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7 Weight Loss Tricks From Gates McFadden

Here’s how the actress stays full of energy.

Star Trek: The Next Generation star Cheryl Gates McFadden is 74 and as active as ever. The actress is constantly attending events and fan conventions—but how does she do it? Constantly traveling and working would be challenging for anyone, but for a senior, it's especially impressive. There's no doubt serious discipline is behind McFadden's lifestyle and physique, and she's a role model for anyone who wants to be fit and healthy at any age. Here's how McFadden approaches health, wellness, and fitness, and has enough energy to do it all.


No Dairy, No Gluten

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McFadden enjoys a variety of non-dairy/gluten snacks and desserts. "My diet does not include dairy or gluten," she says. "There are terrific crackers that are gluten-free, most bread sucks so I bake biscuits that taste great. I occasionally eat fish and am currently craving and scarfing down mochi that are made with coconut milk and are dairy and gluten-free!"


Dance and Combat

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McFadden loved her role as Dr. Beverly Crusher in Star Trek: Picard, as she got to be more active. "I always wanted to do more action," she says. "As a choreographer, I've done dance, combat, I really did want to not have a makeup kit on me while on the away team. I wanted to actually have some things I could use to be helpful."


Fish and Arugula


One of McFadden's favorite meals is grilled fish with lemon and arugula. Arugula is a rich source of a chemical compound called isothiocyanates. "For humans, eating isothiocyanates confers health benefits," says Luke Bell, Lecturer in Temperate Horticulture, University of Reading. "Studies have shown them to have anti-cancer properties, and anti-neurodegenerative effects against diseases such as Alzheimer's."


Staying Active

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McFadden is a familiar face on the convention circuit, which includes plenty of travel and movement. "As an older adult, regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health," says the CDC. "It can prevent or delay many of the health problems that seem to come with age. It also helps your muscles grow stronger so you can keep doing your day-to-day activities without becoming dependent on others."


Interacting With Pets


McFadden loves interacting with animals, especially cats and dogs. Research shows having a dog benefits health by encouraging walks. "A review of multiple research studies found that pet owners had significantly lower heart rates, arterial pressure, and systolic blood pressure, suggesting better cardiovascular health," says Jill Suttie, PsyD. "Some of this may have to do with the fact that most dogs need to be walked, and so people who own dogs tend to walk more."


Tofu Salads


McFadden is a huge fan of delicious tofu salads. "Tofu is a plant-based protein made from soybeans," says Sapna Bhalsod, RD. "It's a complete protein, which means it boasts all the essential amino acids that our body needs to build and heal. It's also rich in minerals like calcium, and has a bit of fiber in it."


Loving the Leotard

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McFadden is proud that fans come to conventions dressed in leotards, in honor of an old scene of her working out. "I mean, it was quite crazy, right?" she says. "I have enough sense of humor to go, okay, the stupidest scene. I get it. We go to conventions and people are dressed in cosplay with our outfits. It's funny, and I don't feel judged by the younger generations, in a way that I wish my generation had gotten it when it happened."

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more
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