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Women's Health

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Lauren Graham's Healthy Approach to Parenthood

The childless actress is once again playing a single mom in a hit TV show. How does she do it?

Graham in Parenthood

Just a few months after the show's run, Graham got a surprise call from Parenthood's producers. Fellow NBC medical drama ER alum, Maura Tierney, who'd originally been cast as Sarah Braverman, faced a sudden diagnosis of breast cancer last summer before production began. (Tierney is reportedly doing great, according to her rep Christina Papadopoulos.) 

So Graham got the script -- and the part. "I've been doing this long enough to know when I have a real emotional reaction … I connected to these people. It reminded me of the shows I loved growing up, like [the ABC series] Thirtysomething. There's nothing cheesy or melodramatic, just truthful." 

Back in Los Angeles, Graham has replaced her Broadway regimen with a more, well, normal approach to health and nutrition: "Listen, I've done everything: cleanses, fasts, I've gone vegetarian," she says. "Now, I think the thing is to eat only stuff [when] you know where it comes from and close to the source … I try to earn whatever bad choices I make by being healthy throughout the day, or by making sure I exercise. It's all about balance: I can do this because I did that. I'd rather have a small amount of something I love than fill up on tree bark and rice! 

"In my business it's so easy to worry about your body and aging -- but you know what? That's unhealthy. So I try to have a greater ease about it all." Graham stays fit by doing Pilates and attending regular indoor-cycling classes. Once an avid runner, she's also recently taken up cycling, just like her dad. "He's been into it for the last five years or so. We went on a cycling trip together through Ireland, which was a great time. You can be anywhere, any age, and you can always get on a bike."

Graham's Rules for Healthy Living

Don't (entirely) hang up your dreams when parenthood calls. Graham may not be a mother, but she seems keenly aware that many women put their own aspirations on hold -- often forever -- when their children arrive. "My character is trying to keep her kids in school, keep them going, give them some chance at a better life. … But she's trying to have a personal life, too, and decides she can't -- that there's no time or room for it. In the second season we'll explore more about her finding confidence, a better sense of self." 

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