Oleda Baker, now 78 years old, began her career as a high fashion model with the prestigious Wilhelmina Model Agency in New York over 50 years ago doing print and TV work there and in Europe. She has written 10 books on beauty and health and one novel Reluctant Goddess. Her latest non-fiction work, Breaking the Age Barrier – Great Looks and Health at Every Age – was released in November 2010 and is available from Amazon or from her website.
She offered me a number of photos to use with this interview and I chose these because they were taken 25 years apart. The first was a perfume ad. Her husband shot the second one 25 years after the first appeared in print. Oleda was 76 at the time. I don’t know about you, but I almost couldn’t tell them apart.
I was anxious to learn about the eating habits of a person who could look so striking and be so healthy across such a span of years. What she told me was music to my ears. “Weight,” she says, “may be the single most important factor for your beauty, health and longevity.”
A book publisher came to her with a proposal for a diet book. She said that she didn’t think there would be much of a market for a book with one page that said, “Eat less.” Needless to say, she didn’t do the book.
In one of her own blog posts on Growing Bolder she relates that she learned from the models when she first got to New York. “There was no part of their body they were not concerned about. Nutrition, diet, exercise and proper sleeping habits were always on their minds, especially the ones that lasted in the business.”
What does she have for breakfast? Contrary to traditional ideas, Oleda says she even eats a light breakfast. “I’m not very hungry in the morning. I will have coffee and an English muffin for more fiber, or some healthy bread.”
What about any big meals? She said she will have one bigger meal in the day.
If she and her husband go out for dinner she might have two appetizers and a little dessert.
I thought she was extremely practical about getting to such a healthy lifestyle. She characterized it as, “I don’t live to eat. I eat to live.” Words to live by.
She said that she reached this point of light eating gradually. She used to eat three candy bars a day. Then she cut back to two a day. After a while she was able to get down to one a day. “Each time you eat a little less,” she said.
She was in complete agreement with my concept on the blog about portion control. “Everyone overfeeds. Our bodies don’t need that much food.” She said fast food places and most restaurants were guilty in the overfeeding.
What about exercise? Looking so slim and beautiful seems like it would take a lot of work. But, no. She said that eating less helps a lot. Her energy is fine. She works in her garden a lot. Interestingly, when I took the course Lifelong Health, Achieving Optimal Well-being at any Age by Dr. Anthony Goodman of the Great Courses, he made the point that working in the garden was very healthful exercise.
Oleda’s husband put up a treadmill for her in an air-conditioned area with a TV and she uses it occasionally. Mostly she just keeps active.
So, eat less; move more; live longer, regular readers have seen those words on these pages plenty of times. As you can see looking at Oleda they work just fine.
If you would like to learn more about Oleda’s suggestions for beauty, health and anti-aging click here.