—Ocean's Thirteen star ELLEN BARKIN, 53, on whether she diets
New Look: Nia Vardalos
It takes a brave woman to put the words "My Big Fat ..." in the title of her breakout film. Nia Vardalos of Greek Wedding fame is now prepping to shoot I Hate Valentine's Day, which she also wrote. Look for her to be somewhat transformed. "The easy part," says Vardalos, 44, "was lightening my hair and plucking my eyebrows."
YOU RECENTLY LOST 20 LBS. WHY?
I just wanted to look different from characters I've played. It was a choice: Either gain 40 lbs. or lose weight.
HOW DID YOU DO IT?
I cut starch and sugar. I've always exercised, but I stepped it up. I do Pilates and walk on the treadmill—running is for crazy people.
ARE YOU AT YOUR GOAL WEIGHT?
I'm the average size in America, an 8-10. I don't want to go lower or to be part of any message that "thin is better." I urge women to do more than make their talent "I can eat less than you."
MISSING ANY FAVORITE GREEK FOODS?
We have amazing yogurt in Greece. In America it's part-skim this, nonfat that. In Greece they use the whole cow! I don't really miss anything. Moussaka? I eat the inside—the top has cream and the bottom has olive oil. That would be my diet tip: Eat the inside.
DENIS LEARY: Diet Rescue
"Denis doesn't need to lose weight," says chef Bethenny Frankel of the Rescue Me star, 49. "But he works 15-hour days and needs stamina." Leary "lived on chicken parmesan, burgers and pasta," until he hired Frankel to cook healthier meals in his trailer. "As you can imagine, tofu isn't the first priority," says Frankel, who has also fed Mariska Hargitay. Instead, she makes filet mignon or lasagna, always with "something green." The verdict: "I love them all," says Leary. "But her stuffed portabello mushrooms are unbelievable."
BE A SUPERHERO (OR JUST LOOK LIKE ONE)
Ever hear Wonder Woman ask, Do I look fat in this? No. "Superheroes are strong and agile," says Jonathan Sexsmith, cocreator of Superhero Training Camp at L.A. and N.Y.C. Equinox gyms. Based on moves in Spider-Man 3 and Fantastic Four, the 1-hour class can burn 800 calories, he says. And though some people do wear them (really!), capes are optional.
For Leary's eats, see PEOPLE.COM/RECIPES