Woman's World - August 10, 1999

It's 6 a.m. on the Venice Beach, California, set of Pacific Blue--the USA network's cops-on-bikes action series--and star Paula Trickey is already feeling the heat.
"It's usually 80 degrees or more here by midday," says the actress. But while staying cool can be tough, staying slim is "no sweat," laughs Paula--even though she admits to gaining eight to ten pounds when the show is on hiatus.
How can she afford such a relaxed attitude--especially considering her TV wardrobe is full of skimpy shorts and swimsuits? "I never panic about my weight, because I know how to get it off fast," says Paula. Her plan, she reveals, is one that necessity helped her invent...

Ever since her high school days, Paula says, she's been a procrastinator. And just as she crammed for tests, she's often found herself "cramming" to lose weight for important events--like the time she was in a beauty pageant. "I basically starved myself, not eating for two weeks, and then gained 20 pounds as soon as the pageant was over because my body went into starvation mode," she says. The experience left her drained--and feeling like she should be covering up instead of entering swimsuit competitions. Luckily, this happened just as she decided to move to Hollywood, when she caught on to healthy-living trends and began winning her waistline back. 
"But when I first landed Pacific Blue, again I found myself ten pounds from my ideal weight and with just weeks to lose them," sighs Paula. But this time, she asked around the gym for an alternative to her old starvation plan. The result? She got lots of ideas on how to "cram" the healthy way.







Here are her tricks:

Spending as little time in the kitchen as possible. After all, the kitchen is where temptation lurks, says Paula, who found ways to get 1,200 delicious calories a day using lots of ready-made ingredients and even buying low-fat takeout. Smart move, say pros at Cornell University, who performed a study and found the more readily available food was, the more test subjects ate--and the less weight they lost.
Taking a break from bread. Though she'd heard diet gurus swear by fat-free staples like bagels and pitas, Paula noticed that when she ate a little of these foods, she'd want more. "And those calories add up quickly," she says, echoing the sentiments of a new wave of fitness pros.
Notes the Zone author Barry Sears, Ph.D.: "We fatten cattle by feeding them lots of low-fat grain." And grain-based foods, especially bread, have the same effect on humans.
And when Paula longed for a slice of toast? She'd remind herself "its just for a couple of weeks" and enjoy things like fruit, vegetables, beans and soy-based foods instead.
Drinking 12 to 16 cups of water a day. Paula's reasoning was simple: "You're just not as hungry when you're drinking lots of water." Plus, according to exercise scientist Ellington Darden, Ph.D., getting plenty of this pure liquid aids the body in burning stored fat.
Adding two workout sessions. "I normally work out three times a week so I maintain muscle tone," she says. But as her get-skinny deadline drew near, "I made a commitment to work out on the treadmill five times a week," she says.
Exercises with light weights--such as bicep curls and shoulder presses--are also part of her regimen. For good measure, Paula also added fun, calorie-burning extras like a round of golf or a quick swim.
How well did Paula's plan work? Her producer-husband Richard Thurber was the first to notice, recalls Paula. "He said something like, 'Honey, you look so lean!'"
Ecstatic, the actress noticed her clothes were feeling looser again. And as she got ready for her first day on the set, she hopped on the scale. Victory! "I stood a little taller and felt a little prettier all day long," she says.
In fact, standing tall and feeling pretty has become a ritual--because just about every time the show goes on hiatus, Paula puts on eight or ten pounds and then uses her old plan to slim down in as little as 10 days.
"I allow myself the extra weight," says the 5'7" actress, who fluctuates between 115 and 125 pounds. "Now I don't necessarily like the way it looks in the mirror, but instead of feeling depressed, I feel confident knowing I can lose it."
And she has confidence that, using the no-fail strategy she discovered, you can lose it too! To make it easy for WW readers to test her plan, Paula helped us create ultra-easy, no-cook meals lik the ones she enjoys while losing wight, plus a simple exercise schedule you can personalize to suit your lifestyle.

--Bonnie Siegler