Ask Alexandra – April 2010

Question #1:

Hi Alexandra

I love you on LMN! How do you stay in shape? You are so pretty.



Dear Pat,

I am so glad you watch my Lifetime movies – they are fun to do. Be sure to catch my next one, The Boy She Met Online.

I work hard to stay in shape. I am not one of those women who can maintain her weight by eating whatever she wants and never exercising. Who are those people, anyway? Aliens from a distant planet? 🙂

I do at least one hour of cardio, every day. The cardio is either swimming, the stationary bicycle or usually, the torture machine at the gym known as the stairstepper. I was on it this morning, and my heartrate was at 180 beats per minute, which means I am working hard for that hour!

The other component of my fitness program is flexibility through yoga. I do yoga at home twice a week for 45 -60 minutes each. It is not a very zen practice, as I listen to my favorite radio shows (NPR’s This American Life and Wait Wait Dont Tell Me!). The stretching sequence I have put together really helps my lower back pain, which mean I dont have to see my chiropractor regularly. I love my chiropractor (Franco Columbu who trained me for Getting Physical 25 years ago), but prefer not to have to go in for treatment often.

Lastly, I make sure I lift weights, which keeps my bones and muscles strong. And it gives a more definitive form to my body – during my Baywatch years, you can really tell the difference in my body my first season (when I didnt lift, only did yoga and cardio) and the third season onwards, when I began lifting. I lift 5 times a week, alterating between upper and lower body exercises. Including situps, my upper body program takes 35 minutes and my lower body takes 50 minutes.

My biggest training weakness is that I dont mix it up enough – I dont change my workout program. I have variation in disciplines, but within each discipline I repeat the same sequences at the same intensity etc. for months and years.

A new study has just come out saying that middle aged (what age is that – 45 and up maybe?) women need to work out at least an hour every day to maintain their weight, more if they are overweight and dont want to gain more. So it is important to have a rigorous exercise program.

Eating is key to maintaining weight and being healthy. Writing down my food every day and emailing ito my nutritionist (Cathy Sassin keeps me accountable for what I eat. I like Jillian Michael’s site and get her health emails daily.

We each design the program that works best in our lives. Best of luck to you in your own wellness and healthy living.


Question #2:

Hi Alexandra,

My questions are all about your beloved EV1 from GM. Its truly sad what happened to those cars and about a year ago educated myself more on what was going on. I moved to Seattle Washington in 2005 about the time that everyone had surrendered them all.

I have heard that there was one here in Seattle, and that most museums and schools had been given units under donation. I don’t want you to get in any more trouble with GM but do you know of any other places that they could be seen? I am searching Seattle Washington and heard a rumor that the University of Washington has one that they completely restored to operations.

I never met the criteria at that time to own one, however I wish that we could have had them today, what a car they would have grown into right?? I do remember that when I bought my Ford Ranger Splash in 2000 they did have Ranger EV’s on the lot and I could have purchased one at that time… Man I wish that I had done so, I would still own it.

I hate to speak ill of a company however the Chevy Volt seems more like a promise that is never going to happen and the Nissan Leaf is the premier car to own if it comes out, even though the range and specs are no where near the Ev1.

Thank you for your time.


Greg L Thompson


Hi Greg,

Yes there is a University of Washington EV which I have sat in (see photo). The flat bed truck delivering it to the Calfornia eco-event in 2007 was mandated to unload it in the private parking lot, because GM forbids it to be driven on public streets, which of course made all of us EV1 advocates shake our heads.

Having said that, I am a big supporter of GM. Yes, I was mad as heck at them for a time for crushing the EV1, but at the same time I give them kudos for making that magnificent vehicle in the first place. They were more committed in the 1990s to EVs than any other company, as the other OEMs (original equipment manufacturers aka Big Auto Companies) just converted their vehicles to electric when the State of California required emission free vehicles from the 6 largest car companies selling cars in California. Every manufacturer crushed their EVs too,it was just that GM had the misfortune of being the focus of a documentary about the killings (

GM was also the first big auto manufacturer to get back on the EV bandwagon and admit they made mistakes in crushing the EV1. So I admire them for that. And the Chevy Volt is a terrific car, so more admiration due there. I also believe it will be coming out in November. I believe in second chances, and I think the Chevy Volt will redeem GM for any past EV sins.

The Nissan Leaf is a great car . It gets 100 miles per charge, and although that is less than the EV1’s 120 mpc ( range varies: my friend William Korthof got over 140 mpc in his EV1), it is still perfect for most American’s driving habits. Nissan just announced that, with government rebates and tax incentives, the Leaf will cost between $21,500 and $26,500 (including the charger). Different states have different incentives, but there is a solid federal rebate of $7,500 for purchasing an electric car. I hope you will consider getting one!

I thank you for your passion about electric cars. To learn more about the plug in vehicles coming to market, go to Plug In America’s excellent tracker.


Who Killed the Electric Car’s Chelsea Sexton, Alexandra Paul and director Chris Paine with University of Washington EV1, at an eco-show in Van Nuys, CA in 2007.

