It may seem that after a celebrity gives birth, her baby weight magically melts away: In practically no time, she’s back in a string bikini, frolicking on some Mexican beach with an adorable newborn in tow.
But the reality is that for many of them, shedding those annoying extra pounds takes months of grueling work. Here, some of the funniest, wisest takes from famous moms on how they did it—or didn’t.
"It's hard to impress me with a body that hasn't had a baby. Have a baby and then let's talk... A lot of women say that they breast-feed and the pounds come right off. For women who gain 25 pounds, that's probably true. But for me and [actresses like] Busy [Philipps], who enjoy our cake, it's not going to come off in two months. I gained 45 pounds. Mine came off at about five months, after working out a lot and doing a food delivery service."
—Ali Larter, Health, September 2013
"I've always been a person who really approaches health in a proactive way. I work out, I eat right, so those were the things I continued to do once the doctor said I could, but not to be crazy about it. I’m breastfeeding, so I can’t starve myself."
—Kerry Washington, E! Online, November 2014
"I did Kung Fu up until two weeks before Benjamin was born, and yoga three days a week. I think a lot of people get pregnant and decide they can turn into garbage disposals. I was mindful about what I ate, and I gained only 30 pounds."
—Gisele Bundchen, Vogue, March 2010
RELATED: 22 Stars Who Don't Seem to Age
"Oh my God, everyone was so hard on me because it took me a year and a half to get my body back! When I was 17, I weighed, like, 98 pounds. I was totally obsessed with everything I put in my mouth. I was way too skinny. Not cute. And my body wasn't that healthy—my hands would cramp up a lot because I wasn't getting the nutrition I needed. That constant pressure of wanting something different than I had? I regret that. I feel like there was way too much time spent thinking about that. This is the body that I have. I have a very athletic build, and I am so proud of what my body has done for me. I had the best, healthiest, strongest pregnancy. And I feel good about myself."
—Hilary Duff, Health, December 2014
"I want nothing to do with that hamster wheel from hell. It seems miserable. I want to be healthy enough that I feel good mentally. And I don’t care what the weight is."
—Drew Barrymore, Oprah’s Next Chapter, January 2013
"I lost most of my weight from breastfeeding and I encourage women to do it; it's just so good for the baby and good for yourself."
—Beyoncé, People, April 2012
[On wearing a corset to regain her shape] "Of course. Who wouldn't! Your muscles are completely stretched. It gets the muscle memory going quicker. It's just to get your body back.
Because everything is everywhere!"
—Jessica Alba, Health, October 2013
"Eating during my pregnancy was easy, but losing the baby weight—that’s going to be a whole other story. As much as I tried to stick to a healthy diet and exercise routine while I was pregnant, I ended up gaining 50 pounds. But no matter what it takes, being in the best shape possible has always been very important to me."
—Molly Simms, on her blog, July 2012
"Since I had the babies about six years ago, I had that like, really stubborn eight to ten [pounds] on me. People are used to seeing me be kind of thickish, but when I started eating [vegan], right away I dropped like 8 to 10 pounds. It was a real change, but more than that, I felt much better. And people were like, ‘Your energy’s better’… everything’s better. I did full vegan for almost four, five weeks, then I just started incorporating proteins for myself. The truth is, even if you’re 70-80% vegan, it’s so much better having those vegetables, greens, and plant-based stuff. It’s going to change your life and it’s going to change your health."
—Jennifer Lopez, ExtraTV, June 2014
"[I was] healthy before and healthy during [pregnancy]. I just weighed myself for the first time—I don't have a scale—but I'm probably three or four pounds more now. Maybe that will take a long time to come off, and I don't really know that I want to take it off. I'm just kind of not even concerned about it."
—Bethenny Frankel, Health, October 2010
"I will say that [losing 50 pounds] was the hardest challenge of my life. But I was dedicated and I was motivated. I did the Adkins diet. It’s different now—it’s a newer version. So I tried it and it worked for me. In the beginning I couldn’t exercise a whole lot. But I just started going on hikes, and it worked."
—Kim Kardashian, on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, October 2013
"I love to feel fit. I love to feel healthy. I wasn't in a race. I was really kind to myself because I was actually really impressed with the fact that I had just had a baby, like 'I made a human!' ...[But] it was slow because I literally couldn't even do a sit-up. I'd had to have an emergency C-section so I was numb. And exhausted. I was really afraid because my whole life is based on abs and core."
—Pink, People, September 2012
"After my first pregnancy, the weight had come off a little bit better, but after the second one it was really stubborn. It was really hanging on. It was not easy and, when I started it, it was by far the hardest thing I have ever done—but I really was seeing results so it motivated me to just work through it.
Every woman can make time—every woman—and you can do it with your baby in the room. There have been countless times where I've worked out with my kids crawling around all over the place. You just make it work, and if it's important to you, it'll be important to them."
—Gwyneth Paltrow, UK Press Association, July 2010
"If you want to lose baby weight, I think it’s a very rare thing for women to do it without doing anything. I mean, scientifically, that’s just the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. Some women have that metabolism where you’re like, ‘Wow, you didn’t even gain any weight being pregnant.’ Well, that’s not me, and I think a lot of women probably relate to that. Like anything, if you want to be successful, you have to put the hours in. I try to break a sweat once a day.
I gained 70 pounds [with son Ryder], and the experience of trying to lose it was really interesting, because I’d never been in a situation where I realized I really needed to lose quite a few pounds. So I’d lose ten pounds, and then I’d plateau at 150 and I'd stay there forever. It was really discouraging. You don’t change anything—you just have to push through it. And that’s the hardest part."
—Kate Hudson, Yahoo UK Lifestyle, September 2014
"When you are a fit and healthy person to begin with, you most likely go back to what you were before."
—Heidi Klum, Good Housekeeping, May 2011
"[After Harper was born] I worked out a lot. I ran a lot. I did it six days a week. I become quite obsessive when I get into something."
—Victoria Beckham, Vogue, April 2012
"I get congratulated all the time by people that I know, saying, ‘I hear you’re pregnant!’ You know, this one woman who had babysat for us said, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t wait for [baby] number four!’ and I thought, ‘what is going on?’ So I asked around, and apparently I have a baby bump. And I’m here to tell you that I do! Hold up—I am not pregnant. But I have had three kids and there is a bump. From now on, ladies, I will have a bump. And it will be my baby bump. And let’s just all settle in and get used to it. It’s not going anywhere. I have a bump. Its name is Violet, Sam, Sera."
—Jennifer Garner, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, October 2014
"I love to work out. I can't say I've been the best at it since I've had my son: I used to run three miles every morning, but with the baby, I've been walking three miles in the mornings with him. If I wake up early, I'll do yoga or the Nike Training Club app. I love hot yoga, but with my son with me on tour, I honestly doubt I'll be able to work out a bunch. So I try to forgive myself when I can't, and do it when I can."
—Jewel, Health, May 2013
"If your priorities are right, the baby's most important. You have to eat to feed your baby. And I have a girl, so I want her to see some day why her mom has good self-esteem and good body issues. It gets you down sometimes—I'm not going to lie. I've had days where I'm like, 'Ugh, I wish this was easier.' But it's not, and that's OK."
—Jennifer Love Hewitt, E! Online, April 2014