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Penelope Cruz's weight loss secrets: Mediterranean diet, dance workouts

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Penelope Cruz says breastfeeding accelerated her weight loss after she gave birth to her second child.

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"I'm supposed to get extra calories because with breastfeeding you burn an extra 500 a day," Cruz told the January 2014 issue of Allure. "I was breastfeeding my son 13 months, and I plan to do the same with my daughter. [Nursing] is addictive. It's hard when the day comes when you have to stop."

Penelope and her husband, actor Javier Bardem, are parents to son Leonardo, 3, and daughter Luna, 6 months.

Cruz attributes her rapid weight loss after each pregnancy to dance workouts and the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes healthy fats such as olive oil and avocados, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds. The diet is based on the traditional eating plans of Italian, Greek, Spanish, and other Mediterranean cultures.

"I love Spanish food," said Cruz, 39. "My diet is the Mediterranean diet, which is good food. I eat well, but I try to eat healthy."

Despite her thriving acting career, Penelope said family is her top priority. "I always knew I wanted a family because of the way I grew up," she said. "Family has always been the most important thing."

Penelope is very close to her two siblings. Sister Monica, 36, is an actress and dancer and brother Eduardo, 28, is a singer and composer.

Penelope collaborated with Mónica to launch a lingerie line for Agent Provocateur. The three Cruz siblings worked together to create a short marketing film for the apparel line. Penelope, who directed the video, made sure to include models of all sizes.

"I did the whole casting myself," said Cruz. "Some of the girls are 20. Some of the girls are 50. I made sure that we had a couple of plus-size models. It's like a celebration of all types of beauty."

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