How Can You Naturally Tighten Skin after Weight Loss?


Did you go through a weight loss regime recently? One serious problem faced by people getting rapid weight loss is loose skin. You might have loose skin on your stomach or on the thighs or arms. It is very important to tighten skin after weight loss. A certain amount of loose skin is present in the body of each and every person but you need to make sure that it is not excessive.

There are certain products like skin tightening creams such as skin tight, body sculpt and no more double chins and so on for this purpose. Body wrap is the other option available. But it is always better to use natural methods in the beginning because they are safe. In extreme cases you might have to go for surgery.
The surgery meant for tightening the skin after weight loss is risky as well as costly. Therefore, you should wait for at least 2 years before you consider the surgery. Here are certain tips which can help you start the process to tighten skin after weight loss.

1. Start with the right kind of exercises to tighten skin after weight loss. If you start toning your muscles it will make your skin firm. Some of the weight training exercises which can be of help are crunches, pushups, squats, sit-ups and lunges. You can even lift weights to build muscles. But before doing these exercises you need to talk to a fitness trainer. It is important to find out the right way to do these exercises. You might get injured if you do not know the right way.

2. Do you know you can use loofah to tighten your skin? Loofah is an inexpensive product which can exfoliate your skin. It has the power to dig deep inside the pores on the skin and clean the dirt, dead cells, grime and toxins. If you have loose skin then you should always keep it clean. It will also ensure a better absorption of the creams and moisturizers.

3. You need to pay attention to the food you eat. To keep your skin firm and elastic you need to stimulate the development of elastin and collagen. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, soy products and artichoke hearts have antioxidants, vitamins and biotins which are necessary for the production of collagen. You can also eat high protein food like legumes, fish, nuts, milk, beans and yogurt.

4. You can massage your skin with cocoa and shea butter to tighten it after weight loss. You need to cover the loose areas of your skin with organic cocoa butter. This is one of the ways to keep your skin moist as well as elastic. Shea butter can be massaged on the loose skin during the night as well as in the morning.

5. You must understand that you need to have patience to tighten skin after weight loss. Plastic surgery is an option but do not take hasty decisions regarding that. But surgery is one of the permanent ways of getting rid of loose skin.


Top Tips on How to Tighten Loose Skin on Stomach


How to tighten loose skin on your stomach is a common question among people who have recently lost lots of weight or among women who have been pregnant. If you are worried about the loose skin on your stomach then you need to find the best ways on how to tighten loose skin on stomach.

Some people have the idea of giving a call to the plastic surgeon to get rid of the skin but this is not the right decision. Instead of going the painful way you can always look up to some of the best abdominal exercises and yoga to get a perfectly shaped tummy.

Weight loss is a major issue and you need to deal with it cleverly. There are different kinds of weight loss programs available on the internet these days from,, fast track to weight loss, fit over 40, fat loss 4 idiots and the diet solution programs and much more.

But each of these programs might not offer the desired result in weight loss. When we are talking about the abdominal skin then it is important for us to find out some important facts.

The skin on the abdomen is different from the other parts of the body. This skin is known to contain subcutaneous tissue which stores fat. The skin can store at least 7 inches of fat. This is actually a natural method of storing food for the body in case a famine strikes.

A small amount of cushioning for the tummy skin is important for everybody even for the fittest of people. There are people who take up an excessive dieting routine to get rid of the loose stomach skin, and might fall seriously ill after a certain period of time.

Make sure you do not confuse the loose skin with excessive fat. You must always stay away from rapid weight loss programs. Rapid weight loss programs might be responsible for excessive loose skin on the stomach.

You should allow less than three pounds of weight loss every week. Do you know that you can help your stomach skin tighten with the help of a loofah? You can use the loofah twice every day. Lifting weights can also be a way to get rid of loose skin.

You can lift weights even as a method of weight loss. Practice stomach crunches because it is an important way to lose excessive stomach fat and tighten up the skin. There are yoga exercises which can tighten the skin just below the navel.

The two top exercises are cobra yoga which is the abdominal exercise and the upward facing dog exercise. The exercises might seem difficult in the beginning. In both these exercises you need to lie on your stomach and push yourself upwards with your hands.

Natural methods for how to tighten lose skin on stomach will have no side effects. You must follow a diet without sugar or sweet products. There are number of treatments available like the sagging skin treatment but the treatment can have bad impact on the body.

5 Natural Tips on How to Lose Stretch Marks


How to lose stretch marks is a common question these days. If you have stretch marks on your body then there can be two reasons for it. You might either have lost a considerable amount of weight recently or you have been pregnant. Women can have the marks for both the reasons while men will have the stretch marks only for the first reason.

We all are afraid of these marks because we know that it is not at all easy to get rid of them. These marks can either be reddish in color or even purple. When these marks start coming up they are not very bright but with time they tend to become visible. You should use methods to get rid of the stretch marks early because in the later stages it might not only become difficult to get rid of them but can also be expensive.

Rapid weight gain and loss can be a cause of these marks. The middle layer of the skin or the dermis is put under strain which in turn damages the supporting fibers. You must stay away from food which might result in rapid weight gain as well as from the rapid weight loss programs.

A balanced diet full of vitamin C and E can help you achieve a stretch mark free skin. Online programs like fast track to fat loss, 7 minute muscle, total body makeover and many more might offer great solution for weight loss but stretch marks might be common problem. Here are certain tips that can surely be helpful in losing stretch marks naturally.

    1.) Self maintenance is the key for getting rid of or preventing these marks. First of all, you need to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water daily to keep your body hydrated. You need to start the process from inside out. Drinking enough water will ensure that the toxins in your body get removed and the tissues remain hydrated.

    2.) Other than vitamin E and C your diet must also contain loads of protein and zinc. These nutrients will stimulate the creation of collagen in the body which can help you stop the growth of stretch marks after weight loss.

    3.) A number of anti stretch mark creams are doing the rounds in the market. Using the right kind of cream and lotion can be of some help. It is important to keep your skin moisturized regularly. Some of the top stretch marks removal creams are Revitol, TriLastin SR, Zenmed Stretta, Heal Stretch Marks, StriVectin – SD and many more.

