Cannes - 'Dreamgirls' Premiere
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Singer and actress Beyonce Knowles attributed her 20-pound weight loss for the movie "Dreamgirls" to the Master Cleanse — a starvation diet whose adherents swallow nothing but a concoction of lemon juice mixed with maple syrup, water and cayenne pepper, as well as salt water and a laxative tea for 10 days.
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updated 2/24/2008 2:15:47 PM ET 2008-02-24T19:15:47

They may say they just have good genes, but you deserve to know: Many stars are jogging their butts off, and some resort to unsafe, even illegal weight-loss practices, say insiders. “To be fair, a lot of the top women are doing the right things: eating healthy and exercising, but not obsessively,” says Beverly Hills trainer Gunnar Peterson. “It’s the up-and-coming women who I often see starving and going to crazy extremes.” Here’s the silly stuff they’re doing — and the healthy, longer-lasting alternatives you should try instead.

They abuse laxative teas
“The big thing among teen actresses right now is dieter’s tea. It has a mild laxative effect. But many young girls are abusing it — drinking 10 cups a day. I knew one girl who ended up with long-term health problems. Drinking too much of these teas can cause vomiting, stomach cramps, chronic constipation or diarrhea. Not pretty! All that to lose a little water weight.”

The healthier way: “Skip laxatives — the only weight you lose with them is from waste. And it comes right back when you eat and drink again.”
Los Angeles nutritionist Carrie Wiatt, owner of Diet Designs

They do superexpensive liquid cleanses
“Once, a very young actress client of mine bought $3,000 worth of supplements from her doctor to do a cleanse. All she was allowed to have for two weeks were liquids and the vitamins she bought — no solid food. She was already incredibly healthy — she worked out and ate really well, and I don’t think she’d had a sip of alcohol in her life. She said she just wanted to ‘clean herself out.’ I joked: ‘From what — apples?’ A week into it she broke down, ate an entire loaf of bread and admitted that her real goal had been to drop a few pounds. An actress friend of hers, who has an eating disorder, had done the cleanse and recommended it.”
— celebrity trainer Ashley Borden

The healthier way: Drinking plenty of water and eating well are all the ‘cleansing’ you need.

They subsist on coffee & booze
“One client I had would stave off eating as long as she could — it was just coffee, coffee, coffee all day. She’d have a practically zero-calorie salad in the afternoon, skip dinner then go booze with her friends. Her organs were so stressed that when we trained together, I could literally hear her heart pounding away in her chest. Working out was a waste because she was so exhausted.”

The healthier way: “I always advise eating regular meals — a mix of healthy carbs, protein and fruits and veggies.”
— Gunnar Peterson

They misuse diet pills
“A musician who’d been taking an over-the-counter fat blocker came to see me. While on the drug, you can have bad side effects if you eat fatty foods, but she kept eating creamy pastas, ribs, you name it. The result: She had oily stools, bloating, gas and bad diarrhea, and she was vitamin-depleted. But she didn’t want to change her eating habits, and just kept taking it. Eventually she snapped out of it, followed a healthy plan I gave her and lost weight.”

The healthier way: “There really is no magic pill. Cut back on unhealthy fats on your own.”
— Carrie Wiatt

They stay locked in the gym…
“There’s one singer-actress who works out at my gym for about five hours a day, even on weekends. She spent her birthday here. She comes in at 5 A.M., then in the afternoon, and again at night.”
— Amber Kenain, general manager at Crunch gym in Hollywood

…and then lie about it
“I had one actress who trained with me and took six Spin classes a week. And all she ate was lettuce and Swedish Fish. When the press asked her how she’d ‘transformed’ her body, she said, ‘Oh, I do yoga and hike with my puppy.’ That made me laugh. Don’t lie about how much you work out, because other women are going to think, I walk my dog, why don’t I look like that?”
— Gunnar Peterson

The healthier way: Several hours of exercise a week is plenty. Several hours a day? Too much.

They obsess over the tabloids
“Paparazzi deliberately try to catch celebs in unflattering moments. It can be devastating. One actress came to me to lose five pounds after seeing a bad photo, and I had to convince her that, really, it was just a bad angle.”

The healthier way: “Remember that the only opinion of your body that matters is yours!”
— Los Angeles Pilates pro Mari Winsor

Copyright © 2012 CondéNet. All rights reserved.

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