Celebrity losers' secret

On "Dancing With the Stars," Kirstie Alley, with Maksim Chmerkovskiy. She gained back her Jenny Craig weight loss, then dropped it again.
On "Dancing With the Stars," Kirstie Alley, with Maksim Chmerkovskiy. She gained back her Jenny Craig weight loss, then dropped it again. (ADAM TAYLOR / ABC)

If only some mega diet firm dangled big bucks in front of us in return for shedding our excess poundage.

Posted: December 31, 2011

Yes, it's New Year's resolution season, and yes, everyone with an ounce of societal consciousness - and a few extra pounds - will be plunging into the murky waters of weight loss.

Choose your weapon - the plan or product or company that will get you to Nirvana - but get that resolution down on your list.

After all, look around you. There are a lot of ads staring right back. In 2009, the market for weight-loss products and services was worth nearly $121 billion, according to MarketResearch.com.

Charles Barkley - yes, Philly's own b-baller "Sir Charles" - is going to teach us how to "Lose like a man" for Weight Watchers. We'll be hearing how this approach actually includes the "man-food" that Weight Watchers happily allows.

Presumably, "man food," vastly different from "woman food," is ideally eaten in a man-cave with lots of TV-screen acreage and a man-size recliner. Barkley will lead the way.

Weight Watchers also will be feeding us inspiring advertising spots from another high-profile dieter, singer-actress Jennifer Hudson. Hudson's hitching her wagon to Weight Watchers' newest anthem, "The Year to Believe." Dieting, we must conclude, is now a religious experience.

Jennifer stole our hearts when she was a much larger young woman, who looked, it seems, a lot happier. Is it the imagination, or does Hudson look a little hungry these days? A tad anxious?

The TV spot in which she sings to her former self - the bigger one we knew from her reality-show days - seems a bit overstaged and over the top. The double-your-Jennifer spot should inspire, but all it does is bring on dizziness and disorientation.

Viewers try to listen hard when Dr. Oz, our collective, rock-star-handsome family doc, takes us with him on his "Transformation Nation" journey, with Weight Watchers as a partner. The crusade involves a payoff of a cool $1 million for the person who can succeed in seven basic steps toward optimum health - including weight loss, of course.

Success might be found if you can get past the calculations needed for the BMI - body mass index.

Dr. Freud might wisely suggest that we don't really want to know it.

There is an intriguing and seemingly endless parade of celebrity losers to remind us all of what we might be if only somebody dangled those big-big bucks in front of us in return for shedding some poundage.

Who wasn't smitten with perky Valerie Bertinelli, our collective "daughter" from TV's One Day at a Time? She hopped on the Jenny Craig bandwagon and was suddenly showing up on magazine covers in bikinis that most 51-years-olds would hesitate to wear outside the bedroom. And she looked good. The svelte Bertinelli even got a new top-rated TV show, Hot in Cleveland, that's hot, hot, hot.

What we will never know is how much airbrushing may have tweaked those photos.

Jenny Craig - to be known from now on as just "Jenny," which has a cozier sound - also came to the rescue of beleaguered actress Carrie Fisher. Her excess weight, we found out, was keeping Star Wars' Princess Leia marooned at home until the magic: a 50-pound weight loss, with the big reveal last summer.

And crooner Mariah Carey, the mother of those oddly named twins Monroe and Moroccan, just born in April, is sporting such a flat belly, thanks to Jenny, that many suspect not just a weight-loss program, but - gasp - a tummy tuck.

So why do we care so much that gorgeous Janet Jackson, resplendent in her retro blazer with epaulets made famous by her late brother, is now the "Face of Nutrisystem"? That's a lovely face, to be sure, and the body attached to it looks pretty nifty, too, at 45.

And about her much-hyped, breathtakingly original "confession" as a lifelong yo-yo dieter? It translated to "You need a plan in order to lose weight."

Wow! Who knew?

Say hello to former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw, Nutrisystem's latest poster man for weight loss. The likable Bradshaw will, of course, be targeting those big guys whose muscle has gone to fat with his pitch that ". . . the pounds started packing on" after he couldn't work out because of old injuries.

And the message, unspoken but clear: If Nutrisystem can help Bradshaw, it can work for you. And maybe even for our own beleaguered Eagles coach Andy Reid, who dropped some pounds - and found them again.

Our favorite celebrity dieter, hands-down, is Kirstie Alley. She's brash, she's funny, she's real. And yes, she gained the weight back that she famously lost on Jenny Craig.

But you gotta love Kirstie for her sheer spunk. There she was, out there swathed in muumuus and full of her usual sass.

She likes herself. Enough to have dared to go twirling on Dancing With the Stars and, in the process, to whittle herself down to, in her words, "a stretchy size 6."

You gotta love her.

And then Kirstie plunged into a diet.

So here's a resolution: Let's leave the obsessive diet plans to those who haven't figured out all the rest.


Coming Wednesday

It's the new year, and changes are on the horizon. In Wednesday's Style & Soul, our stories are all about changes and breakthroughs. You'll meet six people who changed their lives by making radical career shifts; get advice on managing change from psychologist and anxiety expert Tamar Chansky; and find out from fashion writer Elizabeth Wellington what's hot

in fitness wear, so you can look cute at the gym while fulfilling your New Year's resolutions.


Sally Friedman can be reached

at pinegander@aol.com.

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