Last updated: Oct 15, 2008

Here are intimate answers from celebs, writers, and other famous folks on what they're grateful for, what scared them most, and what the best health advice they ever got was.



Whats the most helpful health advice you ever received?
“I think it was getting the advice that I cant tell patients what to do unless I myself do it. Ive tried to listen to that. I cant tell her at 50 she needs a colonoscopy, unless I tell her at 50 I had my own colonoscopy." — Judith Reichman, MD, author of Im Not in the Mood and Im Too Young to Get Old, and, most recently, Relax, This Wont Hurt

“I eat very well and exercise around three to five times a week, but I let stress in life affect me too much. I was learning to surf recently when the ocean was particularly rough. I kept trying to jump over the waves. The surfing instructor told me I was putting myself in front of the strongest part, taking on the full strength of the wave: 'If you dive under the wave, the roughest stuff passes right over you.' Good advice for real life. Now, when I start to feel completely overwhelmed by mounting demands, I imagine myself diving under and letting them roll over.” — Samantha Brown, host of Travel Channels Passport series

"'Let's try not to eat until we feel physically ill anymore.' It's a pact I made recently with my friend, Iva. So simple it should seem obvious, but feasting to the point of pain is an old habit for me, and one that I probably can live without in the future!” — Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

“The best advice I got was that food is nutrition for the body, not a comfort or social activity, or just something that makes you fat. I am learning to look at food as the fuel I feed my body so that it can be as miraculous as it is. The human body is incredible. After doing so much research on cancer for a loved one, I am seeing that it is imperative that we help our body and all that it does by feeding it the right things so it can do what it does naturally. Our body is constantly repairing itself, healing itself, and regenerating. I now look at food as something to help that process.” — Carrie Ann Inaba, judge on ABCs Dancing With the Stars




Whats the most scared youve ever been and how did you get through it?
"When I was in China filming at the Panda Research and Breeding Center, I got the chance to go into a large open environmental pen with about five 1-year-old panda bears. I was thrilled at this last-minute opportunity, but just as I was about to enter the cage, the panda handler, who I was told spoke no English, barked 'Keep moving!' 'Why?' I asked. The interpreter explained that if I stood still, the pandas would become threatened by my presence and charge me. I kept wondering why I wasnt told this before I agreed to go in, but now with the cameras rolling, there was no turning back. My director, not privy to this safety information, kept yelling at me to stand still. I was absolutely convinced that I was going to be mauled by pandas and the footage would play around the world. At one point, a panda locked eyes with me and came after me. The handler jumped in front of him and threw him off course. 'Get out!' he yelled, and I did." — Samantha Brown, host of Travel Channels Passport series

"Leaving my job as an editor at Conde Nast to start Kate Spade was a pretty worrisome time. I was able to get through it because my husband and I started it together, which helped a lot! We were in it together!" — Kate Spade, designer

“When I found myself stuck driving alone on a desolate stretch of the New York Thruway at night in a rapidly developing blizzard. The highway was quickly covered in slippery snow and visibility was terrible. I was going about 30 mph and still fishtailing a little every few minutes, even at that slow speed. It was very, very frightening. Driving was almost impossible in those conditions but I knew that if I pulled over and stopped, my car would soon be buried in snow. I just held on tight and kept going, really slowly and carefully, not panicking, and I prayed to the highway gods (or angels) to stay with me and help get me safely to the next exit and a hotel. And I did finally make it to a hotel.” — Juliana Hatfield, musician (her latest CD is How To Walk Away) and author of the memoir When I Grow Up



Whats the most grateful youve ever felt?
“When I was pregnant with my first child, Tav, whos now 11, I developed preeclampsia. They had to deliver her 7 weeks early, and she was also really small, smaller than she should have been, and not doing terribly well. The doctors said, ‘Chances are, she will not cry when shes born, we will have to immediately give her oxygen, because her lungs are not developed enough. She did cry. When I heard it, I said, ‘Is that the baby in the next room? They said, ‘No, thats your baby.” — Elizabeth Cohen, CNN medical correspondent and author of the upcoming book What Your Doctor Doesnt Tell You

“I feel grateful every single day! I know it sounds cheesy, but I honestly meditate on my gratitude before I go to sleep every night.” — Carmindy, beauty specialist on TLCs What Not to Wear

“I try to feel grateful for my life every day. Even when things are hard, I try to remember to say thank you for all the fortune I have had in my life. But the most grateful I have been in recent memory was when I was standing on the set of Fashionably Late, our third night of taping, with all my family and friends and crew there. I remember feeling so grateful for the experience of putting a show together from scratch and having the people I care most in the world there supporting me. I had tears in my eyes and have rarely been filled with so much gratitude.” — Stacy London, cohost of TLCs What Not to Wear

“To the no-nonsense obstetrician who delivered my twin sons—two healthy full-term boys—on August 28, 1969, via cesarean section.” — Jane Brody, personal health columnist, The New York Times

Whats the most physically painful moment youve ever had and how did you get through it?
“When I had to get all four wisdom teeth out at once. I didnt think the pain would go away!”
— Cat Cora, chef on Food Networks Iron Chef America

“I grew up in New Jersey and spent my summers down the shore. I wished so much that I could get a tan like my friends but I have blue-white, nearly transparent skin, much like a newt or some sort of tree frog. That didnt stop me one Saturday from using baby oil and a sheet of tinfoil to fry my body like a piece of bacon. Later, my skin came off in sheets, and I was in so much pain that even a puff of air against my skin would make me stifle a scream. After that, you can best believe I used sunscreen.”
— Jancee Dunn, author of the novel Dont You Forget About Me

“I was hospitalized with cellulitis in my head from a wisdom tooth extraction that became infected. I got through it with morphine!” — Carmindy, beauty specialist on TLCs What Not to Wear