    4.) To find out how to get rid of stretch marks naturally you just need to get vitamin E oil and massage it on the affected areas. Vitamin E has antioxidants which can prevent the damage. You can also use wheat germ, avocado and rose hip to get rid of the marks. Now you surely know how to get rid of stretch mark. Cocoa butter can also be used.

    5.) Aloe Vera gel can work because of its anti inflammatory effects.

What are the Top Steps for Firming Skin Effectively?


Are you worried about the loose skin on your body? Do you want to have a firmer skin? This is a common issue and lots of people want an answer to this problem. You usually get loose skin after sudden weight loss.

But loose skin is quite a common phenomenon and therefore you need not worry. There are various methods which can be effective in getting rid of loose skin. To get a firmer skin you need to follow certain tips. You must always try to stay in shape and follow some easy suggestions for a firm skin.

  1. 1. Do you think you take the right vitamins to maintain a firm skin? Vitamin C and E must be on your regular diet chart because they offer elasticity to the skin. Vitamin B is also helpful because it keeps the skin cells hydrated. You can tone your skin with the help of fatty acids, specially omega 3. You should eat lots of vegetables. Fruits like apples and oranges can also be of help.
  2. 2. Firming skin is not possible without exercise. Blood circulation is necessary for skin firming. To tighten the facial skin you need some facial exercises. There are exercises for the forehead, lips, eyes, neck, cheeks as well as double chin. Similar exercise routine should be followed for the rest of the body with loose skin.
  3. 3. Use of moisturizers is a good process for firming skin. Skin tight body firming lotion, emu moisturizing lotion and nivea skin firming moisturizer are some of the products which are used. Firming facials can also help you tone the skin and make it firm. It is important to choose the facial according to the need of your skin. It is therefore necessary to find out the skin type before applying the facial.
  4. 4. Flushing out the toxins from your skin can make your skin look firm and toned. Steam is one of the best ways to do this. You can either check out a steam room or even choose to go for a sauna bath.
  5. 5. Proper blood circulation on the skin can help you achieve firming skin. A good massage on the areas having loose skin can be helpful. The right kind of massage will also help in tightening the muscles and tissues under the skin.
  6. 6. Skin exfoliation is necessary for a firming skin. You should exfoliate your skin on a regular basis. You can use a loofah for this. This will not only remove the dead cells but will open the pores so that the skin can absorb the moisture.
  7. 7. Eat raw fruits like tomato, cucumber, coconut and olives to improve the elasticity of your skin. Losing elasticity can be one of the major reasons for getting loose skin.
  8. 8. Yoga exercises like lying on the stomach and pushing up with the help of your hands can have an effect on the loose skin. Yoga is also a great way to relax and get rid of stress.
  9. 9. You need to differentiate between loose skin and excessive fat to start with the process of firming skin.


How Can You Get Rid of the Extra Skin after Weight Loss?


Having extra skin after weight loss is a common problem among men and women these days. There are people who misunderstand the loose skin as excessive fat. Having a little bit of loose skin on your body is normal but you need to make sure that it is under control.

You need to work hard to get rid of the extra flab. Loose skin can be present in the stomach, face, neck, thighs as well as in the arms. You need to get rid of the extra skin after weight loss through a good diet regime, regular exercise and massage and moisturizers.

There are some more factors which can be responsible for the decrease in the elasticity of the skin. Age, amount of weight loss, genetics, sun exposure, water intake and nutrition are the factors that might affect your skin.

When you start off with your weight loss procedure you need to make sure that you move ahead slowly. Rapid weight loss programs must be avoided because they not only create loose skin but also has other harmful side effects. You can lose 1 to 2 pounds of weight every week and not more than that. This will help you stay away from extra skin after weight loss. Slow weight loss will allow the skin to adjust with the loss of the excessive fat.

Do you nourish your skin properly? To take proper care of your skin you need to exfoliate your skin to remove the dead cells and remove the dirt and toxins from the pores. Proper circulation of the skin is important to maintain the elasticity. A number of skin tightening creams and moisturizers are available these days such as skin tight body firming lotion, emu moisturizing lotion and nivea skin firming moisturizer and many more. Taking a hot bath with minerals and sea salts can also help you improve the condition.

To stop your skin from losing elasticity you need to stay away from certain things like harsh shampoos and soaps and detergents. Make sure you do not expose your skin too much to the sun as well as to chlorinated water. You must also stay away from hot water.

Hyaluronic acid is an important element found in the tissues of the body. This acid tends to decrease with time. It is important to maintain the elasticity of the body. The acid is also necessary to grow muscles. Therefore, make sure you include this acid in your diet and you should also include magnesium along with it because it helps synthesizing the effect of the acid. People who smoke regularly lack in hyaluronic acid.

To differentiate loose skin from fat you need to find out the percentage of fat that must be present in your body. This will help you find out regarding the growth of extra skin after weight loss. The fat percentage of the body is determined after you reach your desired weight.

Increase the intake of vitamin E and C to develop collage and elastin in your body.

Could your fitness tracker sabotage your diet?

(CNN)Wearable technologies can monitor your physical activity or your allergies. Increasingly, they are part of our everyday lives. But a new analysis comparing two sets of dieters discovered that those wearing activity trackers lost less, not more, weight than the tech-free dieters.

“We went in with the hypothesis that adding the technology would be more effective than not having the technology, and we found just the opposite,” said John Jakicic, author of the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
    “One of the things we didn’t study here was, maybe these things are really effective for people gaining weight, but maybe that’s different from helping people lose weight,” said Jakicic, a professor and director of the Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh. “We need to do a lot more digging in the data to understand that.”
    “That means that something is amiss,” said Berkeley, who was not involved in the new study. She explained that if there was “absolutely no difference” between what the two groups ate and how much they exercised, the average weight losses “should be the same whether the study subjects wore a device or not.”
    Berkeley observed that studies on dieting are “notoriously hard to do,” so adding exercise into the mix makes accurate research doubly difficult. The main issue is that any long-term study must rely on the participants self-reporting what they ate and how much they exercised, so accuracy is naturally a problem.

