It’s part of many celebrities’ jobs to look good. While that sounds unfair and very un-21st century it’s human nature for our eyes to be drawn to beautiful things, be that objects (cars, clothes, jewellery, palm tree lined beaches) or people.
But as you know yourself staying in shape isn’t easy and it’s no surprise celebs turn to crazy diet and exercise regimes to try and short cut their way to a beautiful body.
New magazine asked for my opinion on a few recent celebrity diets and exercise plans that have been doing the rounds and whether there’s any merit to them. Not all of them made the final magazine but here’s the full roundup on what I think of these diets, click the images to be taken to larger images of the magazine, or read my comments below.
Carol Vorderman didn’t get crowned rear of the year twice by sitting on her perfect posterior. The former Countdown presente admits that she tones her glutes and maintains her 25-inch waist by going on regular long hikes and a lot of squats.
“In terms of squats, or the equivalent of squats, I probably do over 20,000 a year… that’s a lot,” she said.
What I think:
Squats are fantastic for everyone. Your glutes (bottom) muscles are the largest muscle in your body and are not just for looking good in bikinis! In fact they support your core, leg, and especially important back muscles.
Unfortunately with desk jobs, cars and sedentary lives our glutes can easily become neglected and weak. Working your glutes with exercises such as squats will give you better posture, a stronger back, and put less pressure on other joints such as hips and knees.
From her washboard abs to her famous derriere, Jennifer Lopez has always been committed to gym to stay in shape.
However, in February, alongside her fiancé former baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez, she stepped it up a gear by encouraging fans to join them on a 10 day no sugar or carb diet in conjunction with working out in the gym every day.
What I think:
Cutting out whole food groups often leads to a calorie deficit and therefore weight loss, but this will happen when cutting calories from any foods not just carbs and sugar. The body will burn fat when in a calorie deficit and there is no magic ‘fat burning’ mode the body switches to by cutting out sugar. Fat is burned for energy when there is insufficient food energy, as is the case when eating fewer calories than you burn.
Too much sugar isn’t good for anyone and a balanced diet shouldn’t be hugely high or low in any one food type. But carbohydrates are found in lots of extremely healthy foods such as dairy, beans, fruit and whole grains, so skipping whole food groups could mean missing out on nutrients and feeling low on energy.
Lauren Goodger, may have become a gym bunny in recently, but the former TOWIE star has battled with her weight for years.
In January Lauren claimed she had lost 2st in three weeks and put it all down to sipping on weight loss coffee. Skinny Coffee promises to decrease hunger while increasing your metabolism and in a sponsored post Lauren raved about the results, writing “…it’s my third week of Skinny Coffee Club’s Super Skinny Bundle and I’ve lost another 3lbs! So that’s 12lbs in 3 weeks!!”
What I think:
There are various brand of so called ‘skinny coffee’ and they contain various ingredients but all are based on the premise that if you drink them you’ll lose weight. Unfortunately there are no substances that have been shown to cause any noticeable weight loss, only eating in a calorie deficit does that.
Caffeine is a temporary appetite suppressant in some people so if drinking coffee means you eat less, you might lose weight. But too much caffeine isn’t healthy either and can raise heart rate and lead to the jitters and anxiety, so I would never recommend coffee as someone’s sole dieting tool.
Also unless they’ve been thoroughly tested we don’t know what negative health consequences these drinks have with their extra ingredients, and there may be side effects that make any short term weight loss just not worth the risk.
The 33-year-old has also cut gluten and sugar from her diet and has started drinking celery juice, a top tip from Instagram health guru Anthony William.
“Somebody said I should follow this guy on Instagram, he was getting so many testimonials – he’s called the Medical Medium – and he thinks you should drink 16oz of celery juice on an empty stomach in the morning before you have anything else, and it’s healing for your organs.”
What I think:
“Should you drink celery juice every day? The short answer is no. While vegetables are great, there’s nothing special about celery juice. It is actually better if people eat their vegetables whole so they get all the nutrients and fibre.”
