Picks and Pans Review: The Body Principal—the Exercise Program for Life

updated 10/10/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/10/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Victoria Principal

Shortly before her 29th birthday, Principal says, a female friend asked her: "What's that thing on your leg?" Horrified, the nonexercising Dallas beauty discovered that her "bottom had fallen." Luckily, it still hadn't reached her calves. Principal used the precious time to consult with "doctors, chiropractors, friends, actors, body builders," et al. and to come up with a fitness program. (She was additionally fueled by near humiliation: She almost had to bow out of a Battle of the Network Stars show because she couldn't run 15 yards without "collapsing.") Don't kid yourself. Victoria didn't look too shabby even before she started exercising. Still, her book is a reasonably intelligent, well-explained isometric exercise guide. Principal also advocates a "30-day diet for life" and offers a detailed eating program. Unlike the Evans and Brinkley books, Principal's appears to have taken more than a day to slap together and is written with touches of self-deprecating wit: "Whenever I sense that I am avoiding exercising (when I phone friends I haven't seen in twenty years, balance a checkbook for the fourth time and go downstairs to the kitchen just to make sure it is still there), I make myself stand naked in front of a full length mirror in my bathroom (I keep it there so that even when I don't particularly want to see myself I can't avoid it)." If you are due for an overhaul, Principal's is probably the book most likely to help you pull it all together. (Simon and Schuster, $16.95)

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