When you see photos of Cameron Diaz’s slim silhouette or Jessica Alba’s flat post-pregnancy tummy, you probably wonder just how Hollywood stars stay so lean or snap back into shape so quickly. While many swear their svelte bods come from eating right and exercising round the clock, the truth is that some celebs may go to strange and interesting lengths to get or stay pin thin. Here, the skinny on exactly what the big names do to get red-carpet ready — from the healthy strategies you’ll want to steal to the just plain wacky ideas you’ll want to avoid.
1. They eat breakfast
Celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson (whose clients include Jennifer Lopez, Leah Remini, and Penelope Cruz) recommends popping something into your mouth within 30 minutes of waking. “You want to send your body a sign that you’re not starving so it starts burning fat,” Peterson says. His suggestion: a cup of oatmeal with some sliced fruit and several scrambled egg whites. The oatmeal and fruit pack a huge punch of filling fiber, and the egg whites are rich in protein, which is satiating.
Verdict: Try it.
Research shows breakfast eaters are more successful at long-term weight loss than those who skip this meal. “It jump-starts your metabolism and prevents you from getting so ravenous you overeat later in the day,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D., a New York City-based spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.
2. They cut out white foods
Trainer Teddy Bass, whose celebrity clients include Cameron Diaz, suggests ditching any carb that is white — bread, pasta, cookies, rice — when a star is trying to lose weight for a movie or a big event. “These foods are high in sugar, which means your body burns off the sugar first rather than the stored fat,” he says. So is Diaz entirely carbophobic? No — she gets them instead in the form of fruits and veggies.
Verdict: Try it.
It’s true that white, processed carbs are high in calories and sugar, so limiting them is a healthy strategy. But don’t just sub in a boatload of nonwhite foods. “I see clients who shun these foods but end up eating just as many calories by having a field day with whole-wheat products,” Taub-Dix says. “Even if it’s a cake made with whole-wheat flour, it’s still loaded with calories.”
3. They’re picky about veggies
A few days before a be-seen event, some Los Angeles nutritionists and trainers tell clients to put gas-producing produce like cauliflower and broccoli on the black list. Nutritionist Carrie Wiatt has Denise Richards and Fergie stock up instead on watery veggies and fruits like lettuce, celery, cucumbers, watermelon, melon, oranges, and grapes, which help banish bloat by flushing out your system. And L.A. nutritionist Jackie Keller tells clients like Charlize Theron to pile their plates high with asparagus and green beans. “They’re high in filling fiber, but less likely to expand in your stomach,” Keller says.
Verdict: Try it.
Produce like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, onions, beans, apples, pears, and prunes do lead to gas and bloating, says Jennifer Crum, M.S., R.D., a nutritionist at New York University Langone Medical Center. Crum also suggests cutting out diet drinks before a big event, since carbonation and artificial sweeteners can lead to bloat. Dandelion tea, a diuretic, is a safe drink option, Taub-Dix says. Don’t like the bitter taste? Try peppermint or chamomile, which have a similar effect. Health.com: Survive the holidays
4. They eat spicy
Supermodel trainer David Kirsch helps clients like Anne Hathaway and Liv Tyler stay in great shape by pushing them to add red pepper flakes, chopped jalape