    Wearable but in the drawer

    Jakicic is eager to look more closely at the data, but he and his colleagues have come up with a few hypothetical explanations for the unexpected result.
    “Anecdotally, these devices tend to work or people tend to engage with them for about three months or so, and after that, a lot of people start throwing them in the drawer. They get bored with them,” Jakicic said.
    Another possibility: Not everyone likes wearables. Instead, many people feel ” ‘I got this device, and I just hate it,’ ” he said.

    See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

    Berkeley, the author of “Refuse to Regain: 12 Tough Rules to Maintain the Body You’ve Earned,” noted that “weight loss is much more dependent on scrupulously following a weight-reducing diet than on exercise.” Generally, she said, diet is more important than exercise during the active weight loss phase, but exercise becomes much more important during weight maintenance.
    “It’s entirely possible that those who were paying more attention to the exercise part of their regimen [because of the wearable device] were less scrupulous about their intake,” Berkeley said. She added that exercising can often cause dieters to “feel that they’ve ‘earned’ the chance to eat more.”

    Read more:

    In Losing You, I Found Myself

    It took mornings of dragging myself out of bed when I wanted to hide away from the world. It took me hysterically crying until I had no more tears left in my eyes. It took avoiding social media because the chance Id see your name pop up would be too painful.

    It took having to pull myself up on my own in order to learn how to walk again on my own. It took me finding my way when I was wandering through the dark alone at night. It took me being able to look in the mirror and realize that you not being there without me isnt the end of the world.

    It took time and it took strength, but eventually I knew it was time to let you go. I decided enough was enough. I decided its time to move on and find myself. I decided it was time to invest in myself for once.

    I decided moving on doesnt mean that I cant still love you, but it means that I have to also love myself. It means that I have to do things for myself because youre not around anymore. It means I have to focus my energy on bettering myself.

    It took me losing you in order to find myself.

    I decided to look in the mirror and like the face looking back at me. I decided to love the scars on my legs. I decided to accept that my stretch marks are part of me. I decided to start working out more because I love myself, not because I hate myself. I decided the jiggle in my belly was alright and that the messy, wavy hair I have on my head is beautiful.

    I decided that I dont need the love from someone else in order to feel okay about myself, I decided that loving myself was finally enough.

    This doesnt mean I forgot about you, it doesnt mean I dont have times where I miss you, it doesnt mean that I replaced you, it simply means I finally started enjoying my own company. It means I started finding my own wayand became comfortable with being alone.

    I found myself and Ive finally become happy on my own. I dont feel incomplete. I dont feel lost. I dont feel rejected. I dont feel like Im not good enough.

    With you everything felt good, it felt right and I felt happy, but now youre gone. Its time I stop clinging to your memory and hoping youll come back, because youre long gone. I finally accepted its time to stop living in your memory and start discovering my own happiness.

    I needed to fill the void you leaving left in my heart and instead of turning to someone new I decided it was time to love myself first.

    I decided it would be better to love myself than turn to a stranger, to give my heart away again to someone who could break something so fragile.

    I decided it was finally time to invest all the love Im so eager to share with others into myself and it paid off. It finally paid off.

    It took every ounce of strength I had and it took me losing you, but I finally found myself. I finally know what it’s like to create my own happiness and I can finally say I’m happy on my own, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted.

    Read more:

    Once We Can Recognize That All Bodies Are Beautiful, Well Be Able To Appreciate Super-Hot Bodies Even More

    It baffles me that we live in the most progressive era in human history and yet somehow are still debating what constitutes a beautiful body. Theres an endless, nauseating back and forth going on about what beauty is and isnt, which misses the point entirely. If we could just get to the level where we can see everyones body as beautiful, well be able to appreciate the super-hot bodies even more.

    Its critical that we strive toward recognizing the beauty inherent to all body types. If we can look in awe at the stretch marks of a mother of three or be captivated by the curves of a plus-size model, then just imagine how amazing perfectly toned arms and calves will look in comparison. Itd be like going from pleasantly puffing a j to straight-up mainlining heroin into your necktotal fucking euphoria.

    Were all beautiful, and we need to start recognizing that. Lets celebrate those flabby arms, bellies, and butts so that when we come across perfect abs chiseled into a stomach with less than 6 percent body fat, we lose our fucking minds. We should be able to look at a woman in a size 18 dress and think, She is absolutely stunning just the way she is, and that means we need to make entirely new words to describe Kate Uptons perfect breasts and ass that God probably killed himself after making, being driven mad by his own creation.

    So look at yourself in the mirror today and be confident that your body is beautiful just the way it is. Then, with self-acceptance out of the way, you can finally devote yourself full-time to appreciating the unbelievable facial structure of Calvin Klein models who are so unfathomably attractive, you can scarcely be counted as the same species as them. See how that makes you feel. I think youll like it.

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    Being cute just made me miserable: Mara Wilson on growing up in Hollywood

    She was the adorable little girl in Matilda and Mrs Doubtfire then the phone stopped ringing. The former child star lifts the lid on hitting puberty in the public eye

    When I was seven, my family spent a week in Japan to promote the remake of Miracle On 34th Street. Within three days, I was ready to become an expatriate.

    This is so much better than the United States! I told my mother as we walked back to the hotel with brand new kimonos. I bowed my head to the people we passed. A Japanese businessman smiled at me and bowed back.

    See? I said. Everyone likes us.

    They liked me, anyway. Our translator, Kuni, had told me as much. When Miracle was screened at Tokyo Stadium, I had gone out to introduce it. Do you hear what theyre saying? Kuni said after I walked off the field.

    Kawaii, she said, smiling. Shes so cute!

    It hadnt occurred to me that I was cute. My family told me I was beautiful, but I had never been one of the prettier girls in my class. The pretty girls were a different breed. It was probably as much of a shock to them as it was to me when I was cast in a movie, but at that time, casting directors wanted kids who looked normal. As long as we could memorise our lines and say them with some feeling, no one cared how symmetrical our faces were. And it had worked: I had tricked entire countries into thinking I was cute.

