January 10, 1994 12:00 PM

This was the year when “Do it!” supplanted “Diet!” as tubby America’s weight-loss imperative. The super-kinetic Susan Powter ordered us to stop starving ourselves and just get the lead out. Best-selling author Dr. Dean Ornish warned against fat, stress and the sedentary lifestyle. Exercise videos grew into a $285 million business. While 26 percent of Americans are still 20 percent over their ideal body weight, a lot of celebs succeeded in unloading some lard. Exhibit A: movie comedian (Hairspray) and syndicated talk show host Ricki Lake, 25. She went the last 20 pounds in her 2D-year journey from 250 pounds to 130. The 5’4″ Lake does thrice-weekly workouts, while holding to a no-sweets, low-fat diet. Now, she says, “people treat me differently, and I treat myself differently.”

Roseanne Arnold, 41, is sporting a nearly new body. Besides her previous breast reduction and tummy tuck, she eats two meals a day and aerobicizes. Psychotherapy helps. “It was hard for me to let go of those pounds,” she said. “But the braver I get, the more weight goes off.” Even the queen of candor won’t spill how much.

Whoa, Mama! Singer Whitney Houston, 30, blossomed from 125 to 182 pounds while pregnant with Bobbi Kristina Brown, born in March, then zoomed back to 130 (at 5’8″) four months later. Her secret: a lot of swimming and tons of the situps she calls tummy crunches. Of the curve-enhancing five-pounds net gain, she says, “I like it.”

Once ultrabony at 115 pounds, 5’7″ Cher began showing a softer side after a reported 20-pound gain. The famous cheekbones didn’t suffer a whit, and overall, Cher is stunning proof that, in the weight game, you don’t have to be a loser to be a winner. Cher, 47, plays herself in the new Beavis and Butt-head video of “I’ve Got You, Babe,” in which Beavis remarks that she’s “a chick who’s older and done it a lot of times.” Meaning that as a compliment, heh, heh, heh.

When Rosie O’Donnell, 31, heard she’d have a seminude scene in the movie Exit to Eden, which opens in mid-’94, she worked her 5’7″ frame down, once again, to the light side of her chronic 30-pound fluctuation. “I’ve no idea how I do it,” says Rosie. “There’s no explanation known to man. It’s a mystery to me. Go ask Oprah.”

Six-foot country crooner Garth Brooks, 33, trimmed down from 237 pounds to 195 early in the year by following a rigid exercise program and foregoing his beloved pizza and fast food. His diet is “no fat, that’s pretty much it. If something’s hard to do, I can’t do it, but this is pretty easy. And I feel 10 years younger.”

In 1993 singer Carnie Wilson, 25, fell in love with businessman Steve Port and lost 45 pounds via “exercise, exercise, exercise,” says her manager. Said Carnie: “It’s everything I ever hoped!”

Three miles a day, some six days a week—President Bill Clinton, 47, ties on his trainers and tears up the turf. That and the Hillary-imposed cuisine of low-fat, high-fiber menus, he said, has trimmed two or three inches off the 6’2″ President’s waist. Even festive official dinners are made of lighter fare. Still, both Clintons like the odd splurge on burgers and fries. Even “an occasional trip to a fast-food restaurant,” said Hillary, “is not the worst of all possible sins.” Amen.

“I’m on Slim-Fast, and it’s a cool thing,” says singer Wynonna Judd, 29, who has clearly lost lots of weight but keeps mum about how much. On tour she picks at a “pot of vegetables on the bus” and works out with her bodyguard and trainer, Dan Roach. Her new solo career, with two platinums so far, is something to sing about, too.

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