Singer-actress Hilary Duff credits her newly slimmed-down figure to eating small meals throughout the day and cutting out vices like French fries. “I saw such a big difference so fast! Now I’m like, ‘Yes, this is awesome!’ And I’m still full all the time,” the 17-year-old says. But Duff insists she doesn’t want to become super-skinny: “I like to look normal.”
After gaining 60 lbs. while pregnant with 19-month-old son Ryder, Kate Hudson lost the weight “pretty fast” by relying on a 1,500-calorie-a-day diet that was high in protein and low in carbs – and doing three-hour daily workouts. But Hudson, 26, still allows herself some indulgences: While filming Skeleton Key in New Orleans, she sampled some local delicacies, including stuffed crab and crawfish.
To look sleek in her Daisy Duke shorts, Dukes of Hazzard star Jessica Simpson, 25, followed the “Don’t Eat Crap Diet” laid out by trainer Michael Alexander and comprised of mostly grilled chicken, fish and green vegetables. And if she slipped one day, Simpson just put in extra workout time. Since making the movie, she has loosened up a little, with pasta and Mexican food making special appearances.
Red Eye star Rachel McAdams, 29, says her love for sugar helps keep her thin. “I drink maple syrup,” she admits. “Then I’m hyper so I just run around like crazy and work it all off.” The actress says being on the road all the time keeps her trim. “Running through airports with pounds of luggage – that’s a good workout.”
“Everyone in my family is heavily overweight,” says Jessica Alba, 24. To combat her genes, the actress eats a balanced diet and tries to leave bread and desserts off the menu. Even so, she says, “You need to indulge and have that chocolate cake whenever you feel the need.” To counter her cravings, she tries to work out daily by doing Tae Bo and stepping on the elliptical machine.
Dancing with the Stars champ Kelly Monaco, 29, has been a vegetarian for “16 or 17 years” and says she’s lucky “to have a decent metabolism.” The General Hospital star has maintained the same weight for most of her life, but dropped pounds while dancing like a pro on Stars. “Eight pounds is a fricking human being on a 5’1″ frame,” she says.
Growing up, Beyoncé, 23, was “kind of a chubby kid,” says mom Tina Knowles. These days, the Grammy winner tries to eat mostly chicken and vegetables and avoids most carbs. Once in a while, she’ll sneak in her favorite treats – fries and popcorn shrimp. To keep her curvy body bootylicious, she “runs for miles and miles” on a treadmill or outside, says Destiny’s Child pal Kelly Rowland.
Having two daughters one after another – Sam, 1, and 2-month-old Lola – could have easily wreaked havoc on Denise Richards’s body. But the 34-year-old actress (who’ll star in the new UPN show Sex, Love amp Secrets this fall) watches what she eats, consults with a nutritionist and plans on enlisting a diet delivery service to stay svelte.
“I was a full vegetarian, living on carbs,” says Drew Barrymore, 30. “Now I eat more protein.” The actress’s weight has fluctuated throughout the years, but in 2004 she lost more than 20 lbs. and has kept it off. Yet sticking to a strict food regimen isn’t how she achieved it. “I’m the worst dieter. I eat whatever I want.” To stay in shape, she runs five miles, three times a week.
Less Than Perfect‘s Sara Rue reportedly dropped 30 lbs. and topped off her transformation by exchanging her red do for blonde and cutting off seven inches of her tresses recently. But a bigger change came through yoga. “After practicing I always have a bounce in my step, and I feel like I’m standing up straighter,” Rue, 27, told InStyle. “I feel more awake and stronger – and it helps me de-stress.”
RampB songstress Toni Braxton got a rude awakening two years ago when she found out she had heart disease. Braxton, 39, who’s mom to sons Denim, 3, and Diezel Ky, 2 (with musician Keri Lewis), took action and now incorporates exercise and a balanced diet into her life. “I was a pizza girl – pizza and I, we had one-night stands every night. I don’t eat like that as often now.”
It’s all about portion control for Elizabeth Hurley, 40. Sticking to “small portions” is how she stays looking great, says Hurley, who’s mom to Damian, 3 (with ex-boyfriend Stephen Bing). “Some grilled fish, a small amount of wild rice and some vegetables.” It’s a good thing, since working out is at the bottom of her list: “I don’t do a lot of exercise.”
Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria, 30, is accustomed to eating healthy. “I grew up on a ranch where we grew our own vegetables and had our own fruit trees,” says the actress (in Hollywood on Aug. 8). “We weren’t allowed to eat fast food, so I don’t really have the desire for that.”