The first week of January brings together two opposing forces in Tinsel Town: the excess poundage of post-holiday time – and the need to look svelte as Awards Season goes into full swing. We’ve got the People’s Choice Awards Jan. 11th, The Golden Globes on the 15th, the Screen Actors Guild Awards the 29th – the list goes on and on. To prepare, notables and not-so-knowns all over town are dieting and exercising like mad. Sometimes, unfortunately, in certifiably unhealthy ways.
Beyonce, Demi Moore, Paris Hilton, Billy Bob Thornton and Howard Stern sidekick Robyn Quivers are among the many names who’ve been associated with the Master Cleanse diet. In fact, Quivers claimed to have lost 70 pounds on the seven-decade-old plan after dozens of failed diets. Instead of food, followers chug a concoction of fresh lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and water – for weeks on end.
“I’ve never felt this good about my body before,” said Quivers, after fasting for 21 consecutive days on three occasions. She was introduced to the idea by magician David Blaine, who raved about the Cleanser as a guest on Stern’s show.
Doctors warn, however, that extended fasting can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and worse.
Low carb diets, whether Atkins, South Beach, or Hamptons, remain popular with actors and actresses. Stars who’ve been associated with low carb regimens include Sarah Jessica Parker, Reneé Zellweger, Matt LeBlanc, Whoopi Goldberg and Jennifer Aniston. Taken to extremes, however, they, too, can have negative side affects. According to the American Heart Association, these kinds of quick-fix diets leave out vital vitamins and minerals, may be high in fat and can increase the risk of heart disease. And they don’t lead to sustained, long-term weight loss.
Of course, punishing workouts continue to be a favored means of getting red carpet ready. Many spend hours on end working with trainers who charge $100 an hour, some even $300 an hour. Others do things their own way. “Top Chef’s” Padma Lakshmi said she lost weight by running up and down 70 flights of stairs, plus weight lifting and walking. Usher has said he does 1,000 crunches a day to maintain his abs, in addition to watching his carb intake. Ashton Kutcher and JJennifer Lopez have toned up with the help of the Israeli martial art, krav maga.
Again, there are those who go to unhealthy extremes. One example: Martin Lawrence was jogging in near triple digit temperatures in an effort to lose weight for a movie role when he collapsed with a temperature of 107 and was in a coma for three days.
If all else fails, modern medicine offers options including liposuction and gastric bypass surgery. Rumors of celebrities who’ve used lipo as a fast way to a slim body are endless. Think of any celeb who has gone from looking overweight to trim and gaunt within a month’s time and suspect they’ve gone the fat sucking route. Results can be weird, close-up. We recall standing behind one Oscar-winning beauty who was being asked how she’d lost weight recently, and noticing her back was mottled with thick spots. Eww.
Then there are those so desperate to shed pounds they resort to blatantly destructive means, from smoking and drugs to excessive laxative use and purging. Stories abound of performers and models who literally destroyed their health that way.
So, next time we see a glamour girl who is looking a little zaftig, let’s not act as if it’s Armageddon. Or one who’s dropped some weight – let’s not behave as if she’s cured cancer or solved global warming.
It’s gotten so ridiculous, one of these days they’ll be giving out statuettes for weight loss at a Skinny Awards show.