Photo Credit: Getty
I know why you clicked on that headline. Because you want to know what it takes to look like Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez or even the new Jennifer Hudson. You want to know their secrets -- their eating habits, their favorite workouts, the foods they splurge on -- so you can steal them.
So you really want to know what it takes?
Hard freakin' work.
You wouldn't know that by watching a recent Primetime special, "Celebrity Weight Loss: What Really Happens," or by reading the annual celeb diet and fitness edition of Us Weekly (which Primetime says is one of the mag's best-selling issues each year). The idea that celebrities are just like us when it comes to dieting and staying fit, and the idea that these women should be something we aspire to angers me because these women have resources that most of us don't. But that doesn't mean I don't fall for it every time.
Last year, I finally learned what it takes to get a fit, celeb-worthy body. I was getting married. I knew that on my wedding day, all eyes would be on me -- and that I would have to live with the pictures for the rest of my life. It would be my Academy Awards moment and I wanted to look good.
I have belonged to a gym since I was 20 and worked out 3 to 4 times a week, but never saw the results I longed for -- Madonna's arms circa 2006 and Jennifer Aniston's abs. So I hired a trainer. As I'm on the petite side, this news was often met with shock and dismay from friends and family. "What do you need a trainer for?," they asked. "I just think I could afford to tone up a little," I'd reply. To which one dancer friend looked me up and down and said, "Yeah, I guess."
Trainer Chad and I started meeting about a year before my wedding. (I did not want to be one of these girls starving herself in the six-month stretch). He asked about my goals and said training with him once a week was a good start, but that we'd need to meet more frequently as my big day neared. He asked about my diet, and I proclaimed that as a vegetarian my diet was pretty healthy. "Do you eat cheese, bread and drink wine?" he asked. "Yep, all three." "Well, you need to cut at least one out and cut back on the other two." It was the beginning of a beautiful and transformative friendship.
Over the course of that year, I did transform. I lost about 8 pounds and actually acquired some ab definition. I also reached size-0 status -- for the first time in my life. But I worked hard. I completely cut cheese from my diet and was super-selective with my carbs and sugars. At the same time, I actually ate more than I ever have in my life -- just not the kinds of food I wanted to eat, like French fries and brownies. I was in the gym six days a week for 60 to 90 minutes, which often required a 5:30 a.m. wake-up call. Because not only did I have a job, I had the second job of planning a wedding.
And you know what? I still thought I had room to improve. I was fascinated by my body's changes and I only wanted to see more.
Then, I got married. And my desire -- no, my need -- to fit in my dress and look good in pictures simply disappeared. I had a slice of pizza on my wedding night, French toast for breakfast the next morning. For financial reasons, I cut back my sessions with Trainer Chad. And it amazed me how quickly I lost my new size 0 status -- it took about a week -- after the yearlong work it took to get there.
This, of course, did not make me happy. Even with my new husband's assurances that I still looked good, it took the other man in my life, Trainer Chad, to remind me of this: "You are not a celebrity. It is not your job to look good. Your body is just going back to its happy place."
Now, when, say, Mila Kunis laments how it took it her five days to put back on the 20 pounds she lost for Black Swan, I totally relate. I even have a newfound respect for actresses and the strength of their discipline. Because as I said before, it's hard freakin' work.
That's not to say you can't get there. It just takes giving up more of life's pleasures than reading a diet and fitness-themed issue of a celebrity magazine would have you believe.
Do you look to celebrities for diet and fitness inspiration? Chime in below!