I have regrets. I have a lot. I should have never have shot the cover of PLAYBOY at 40 years old. I didn’t deserve it. I should have waited until I was 50.I will never forget shooting the USWeeklys BEST BODIES issue last summer, and crying in the mirror at the studio in Long Island City. I couldn’t believe that I was shooting this. I had been terrorized by an ex for not being skinny enough for all those years, and lived in fear that anyone would see my psoriasis which sometimes wrapped around me like a snake. Yes someone like me would be in BEST BODIES issue of US Weekly and PLAYBOY. Ive had body image issues. Ive had food issues, who hasn’t. I have had a romance with food that puts Cinderella’s love story to shame. I have also hated food like it was a curse, but I knew I had to eat: Cote D’Or chocolate wasn’t a food group. I even still wear Spanx on a normal occasion even after one ex boyfriend told me to “keep my gut sucking spanx photos to myself’, and then sent me a photo of one of his recent conquests vaginas to threaten me even more. Being skinny was every models occupation, smiling while being criticized for the way I walked or talked by men had become mine. I wasn’t just obsessed with being skinny. I was petrified of how men saw me. During an argument with the same ex, I was told I was going to be used up by every man in the city and left. And, he made it clear many times that ‘I ashamed my family by posing on the cover of PLAYBOY, and that I wasn’t a good role model for girls or women, and that I was unfit mother”- even though I raised my girls all alone. I AM SO proud of my photos in PLAYBOY, Im so proud. And despite some nasty ex’s mind game comments, I actually now enjoy looking at any picture of me in a bikini. My girls- who are my arbiters- tell me how proud they are of me, and more importantly who I am as a mother, caretaker, and as a provider. My girls drive me to be better. Regardless of what these men have put in my head, I will always have something they didn’t have. I was blessed with two amazing daughters, and I had the will to keep it really real with them, and motivate them to be better for the next generation. The balance between the good decisions and bad decisions were our frequent topic of conversation along with ‘bad foods’ and healthy foods- which were the reasons I wrote I CAN MAKE YOU HOT. Even though being called HOT is seen as a compliment; it can be damaging to those who aren’t ‘placed’ in that category. I redefined HOT and created the acronym (HEALTHY OPTIONS TODAY). To me, no one should define someone as hot. I wanted everyone to realize they are inherently HOT. I just wanted them to feel that they really are. Maybe it was because I needed to feel that way and teach myself a lesson. Everyone needs a food uniform, I needed food stability to keep me on track emotionally. I wrote ICMYH right off the heels of RHONY. I needed a lot of stability, and I was alone raising two girls with a stained reputation. Still through the coming of age for my girls, I protected them like a hawk. We had puberty to combat, weight gain, weight loss, and my pending peri menopause. I raised my girls on my own, and it wasn’t always easy to constantly ask them what they ate that day, like the food police. But somehow I had clarity. Those runs down the street which I was chastised for gave me 20 mins of solid breathing. Even though, I just wanted to make chocolate chip cookies with and for my girls, like I used to do with my best friend, and let the discussion of food priorities fade away into each warm oozing chocolate morsel, I had to talk about food, and why men make bad decisions and what the solutions are for myself and for them. Thats why I wrote THE SECOND COURSE for I wanted to celebrate the world of amazing food, not demean it. I was tired of hearing about how you have to be skinny to be cool, and or attractive. I was annoyed by how undemocratic eating good food had become. I just wanted to savor the exotic flavors and the obvious raw talent. Everyone knows if you want to eat well, you have to take care of your vessel. And I also wanted to tell a story of a woman who finds love through her own passion. And she leaves the bad decision makers to make more bad decisions. The idea of friendship is what I wanted to explore in my first novel A DANGEROUS AGE. Thats why I took my characters to so many workouts. I wanted my characters to do things together, celebrate, and show off how New Yorkers live in amazing city. Its cool to have real friends you can trust not just for a few months, but for a lifetime. And, then there were the trainers. Ive had some of the finest men and women who inspire me to be better. I don’t even think they actually realized the impact they made on me, or my kids. Sam Yearsley from Soul Cycle made such an impact on our family that my oldest daughter wrote her college essay about his incredible impact on her. I too had a running coach, trainer, yoga instructor, and two cycling instructors who were game changers in the way I saw me or probably just in life. I needed them more than they needed me during those 45 mins. So while, Im proud that I have maintained endurance, strength, and a less clouded mindset so I can focus on being better, I haven’t been completely honest. Ive recently been very outspoken about how I want those who are suffering or just need to get motivated to DM me on Instagram. The response was overwhelming. Somehow through social media, people have realized how much I genuinely really care. I have a secret I want to share on how I look the way I look, and how I feel the way I feel. I have never felt better in my entire life. My next chapter has already started. Wanna know why?