    John Hughes had been assigned to write the script of the Miracle remake, and the part of Susan, the young girl played by Natalie Wood in the original, had been rewritten as a boy named Jonathan. Christopher Columbus, who directed Mrs Doubtfire, my first film, must have put in a good word for me, because the script ended up in my mothers hands. I liked Jonathan/Susan right away; she seemed smart. A few days later I read my lines for the production team and told them I didnt believe in Santa Claus, but I did believe in the tooth fairy and had named mine after Sally Field. They laughed, thanked me for my audition, and within a few weeks had changed Jonathan back to Susan. I had the part.

    With Richard Attenborough in 1994s Miracle On 34th Street. Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock

    My mother hadnt pushed me into acting. We lived in Burbank, 20 minutes from Hollywood, and lots of people I knew were involved in the industry in one way or another including my father, who worked as an electronics engineer at CBS and NBC, and my older brother Danny, who had been in a few commercials. I begged my mother to let me do the same, and before we knew it, I was cast in Mrs Doubtfire. My parents were proud, but they kept me grounded. If I ever said something like, Im the greatest! my mother would remind me, Youre just an actor. Youre just a kid.

    Both my mother and I liked John Hughes right away. He didnt talk down to me, and he was from the same suburb of Chicago as my mother. But once we started filming, I could tell she had doubts about the remake. John didnt have much say any more: once a film is in production, the script no longer belongs to the screenwriter. Script changes were mostly left to our director, who didnt have much professional experience. My mothers instinct was not to interfere, but it had always been hard for her to keep her opinions to herself.

    Are you sure you want Mara to say uncharacteristically? she asked him after a rewrite. Shes still getting over her lisp. Of course he wanted me to. It was adorable to make a sixyearold with a speech impediment say an eightsyllable word.

    As the months went on, my mother went from furtively asking, Are you sure? to demanding to know why a change was being made.

    Why is she wearing a hair ribbon to bed? Well, you know, he would say. Its cute.

    I could sense her disappointment. They were making Susan as cute as possible, and taking away her intelligence and complexity.

    All through the last few months of Miracle and our publicity tour, my mother smiled whenever people told her I was cute, but I could sense she was forcing it: she didnt care for cuteness, and her disapproval was contagious. After that, anytime someone said it, I would wince. Something about it made me feel smaller.

    With Robin Williams in Mrs Doubtfire in 1993. Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock

    Apparently the film version of me was polarising. Some outlets loved me: Entertainment Tonight, the TV show, asked me back again and again. Others werent feeling it. One woman at a film magazine Ill call Entertainment Twice-aFortnight was particularly brutal, referring to me as Mara Wilson, who lisped her way overfetchingly through Mrs Doubtfire and continues the tiresome act here. She devoted an article to the risks of being too cute as a child actor, but rather than complain about directors and producers who treated children like dolls, she reserved her ire for me. When she saw me smile, all she wanted was and these are her own words to shake her by her tiny adorable shoulders until her little Chiclet teeth rattle. In some ways, it couldnt be helped. It was still the early 90s. Grunge and nihilism were in. What better way to show ones edge than hypothetical child abuse?


    By the time I started filming Matilda the next year, I couldnt wait to get older. When Kiami Davael, who played Matildas best friend, Lavender, turned nine while we were filming, she had been allowed to work for another hour a day. I couldnt wait to work nine hours a day. But that wasnt all: I wanted the freedom my teenage brothers had, to do all the cool things they did, like driving and going to concerts without a chaperone. Most of all I wanted people to stop thinking I was younger than I was.

    Soon after Matilda wrapped, I lost my mother to cancer, 13 months after she was diagnosed. My father became so overprotective he wouldnt even let me cross the street by myself.

    For a few years after that, I ended up passing on most of the scripts that came my way. The characters were too young. At 11, I had a visceral reaction to a script titled Thomas And The Magic Railroad. Ugh, I thought. How cute.

    With Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman in Matilda. Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock

    You have to say yes to some projects if you want to keep acting, my father said, but I shook my head. Look, he said, if you do it, itll be a short shoot, itll be in the British Isles, it will be fun. The directors supposed to be really nice.

    She was really nice. Britt Allcroft was a gentle, slightly eccentric, grandmotherly woman who was full of ideas, and after we met, I couldnt say no to her.

    We filmed for a month on the Isle of Man, and spent a month in Toronto doing interior scenes on a sound stage. My father had to work, so I went on my own. A week into filming in Toronto, Britt came into my trailer and sat down next to me on the couch, looking serious.

    Mara, when we first started filming, you were 11, still a little girl, but now youre a grownup 12yearold

    I had an uneasy feeling, the same kind that comes from knowing an adult is about to talk to you about sex and there is no way to stop it from happening.

    And theres a difference, a difference in your body. Weve noticed it when we watch the dailies. So, maybe if you could wear a sports bra

    After Britt left, Lucy, my set caretaker, laid out some white sports bras on the bed. My gaze met hers, and I knew she had noticed, too. They had all discussed this beforehand without my knowledge. Puberty had arrived, and I was the last to know. I looked down at the floor, tears stinging my eyes. Oh, dont look so sad, Lucy said, giving my shoulder a squeeze. Its not a bad thing. Boobs are fab! I had never felt so alienated from my own body. The change I was experiencing would have been uncomfortable enough in private, but I was going through it under public scrutiny.

    With her parents at the Mrs Doubtfire premiere in Beverly Hills in 1993. Her mother died of cancer in 1996. Photograph: Getty Images

    One day, age 12, I made the mistake of looking myself up on the internet. A website called Mr Cranky wrote that I was popping up in every movie these days because I would soon be entering the awkward years, when shell be old enough to have breasts, but not old enough to show them legally. I folded my arms over my chest just reading that, and even as an adult it makes me shudder. Who did they think they were, talking about a preteen girls breasts?

    It got worse. The next page of search results linked to a website with a description that said, If you want Mara Wilson nude and sex pictures, click here. My stomach dropped and my heart pounded as I desperately tried to make sense of it. Maybe there was some kind of porn actress who had the same name. Or what if I had been drugged and kidnapped and then somehow made to forget the whole thing? Some rational part of my brain remembered that there was such a thing as photo manipulation, that they could put my head on someone elses body. But that didnt make me feel any better: who was this poor anonymous girl whose body stood in for mine? I burst into tears.

