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A Thing or Two With Michael Chiklis

Actor Michael Chiklis talks to WebMD about summer sequels, his brief bout with claustrophobia and longtime struggle with weight gain, and why balance is the key to good health.

What you do you do to keep your weight in check?

I have struggled with weight issues for most of my adult life. I am constantly trying to combat my genetic propensity for weight gain. We have food sent by a delivery service that provides portion-controlled, healthy foods. It's almost like having a private chef.

Do you exercise?

My wife and I hike five to six days a week. We do a three-and-a-half mile hike. It's a pretty challenging, relatively steep, 50-minute hike that gets our heart rates up and lets us use our bodies. I try to get at the very least 45 minutes to an hour of cardiovascular exercise per day.

Does anything get in your way of keeping these healthy habits?

My Greek heritage. We have this unfortunate love affair with food. We are about to go to Italy on vacation, and we are going to do some eating.

Do you ever give yourself a break?

I believe you should be as good as you can for six days a week, and then on Saturday or Sunday all bets are off. Eat what you like, really rest that day, and do fun things. Too many times dieting means deprivation, and seems like slow torture. It is easiest if there is a consistent light at end of the tunnel.

Besides a love affair with food, what else runs in your family?

There is longevity in my family. We are all strong as bulls, but we also tend to be built like bulls. We are stocky, well-muscled, and low to the ground.

Are you at your ideal weight?

I am 5'9, and some guidelines say I should weigh 170 pounds. There are a myriad of body types, and you have to look at each person individually. I weighed 170 pounds in seventh grade! Even if I worked out three hours a day and had perfect portion control, I will never see 170 pounds because my head weighs 45 pounds. I have dense muscle mass and very thick bones. I am just dense -- literally and figuratively.

What disease or condition would you like to see eradicated in your lifetime, and why?

Cancer. The pervasive nature of the disease is sort of unnerving. I just lost my aunt to cancer, and my uncle has non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Two of my mother's siblings have been affected in the same year. I do feel incredibly blessed, knock wood, that my wife, children, and I have been clear. It does make you acutely aware and want to do something about it.

What can you do?

I am about to host the Revlon Run Walk for Breast Cancer with [singer/breast cancer survivor] Sheryl Crow. [Editor's note: the walk took place May 12, 2007.]

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