Celebrities are constantly scrutinized for their looks, but add a pregnancy to the mix and the heat is really on. With the abundance of celebrity cherubs being born this year, here’s our rundown of the best A-list post-baby bodies from this year and years past. In a world of juice cleanses, fasting and paparazzi pressure to return to pre-baby weight in warp speed, these ladies got slim and strong all while keeping their sanity about their newfound curves.
1. Kristen Bell: The new mom to baby girl Lincoln has dropped 28 pounds since giving birth in March, by eating healthy and doing the Bar Method. But she’s doing it on her terms and in her own good time, declaring recently that she’s a woman whose self-worth cannot be determined by her size. “I’m proud to sit out of the baby weight rat race,” she tweeted this past summer. “I like my Lincoln Leftovers because they're proof I did something extraordinary.”
2. Claire Danes: She stunned at the 2013 Golden Globes when she showed up in amazing shape just one month after giving birth to her son Cyrus. Though she joked to the pressroom that she was very strapped into her Versace gown, she credited being on her feet for a majority of her pregnancy while taping Homeland a big factor in not gaining too much weight to begin with.
3. Reese Witherspoon: With three kids under her belt, it’s clear Witherspoon has the winning formula to taking off the baby weight. As a frequent runner pre-pregnancy, she’s been saving time and slashing calories by jogging with friends and having gym dates with hubby Jim Toth. Though she knows there is no one easy fix, as she said after the birth of son Tennessee James in September 2012 that “you just have to be gentle and patient with yourself and just sort of you know…slowly get back to your health.”
4. Drew Barrymore: She admitted to gaining 40 pounds during her pregnancy with daughter Olive as well as giving in to cravings like cheeseburgers and ice cream. After enlisting the help of nutritionist-friend Kimberly Snyder, she’s shedding the weight by eating lots of whole foods, vegetables and making her own green smoothies at home, but said in an interview that when it comes to deciding between spending time at the gym or with her daughter, the gym will always lose. “We live in a society where everyone’s like, ‘Look at how amazing she looks two weeks out.’ I don’t want to be on that hamster wheel; that’s hell.”
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5. Sarah Michelle Gellar: After giving birth to daughter Charlotte Grace in 2011, the actress has shifted her focus to be healthy, not to have perfect attendance at the gym or in bikini-ready shape at a moment’s notice. Her biggest sanity-saving tip? Not owning a scale and going by how her clothes fit instead.
6. Anna Paquin: Though you don’t see too much of Sookie Stackhouse and her twins, Poppy and Charlie, any time we do get a glimpse she is always on the go. Paquin was recently snapped jogging with a double stroller this summer in Venice Beach. Jogging with one baby is a serious workout in itself, but two? No wonder she looks so good!
7. Hilary Duff: Duff has made it a point to be very public about her post-pregnancy journey, stating that it took her a year to lose her 50 pounds of baby weight after giving birth to her son Luca. Her secret weapons? Yoga, boxing and getting serious about her diet–a page anyone, expecting or not, can take out of her book.
8. Jennifer Garner: Between three kids and a nonstop filming schedule, Garner knows that the best thing to take the baby weight off is to be mindful of putting it on in the first place. She has stated that staying active while pregnant and making the gym a priority post-pregnancy, whether it is two times a week or five, has helped her trim down.
9. Beyoncé: Mrs. Carter had her first show just three months after giving birth to Blue Ivy. Cardio and dancing was a big part of that, but for her diet was key, replacing meat with lots of fish, and pasta and rice with quinoa.
10. Kate Middleton: The Duchess scored major points for posing for her first post-pregnancy portrait with her baby bump still very much intact. Since then she’s slimmed down quite a bit, most likely because she didn’t put a ton on in the first place. Her routine of pre-natal yoga, walks with William and a healthy eating mindset has managed to keep her metabolism humming well into her new role as mom.
11. Kate Hudson: Hudson is proof that hard work really does pay off. After giving birth to her second son Bingham in 2011, she devoted as many as six hours a day to lose the baby weight, which included an hour of cardio followed by Pilates or yoga up to three times a day.
12. Jennifer Lopez: There’s no better way to get back into shape (not to mention set a good example for your new tiny additions!) then to give yourself a goal. Six months after giving birth to twins Max and Emme in 2008 Lopez started training for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon, which she finished later that year in 2:23:28.
13. Shakira: Subbing in for Christina Aguilera on The Voice just two months after giving birth to son Milan was stressful for the singer, but thanks to lots of Zumba (which she did while pregnant as well), she’s managed to lose most of the weight and get her OMG abs back in action.
14. Jenna Dewan-Tatum: After giving birth to daughter Everly, the actress lost a reported 25 pounds in six weeks. She motivated herself to get back into shape by doing CrossFit and following a vegan diet. Taking care of herself during pregnancy didn’t hurt either. In fact, the day she went into labor she had been on an hour-and-a-half walk!
15. Malin Akerman: The first-time mom used the buddy system to slowly get back into shape after the birth of her son Sebastian, grabbing a friend or her husband to hike, cycle and do Pilates. She’s stated that mixing up her exercises helped keep her muscles guessing, which made taking the weight off and not plateauing much easier.