    It was just the beginning. A few months later I found out I was listed on a foot fetish site that catalogued scenes in movies where childrens feet could be seen. Then there was the fan letter from an adult man who said he loved my legs and wanted my lip print on an index card. There was even a rumour on IMDb that I had died of a broken neck in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

    At 13, no one had called me cute or mentioned the way I looked in years, at least not in a positive way. My sixth-grade crush had called me ugly, film reviewers said I was odd looking, and a boy at my preteen day camp had said to me, You were Matilda? Heh. Youve gained a little weight since then! I went home and cried into a milkshake.

    When I was alone, I could admit to myself that acting wasnt as fun as it had once been. But I had to keep doing it, didnt I? It was the constant in my life. My family had changed, my body had changed, my life had changed. Sometimes it felt like acting was all I had.

    A few months later, my father asked after another script. Catch That Kid? I said, incredulous. Its way too young for me.

    If they really like you, they could change it for you.

    Its been a while since theyve done that, I said. There had also been a time when people wouldnt even make me audition.

    As soon as I signed in to the Catch That Kid audition, I noticed something was wrong. Every other girl there was at least three years younger than I was. None of them had breasts or braces, like I did.

    The part went to a younger actress, a sullen but cute tomboy named Kristen Stewart. The next year, she would land another of the few parts I ever actually wanted, Melinda Sordino in the adaptation of Laurie Halse Andersons book Speak. I had all but begged for that part. I couldnt understand it. I had always thought it would be me giving up acting, not the other way around.

    Something didnt make sense, at least until I was called for a role in a pilot about girls at a boarding school. I would be playing the fat girl. There was a fat joke on every page. Wed be putting you in big clothes to make you look bigger, the casting director reassured me. I nodded, but what I really wanted to ask was why they hadnt called me in for one of the other characters, like Becca. She was funny and quirky. She was also neurotic, and I knew I could play neurotic. Then I saw a head shot of the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. Right by her name, there was a Postit note marked: Called back for Becca!

    Thats when I understood. Things had changed. At 13, being pretty mattered and not just in the world of movies and TV. The pretty girls at school had always had an air of superiority, but once we hit puberty, they seemed to matter more. My career was the only thing I had over them. Now that it was waning, I was just another weird, nerdy, loud girl with bad teeth and bad hair, whose bra strap was always showing.


    After a year of no callbacks, my father said what we had both been thinking: Maybe you should just focus on school right now.

    It meant having to pass up some great scripts like an experimental comedy series called Arrested Development but it was the right move. I didnt know who I was without film sets, casting directors and constant rejection, and I needed to find out.

    At 16, I expected I would go back to acting at some point. Thinking about life without it made me anxious. But I knew by then that if I wanted to be in film, I had to be beautiful. It would happen, I was sure. For now, I was a teenager and I was allowed to be awkward. A lot of child actors reappeared after puberty, like butterflies from cocoons, freshfaced and ready for Neutrogena ads.

    Then I opened a magazine and saw a familiar face. A few years earlier, I had met a friendly 12yearold girl with red hair called Scarlett at a press conference on child acting. When a reporter asked if any of us had trouble with the kids at school, shed said she had been teased so badly she had transferred to a special school for child actors. She had done much better and made lots of friends.

    After the press conference, I tried to talk to Scarlett more. I wanted to ask her what had happened at her school, and how I would know if I should transfer. Instead, I watched her pull a balloon off a display, suck in the helium, and sing, Were the Chipmunks! CHIPMUNKS! It made me like her more.

    But the magazine spread was the first Id seen of her since. There was Scarlett, looking beautiful, talking about her role in a film with Bill Murray, and she was most definitely a woman. She was in grownup movies now, being sexy. How had she done it?

    Headshot, aged 11. Photograph: Courtesy of the author

    There was a sinking feeling in my stomach. Scarlett was only two or three years older than me. There was no way I was going to become even half as beautiful as she was in that time. Even with my braces off, with contact lenses and a better haircut, I was always going to look the way I did. I knew I wasnt a gorgon, but I guessed that if 10 strangers were to look at a photo of me, probably about four or five of them would find me attractive. That would not be good enough for Hollywood, where an actress had to be attractive to eight out of 10 people to be considered for even the homely best friend character.

    The real world was more forgiving. Plenty of boys were interested in me and it got easier at New York University where I fell in love with Sam, a film student with curly dark hair and warm brown eyes. But my appearance anxieties were always there, and my past was never gone. I did a where are they now? interview for an entertainment TV show, but they never aired it because they said I looked too pale. Id pass newsstands on my way to class, wearing pyjamas, and see my former friends and peers Hilary Duff, Scarlett Johansson and, inevitably, Kristen Stewart on magazine covers, looking immaculate.

    I didnt know what I wanted, but whatever it was, I wanted it to be my choice. I didnt want to stop acting because I was too ugly.

    Maybe I should just get plastic surgery, I said to Sam. Sometimes I secretly wished for an accident where Id injure my nose and jaw so I could get guiltfree reconstruction.

    If you want to, you can, he said, shrugging. But I want you to know I love you the way you are. Youre beautiful.

    I tried to believe him, but it was as if he were pouring water into a glass with a hole in the bottom. It took a toll on our relationship. In the last fight before our breakup, he told me, Mara, the one thing I could never stand about you is how much you put yourself down.


    There are things I like about the way I look: my eyes are a pretty mix of green, blue and grey, and now that Ive had time to get used to them, Id have to concur with Lucy that boobs are fab. It takes a long time to break an old habit, though, and Im still critical of my appearance, still halfway convinced Im irredeemably ugly.

    Every week or so, a wellmeaning friend or fan sends me an article. Below some variation of What Do They Look Like Now? there is inevitably an unflattering photo of me and hundreds of comments. Some are delighted, schadenfreudic: I was once paid to be cute, but now the child actor curse has caught up with me. Others seem angry. My image belongs to them and they arent happy that I dont match up to what they pictured. This type is the most likely to give advice: I should colour my hair, lose weight, go die in a hole somewhere.

