Timing is everything for TV personality Vanna White. Before auditioning for Wheel of Fortune, the then-25-year-old was 25 pounds heavier. It was an issue she knew would prevent her from getting the coveted game-show job. “My clothes didn’t fit anymore and I felt tired and awful,” White said of her early days in L.A. “I realized I had to make a drastic change in my life.”
“I decided to try a good diet and exercise program,” the TV fixture, now 61, has said. “I started to run. Soon, I lost 10 pounds.”
Next, White balanced her diet by replacing “bad foods” with fruit and veggies. “I lost the other 15 pounds by eating right,” she said. “Eating the healthy way gave me more energy and a nicer figure.”
White felt prepared when she auditioned for the game show in October 1982. “Maybe it was a certain glow that made me stand apart from the other 200 girls,” she recalled. “I believe that my diet and exercise program had a great amount to do with it.”
Since her Wheel of Fortune debut as the sole hostess on December 13, 1982, White has appeared in more than 6,600 episodes. She’s also worn as many dresses. The iconic gowns are selected, then fitted, long before each episode is taped. As such, White has to keep her figure consistent.
How does she do it these days? For starters, she only eats when she’s hungry. “If people could learn that, they could stay as slim as they want,” she stated.
Although White doesn’t say much on the show, privately, her body says a lot. “My body tells me what it needs,” she confessed. “It has something to do with my energy level. If I need carbohydrates, I’ll crave pancakes … I’ll eat red meat when my body tells me I need it.”
White also habitually starts lunch and dinner with a salad. “Fresh vegetables always aid proper digestion,” she said. “I also feel that drinking a lot of water is very important. … It cleanses the body of impurities.”
As a rule, she doesn’t bring sweet and fattening foods into her home. “If it’s there, you’ll eat it,” White said. “Nobody is going to throw away a bag of cookies.”
At work, however, she allows a little leeway when it comes to snacking. “They put this food in front of me,” White explained. “I’m sitting there in between rounds, I have nothing else to do but eat it!”
In 1997, Wheel of Fortune switched from rotating letters to touch-screen reveals. Lucky for White, she had another handy habit to keep her physically active during the game show: clapping.
As hostess, White claps an estimated 600 times per episode — that’s more than 3.5 million times in her 35 seasons! In 2013, she was actually awarded the Guinness World Record for Most Frequent Clapper.
Indeed, there are numerous health benefits worth applauding! Hands have five important acupressure points that get stimulated when clapping. The repeated action can ease neck and back pain, open asthmatic lungs and lower blood pressure. Medical studies suggest that 30 minutes of clapping like White can reduce the symptoms of chronic headaches, arthritis, insomnia, diabetes and depression!
White also puts in gym time. “I work out six days a week,” she has said. “Spinning is my number one exercise, but I mix it up with running, yoga, Pilates and lifting weights.”
She also runs at least a mile twice a week, does 20 sit-ups five times a day, 50 leg lifts and pumps 10-pound weights 50 times.
“I know it sounds like a cliché, but … get plenty of rest, eat ￼healthy, exercise regularly and wear sunblock every day,” White said. “It is the best advice for staying young.”
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