Stars lose weight, gain itWhether they’re slimming down to play a perfectionist ballerina or bulking up to a gladiator-esque stature, celebrities often need to change their shape drastically—and on short notice—to ace roles (or meet the expectations of a critical public).
The problem? This type of dieting can be bad for your health.
Crash diets can weaken your immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to getting sick and may even hurt your heart.
Fast weight gain can be bad news too, particularly for the heart and joints.
Healthy or not, here’s a look at some of the most dramatic transformations.
Jennifer HudsonThe Grammy and Oscar winner’s dramatic weight loss was the makeover on everyone’s lips in 2010.
In August 2009, Hudson had to lose her baby weight before shooting her next movie, Winnie, in which she plays Nelson Mandela’s wife (due out this year). She worked out regularly with celeb trainer Harley Pasternak and cut back on calories with help from the Weight Watchers program.
Now the face of Weight Watchers, Hudson, 29, is a slender size 6, down from a 16.
Bale, now 37, reportedly took supplements to make sure he still got his vitamins but hardly ate and over exercised to trim himself to only 122 pounds (he’s 6 feet tall!).
He slimmed down again more recently from his normal 185 pounds to play a former professional boxer in The Fighter.
Oprah WinfreyWhen it comes to weight-loss tabloid fodder, Oprah, 57, reigns supreme. Her weight has fluctuated often and drastically, and it’s always been "breaking news." The yo-yoing is partly due to a thyroid condition, which she said she had leaned on as an excuse to eat whatever she wanted in the past.
In the early 2000s, she trimmed down to a fit 160 and thought she had finally conquered her weight issues. But in 2008, she opened up that she had hit 200 pounds—again. In 2010, she announced on her show that she would never diet again.
After losing 80 since January 2010, Carey told People magazine he no longer needs medication for his type 2 diabetes.
To slim down, he stuck to a diet high in protein, fruits, and veggies, and a tough regimen of 45 minutes of cardio six times a week.
John GoodmanThe actor, perhaps best known for his beefy Dan Conner on Roseanne, tipped the scales at 368 pounds in 2007.
Since then, Goodman, 58, has quit drinking, cut sugar out of his diet—and gotten off the couch. Now he works out six days a week and is down more than 100 pounds!
50 CentThe rapper's shocking weight loss wasn’t because of any health concerns; it was because of his role as a cancer patient in the upcoming film Things Fall Apart.
In May 2010, 50 Cent, 35, revealed emaciated-looking photos of himself. He had dropped from 214 pounds to a slight 160 in just nine weeks.
With shooting wrapped, he was back to looking like himself by September 2010.
Kevin FederlineOnce a toned dancer, the former Mr. Britney Spears ballooned to 240 pounds around the time of his 30th birthday.
Never one to pass up a chance in the spotlight, K-Fed, 32, appeared on VH1’s reality show Celebrity Fit Club in 2010 to try to slim down, but he has continued to struggle with his weight.
Kelly OsbourneAfter a stint on Dancing with the Stars, Ozzy's daughter quit her emotional eating and dropped 50 pounds.
All the dance workouts and weight training paid off for the 26-year-old; she bared her new size 2 body on the December 2010 cover of Shape magazine.
Leto, 38, told the New York Daily News that he “gorged and force-fed” himself to put on the pounds. He said it took over a year to feel like he was back to normal and won’t be gaining weight for a role again.
Charlize TheronThe actress gained 30 pounds eating doughnuts, and was almost unrecognizable as a prostitute and serial killer in 2003’s Monster.
She returned to her normal weight even before the film’s premiere. Theron, 35, who has said she is usually around a size 8 and likes her curves, went on to win the Golden Globe for Best Actress for the role.
The former co-host of The View at first wouldn’t fess up to having gastric bypass surgery. But having dropped around 160 pounds in just three years, Reynolds, 48, came clean in 2007 that she had done something drastic to lose the weight.
Bariatric surgery isn’t a quick fix, though. Continuing to eat an unhealthy diet after the procedure can cause patients to gain weight right back. However, surgery can be a viable option for the extremely obese.
Michael MooreThe opinionated filmmaker dropped a dramatic 70 pounds by eliminating salt, sugar, and white flour from his diet, and upping his exercise regimen to walking 30 to 40 minutes every day.
Moore, 56, allegedly checked into a Florida weight-loss spa in 2007 and again in December 2010.
She showed off her incredible body and admitted eating only an apple and a small bag of tortilla chips a day while preparing for her Love Will Never Do music video shoot. Today, Jackson, 44, sticks to a much healthier pescatarian diet and works out regularly with a trainer.
Perez HiltonThe self-proclaimed "Queen of All Media" celebrity blogger slimmed down by eating healthier and gradually adding gym workouts, dropping over 60 pounds in three years.
What started as simple 30-minute daily walks became 7-days-a-week training sessions, and, eventually, Hilton, 32, whose real name is Mario Lavandeira Jr., opted for delivery meals. In October 2010, he even launched a new site, called FitPerez.com, focused on fitness and the healthy habits of his favorite A-listers.
Richie, 29, who has two children and was recently married, has remained slim, but appears to be at a healthier weight than at her thinnest.
Seth RogenSince first gracing the silver screen, funny guy Seth Rogen has slimmed down significantly by working out with trainer to the stars Harley Pasternak.
The 28-year-old ditched around 30 pounds in nine months.
Perhaps more shocking was her post-Bridget Jones slim down. She dieted to lose the weight she had put on, and continued to lose even after returning to her healthy size 4. Constant weight fluctuations, like Zellweger's, can make it harder for dieters to lose pounds and keep them off in the long run.
Our former cover girl, 50, now stays around 128 pounds by watching her portion sizes and getting active—she even ran the 2010 Boston Marathon!
Mo’NiqueAlthough the comedian and actress was always vocal about loving her body the way it was, she made the decision to get healthy after being diagnosed with high blood pressure and topping out at 262 pounds.
Mo’Nique, 43, lost around 45 pounds in 2009 by eating healthier. She nixed junk food, red meat, and fried foods, and went from a size 20 to a 14.
Al RokerThe Today show’s weather anchor also turned to surgery to get trim. Roker, 56, weighed over 340 pounds in 2002 and was wearing a size 60 suit.
His weight had fluctuated throughout his life, but he had always gained the 30- or 40-pound losses back. In 2002, he underwent gastric bypass surgery at his wife's suggestion and dropped 140 pounds. He says that he has finally accepted that maintaining a healthy weight will be a lifelong battle even after surgery. Today, he watches his portion sizes and exercises regularly to stay around 200 pounds.
She starred in her own show about her struggle with her weight in the mid-2000s, when her weight had ballooned to over 200. In 2008, she pledged to lose 80 pounds, and tweeted in September 2010 that she had just 30 more to go.
Ricki LakeWeight played a key role in the actress’s big break in 1988’s Hairspray, where she portrayed chubby Tracy Turnblad.
But Lake, now 42, struggled throughout the next 20 years, losing an extreme 100 pounds in 1992 by "starving" herself, she said. However, after limiting calories more responsibly and joining a fresh-food delivery service, she shed 140 pounds and maintains a healthy size 6.
He lost 100 pounds and has kept it off by eating fewer processed foods, cutting back on fat and sugar, and spending more time walking on his treadmill and playing tennis.
Sara RueThe 32-year-old actress dropped 50 pounds after joining Jenny Craig and taking up running.
Since becoming a Jenny Craig spokesperson, Rue has carefully maintained her size 6 frame. "I’m done losing weight," she told People magazine.