    I used to feel compelled to respond. Once I contacted the author of a list of Ugliest Former Child Actors to ask her why, as a woman, she was punishing other women for the way they looked. She wrote back immediately to apologise. I write stupid things on the internet to pay the bills, she said. I cant afford integrity.

    The ones who are most critical seem to be normal people who are deeply unhappy with themselves. They want someone else to tear down, and people like me are considered public domain. I understand that celebrities have a contract with the public: they get to be the target of jealousy and criticism, and sometimes admiration, in exchange for money and recognition. But I let that contract run out a while ago. It is not my job to be pretty, or cute, or anything that someone else wants me to be. So the next time someone hiding behind a username decides to tell me what would make me prettier, Im going to propose the following: I will meet them in person and ask them to listen. I will tell them about going through puberty in the public eye after my mother died of cancer. I will tell them how it feels to find a website advertising nude photos of yourself as a 12yearold. I will tell them Ive looked at cute from both sides now, and in both cases it just made me miserable. I will tell them how fitting it is that the only real acting I do these days is voiceover, where no one can see me. I will tell them how my mother wanted me to prove myself through my actions and skills, rather than my looks. Now I believe I have, and I am happier than ever.

    After all that, if they still insist on telling me how I should look, I will consider taking them on as my stylist.

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    Baclofen: the controversial pill that could ‘cure’ alcoholism

    France is ground zero for clinical research on Baclofen, a drug said to eliminate alcohol cravings. The medication will soon be more accessible than ever but not everyone thinks thats a good thing

    One morning when he was 12, Samuel Blaise decided to skip school with his best friend Cyril. Both boys hitched a ride across the French countryside, back to their small Normandy town. By noon, they were home unsupervised. Lets have a drink, Cyril suggested. We can try the whiskey, the one my father likes.

    They had a nip, and then another. It tasted horrible, Blaise recalls. But something clicked. I suddenly felt relaxed and at peace. We polished it off and spent the afternoon lying down on the tiled floor. It felt like I was sleeping in cotton wool. I had discovered my drug.

    Soon Blaise started drinking on his own every night, raiding his parents cabinet for potent liqueurs. To avoid being found out, he would mix a coffin a slug of every other bottle he could find mixed in a tall glass. He would sip it quietly while the rest of the family slept upstairs.

    Blaise, who is now 46 and an entrepreneur in Paris, says that for decades, only booze could ease his pathological anxiety. In his late 30s, at the height of his addiction, he would down between one and two liters of strong beer, followed by a bottle of wine and servings of vodka or whiskey. Sometimes he would wake up in the street or in hospital after a blackout.

    Finally, a doctor confronted him with enough force that Blaise believed him: he was a handful of years from death. Blaise tried AA, multiple medications, and three-week detox programs. Nothing worked. He and his partner they have two children together knew something drastic needed to be done. So on Christmas Day 2011, Blaise sat down at his computer and started typing, looking for help.

    Then, after scrolling through pages and pages, he found his holy grail: a medication called Baclofen.

    The doctor who played guinea pig

    Olivier Ameisen, a noted French cardiologist, also knew a thing or two about alcohol.

    Ameisen was, from the outside, a wildly successful man. He had a private practice in Manhattan, had been awarded the Lgion dHonneur for his work and, to top it all, was a brilliant pianist. But the physician was also helplessly addicted to alcohol and regularly hospitalized after binges. Like Blaise, every single treatment had failed him.


    His situation was desperate, but a thought kept nagging him. After reading a New York Times article describing how Baclofen eased the muscle spams of a cocaine addict, he developed a hunch that the drug a relaxant typically used to treat patients with multiple sclerosis might help him.

    With nothing left to lose, he decided to turn himself into a guinea pig, reasoning that it was more dignified to die during my own clinical experiment than it was to die of alcoholism. In 2004, he started taking small, and then increasing doses of the drug. He was astonished when, a few weeks in, his cravings disappeared. He simply had no desire for a glass of wine any more.

    The Last Glass, the account of his miraculous recovery, came out 2008. Its publication turned him into something of an evangelist for Baclofen.

    With more than five million problematic drinkers in France (120 people die from alcohol-related diseases every day), it was only a matter of time before addicts found themselves frantically banging on their primary care doctors doors to get their hands on the treatment.

    But it wasnt that straightforward. The drug had to be prescribed off label (that is, not for its original medical use), which health authorities frowned at. To make matters worse, most doctors had never heard of it, and those who had were wary to recommend a treatment that could have severe side-effects, including severe insomnia, drowsiness, depression, heightened anxiety and mood changes.

    I didnt care about secondary effects, I just wanted to be free from the booze

    Blaise, too, had come to believe Baclofen was his last chance after reading online testimonials. In a frenzy, he contacted doctors in Canada, Lyon and Paris in the hope of finding someone willing to prescribe him the drug. He finally found Bernard Granger, a psychiatrist and addiction expert turned true believer in the treatments efficacy. At the end of his tether, Blaise left a desperate message on his phone. Please, he said. I would do anything to get help.

    A few days later, the two met and talked about the treatment, potential side-effects and titration (the process of gradually adjusting the doses until optimal results are reached). Blaise signed a waiver absolving Granger of any wrongdoing in the event of his own death.

    On 7 January 2011, full of hope, he swallowed his first pills.

    Blaise was, by his own account, not the perfect patient. Two weeks in, he was taking 340mg per day, way above the recommended dose (the French health safety agency allows for a maximum of 300mg, while most doctors in the UK prescribe less than 100mg).

    At this stage, Blaise recalls, I didnt care about secondary effects, I just wanted to be free from booze. He knew that studies had shown very high doses are often necessary to produce a state of complete indifference to alcohol. He also knew there was a significant relationship between the amount of alcohol consumed before treatment and the maximal dose needed by patients to obtain results.

    In a 2008 French study, 88% of patients reported at least one undesirable side-effect that could possibly be attributable to Baclofen, some so unbearable that patients had to stop treatment.

