Fasting? Forget It

We're hearing more and more about the ways stars slim down to fit into those gorgeous gowns we've all seen during the recent awards season.

One diet trend that's hot in Hollywood is using juice fasts and detox diets like the Master Cleanse and Blueprint Cleanse to lose weight quickly.

But when it comes to dropping permanent pounds healthfully, fasts aren't the way to go. Trust me, it's better to lose a pound or two a week, and keep it off. It's healthier and more doable. By summer you'll be slimmer while your pal who did the fast will just be frustrated, saying things like "Diets don't work!" And she's right, lifestyle changes do!.

"Rather than trim you down, juice fasts may actually cause you to overeat," says SELF's eat-right expert (and fellow Yahoo blogger) Joy Bauer. Juice is high in sugar and creates peaks and dips in your blood sugar levels, leaving you ravenous. No doubt, once you're done you'll dive headlong into the cheesecake that's sitting in your fridge. Fasting can also be harmful, causing headaches, anemia and other health woes.

As for the idea that these fasts "detox" you: Your body has its own cleansing system, consisting of the liver, kidneys, intestines and even skin, which all work together to filter and eliminate waste. I think the best way to feel healthier faster is to exercise. 

Working out, sweating hard and getting your heart pounding at the gym boosts blood flow all over your body, which helps your own natural detox system do its job. You're also going to burn calories and lose fat-all of which helps your body function at its best. Plus you'll feel so good.

For an easy eat-right and exercise plan that will help you lose up to 8 pounds this month, check out the 2008 SELF Challenge.

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