Ask Arlene: An Interview with Arlene Pellicane

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In 2004, six years before author and speaker Arlene Pellicane’s first book, 31 Days to a Younger You: No Surgery, No Diets, No Kidding, lined the shelves of Christian bookstores and filled Amazon shopping carts, I ate Christmas dinner with her.

My husband Ted had attended grad school with Arlene and her husband, James, but it was the first time she and I met.

I liked her instantly.

Arlene is upbeat, energetic, motivating, and kind. I’m grateful to have had her contribute to Ungrind since its founding and to call her “friend.”

Before becoming a stay-at-home mom and published author, Arlene served as the associate producer for Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah. She also put her journalism skills to use as an on-air features producer for The 700 Club. In addition to these programs, she’s appeared on The Hour of Power and TLC’s Home Made Simple. Over the last several years, she’s encouraged moms like me in their weight loss after pregnancy and now offers practical advice for women of all ages on how to live life more fully in her book, 31 Days to a Younger You. Arlene’s next book, 31 Days to a Happy Husband, focuses on improving a wife’s most important relationship: her marriage. It releases this summer.

I recently asked Arlene to consider writing a monthly Q&A column for us. She agreed. Once a month in “Ask Arlene,” she’ll answer a question related to health, beauty, marriage, or parenting. To kick off “Ask Arlene,” we took the time to chat via email about her book and her new column.

Why did you write 31 Days to a Younger You: No Surgery, No Diets, No Kidding?

My daughter turned two and I turned 40 last year. I realized when she is in her 20’s, I’ll be in my 60’s and well, I don’t want to be old! I want to be able to walk down the aisle when she gets married; not stroll down in one of those motorized carts! So I set out on a journey to discover keys to staying young from women who were aging well. By aging well, I don’t mean their skin was flawless. I interviewed women in their 40’s-100’s about being fit in body, mind, and spirit.

What would you say to women who believe the outward appearance shouldn’t be their priority and that people should accept them as they are?

I’d say they’re right and they’re wrong. Beauty comes from the inside out. It’s better to be a person of character than a person with good looks. But why does it have to be either/or? My friend said she’d love to go to work in her pajamas (ah, the comfort!) but she would never do that out of consideration for her co-workers. How she looks affects other people. In the same way, we ought to do our best to look as attractive as possible to the people around us. Especially as believers, we are ambassadors of the King.

Can busy women apply these principles in a short amount of time?

Yes! By reading 5-10 minutes a day and then doing a simple action step, a busy woman can start looking and feeling younger in days. I know a busy single mom who read my book and started doing crossword puzzles to challenge her mind, lifting weights, and cutting out white flour from her diet. She feels better already and those are just a few small changes that can make a big difference.

What are some areas of the heart, mind, and body that you cover?

For the heart, readers are led to be more joyful, recover that childlike faith, roll with the punches, and laugh again. As we grow older, it’s easy to think, “I’m losing my mind!” So we spend time to focus on improving memory and strengthening our brain power through learning new skills and doing hobbies we enjoy. The adage “move it or lose it” rings true, so we spend the last part of the book focusing on improving our exercise and eating habits, plus fashions do’s and don’ts as we age.

What steps can a woman take to give herself a new look without spending much money?

First thing to put on is a smile. It doesn’t cost a penny and can give a girl a new look in seconds! Next it can be a haircut or a closet cleaning party. When you toss unflattering clothes and things you don’t wear, you can find more outfits that do work. You can look at magazines for ideas of looks you like and then shop in places like Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx, or Ross with those ideas in mind. If you have a fashionable friend, bring her on a shopping trip!

What are some tips for relieving stress or making time for yourself?

Exercise is a great stress reliever whether it’s an intense exercise class at the gym or walk around your block. Find something you enjoy that helps you “change channels” so you can walk away from the things that are stressing you out. It may be reading a Psalm, a chapter in a book, calling a friend, asking someone to pray with you over the phone, or journaling. If you see you have a particularly busy week or you’re in a demanding season of life, schedule time in your calendar for down time. Set aside a weeknight where there are no outside activities and regroup. Protect that time or something or someone will take it away.

Your second book comes out in July of 2012. What’s it about?

It’s titled 31 Days to a Happy Husband and it’s about going back to the honeymoon and championing the wonderful man God has given you. After awhile, that intense passion and romance turns into comfortable warmth which is natural and fine. But if we don’t stoke the embers once in a while, we can become cool business partners with our spouse, sharing a home and bank account but little else. This book will drive you back towards your spouse and guide you towards having the marriage of your dreams. I interviewed thirty-one happy husbands for their advice; husbands like Dr. David Jeremiah, comedian Tim Hawkins, and renowned therapists, Dr. Cliff and Joyce Penner.

You will be writing a monthly Q&A column for us here at Ungrind called “Ask Arlene.” Tell our readers more about it.

I’m honored to be available to answer questions about health (spiritual, emotional, or physical) or relationships (marriage, parenting), so bring it on! We’ll have fun as a community considering real life issues. I hope to encourage readers to take the next best step towards what God has for them in their health and homes.

We have a copy of Arlene’s book 31 Days to a Younger You: No Surgery, No Diets, No Kidding to give away. To enter for a chance to win it, leave a question you’d like for Arlene to answer in her new column, “Ask Arlene.” If she chooses your question to answer in her April column, the book is yours!

This contest closes on Monday, March 12, 2012, at 12 a.m. Our apologies to our international readers, but it’s only open to those residing in the United States.

