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    The Mindy Project Takes Off

    Actor, writer, producer Mindy Kaling steps out of The Office and into the spotlight.

    Mindy Kaling on Diet and Exercise continued...

    To restore herself, Kaling tries to sleep at least six hours a night -- "I sleep so deeply it's like I die and then come back to life in the morning" -- and has recently changed her eating habits to give her a boost. "I am a notoriously unpicky eater, and a great joy of my parents when I was growing up was they embraced my love of eating everything," the actor says. "But I eat to whoever is around me, and I'm around a lot of big guys in the writers' room. I used to eat french fries and chips, but it started to make me lethargic so I try not to."

    Kaling starts each morning with a smoothie. "[My assistant] makes a huge Vitamix blender of spinach and tomato and ginger that used to disgust me, but now she puts a pear in it and it tastes pretty good and keeps me alive." Her next meal is around 2 p.m. when she finishes her acting duties and heads to the writers' room. "When I'm on set, I don't do well on a full stomach," she explains, "but when I'm done I try to eat something like a turkey burger. I also know that when I get home, all I have in my fridge is fish oil, water, and birth control."

    She tries to sneak in a half hour on the elliptical or some strength training before work, "But only if my call time doesn't start with the number 7, which it almost always does." On weekends she runs. "I am an avid slow jogger," she says of her 5-mile jaunts. "I don't go to therapy or any of that stuff, and I can be very anxious. But if I go for a run, my mind feels so much clearer." Kaling trots along to music by Rihanna and Beyoncé, as well as to movie soundtracks. "I have a very active imagination, and when I work out I like to disappear into a world of fantasy. A soundtrack is great for that."

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