Life Coach Mara

Mara is a life coach and soon, she will be a psychotherapist. She has been involved in several wellness projects and is now here for you. She will give you hints on how to reach that healthy lifestyle you always wanted. Ask Mara a question and she might just answer in one of her articles. To contact Mara, e-mail her at

Author Emily Rapp writes editorial about son with Tay-Sachs disorder

Emily Rapp, the author of “Poster Child: A Memoir”, writes an editorial in the New York Times about her son, Ronan, who was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Tay-Sachs. Her moving text has touched the hearts of thousands of readers and has managed to raise awareness regarding the disorder in a delicate and personal manner.

“MY son, Ronan, looks at me and raises one eyebrow”, the editorial begins. Ronan is one year and a half old and his mother will probably have to say goodbye to him before he reaches the age of three. Ronan, which means “little seal” in Irish, has been diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder, named Tay-Sachs.

Tay-Sachs disease appears in a person at a very small age (3 to 6 months old), through the genes inherited by the parents. If both parents carry the disease gene, and pass it to the child, then he has 25% chances of developing it. However, if the child inherits the gene from only one parent, he will not develop the disease, but will be a carrier. Tay-Sachs represents the defective state of a gene on chromosome 15.  It is the lack of a protein called hexosaminidase A, that triggers the disorder. Its lack causes the gangliosides (chemicals found in the nervous system) to add up in the nerve cells, causing the symptoms to appear.

Tay-Sachs makes the body turn to a vegetative state in a matter of months to years. The symptoms include: loss of sight, hear, motor skills, decrease in mental and social skills. The brain cells die, causing dementia and the body develops in a much slower rate than in the case of a normal healthy child. In the end, the child does not react to anything, entering a coma state which ends with his death. The maximum age these children normally reach is somewhere between 3 and 5 years.

To this day, there is no cure for the disease, nor a treatment. The doctors can only try and make the patient as comfortable as possible throughout the struggle with the disease.
Emily Rapp reveals the extremely different perspective that parents of children with terminal diseases have when it comes to the future. “We will not launch our children into a bright and promising future, but see them into early graves”, her editorial says. “We will prepare to lose them and then, impossibly, to live on after that gutting loss.” Even though it is depressing to read or hear about such cases, it is parents like her that can teach us the best life lessons. “Parenting, I’ve come to understand, is about loving my child today. Now. In fact, for any parent, anywhere, that’s all there is.”

The magic list that melts the extra pounds

On October 9, Ellie from New York Wrote:

“Dear Mara,
I can’t seem to lose weight. I am 5 foot 3 and have 160 pounds. I don’t feel comfortable at all, it’s not about how people see me anymore, it’s about how I feel inside. I want to be able and wear tight dresses and don’t feel like I’m about to pop out of the. I have tried, I think, every diet in the world. The problem is I give up eventually, because it feels way too hard. Can you help me?”

Women make a big fuss about their weight no matter how many extra pounds they have. And most of the times, it really isn’t about how other see them, but how they see themselves in the eyes of others and in the mirror, every time they have the chance. If you think of a diet as a way of losing weight, forget about it! Forget about the word “diet!” It’s a corsage that we tighten around our brain and it is only natural that at one point, it would explode.

If you have trouble changing your eating habits, or simply don’t know where to start, here is something that might help: the list that melts the extra pounds. I named it so, because it really helps regaining your ideal weight or slimming down. All you have to do is get into a relaxed state, preferably in a place that you know you won’t be bothered for at least 20 minutes. Get a pen and a piece of paper and write 30 ways that you would recommend someone to lose weight. They can be tricks, they can be exercise ideas, or they can be ways to see the process. I myself made such a list when I wanted to lose 10 pounds. And to get you started, I will give you some of the ideas I wrote down:

• I replace coffee with unsweetened tea
• I do not eat everything on my plate
• I admire myself every morning for something

Write everything that comes to your mind, even those things you believe will never work for you. Make the list like you are making it for your best friend. Then, every week, you pick 5 items that you commit to.

Celebrities have such rules they commit to, as well. Supermodel Tyra Banks avoids fried foods, LeAnn Rymes walks and Kim Cattrall cuts off the foods she craves. “I can’t have a little tiny bit of it because I want it all”, she had told access Hollywood back in May.
Get to work, girls!


If you have a question for Mara, send her an email to

We all have false memories and benefit somehow from them

Having false memories (remembering things slightly or a lot different from how they really happened) is very common for everybody, but recently, scientists have concluded that we all benefit somehow from them. According to Medical News Today, the Association for Psychological Science published in its journal, Current Directions in Psychological Science, a paper on what the benefits of false memories are.

“False memories are a natural outcropping of memory in general”, psychologist Mark L. Howe says. Even though remembering things any other way but the real way they happened might be a trigger of worries, it is not necessarily a sign of an illness. All sane people have false memories and according to the scientists at Lancaster University in England, it is a part of our adaptation skills throughout the history of human kind. The incorrect memories, also referred here [in the paper published] as illusions, may have played a crucial role in our ancestor’s survival. “The animal that goes to a favorite food-foraging location and sees signs that a predator was there – but not the predator itself – may be on guard the next time”, Howe explains and continues: “But the creature that falsely remembers the predator was actually there might be even more cautious”.

Our memory is a psychological process, not a logical one. This means that there will always be errors in the perceiving, encoding and stocking the information we get from the external factors. Its main purpose is “to extract meaning from experience” and the illusions help that process. However, an excess of false memories can raise the suspicion of a mental illness, which must be brought before a doctor in order to examine it and set a diagnosis, if necessary.
The point that the study wants to make is that “just because a memory is false doesn’t make it bad”. False memories have the same impact on our behavior as real memories, as our brain does not distinguish between them. Thus, they could enhance our self-esteem, our level of tolerating some actions that we falsely remember as “not so bad”, our social skills and so on. False memories can also help in problem solving and in getting a better perspective on past events.