swimming
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From Health magazine

These six celebs share what it's really like to be in their skin, from facing fears to motherhood to just having fun.

What my body really feels like ... underwater
by Dara Torres, five-time Olympian and winner of 12 Olympic medals

As soon I dive in, I feel this connection with the water. I feel at peace, just a serene feeling. I may train a lot—two to two-and-a-half hours a day, though right now Im recovering from knee surgery—but I actually love the feeling of just floating and splashing around.

Especially when I introduced my daughter to the pool, at 3 months. Thats how you want to teach a child. You dont want to put floaties on—you want them to feel their own body weight in the water.

I love to be underwater when no ones around and have the whole pool to myself. When I was training for the 2000 Olympics, I used to jump the fence at night, dive in, and look up at the sky through the water—it would be kind of rippling, but you could see the stars and everything.

I know this sounds crazy, but I really think pool water makes your skin soft. Swimmers have the smoothest skin. It tweaks your hair, though, and not in a good way.

The smell of chlorine always affects me. When I took seven years off, I was like: Uhk, chlorine. Yesterday, I got in the pool for the first time in a long time—just to walk to start rehabbing my knee—and I was like: Yay, the smell of chlorine.

Its weird when I get out of a pool—I kind of dread it. My body feels so heavy. I dream about swimming all that time. How could I not? My whole life has been in water.

Next: What my body really feels like...healthy and strong


What my body really feels like...healthy and strong
by Alfre Woodard, star of CBS's Three Rivers

I wish I honored and appreciated my body every step of the way when I was 10, when I was 15, 20, 25. We are always complaining about our bodies—“Look at my body!” “Ive got a belly!” “My legs are flabby!”

You know what, if your legs work, praise them. If they flap, who cares? If they are like toothpicks, doesnt matter. Can you jump? Great. At a certain age, the body starts to break down, and this is just a fact. So what I try to do now is when my Achilles tendons start to hurt Ill say, “Man, when Im 80, how fabulous was I when I was in my 50s!”

What my body really feels like … when I'm afraid
by Jennifer Love Hewitt, star of CBS's Ghost Whisperer

All of my fears—heights, riding rollercoasters is a big one, and Im also slightly claustrophobic—are anxiety-based. And I never understood how intense that feeling can be until I started having anxiety attacks on a regular basis. I had my first anxiety attack while we were on Ghost Whisperer when I had to experience what [a man being hanged] was experiencing. So they shackled my arms and feet and put a bag over my head and tied it. Then I waddled up a flight of stairs and had to stand on this platform.

I was fine for a second, and then I lost it! It was probably the scariest thing Ive ever done. I remember my whole body started shaking. My arms went numb. My heart started racing and my head was spinning and I thought I was going to pass out and I couldnt get air. And I just wanted to crawl out of my own skin.

Weve all felt anxious, but anxiety on a fear-based level is so intense. I often feel like fear is one of the most exhausting things that you can feel. And you think it just affects one part of your brain, but it really affects everything.

Somebody really great told me you cant have faith and fear at the same time; you have to choose one. If youre going to jump out of an airplane, you have to have faith that somebodys going to catch you thats bigger than fear. Any time I feel afraid, I pick faith that I deserve better than fear—and that good things are going to happen to me.




What my body really feels like … on no sleep
by Julie Bowen, star of ABC's Modern Family

This is what my nights are like: At 7:30 I get everyone—my 8-month-old twins, John and Gus, and 2-year-old son, Oliver—to bed. After that, its a mad dash to clean, do laundry, and get me to bed. Id go to bed at 7 oclock at night if I could. Seriously. Because I get up at 4:30 a.m. to work out and be on the set of Modern Family at 6.

Being exhausted feels exactly like a bad hangover. Its like my head is a sponge—a really heavy damp sponge, and for some reason the no-sleep lodges in my sinuses and I wake up with this aching in the front of my face.

It makes me slow—my brain just fails me. Im a class mother at school, and heres the genius thing I did: I organized a meeting for the other class mothers and me. I organized it. Me. Guess who didnt show? Me! Ive even forgotten my lines. Thank God Im not on a medical or legal drama. That would be death.

By the way, full disclosure: I have help. But its still tired-making! People say to me: “Oh, I bet you laugh at one [baby]!” And Im like: “No, I most certainly do not laugh at one. I have a deep, deep respect for one.”

Occasionally, Ill actually get a good nights sleep and its almost worse. Its like crack: You just want more.

When I fantasize about sleep, its not going to a hotel by myself. Its just here, at home. I collapse in bed with my husband, at the same time, too, because thats rare; he works strange hours. And its just the two of us and the happy background noise of baby monitors with no sound.




What my body really feels like … in motion
by Carrie Ann Inaba, judge on ABC's Dancing with the Stars

To this day, if Im going through something and I cant seem to shake it, I will put on a really passionate piece of music—by Sinead OConnor or Alanis Morissette or Annie Lennox or Seal—and close my eyes and just dance.

But I must say, jumping jacks are probably one of my favorite movements. Its a full-body workout, plus theres a lot of joy because youre jumping like a child and it sort of takes you back to that place.
Theres no right or wrong way to jump! It takes you back to the freedom of being in the air and not held down by gravity.
Its defying the laws of physics for a minute, like youre doing something youre not supposed to and getting away with it.

I hate to be restrained. As soon as Im done with something—like two hours of live television where I have to be very professional, contain my nerves, and not move around so much—Im running across the parking lot, kicking off my heels, untying my dress. And Im free.
Last updated: Dec 20, 2009