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Jennifer Aniston Stopped Working Out for 2 Months to Prep for Cake Role

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Two months off from the gym might sound like heaven to most people, but it was anything but a cakewalk for Jennifer Aniston as she filmed her new movie Cake. To play Claire Simmons, a woman struggling with chronic pain after an accident, the super-fit actress had to put on weight. "I basically just didn't work out for two-and-a-half months. I stopped working out and I stopped being as careful about my diet as I normally am. I was still healthy, but I'd allow more," she explained, adding that it was oddly freeing. "There's a level of fearlessness. I think that you have to be able to sort of go, 'F--k it, I'm ready to just disappear.'"

But couldn't you lose years of hard-earned fitness in two months time? Don't worry about that too much, says Adam Bornstein, founder of Born Fitness and New York Times bestselling author. "If you're trying to lose your figure—and actively doing everything possible to do so—then yes, it can be done," he explains, adding that it's basic math. "As with all things in life, the poison is in the dose. If Jen needs to exercise five times per week to keep her appearance, and then suddenly drops that for two months completely, it's going to have an impact on how she looks." (Don't miss these 10 Unforgettable Celeb Diets Throughout the Years.)

But we don't usually intentionally take a two-month hiatus from all things healthy. That said, illness, injuries, job stress, family emergencies, weather, and other distractions can easily turn one missed sweat session into a month of missed workouts. Part of establishing a regular workout routine is recognizing that sometimes you will miss one—and that's okay. Life happens. The trick? Keep up with healthy eating habits when you do run into one of these times, says Erica Giovinazzo, M.S., who is also a registered dietitian and a CrossFit trainer. "The quality of your food will play a big role in your body composition, but the real factor is quantity," she explains. So if you stop going to the gym for two months—but you also reduce how much you eat—then you won't likely gain weight, she says. But she also cautions that you will lose valuable muscle.

And if you do end up letting everything go for a bit? Don't beat yourself up. "If you're typically lean and only had a couple of months off, your body will probably respond well to the return of healthy habits. If you're starting from an area where you're out of shape and working toward something you have yet to achieve, it can take more time." In the end, patience and consistency always get the job done, Bornstein reminds.

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