As a competitive swimmer, Janet Evans knows a thing or two about staying in top shape. The distance freestyler won gold medals at both the 1988 and the 1992 Olympics. After the 1996 Olympics, Janet Evans decided to retire. But like many who have reached the pinnacle of their profession, Evans found it difficult to stay in retirement. After a 15-year hiatus and as she was approaching her fourth decade, Janet Evans kicked off a 10-month training spree in hopes of qualifying for the 2012 London Olympic Games. Her coach noted that despite her long break and her age, Janet Evans’ physical condition was exceptional. Although Evans ultimately failed to qualify during the Olympic trials, she didn’t use that disappointment as an excuse to sit on the couch and eat junk food. When she emerged from the pool after the qualifying heats, Janet Evans said, “I can’t wait to go take a yoga class.”*
Nicole Barnhart began her soccer career playing for Stanford Cardinal in college, where she holds the Stanford women’s record for lowest career goals-against average (that’s a good thing, for those of you who don’t watch soccer Nicole is a goalkeeper). She began playing with the U.S. National Team after the 2004 Olympics, and won her first Olympic gold on the 2008 team. Nicole Barnhart steps in when fellow goalkeeper, Hope Solo, is out with an injury. Because injuries are unpredictable, Nicole has to stay in peak physical condition at all times. Her discipline on the field translates well to her dieting philosophies.
A while back we posted an article about the impact of friendship on one’s weight. When you hang around heavier friends, you tend to eat more, and vice versa. Actor and comedian Lenny Clarke is living proof of that. At his heaviest, Lenny weighed 388 lbs. “People were coming up to me and (saying) you look good’ with horror in their eyes. They would rub my belly like Buddha and that was hurtful.”* Indeed, Lenny had to use a truck scale to weigh himself. He attributes his girth to not just poor diet, but also years of drinking and drug abuse. Lenny also tried yo-yo dieting, which undoubtedly messed up his metabolism. While Lenny knew he wanted to lose weight, having his belly rubbed like Buddha didn’t get him there. It took the encouragement of “Rescue Me” co-star Denis Leary. Quite bluntly, Denis Leary told Lenny that he was going to die if he didn’t change his ways.
Ana Ortiz is best known for her role on the fashion-centric show, “Ugly Betty,” in which she played Betty’s sister, the extremely talkative Hilda Suarez. Ana is also an accomplished singer, but before her singing and acting careers, she wanted to become a professional ballerina. She did ballet for eight years, but switched to acting when dancing en pointe hurt her feet too badly. Fortunately, her feet injuries do not appear to have been permanent, as Ana is able to maintain an active lifestyle. She’s also (mostly) ditched her old “pizza at 2 in the morning” routine and now eats a pretty healthy diet. It enabled her to successfully lose the baby weight after having little Paloma in 2009 and Rafael in 2011.
Carol Denise Nash, more commonly known as Niecy Nash, has enjoyed an eclectic career. She’s provided the voice of Mrs. Boots on the children’s animated series, “Slacker Cats,” acted in a Comedy Central TV series, and hosted a cleaning show on the Style Network. Her attitude toward weight loss is similarly varied. She’s been quoted in interviews as saying that she doesn’t want to lose her “jiggly parts,” and that she’d rather be known as the “thick” woman that won on “Dancing with the Stars,” rather than the celeb who danced away a ton of weight. However, Niecy Nash wasn’t shy at all about changing her eating habits for her second marriage just a year after “DWTS.” To complicate matters further, Niecy actually did eat a healthier diet while competing in the dancing show, despite claiming that she’d rather not lose any weight. Confused yet?
If you’ve got tweens in the house, you might remember Kyle Massey from the Disney shows, “That’s So Raven” and “Cory in the House.” He’s also lent his voice to the animated series, “Fish Hooks,” which explores the lives of adolescent fish living in an aquarium. But if you are kid-less or they’re too old to watch that stuff anymore, you’re more likely to know Kyle Massey from “Dancing with the Stars.” He was paired up with Lacey Schwimmer in the 11th season, and completed the show as a runner-up. While on the show, Kyle Massey did what most celebs do on “DWTS.” He gained a slimmer physique and used Freshology, a diet meal delivery service that is particularly popular with the Hollywood set.
Professional basketball players are pretty tall and lean. Carrying around a little extra weight means you might run a little bit slower than the other guy, which might cost you a basket or two. Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love is considered to be one of the top rebounders in the NBA. However, like any great professional athlete, Love is always looking to improve his game in any way he can. During the 2011 NBA lockout, Kevin Love decided to use his spare time wisely. Love launched a fitness campaign to rebrand his image and ramp up his performance. His efforts netted him a nearly 25-lb. weight loss.
Every four years, Americans are glued to the TV set for the Summer Olympics. We love watching records get broken and athletes reaching incredible new achievements. Natalie Coughlin is no stranger to this; she’s considered one of the greatest female professional swimmers of all time. Natalie has won the World Swimmer of the Year Award once, and the American Swimmer of the Year Award three times. She’s also won twelve Olympic medals, tying her with two other women for the most Olympic medals won by an American woman. As a professional athlete, Natalie has to travel quite a bit, but she doesn’t let that wreck her diet and workout routine. She’ll try anything once (even fried sheep brains), but her diet generally emphasizes organic, whole foods.
Mia Hamm and David Beckham are two of the most widely recognized names in professional soccer, but Abby Wambach is giving them a run for their money. Time after time, Abby has proven herself to be resilient and up for any challenge, whether it’s convincing teammate Hope Solo to do the worm as a victory dance on the field or overcoming a sucker punch and subsequent black eye from a Colombian player at the 2012 Olympics. Yes, soccer can get a bit bloody. (Wambach and her team went on to beat them, 3 0.) As a professional soccer player and Olympic gold medalist, Abby pays just as much attention to her diet as she does to her workout routine. She points out that feeding her body the right kind of fuel is directly proportional to her results on the field.
With all the hype surrounding Michael Phelps, who is now the most decorated Olympian in history, it’s sometimes easy to overlook the ladies. But professional swimmer and native Aussie Leisel Jones is not one to be trifled with. When she was just 15 years old, Jones made her Olympics debut in the 2000 games. During the 2004 games, Jones was part of the Australian team that won gold in the relay race, and she took home another gold in Beijing in 2008. Leisel Jones is widely lauded as one of the greatest breaststroke swimmers of all time. So it’s somewhat of a shock that during the 2012 London Olympic games, Leisel Jones has faced some rather harsh media scrutiny regarding her weight.