html?THE_WEIGHT-LOSS_PRESCRIPTION_Ali_Zentner