Ali Landry may have been Miss USA in 1996 and one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful" in 1998, but her confidence still gave way when she gained weight during her recent pregnancy.
“It took me some time to accept that my stomach was going to keep on getting bigger,” the actress and former Super Bowl "Doritos Girl" said.
But today, only five months after giving birth to her daughter Estela, Landry has lost almost all of the 35 pounds she gained.
“I look really good at 135,” she said, laughing. “And I’m only four or five pounds away from that.”
Like Landry, most women (and many guys too) feel the pressure to stay lean — and the holidays are no help. Lavish dinners and parties often add weight, while shopping, cooking and family obligations leave little time for regular workouts.
So FOXNews.com talked to four of the hottest celebs around to see what they do to keep the pounds off between Christmas and New Year’s, and all year round.
Giuliana Rancic, the rail-thin anchor of E! News who recently married "Apprentice" star Bill Rancic, starts each day with a 6 a.m. news meeting. That doesn’t leave much time for a leisurely breakfast. As a result, she needed to find a different morning regimen.
“I start my day off with a grapefruit and cup of green tea,” she said. “I was introduced to green tea a few months ago by a man they call Dr. Tea, owner of the herbal tea garden.”
Today, she drinks three cups a day and has eliminated coffee entirely. “My skin and body are better than ever!” she said.
Rancic, 32, also eats five fruits a day, always trying to include grapefruit and apples. For lunch and dinner, she is “crazy about salmon and halibut” and “loves brown rice.”
Though Michaela Conlin, the 29-year-old star of the TV show “Bones," likes oatmeal and yogurt in the morning, another trick carries her through the day.
“I recently got a juicer,” said the stunner, “and I’m addicted to juicing everything I can get my hands on — beets, carrots and celery” especially.
Cerina Vincent, co-author of the book “How to Eat Like a Hot Chick," has another suggestion.
"Our cure-all is a giant pound of spinach! Spinach is an amazingly healthy food, and we eat it in every form — in salads, frozen, chopped, cooked, raw, just not creamed!!
Oatmeal is another mainstay of the “Hot Chick” diet.
"We think outside the box when it comes to oatmeal — and food in general. We’ve been known to eat it for dinner with a ton of Parmesan cheese stirred in! Trust us, it's really good," said Jodi Lipper, the other co-author of “How to Eat Like a Hot Chick."
Eva La Rue, the sultry star of “CSI: Miami," is no fan of carbs.
“I try to stay away from wheat, [like] bread and pasta,” she told FOXNews.com. “I just seem to blow up overnight when I eat it.” Instead, she sticks with protein and veggies.
“From the minute I kicked past 35, I’ve had to be soooo much more diligent about my diet and exercise routine,” the 41-year-old hottie admitted, “because the weight just doesn’t come off as easily.”
Rancic also stays away from white flour. Other no-nos? Junk food and sugar.
For Conlin, fried foods are the diet buster. “They are great when you’re eating them,” she said, “but I always feel awful afterward.”
Yet all the stars believe deprivation backfires “because then you’re miserable,” Landry, 34, said.
“I grew up in Louisiana, where basically every single dish is a carb. You have your rice, your gravy and your mashed potatoes. … and I clean my plate every time.”
Creating a Structure
So Landry found a solution: Chefs Diet, meals that are delivered to your house every day. A few years ago, she tried different delivery services. But after a week or two she’d get bored. “The food was very bland, and the dishes weren’t very tasty.”
Then she tried Chefs Diet — which starts at $9.99 per day — and saw she could eat whatever she wanted, as long as there was a healthy balance between proteins, carbs and fats. Dishes like cinnamon-sugar crepe with mascarpone and ricotta cheese or lobster tail with apple chicken sausage stuffing were even included in the menus.
“My husband [director Alejandro Gomez Monteverde] and I started fighting over the meals, they were so good,” Landry joked.
The fact that everything was pre-cooked and planned worked with Landry’s hectic production schedule for the TV show “Eve."
Conlin’s had similar issues. “Our shooting schedule is normally 12-15 hours a day,” she said. “So in order to keep my energy consistent I like to eat a little bit more often.”
And as many Americans know, planning trips to the gym can be difficult when you're putting in long days on the job.
"I wake up three times a week at 4:30 a.m. and hit the gym before work,” Rancic said. “People think I’m nuts, but it keeps me sane.”
Conlin likes yoga, while La Rue takes dance, horseback riding, yoga and Pilates.
Though Landry has a workout room in her house — equipped with a treadmill, workout bench, set of weights, TV and DVD player — she often finds herself exercising in unusual places.
“I’ll sit in the rocking chair in my daughter’s room and do crunches with her on my lap," she said.
The actress will even do push-ups off the bathroom countertops before taking a bath. It’s just about fitting the moves into your day-to-day life, she said. For instance, “when doing shopping,” she suggested, “just park farther away.”
The Holiday Conundrum
The holidays bring many temptations, so Landry and La Rue refuse to hit a party on an empty stomach. Landry grabs a yogurt with flax seed, while La Rue opts for protein bars and salads.
“During the holidays, I try to always keep protein bars in my bag so that I don’t get tempted to eat fast food while I’m out shopping,” La Rue explained. “And I always eat a salad with a little chicken before a holiday party [so] I don’t get there starving, then hover over the scrumptious-yet-bad appetizer table.”
But everyone agrees that December should be filled with fun, not fear.
“The holidays come once a year. So eat that extra cookie and work out an extra 15 minutes the next day,” advises Rancic. “It’s worth it!”