    As it turned out, the side-effects experienced by Blaise were brutal. He developed both psychotic and manic behaviors, couldnt sleep, had night sweats, muscle spasms, and his sense of taste and hearing changed. He found himself talking to God and thought he understood the worlds great mysteries (in his delusion, he says, I was sure I had finally cracked the number pi in its entirety.) Granger promptly put him on antipsychotics, which induced a deep depression. He switched to antidepressants, which finally stabilized him.

    On 17 January, still drinking, Blaise got arrested for disorderly conduct and cocaine possession. He also had dozens of Baclofen pills on him, which police officers mistook for illicit drugs. They didnt believe a word I said, he said, still amused by the incident. They were laughing hard when I begged them for the pills. I was kept in jail for 33 hours.

    But two weeks later, while walking the streets at 4am, he felt a sense of physical liberation come crashing over him. It lasted for a few seconds. And I suddenly understood my addiction was over. Ive been cured of my alcoholism ever since.

    For the entirety of 2012, he stayed stone-cold sober. Nowadays, he says, he will drink a glass of good wine or two when I have people over. But I cant drink more than that. I just dont crave it any more.

    Clinical trials are in: Baclofen (kind of) works

    In the years that followed Ameisens discovery, medical authorities in France were put under enormous pressure to allow doctors to temporarily prescribe Baclofen for alcoholism while clinical studies were still under way. Associations of former addicts (which Blaise is now heavily involved in) lobbied hard, but it remained a tough sell until now.

    One of their greatest victories came last week, when a study involving a significant number of patients partially confirmed its efficacy.

    Bacloville, the first study led by Philippe Jaury at the Paris Descartes University, administered high doses (the average was 160mg/day) to 320 volunteers aged 18-65 for a year while still allowing them to drink. A total of 56.8% of patients either became abstinent or significantly decreased their to normal consumption levels. The same results were observed in only 36.5% of patients who were given placebos.

    A second study, led by Michel Reynaud at the Paul Brousse hospital, had less impressive results. It tracked consumption in 320 patients who had already been abstinent for 20 weeks and ingested an average of 153 mg/day. Of those taking Baclofen 11.9% remained alcohol-free, while 10.5% of those on placebo did.

    Anne Lingford-Hughes, professor of addiction biology at Imperial College in London, attended the conference where the results were released. She thinks more data is needed to be truly conclusive on the Bacloville study but so far clinical trials, she says, support the idea that the more severely dependent on alcohol you are, the more likely you are to get benefits from Baclofen.

    But, she adds, theres a lot of concern in medical communities when it comes to giving it to people who drink heavily because of the drug/alcohol interaction, as well as potential overdoses. None of her colleagues in the UK, she says, would prescribe as high a dosage as is currently prescribed in France.

    Not one drop: the problem with total abstinence

    The success rate as reported by the Bacloville study is staggering much higher than rehab centers or even spontaneous rates of recovery (a quarter of people addicted to alcohol eventually recover on their own, while many rehab rates do not even reach that number).

    But Dr Jaury, who led the study, says that the idea of such a cure prompted a swift reaction from those with a vested interested in seeing it fail.

    According to him, the backlash from the detox industry was swift and ferocious. There was also pushback from some members of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), which he says promotes a culture of total abstinence. Jaury thinks its a shame: Ive had patients who were in AA but still secretly took substitution drugs such as methadone or Subutex. They kept it a secret, out of shame and because they dont want to be excluded from the group.

    Blaise, who still takes Baclofen six years on, agrees and calls the abstinence model idiotic.

    For AA, he says, the illness is incurable. So I would now have to go to a meeting and say hello, my name is Samuel and I am an alcoholic. But I am a former alcoholic, not an abstinent one.


    He adds: They function like a church. Their fourth step commands members to submit to a higher being, but suddenly, scientists arrive with a medication and rationally explain that a biological issue can be fixed. Suddenly, you dont need abstinence, you dont need a higher being. The very basis of the church comes crashing with it.

    Blaise says that while he greatly respects members, he has heard a sentiment akin to you dont deserve to be cured from the AA crowd. This makes sense, he says, because to be in a constant state of craving is unthinkably hard. You need to be at war with yourself to remain sober, minute after minute, day after day. AA people spend years, or even decades before they finally reach a state of indifference towards booze, whereas those of us who take Baclofen have to fight a mere few weeks.

    As a result, Blaise says some members believe people like him have merely replaced one drug with another. (When contacted directly, the French chapter of AA says it remains completely neutral on the subject the organisation has a rule to never issue an opinion on topics outside our movement.)

    But what about those who can keep their lives together but drink a bit too much?

    Sylvie Imbert, a 59-year-old retired computer engineer who founded the French Baclofen Association, didnt hit rock bottom as Blaise did. Instead, as she was nearing 50, she simply became uncomfortable with the amount she was drinking.

    In 2009, she took matters in her own hands and made the two-hour trip from Toulouse to Spain, where Baclofen is sold over the counter. She began taking the drug without medical supervision, and promised herself she would stop should the side-effects prove too much (a process she doesnt recommend). When she reached 120mg a day, her cravings vanished.

    She now spends her time spreading the word and counseling people on her websites forum. We have up to 2,000 visits a day, she says. A growing number of her readers are interested in Baclofen for other addictive behaviors, bulimia and gambling among them (a small 2007 trial on seven patients showed that Baclofen reduced binge eating frequency).

    Caution before zeal? The novelist who lost her mind to it

    Sylvie Imbert and Samuel Blaise both had happy endings to their story. For others, Baclofen was devastating.

    In 2008, a British PR executive called Anna Sargent bought Baclofen online to finally stop drinking. She suffered severe side-effects and panic attacks when she stopped taking it, and killed herself soon afterwards. Her parents blamed the drug, and said at the time that she couldnt face more of these terrible effects of feeling anxious and suicidal.

    The story of Alix de Saint-Andr, a renowned Parisian novelist, is another case in point.

    When Saint-Andr read about Baclofen, she decided to try the drug as an adventure in order to give up smoking. At the time she was chain-smoking three packs a day and had tried to quit many times without success.

    Under close supervision (a physician friend of hers who admired Ameisens work agreed to give her a prescription), she holed herself in her country home during Christmas break to start the process, always making sure to stay within the recommended dosage.

