You know when you’re old when your adult children talk to each other in front of you and spell out certain words.
Reaching the milestone of eighty, Lee Janogly was irritated at the notion that older people are slower, frailer and generally out of touch with the modern world. Even if we do sometimes put the remote control in the fridge, we do know how to work it…
An experienced diet and exercise counsellor, Lee knows that older people do want to know how to be healthy, fit, and well for as long as possible – without being lectured or patronised.
After all, as the 81-year-old superstar Jane Fonda says: ‘Older women are the fastest growing demographic in the world. It’s time to recognise our value.‘
Lee’s new book charts what happens to bodily and mental functions as we age. She looks at diet and fitness options. She has tracked down expert advice for us all on the best ways to improve memory, health, and appearance.
By the end of this book you will be standing straighter, eating more healthily, and people will be telling you how great you look (without adding ‘for your age’).
This new book, by turns tender, funny, and practical entertains and informs in equal measure.
Bel Mooney writes in the Daily Mail.
And finally… old age and how to deal with it
Reader Bobbie Jo writes to say she loves it when I recommend books, so she asks for more. You can often keep up with my reading from the quotations I choose for the top of this page (last week, A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles).
I devour books — I left my Kindle on a train and have never replaced it — and always have a book of fiction and non-fiction on the go, not to mention poetry. Books have always been my life.
Publishers send me titles they think I’ll like — and I have a good one for you here. It’s called Getting Old: Deal With It, by Lee Janogly.
As a woman of a certain age (ahem), I’ve read many books on ageing, but this one is refreshing, tough-minded and refuses to take itself too seriously. The title says it all — ‘Deal With It’! What else can we do?
The author is an inspiring 80- year-old, who has seen it all, it seems. She’s a diet and exercise counsellor who’s earned the right to tell it how it is when it comes to food and fitness.
Her tone is bracing (‘Some people shouldn’t write diet books’), yet warm and encouraging (‘You can go out looking like that’), and there’s something funny, wise and uplifting on almost every page.
Her chapter on bereavement (‘Grief is love unwilling to let go’) is deeply moving as she talks about life after the death of her husband Mo — and will strike a chord with anyone who mourns a beloved partner.
Lee Janogly’s book made me stop and think how I feel about ageing. Yes, none too keen!
But with parents of 98 and 95, who sometimes struggle, yet are still able to feel gratitude, enjoy good memories and love the family, I have very good role models.
Now, Lee Janogly is my guru, too. She writes: ‘Decide on your spirit age. Imagine yourself being young, slim and fit, but with the added knowledge and intelligence you have accumulated over the years.’
That’s excellent advice. I’m Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman!
Lee Janogly has been a diet counsellor and fitness instructor for over 40 years.
In her latest book, Getting Old: Deal with It, Lee set her sights on helping older people live their remaining years in the best possible health. As she says ‘A hospital is no place for sick people – too many germs!’ Now in her 80s, Lee feels she is fully qualified for this endeavour. Her tenets are love and laughter.
Only Fat People Skip Breakfast
‘A no-nonsense plan that DOES work’ Daily Mirror
‘Not only can you lose weight but you can lose it permanently’ Daily Express
‘The only diet book that ever works’ Daily Mail
‘Could free you for good of the misery of binge eating’ The Sunday Times
It started with a competition. I had no intention of trying to become a writer. This was around 1962 when I was stuck at home with a baby and a toddler and bored out of my mind.
At that time, as well as the Evening Standard, there was another daily paper, the Evening News, and they were inviting readers to watch a television programme of their choice and send in a review of the programme. The one selected for printing each day would win ten shillings.
I thought ‘why not’? There are only so many times you can sing ‘The wheels on the bus go round and round’ – not to mention spending a whole morning cooking a carrot and a Brussel sprout and mashing it into an indescribable mess for some baby to spit in my hair.
So I wrote a review of a programme on my typewriter, and posted it – as you did in those days.
My review was published and I duly received a postal order – remember those? – for ten shillings. Good. Let’s have another go. I sent in another review – and there it was in the paper. Another ten shillings. I’d earned a pound. This is a doddle.
After the third one was published, I received a phone call from the features editor of the Evening News – I remember his name – it was Nick Cole, as in Old King…
He said ‘Look’, (I subsequently discovered he started every sentence with the word ‘Look’). ‘Look’, he said, ‘your entries are by far the best but we can’t keep giving the prize to the same person, it’s not fair, so please desist’.
Ah! Nnooo. I had grown rather attached to those postal orders, so I started sending in reviews using a variety of names hoping no one would notice how many different people lived at the same address.
They did. I received another phone call from Mr. Cole. ‘Look’, he said, ‘there’s no point calling yourself Elouisa Waterbucket, we know it’s you, so get lost’ (not in so many words but that was the drift).
I had no choice. But a few weeks later, there was a strike of technicians at the BBC television centre and all you could see when you turned on was a blue screen with the words ‘Due to industrial action, there will be no programmes shown at this time.’
So I wrote a review of it. I put how much I loved the tranquillity of the programme, the beautiful music, how the black letters of the notice stood out so clearly again the brilliant blue of the background and how upset I was to be going out that evening and would miss the next instalment – or something like that.
Anyway, they loved it. Apparently they passed it round to all the departments and I was summoned to the phone once again by Mr. Cole. ‘Look’, he said, ‘you’re very original and we’d like you to submit a review twice a week, any programme you like, and we’ll pay you 12s 6d for each one. How’s that?’ Fine by me.
He ended that call by saying five words that stuck with me: ‘You should write you know’ he said.
So I did.