Question #3:

Dear Alexandra

Recently I was reading an article on you in the Huffington Post titled Married, Without Children. Now first I agree over population is a major issue facing this planet in more ways then one.

In the article you stated “I now believed that only one child per couple could forestall the chaos of 12 billion people living on earth.” I was wondering how you would suggest to accomplish this? Education obviously is one avenue. Why I am asking is because I am a Supporter of Tibet and do review a lot of videos on China and Tibet and came across this short video below. Well not to short 40 minutes but after reviewing this I wonder on a 1 child policy. Here in the video China obviously as we all know has a 1 child policy and this is going to lead to a big issue in a few years. As you mentioned blood line is important to a lot of people especially to Chinese and in some areas to not have a male heir is something they look down upon so you get situations like in the video below where baby girls are either 1 aborted or 2 given up for adoption. Problem is as you see from the video below so many baby girls are not adopted leading to issues like the below video is showing where some orphanages over loaded with baby girls take drastic measures of leaving the baby girls to die. Now I realize China and the US are far different but……

Also what about the off balance China will face in a few years due to too many males and not enough females so you have grown men then unable to find a wife which could lead to other issues like rape or trafficking in females, prostitution. Also in some areas heir is so important for community standing that you have people willing to kidnap young boys and pass them off as their own child to look better to their neighbors. The second video below will detail this last bit. I know you are busy but urge you to watch so you see what I am referring to.

So I was wondering what your thoughts are based on this view of this issue which as I said I do agree is very important. Just a matter I guess of how to go about it properly to avoid these sorts of issues.

Thank You and Keep up all your great work!


Dear Dave,

You are SO right – if we are going to stabilize human population numbers, we have to do it the right way or there will be backlashes like what has happened in China, with people murdering their first born if it is female. And thus creating an imbalance of the sexes, and lots of dead little girls:

I have always believed that it is vital to stabilize human population growth by encouraging families to have fewer children, not forcing them. Encouragement means, among other things, tax incentives for having one or two children only, instead of tax breaks for each child born. It means educating people on the benefits of smaller families: more time and love for each child, a child that has more confidence and tests better, less financial and emotional stress on parents. It means debunking the myths that “big families are happy families” and “only children are lonely children”. It means providing birth control to everyone who wants it. And making sure the birth control method is appropriate to each person’s situation and culture. For
example, you wouldnt want to give a woman who cannot count birth control pills – Norplant might be a more effective method. Handing out condoms in a society where the men feel having lots of children is a measure of their manliness is useless – better to have family planning the responsibility of the women in those households. Also, in very poor places where condoms might be re-used to save money, a one-use device is unwise and Norplant or sterilization might be better options. Education about vasectomies, which are much cheaper and less complicated than hysterectomies, is vital so men understand that the procedure wont make them impotent, a common fear.

Another way to lower birth rates is to educate women, and raise their position in society. An educated woman is a woman who has other dreams besides bearing kids, and who is more likely to stand up to her husband when he insists on a bigger family (men generally want more kids than women, because they dont rear them in most countries). She is a woman who will start a family at a later age, and space her kids with more years between each than an uneducated woman.

Raising a female’s status is very important. In many societies (like China), a girl baby is simply a drain on the family: she is married off when she is a teenager and becomes part of her husband’s family. Not only do her parents have to scrimp and save to pay a dowry to the husband’s family for him to marry her, but the daughter is no longer a source of financial support for her parents in old age. Thus the problems in China when a couple who are only allowed 1 child, have a girl. She is considered a burden – they are desperate for a boy to help in the fields, financially support them when they get old, and to stay within that family forever.

Thus, it is also important that governments ensure support for the elderly, as one of the reasons that couples will have many kids is that they want boys first and foremost, to help them financially (see paragraph above).

Adequate medical care is another way to lower the human population. This may seem counterintuitive, but before the advent of modern medicine the reason couples would have lots of kids is because a large percentage of babies died before the age of 5. When medicine improved, human habits did not evolve as quickly. This is one of the explanation for the huge spike in population in the 1800s.

One argument for keeping birth rates up is that a dwindling working demographic cannot support a top-heavy retired population financially, and our economy would crash. There would undoubtedly be hardship for a generation when the transition to markedly smaller families (I recommend one child per couple)
begins, but pretty quickly things would even out (the young would balance out the old) .

What wont quickly balance out is when the world population reaches 9 billion (as we are on track to do before 2050 and we dont have enough fresh water for everyone, not enough fertile ground to grow crops, not enough space to ensure quality of life. Many believe the next world war will be over water. So no matter the economic problems one child families may incur for a while, it is nothing compared to the chaos and suffering that will be brought on by 10 billion humans trying to live on this planet at the same time.

How much will all this cost? Less than the wars the United States is paying for in Iraq and Afghanistan.

My goal is to de-stigmatize this fear of population stabilization. When I was born, the world population was 3 billion. In 46 years, it has more than doubled. There is no bigger issue facing the planet today.

Thank you for bringing it up by writing a letter to my website. I hope you keep the conversation going.


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