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‘Swan’ creator on transforming yourself

As part of the “Today” series, “The New You,” Nely Galan writes about how women can improve their lives by paying attention to health and beauty.
/ Source: TODAY

No matter if you are rich or poor, black, white, Asian or Hispanic, from a good family or a dysfunctional one, famous or not so famous, something will happen to you in your life time that will bring you to your knees. It could be a divorce, a breakup, a loved one’s death, a disease, the loss of a livelihood. At some point in your life, something will make you mourn the life you thought you should have had, and then you fall into a tailspin. You will let your health, your beauty and your life force die slowly. And you will walk around like the living dead unable to resurrect the “old” you. Every day you will feel worse until you begin to look on the outside like you feel on the inside.

I know exactly what this feels like, because I have experienced these feelings. At 35, I was a network president with a famous and rich boyfriend. I was the girl most likely to succeed. Then I became pregnant and realized that my perfect boyfriend and I had “irreconcilable differences” and that he could never become my mate. So I embarked on single motherhood. Since I had never even remotely imagined this type of life, I was overwhelmed with feelings of shame, sadness and depression.

I wondered, how did this happen? How did I, who I thought did all the right things, end up in this boat? Everyday I asked myself what could possibly snap me out of this victimized place? In desperation, I took myself to a health spa and felt for the first time in a long time that I was giving back to myself. I was putting my self first and valuing myself in a way that I maybe had never done before. I came back from that trip feeling a little bit better simply because I had taken some action: I had spent some money and time on myself. While I was away, my little son had been given a book, “The Complete Works of Hans Christian Anderson.” When I returned, I read the fable “The Ugly Duckling” to him and had an epiphany. The story said: “The ugly duckling was always a swan — and didn’t know it.” I then realized many women must feel like I did right then and there.

From this experience, I created the hit television show, “The Swan,” which now is airing in 250 countries around the world. The show put me in touch with hundreds and thousands of women who like me had hit the wall. In “The Swan,” I propelled women into action through physical transformation. Unfortunately, the show was criticized. The impression was that I was making women feel like they weren’t enough as they were. Due to the time constraints of a prime-time show, it is impossible to see all that transpired behind the scenes: the therapy, the life coaching and all of the other options the women were given to transform their lives.

Of course, working on mental and physical health is necessary, but I can tell you is I have yet to meet a woman who doesn’t instantly feel better after a makeover. In a life filled with long-term gratification, a makeover can be a quick fix that makes you feel better and can give you the strength to take additional action. It is not the only solution, but it is certainly a much need pick-me-up — and a start!

This is why I have created “The New You” Web-site,, and the upcoming weekly TV show that will focusing on health, wellness and beauty. I believe women have to stop thinking life is a Cinderella story, where a prince charming is going to magically transform out lives. Instead, we have to change our lives. And that and comes with knowing your worth. Although I wish I could have found my self worth sooner, later is better than never.

My mission is to push women to take action in their lives. They must understand that they come first in their families, so that they can keep their families healthy and happy. First and foremost, women must take care of their health. Prevention is the key to a long and health life. They must take care of their nutrition and exercise, their soul and spirituality. They must also take care of their beauty: it is their God-given gift. They must maintain their wellness and up keep in all of these areas in order to truly love themselves.

This week on “Today,” you will meet three women, who like me and so many others, have had devastating things happen to them in their lives. They let themselves go emotionally, physically and spiritually. We have given these women incredible makeovers to bring them back to life from the living dead. They will feel like they can go out and get that job, meet that new man, and erase some of the scars of the pain they have suffered. I then hope these women will find the strength to pursue the life-long journey of loving and taking care of themselves from the inside out.

If you’d like more information on Nely Galan and “The New You,” check out her Web site at