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How She Got Her Body Back

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Confession: “I have an unbelievable sweet tooth for chocolate,” admits Jennifer Garner. “I have to have it after every meal. Chocolate is my weakness!”

Then consider burning off those sinful calories Garner’s strength. At the Sept. 21 premiere of her latest film, The Invention of Lying, Garner, 37, showed off her newly toned, postbaby body in a figure-skimming Gucci dress. But unlike most Hollywood moms who squeeze into their pre-pregnancy jeans in record time, Garner adopted a more relaxed—and realistic—postpartum approach, taking nine months to drop the baby weight after welcoming her second daughter Seraphina Rose in January. “She didn’t have a job that was pressing,” says Valerie Waters, Garner’s longtime trainer. “So [the weight] came off a little slower than for some actresses—but it kept coming off.”

Garner’s workout mantra was simple: Kids before cardio. “If the baby didn’t sleep well one night, then the next morning we might go 20 minutes instead of 60. If her kid needs to go to the doctor, she’s going to miss her workout,” says Waters of Garner, who resumed exercising three weeks after Sera arrived. “She does her best to consistently work out, but if something happens, it’s not the end of the world.”

Even if she skips the gym, the mom of two sticks to a healthy lifestyle at home. While she’s known to whip up comfort food like spaghetti and meatballs, Garner also sneaks in healthy snacks for her older daughter Violet, 3. “I love to make a smoothie with a banana, mango and huge handfuls of spinach,” says Garner. “She’s getting all those healthy ingredients and it’s really yummy!”

Now with husband Ben Affleck filming in Boston, Garner has relocated her girls to the East Coast, where “she’s just focusing on bringing the kids to school,” says Waters. “She’s not a spy or a superhero anymore. She’s a sexy mom.”