This contest is now closed. Congrats to Lisa M! Arlene will answer your question in her April column.

Ashleigh Slater is the editor of Ungrind. As a wife and stay-at-home mom, she enjoys moonlighting as a freelance writer, proofreader, and editor. Her writing has appeared in print and online in publications including Marriage Partnership, Thriving Family, MOMSense, Brio, Brio & Beyond, Guideposts’ Angels on Earth, Focus on the Family Magazine, Radiant, Campus Life’s Ignite Your Faith, Focus on Your Child, Clubhouse, Jr., Small Group Exchange, and Sunday/Monday Woman. She spent five years as a media critic for LinC (Living in Christ): Youth Connecting Faith and Culture and two years writing music reviews and artist bios for All Music Guide. She graduated from Regent University with a M.A. in Communication. She currently lives in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri with her husband Ted and four daughters.
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About

Ashleigh Slater is the author of Team Us: Marriage Together and the editor of Ungrind. As a regular contributor at several blogs and websites, she loves to unite the power of a good story with biblical truth and practical application to encourage others. She has 20 years of writing experience and a master’s degree in communication. Ashleigh lives in Atlanta with her husband Ted and four daughters. You can follow her on Instagram here.


  • Shannon

    Hi Arlene-

    I am getting married in September! You and your husband seem to have a great, healthy relationship with a solid foundation. So my question is: “What advice can you offer to newlyweds on how to establish that foundation in the beginning in order to keep the embers going so that we don’t become cool business partners with our spouse in the future?”

    Thanks for your advice!

  • Hi Arlene! What kind of advice would you offer a Mother who wants to teach her daughter the importance of being beautiful on the inside and the outside? I know this starts young and I don’t want her to believe that only the “Barbie” type girls are beautiful — but I do want her to take pride in her appearance. Thanks!

  • Lisa M

    Hi Arlene, I loved reading this article. I want to want a healthier lifestyle and I feel I owe it to my kids to be a better role model in health. I feel like I’ve just plain lost my motivation. I’m a stay at home mom to four school-aged children, so time isn’t the issue, my motivation and “want-to” is. I feel like my life revolves around either feeding them or picking up after them and the last thing I feel like doing after dropping them off at school is another thing I “have to do”. Do you have any suggestions on finding my motivation to be a better, healthier me?

    Thanks!

    • Congrats, Lisa! You are the winner of a copy of Arlene’s book. She’s picked your question to answer in her April column. I’ll be sending you an email soon.

      • Lisa M

        This is awesome! I’m very excited to read her book. I’m looking forward to reading her column and to see what others are asking. :o) Thanks so much. I still can’t believe I won!

        Lisa

  • Lizzy

    hi, Arlene! i’m a new mom so gotta make this quick but what would be some fun, quick ways you would suggest to keep the ‘spark of romance’ aflame for a pair of overjoyed but sleep-deprived new parents like us? thx!!

  • Julie

    Hi Arlene,

    I love your thoughts here on a healthier you. Do you have any specific tips on how to strive for a younger you for those who struggle with chronic illnesses and/or diseases? Thanks.

  • Welcome to Ungrind Arlene!

    I am a mother of 2 great kids, and a very patient husband. I was raised to be a very strong, independent woman and often it creates tension between my husband and I because I sound like I don’t “need” him. Do you have any tips to help me show that I “need” him and that he IS the leader of our household?

    Looking forward to reading “Ask Arlene!”

  • Hi Arlene – I’m excited about your new column! I am a busy mom of a toddler. I work full time, mainly from home, and I have limited child care coverage. Before becoming a mom, every day I read the Bible, prayed, and spent time being quiet with God. However, since becoming a mom, I haven’t found a consistent way to weave that quiet time back into my schedule. I know you are a busy mom as well – how do work quality time with God into your schedule?

  • Sandy

    My husband and I have spent the last couple of years delving into the little known facts about food and nutrition. It’s been quite an eye opener! I know most Christians believe that the dietary restrictions of Leviticus are not applicable as they were wiped away with the sacrifice of Christ, but I often wonder if this is true? For one, God is unchanging… so why would the dietary restrictions he laid out fail to apply to the generations that followed Christ? Second, as we discover that “our” way of eating really hasn’t been beneficial to our health, shouldn’t we question whether the restrictions laid out by God would be more beneficial from a health standpoint? After all, I’m sure these rules were laid out for a solid reason. As Christians the bible is our handbook for EVERY area of life isn’t it? Sorry this is so long, but this question plagues my mind and I would love to hear your take on the subject.

  • Bethany

    I’m a mom of five age 7mo to 11 and I struggle with balance. I can get caught up on one aspect say feeding my family healthy meals and lose sight on other aspects how do you balance it all? I feel like we eat pretty healthy and I recently have had some issues with stress hurting my physical body. So my husband has made it a priority for me to get exercise time in the am but now I’m noticing his exercise time has decreased. I want him to have time too. I feel like so often we swing from doing well in one area but then something else slides. We both want to be healthy with exercise, food and spiritual time. Just really struggling making time for it all.

  • joanne

    Thanks for the insight in your interview! I’m not from the U.S., so won’t be in the draw… but love you ideals and will look forward to reading your column.

    We can all be an encouragement to others around us to stay young and enjoy all that God has given us everyday – – there’s such power in “growing up” together as women of God. Let’s tell our friends how beautiful they are and work on all these things side by side!

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Ask Arlene: An Interview with Arlene Pellicane

by Ashleigh Slater time to read: 5 min
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