September 23, 2013 09:00 AM

Courtesy Health

It’s hard to believe it, but there was a time when Jessica Alba was unhappy with the way she looked.

“I was a lot more critical of my body when it was probably pretty awesome,” she admits in the October issue of Health.

“Why did I not ever wear jean shorts? That’s so crazy. I was so skinny. I didn’t have any cellulite … what was I thinking?”

But after she had two kids – daughters Honor, 5, and Haven, 2 – the actress became more accepting of her body.

“I was more willing to wear short skirts after I had my kids. I never wore them before. Ever. I was so self-conscious,” she says. “Now I’m a lot more confident in my skin — because who cares? At the end of the day, it’s so much time spent on something that really doesn’t matter that much.”

Alba, 32, credits the way she looks today to healthy eating (she avoids processed foods and starts the morning with a green juice drink that includes veggies like kale, spinach and celery) and interval training, but after she had her second daughter in 2011, there was something else that helped her get back into shape — a corset.

“Your muscles are completely stretched,” she explains. “[The corset] gets the muscle memory going quicker. It’s just to get our body back. Because everything is everywhere!”

As for her favorite way to unwind, you can catch the Machete Kills star in the bathtub – after both kids are safely tucked into bed.

“I put in a bag of Epsom salts or Honest Bubble Bath, and sometimes I’ll watch TV or sometimes I’m on my iPad on Pinterest,” she says. “There is no way that taking a bath is fun when the kids are awake, because they want to get in, too, and they’re for sure peeing in it!”

— K.C. Blumm

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