02/17/2015 01:03 pm ET Updated Apr 19, 2015

A Waist Is a Terrible Thing to Mind

Nora Ephron wrote a hilarious book on aging called I Feel Bad About My Neck. If I wrote a book on aging it would be entitled, A Waist Is A Terrible Thing To Mind..

Aging is inevitable; the only way to stop aging is to stop living. That's not a great option. You can slow down the clock with a better diet, exercise, sleep and stress management and -- hopefully -- great genes. But you can't stop the clock unless you stop ticking altogether.

As a wine and food professional, I've grappled with balancing the pleasures I enjoy imbibing with the practical necessities of managing a body whose metabolism isn't the same today as it was 20 years ago. I always obsessed about my waistline. In fact, as a young girl I would wear a very tight corset to bed to try and maintain a wasp-sized waist. I even slept wrapped in plastic wrap to "sweat out" the fat. I tried numerous fad diets and workouts to whittle my waist. When I hit my late 40s my body retaliated.

At some point, you need to realize the body you had in your 20s and 30s is not going to be the body of your 50s and 60s and beyond. Nothing is more unsettling than seeing a mature woman starving and stretching herself into extreme skinniness to fit into an outfit that is no longer age appropriate any more than seeing a morbidly obese woman or anyone treat her body with disrespect. I don't advocate wasting time obsessing about your looks and body weight, but I do believe it is important to spend the right amount of time time taking care of your well-being.

Women have made huge advances in the last 20 years. We have had more doors open up to us in business, and more women today run their own companies. We are financially independent and many of us make more money than our husbands. We control much of the buying power in the U.S. and in the future hopefully more seats in different levels of the U.S. government. Yet, despite all of this many women still are not happy with their bodies and fret about looking "fat," "old," and "undesirable." They purchase self-help books by the millions and spent small fortunes on products and procedures to "fix" themselves. Why are we so hard on ourselves and what example is it setting for younger women?

Currently, 80 percent of women in the U.S. are dissatisfied with their appearance. And more than 10 million are suffering from eating disorders.

We should be self-championing our achievements as women and be less self-critical. We need to learn to love the person we see in the mirror rather than fixate on what we see as imperfections. And we need to stop listening to, watching or reading propaganda that promotes unhealthy or unrealistic images of women. To allow anyone to tell you -- or to believe yourself -- that you have any shortcomings is simply shortchanging who you are.

We can make jokes about middle age spread, muffin tops, chicken necks, sprouting gray hairs, age spots and dryness in all the wrong places. But we should not complain and feel bad. We have to feel good about ourselves and keep our minds active in more positive ways, nourish our body and nurture our spirit. We promise to age gracefully and graciously. Some women never have the opportunity.

Yes, a waist Is a terrible thing to mind if you don't love yourself in the body you have and if you don't take care of that body. And it is a total waste of your mind to think someone or something will make you happier about your self. Only you can make yourself happy and be at peace with who you are in the body you have.

If you're struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.