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November 05, 2004 - Image 82

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-11-05

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Jewish Book Fair

Not just big burritos.
Big flavOrS.®

Toward A Better You

Book Fair's Health Awareness Day features two very different speakers
on self-realization and empowerment.


Special to the Jewish News








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ou can make fear work for you.
You can improve your relation-
ship with your significant other.
You can stay calm and clearheaded at
work. You can even lose weight and
keep it off— maybe.
The two authors featured at the
Jewish Community Center of
Metropolitan Detroit's 53rd annual
Jewish Book Fair "Health Awareness
Day" on Friday, Nov. 12, approach these
issues from very different backgrounds
and philosophical places. What they
share is the commonsense notion that,
while life is not perfect, facing our hang-
ups and anxieties can lead to a more ful-
filling existence.

Self-Talk And Positive Thinking

Talk To The Mirror: Feel Great About
Yourself Each and Every Day (John Wiley
& Sons; $24.95) begins with the follow-
ing warning: "You're probably asking, 'Is
Florine Mark going to be the one who
can turn my life around?' And I can
answer you in one simple word: nope."
Ultimately, the only person who can
help you is waiting in your mirror, said
Mark, CEO and chairman of the board
of the WW Group Inc.
The first-time author subtitled her
book "an empowering guide for
women." However, men can benefit
from its insights as well, she told the
Jewish News in a recent interview.
"I would call it a book of hope, a
book to help you focus on living day to
day," she said. "The time to act is not
`when I lose weight,' or 'when I get a
husband.' None of us know what's going
to happen tomorrow, so the important
thing is to live every day."
This can-do attitude became more
vital as she lived a final year with her
husband, Dr. William Ross. Ross —
"my soul mate" — had been stricken
with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
(ALS), the incurable illness better
known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
"He taught me to live for the next
adventure, even in his final months,
when he'd wake me in the morning to
see the birds in the back yard," she said.
A graduate of Detroit's Central High

School who went on to establish the
largest Weight Watchers franchise in the
world, Mark reveals much of her life
story in the pages of Talk To The Mirror,
which she wrote with Maria Scott, a
Pennsylvania-based freelance writer.
The inspiration to "talk to the mirror"
— known to the therapy profession as
"self-talk" — first came to Mark when
she experienced performance anxiety
while preparing to go out onto a school
stage to talk about Weight Watchers.
She asked her reflection, "What's the
worst that can happen?" With that
thought in mind, she smiled into the
mirror and forged ahead.
Considering Mark's lifetime in the
weight-loss business, readers of her book
should not be surprised by the self-eval-
uation quizzes that dot Talk To The
Mirror, where matters of appearance fig-
ure prominently.
"I don't look at people by how thin
they are," said Mark, who remembers all
too well her childhood nickname of "Fat
"Gaining weight, losing weight, hav-
ing a pimple — none of this has any-
thing to do with what's inside," she said.
"But obesity is the No. 1 killer for both
men and women, through heart, cancer,
diabetes, whatever."
In addition, she said, a person's out-
ward appearance is frequently a clue to
"My problem wasn't about weight,"
she said. "My problem was a lack of self-
control and limited coping skills. Weight
gain was merely a symptom."
Mark's goal in writing a self-help book
was to "teach people to give up the bad
As she looked out the window of her
offices in Farmington Hills at the cloudy
fall day, she said, "You can either tell
yourself, 'It's dark and gloomy, and I
have so much work,' or you can tell
yourself, 'I wonder what adventure waits
for me today.'
"The choice is up to you."
Now that she has sold the majority of
her Weight Watchers holdings, Mark is
using her talents in the volunteer arena.
A member of Adat Shalom Synagogue,
she is on the boards of the Jewish
Community Center of Metropolitan
Detroit, Children's Hospital of
Michigan, the ALS Foundation and the

Florine Mark: "I would
call it a book of hope,
a book to help you focus
on living day to clay.'

Jewish Federation of Metropolitan
Detroit, where she heads the marketing
committee. In addition, she is chair of
the newly reconstituted Seeds of Peace
Detroit chapter, supporting the efforts of
the international organization to pro-
mote world peace through the younger
She is also devoting herself to fami-
ly— two sisters, five children, two
"bonus" children brought to the mar-
riage by Ross and 20 grandchildren.

Your Best And Bravest Self

In 1947, poet W. H. Auden coined the
phrase "the age of anxiety" to describe
the 20th century. The following year,
composer Leonard Bernstein used the
term as the subtitle of his second sym-
However, anxiety and its cohorts, fear
and shame, are not limited to modern
times, writes psychotherapist Harriet
Lerner in her latest book, Fear and Other

Uninvited Guests: Tackling the Anxiety
Fear and Shame That Keep Us From
Optimal Living and Loving
(HarperCollins; $23.95). And its effects
are not entirely negative.
A psychotherapist specializing in
women and family relationships, Lerner
is the author of nine books, including
the New York Times bestseller The Dance
of Anger.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y.,
she majored in psychology and Indian

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