By Mary N. DiZazzo


Ciao bella,

--"This is it: first of the New Year Iím going on a diet!"

--"Iím quitting smoking since thereíll be not a place to light up ever again."

--"Iím joining a gym."

How many of these common phrases have we all spoken and kept? To give you a helping hand, here are a few tips to feeling and looking great.

I hear the New Atkins and South Beach diet lifestyles are most popular and quite successful. On Atkins you must like meat, cheese and eggs. What a better way to start your day than with a plate of steak and eggs! Imagine! You must monitor your intake of carbohydrates for the first couple of weeks. It will rid your body of the hunger cravings. Pass on the ravioli and push away that bread basket; youíll be on your way experiencing new energy you thought Mother Nature took away.

Cholesterol and sugar levels benefit from weight loss. These lifestyles were quite "do-able" during the holidays. Atkins has some delicious chocolate-caramel chews and a whole line of carb conscious foods and recipes. I even made my own egg nog. Delicious!

Always check first with your doc before you start any new regimen.

Steakhouses, chicken wings, and Caesar salad, here we come!

The South Beach diet on the other hand has you watching fats and carbs. Only low-fat cheese, lots of chicken, fish, veggies, and some fruit on this one. Also the introductory to this lifestyle eliminates pasta, rice, and bread. Think you canít live without them? Think again! As Iíve been saying lately, "Nothing tastes as good as I feel." Experience euphoria!

Who still smokes anyway? Where can you smoke? How enjoyable is a cigarette standing outside the office, Dunkin Donuts, or the bar? Look at your self. If that doesnít work try asking your pharmacist for the latest stop-smoking aids.

Walk, walk your way to a healthy being. Put on those sneakers, get out your fav CDs and player or maybe find a partner (thereís more of an obligation when youíve promised someone else youíll keep them company on your stroll). But for a real commitment, join a club. In our area there are several Boston Sports Clubs. They offer spin classes, massage, and personal trainers. Thereís also the L.A. Sports Club for some luxurious treatment. They have a fab lap pool and extensive body fitness classes. There Joe can tell you everything you need to know. Then there are the YMCAs. They are all very basic and have limited pool and exercise time. This is when I can say, "you get what you pay for."

Another suggestion is The Clubs at Charles River Park. Great social people there to get in shape with and meet. Wonderful customer service. And just behind that expressway sign "If you lived here youíd be home now" is a magnificent pool and cabanas for rent during the summer months. check it out. Just ask for my buddy John B. in membership for details.

Good luck and Happy New Year.


[Mary DiZazzo is a third-generation cosmetologist and owner/operator of Mary for Nails, etc. natural nailcare salon in Andover, Mass.and may be contacted at (978) 470-8183. She also sees select clients by appointment in Boston at (617) 742-6881.]