Cheryl has embarked on a gluten-free, no sugar diet to “clear all the toxins” from her body – how can a diet like this help your
mental wellbeing as well as your body?
What I think:
Your body does an amazing job of detoxing all on its own through skin,
digestion, lungs, liver and kidneys. Too much sugar isn’t good for anyone, and a small number of people do react to gluten. However eliminating things completely from your diet is unnecessary and won’t necessarily help unless you have an actual intolerance to a food.
That being said, if eating a certain way makes someone feel better and healthier and it’s not harming their health, I’d have no problem with the choice to eat that way if if worked for their lifestyle.
What should Cheryl try and avoid doing on a diet like this?
The more you exclude from a diet, the more chances you have of becoming nutrient deficient. Nutrients such as B Vitamins and insoluble fibre from grains will need to be eaten elsewhere.
But just cutting out sugar and gluten isn’t going to drastically affect nutrient status. I’d be more worried about the mental side and becoming obsessive over food and fearing foods due to a perceived harm they cause. Fearing foods can lead to orthorexia and eating disorders if not kept in check. It’s crazy how many nutritional myths there are that so many people follow unnecessarily. It’s another stress that people don’t need. Eating well isn’t nearly as complicated as people think!
Is this diet maintainable?
Whether someone can maintain a diet depends entirely on their motivations for doing it, the benefits they feel, and the lifestyle they have that may or may not making sticking to a diet practical.
Celebrities often have custom meals made and money available to choose exactly what they want and have it delivered as needed. Most people don’t have that luxury, and neither do most people have the time to read every label in the supermarket or get nutritional advice from professionals.
Unless there’s a medical need, cutting out foods forever can be really challenging, as most allergy sufferers will tell you!
What diet changes would you recommend to someone trying to combat stress and anxiety?
Eating nutrient dense foods over junk will benefit everyone, physically and mentally. There are many other things that can help like walking and exercise, meditation and sleep. Not all problems are diet related.
Not eating big meals late and night, or on the flip side not going to bed too hungry, may help someone fall asleep.
Eating too little carbohydrates can cause increased stress in some people’s bodies, and B vitamins (also found in many carbs such as grains) can help balance mood. Magnesium, in nuts and seeds, is great for relaxation.
Not too much alcohol and caffeine and sure don’t go overboard on the sugar, but at the same time a treat every now and then can certainly be good for the soul! Life is too short to worry about every single mouthful and I think not getting obsessed is the best way to relax and calm anxiety.
Cheryl also revealed she is using celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson’s method of working out at home in 90 degree heat. “I literally have four heaters and two humidifiers, it’s not for the faint-hearted, honestly I am an extremist,” she admits.
What I think:
Yoga has been around for centuries and has many proven benefits. Bikram yoga, done in high temperatures, means than muscles are warmer and more relaxed so people may find stretching into poses is easier. Sweating (which is inevitable in such temperatures) will give the impression that you’re literally sweating out toxins but unfortunately our bodies aren’t quite that simple and detoxification involves many organs and processes in the body, all of which happen naturally without taking supplements or drinking special juices.
For a healthy person Bikram yoga should not be harmful so long as they drink a lot of water and top up with an electrolyte solution as electrolytes like sodium are lost in sweat. But for people with medical issues such as heart or lung conditions, blood pressure issues or are simply very sensitive to heat, I would not be happy about these people attending a class without getting advice from their doctor first.
There are many ways to get the benefits of yoga and other exercise types and there’s nothing revolutionary about any of them other than that being active and staying strong and mobile in some way or other is good for us!
As a self confessed ‘extremist’ I would question whether Cheryl is doing Bikram yoga purely for the health benefits, or whether this is more of a psychological release for her. Exercise is supposed to be challenging and there are definitely mental benefits to pushing yourself, but it shouldn’t be self-punishment.