Debra's Not Messing Around

At 45, Debra Messing looks and feels better than ever. Here, the actress reveals how changing her diet transformed her life

by Carol Dittbrenner
debra messing
Debra teamed up with Zyrtec to help allergy sufferers look and feel their best this spring.
Photograph: Michael Simon

You recently lost 20 pounds. What motivated you?
I was exhausted all the time. For a while I thought, Well, that’s the plight of a working single mom. But then I looked around and saw that there were women my age who were working just as hard, and they had more energy than I did. So I said, OK, I’ve got to do something. I’ve never been one to exercise—I have, like, a chromosomal aversion to it—so I decided to just make a really big change in my diet.

Such as?
No sugar, dairy, gluten, caffeine or alcohol. I’ve been doing it for almost a year.

That sounds painful!
The caffeine, for me, was the hardest. When I started eliminating it from my diet, I had headaches. It was a very serious withdrawal. And it’s still difficult to be at a celebration and not eat any sugar. I’ve always celebrated with sugar! But I feel so much better.

What other changes have you noticed?
My hair is much healthier, and it’s growing even more quickly than it did before—and it’s always been pretty fast growing. My skin has changed a lot, too. The tone, coloration and size of my pores—everything has evened out.

Is there a particular skin-care regimen that you follow?
I love Dr. Hauschka’s Soothing Cleansing Milk. It’s great because it’s for supersensitive skin, but it takes all of my makeup off. I don’t go to bed with my makeup on, ever. And I drink a lot of water and green juices—I feel that’s also changed my skin tone.

How would you define a woman who is aging gracefully?
A woman who accepts and celebrates all the experiences she accrues as the years pass.

Who do you think is aging well?
Meryl Streep has been my idol since I was a young girl. I think she’s just as beautiful today as she was 30 years ago.

You shot a pilot for NBC called The Mysteries of Laura, in which you play a homicide detective. What attracted you to the project?
I read it and laughed out loud and loved it immediately. It’s a very successful show in Spain right now and has been for three years. We should find out soon if it’s picked up.

My number-one rule for trying to achieve MORE is . . . Make my goals clear.

What do you appreciate MORE as you age? Time spent with friends.

If you could start over, what would you do MORE of? Travel.

What is MORE important to you today than it was 20 years ago? Peace of mind.

Next: Alison Sweeney Shares Health and Fitness Tips, and Dishes on Her New Novel

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