By Jennifer D'Angelo Friedman, SELF magazine
This month's SELF Expression essay is excerpted from the new book My Formerly Hot LIfe: Dispatches From Just the Other Side of Young by Stephanie Dolgoff. This is her fourth guest blog for Healthy SELF:
I'm the first to suspect a celeb of having a cosmetic procedure or 30 in order to look smokin' into her Formerly years. But there are some who had the foresight to be smart with their bodies and beauty routines when they were younger, and are flaunting the benefits now. Here's what a few younger and Formerly hot stars do to age happily -- good advice at any age...
Zoe Saldana, 32, doesn't yo-yo diet -- smart move. Overdoing and then starving can mess with your metabolism and ultimately make you pack on the pounds -- which tends to happen even more easily after age 40. Saldana's trainer told her that eating healthfully and exercising is a lifestyle, not an intermittent habit. "He was like, no you need to come back, you can't only [drop pounds] for the premiere of 'Avatar,'" she says. "You really have to nurture your body. I have a lot of respect for people who do it because it's a lifestyle."
Jillian Michaels, age 36, puts health first, looks second. "To me it's not about building a better body. It's about building a better life," says "The Biggest Loser" taskmistress. "And if your health is your platform for life, it's got to be rock solid. If you want to take on the world, the s**t has got to be a good foundation."
Kelly Ripa, age 39, keeps her expectations about her looks in perspective as she gets older, does what feels good to stay in shape, and then puts her feet up and enjoys her life. The result is Ripa is happy and confident, which is, of course, gorgeous. "Age is going to happen. Stuff that you love about your body will not stay that way," she laughs. "It changes. And listen, I am grateful. I have no complaints at all. I nursed three kids. I went from a 32-double-A to a 32-double-A-Long. If you focus on the vanity of it, you're going to be disappointed."
Kristen Bell, age 30, squeezes in ways to keep moving even when she's not "exercising" per se. Doing so makes it a lot easier to keep your weight under control, even if you miss a day or two of deliberate workouts. "I always take the stairs instead of the escalator. It's such a pain in the butt in LAX where there are those long walkways and everyone else is on it and I'm pulling my roller bag next to them," she says. "When I'm done I feel so good. I haven't taken an escalator in years. I'm not kidding."
Anne Hathaway, 27, and Jennifer Garner, 37, are slaves to their SPF, which will help stave off wrinkles and brown spots, but also help protect them from skin cancer. "Sunscreen is my healthiest habit and I think yoga is up there too," says Hathaway. "I'm not doing it for any aesthetic reason, except that I really want to be healthy." Garner, too, calls it a no-brainer. "I put on like SPF a million. They have SPF 70 so I'll use that on my body and then something high on my face. I mean, why not? You might as well do everything you can to protect yourself. Because my dad now has all these little spots that are precancerous from his years on the boat. It's no joke!"
Kristin Davis, 45, says yoga helps her to focus on her internal life, and less on her external appearance (she avoids studios with mirrors). Tuning in to her own body makes her feel more at peace and confident, which she projects outward. The result? A hotter Davis. "The challenge in our world where we're continually confronted with magazine and billboard and TV of how you're supposed to be on the outside, but if you can tune into yourself, it gives you a sense of your own self, rather than mimic the outside [of someone else]," says the "Sex and the City 2" star. "When I look at young girls, I see a beautiful 24-year-old girl, but to me, they don't seem like they're in their own body."
Mariska Hargitay, 46, takes it one day at a time when it comes to eating well, rather than coming up with grand schemes to overhaul her diet. She eats to help herself function -- i.e., chase after her toddler son and work long days on the "Law and Order SVU" set -- not necessarily to achieve some physical or weight-related goal. "I ask myself, How am I going to eat well today? How am I going to support myself nutritionally with what I have to do? That's how I think about it," instead of paying too much attention to the number on the scale. "How am I going to keep up my energy?" What works for her is avoiding sugar and eating all else in moderation. Clearly, it's working for her.
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Photo Credit: WWD