    This was 2008, and while the protocol was relatively new, Saint-Andr was comforted by Ameisens assurance that Baclofens side-effects were as harmful as drinking a glass of water.

    Soon, however, she stopped sleeping and lost her appetite (she also started to write, and was delighted by her sudden rush of inspiration). A few days later, things took a turn for the worse. She had hallucinations, paced her bedroom endlessly, and found herself talking to saints and dead scholars.

    A friend of hers quickly became alarmed and forced her to check into a psychiatric hospital, where she stayed for four hellish weeks. In her memoir LAngoisse De La Page Folle, Saint-Andr details how her full recovery would take a whole year, and included weekly sessions with a psychiatrist as well as anti-psychotics and anti-depressants.

    Her experience left her skeptical of a drug so many called life saving. As she researched what had happened to her, she found another case of Baclofen-induced psychosis in medical literature, which spurred her to alert the media about it (they took little notice, she says). Saint-Andr worries that cases similar to hers are ignored by overenthusiastic doctors and the thought of patients self-medicating with no professional supervision mortifies her.

    French doctors, she says, are quick to fight back with a utilitarian reasoning: if Baclofen can help half of the 120 people a day who die from alcohol-related diseases while only a tiny percentage experience severe side-effects, theres no question it should be used. Ive had doctors keen to remind me that some people died when the first vaccines were being tested on them, she says.

    After the publication of her book, Saint-Andr says she was contacted by readers with similar stories. One man told her about how his wife had been prescribed Baclofen by a dermatologist to, of all things, lose weight.

    Three weeks in, she started to suffer from paranoid delusions. Shortly thereafter, she threw herself out of a window.

    Repeat it like a mantra: in addiction, no size fits all

    As addiction experts are keen to remind us, there isnt one size fits all treatment to cure patients something of a truism within the addiction field.

    Marc Lewis, a neuroscientist and former addict who wrote Memoirs of an Addicted Brain, is keen to highlight that a variety of different approaches can be therapeutic. The therapy has to fit the person, not the substance [theyre taking].

    But first, he says, physicians have to be trained to identify if a treatment is working, and most importantly trained to understand addiction (Lewis is keen to refer to addiction as a cognitive habit, as opposed to a chronic disease. A habit can learned, and therefore can be unlearned.)

    Medication might have saved people like Ameisen, but for others, AA, talking therapy, mindfulness, exercise and rehab treatment (or a combination) might work. People recover in very different ways, Lewis says. A lot of patients dont respond to medication. Theres a lot of people with serious sex addiction, eating addiction, serious compulsive gambling problems and medication cant do anything for them.

    Whether Baclofen will eventually become a staple for addictions other than alcoholism remains unclear. But armed with the clinical trial results published this September, the pharmaceutical company Ethypharm has already announced its intention to push for a full licensing of the drug specifically to treat alcoholism as soon as the full results of the Bacloville study are published.

    The race for a cure doesnt stop there. In the US, the pharmaceutical company Indivior has licensed Placarbil, a variant of the Baclofen molecule with more efficient pharmaceutical proprieties and improved absorption rates. Trials are under way, and results are expected at the end of the year.

    If the findings are encouraging, a similar controversy to the one currently unfolding in France will be sure to hit the US with some force.

    Read more:

    Woman’s Side-By-Side Photo Proves Cutting Calories Doesn’t Make You Fitter

    Most people think that the best way to get skinny is by going on the age-old starvation diet for a week or two.

    In fact, for most of my life, Ive been a firm believer in the The Devil Wears Prada diet, whereyou basically dont eat anything and when you feel like youre about to faint, you eat a cube of cheese.

    If youre someone who turns to crash diets every time you to start tip the scale, it turns out that cutting extreme amounts of calories might not be the most effective way to get the beach bod of your dreams.

    Fitness blogger Madalin Frodsham recently set out to debunk the calorie restriction debacle by posting a side-by-side comparison photo on Instagram.

    The photoshows her body on an 800-calorie diet versus a 1,800-calorie diet.

    The difference between the two photos is pretty incredible.

    Its not hard to see that Frodsham looks much more fit and muscular in the photo that showcases her body on the 1,800-caloriediet.

    Frodsham wrote on Instagram,

    800 calories seems absurdly low as now I need minimum 1500 calories to be full, but at the time 800 calories was keeping me full because thats what my body was used to. After a while though, salad simply wasnt cutting it, and for all the restrictions I was placing on my diet, I simply wasnt seeing the results I had anticipated.

    The fitness blogger eventually sought the help of a personal trainer and nutritional coach.

    She was then advised her to increase her daily calorie allowance and get at least half of her calories from healthy carbohydrates in order to increase her energy.

    According to Frodsham,

    If youre under feeding yourself in an effort to lose weight, dont do what I did for so long Dont waste your time eating salad when you could be eating sweet potatoes and banana pancakes. Eat more and get fit. It actually works.

    Apparently, the reason over-restricting calories doesnt work is that once you dip below a certain calorie threshold, your body goes into a starvation mode and tries to conserve as much energy as possible.

    So, if youre trying to get a banging bod, you should aim to fuel yourself with the proper amount of nutrients rather than go on an extreme diet where your body is simply running on fumes.

    Read more:

    This Moms Powerful Before-And-After Photos Will Change The Way You Look At Your Body

    In a world where everybody seems to be striving to portray themselves in the most Instagram-worthy way possible, Laura Mazza decided to do the opposite and show the world how things really are by posting these honest before-and-after childbirth pictures on Facebook.

    “On the left – This was my body before kids,” wrote the Melbourne-based blogger and mom of two on Facebook. “No stretch marks. A belly button that was high. A flat stomach. On the right is me now. People don’t want to see this photo. It’s not pleasing to the eye anymore. It’s not a body to be admired. But you know what? I have achieved more with this body, then I have with my old body. I’ve lived more, I’ve given more, I’ve enjoyed more. I’ve made life. This body, THIS body should be celebrated and admired. No matter what size you are, a size 6 or size 60. You deserve to celebrate it.” Well said Laura!