By Lisa Esquivel Long
The News-Sentinel (Fort Wayne, Ind.)
Don’t try to hide your smoking habit from Marilu Henner. She can read it all over your face.
The former “Taxi” TV actress, who has authored nearly a dozen books on health, child rearing and memory, brought her tips for living a healthy lifestyle to nearly 1,400 women — and a few men — as the keynote speaker at the 13th annual Tapestry: A Day for You on Friday at Memorial Coliseum.
The event, which included music from award-winning LA singer/songwriter and Fort Wayne native Courtney Leigh Heins, shopping at vendors’ booths and lunch, raises money for IPFW scholarships in health sciences. Six female students received scholarships during the event.
Henner, who recently turned 62, filled the coliseum Expo hall with her energy as she described her ability to tell by looking at someone face — and the puffiness, pimples and other signs there — whether someone smokes or has eaten too much sugar.
Henner’s journey to a healthy lifestyle started after watching her father die of a heart attack in the family’s Chicago kitchen at age 52.
“I ate my feelings,” Henner said of the weigh-gain she experienced after her father’s death.
A few years later her hard-working mother, who suffered from arthritis, died during Henner’s audition process for “Taxi.”
“I made a vow to God, if my mother lives, to learn everything about the human body,” she said. And if not, as happened, to still do it. She gave up the yo-yo dieting and even took human anatomy classes at UCLA.
“It was changing myself on a cellular level,” she said.
She presented an A to Z list of ways to develop a healthy lifestyle. Among those:
–F is for fakeover days when you feel fat and bad about yourself. “Every day you’re in the laboratory of your life. And every day is an experiment and you’re collecting data.” So each day is new. Don’t let things pile up on you.
–J is for juice — find that thing that you enjoy doing. Her “Taxi” co-star would sometimes say he felt tense and ask, “Anybody have any ironing.” Ironing would soothe him. For audience members it might be working out or cooking.
–N is for no. “For your kids, no is a full sentence.” Don’t argue or cave in to kids’ whining. Little brats grow into bratty adults.
Henner is also known for her memory. She is one of 12 people tested who has hyperthymesia, or Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory. Scans show larger-than-normal areas in her brain. She can recall minute details of each day of her life since age 11 and numerous details of her life before that.
“I remember my baptism when I was 3 weeks old,” she said.
She encouraged the audience as they lay in bed before going to sleep each night to go through the day’s events, whether it’s from vision, smell or touch, and by the end of the month try to recall eight things that had happened during that time.
Before Henner’s speech, attendees had choices of two break-out sessions including learning to salsa dance, getting tips on design trends and ways for women to buy cars.