How stars like Beyoncé shed the preggo pounds

Feb 8, 2012 at 3:25 p.m. ET

Beyoncé stepped out for a night on the town looking slim and trim just a month after giving birth. Other women struggle for years to drop the baby weight. How do these celebs do it?

Beyonce shows off her post-pregnancy bodyCelebrities are not like us, the adage goes -- they have more cash, they're better looking and the rules just don't apply to them. True? Maybe in some instances, but pregnancy is not necessarily one of them.

Stars like Beyoncé, Victoria Beckham and Jessica Alba all seemed to look skinny and fabulous immediately after giving birth, but there's a method to their madness (and no, it has nothing to do with faking the pregnancy). Here's how they do it.

Keep the weight gain in check

The average woman who is at a normal, healthy weight at the time of conception only needs to gain 25-35 pounds by the end of her pregnancy, according to the March of Dimes. That comes out to just 300 additional calories per day -- the equivalent of one healthy snack.

Of that 25-35 pounds, most of it is baby, fluid retention (including a whopping four pounds of additional blood!) and breast enlargement, leaving a total maternal fat gain of just six to ten pounds -- an amount easily lost in less than a month with the proper diet and exercise program.

Beyoncé's beautifully curvy post-baby body: First pics! >>

Starting your pregnancy at a healthy weight and keeping your weight gain in check during your pregnancy is the best way to ensure you drop the baby weight fast. Stunner Jessica Alba, who looked slim and trim in a bikini just months after giving birth to her second daughter, agrees.

"I just didn't indulge as much," she told reporters at an InStyle event. "It was easier to snap back."

Jessica Alba

Find time for you

After the baby is born, new parents clomp around in a sleep deprivation-induced zombie-like state with little energy to do anything other than feed the baby and collapse on the couch. Understandable -- but you won't lose any weight that way. Before the baby is born, cook and freeze healthy meals for that exhausting post-partum period so you're not tempted to reach for high-calorie convenience foods. Get moving -- put the baby in her stroller and take a long walk. Many gyms have a babysitting room so you can work out while your baby gets play time.

"To get back in shape, I start by exercising for about an hour a day," Alba revealed to Us Magazine.

Cutest celebrity baby bumps of 2011 >>

Spanx are your friend

Jessica Alba bikini pics aside, when stars are fully dressed on the red carpet they have a special little secret: Spanx. And not just one pair of Spanx. We're talking multiple layers of Spanx. Beyoncé's first post-baby appearance in a body-conscious shirred number was almost certainly a triple Spanx night.

They're being paid to look this way

Beyoncé, Jessica Alba, Victoria Beckham and other slender celebs make a living based on their images -- and those images all depend on being slim. They have a huge incentive to take the baby weight off quickly, because not doing so could harm their careers. If you are having a hard time dropping the extra pounds, don't beat yourself up over Beyoncé. Remember that she probably has a personal trainer and a private chef at her disposal. Make do with what you have, continue to make healthy choices for yourself and you too will be back to your pre-pregnancy weight in no time.

Image courtesy