11/14/2007 AT 01:20 PM EST
Kelly Ripa has a simple formula for making her butt look good: buy the tightest jeans around, do a clever little lift-and-push, and presto.
"I buy jeans that are tight in the rear end. I'm not kidding," Ripa tells Fitness
magazine in its December/January issue. "I treat my cheeks like breasts in a push-up bra. I just reach down in there, lift them up and push them together. And they'll stay put if the jeans are tight enough in the seat."
The Live with Regis & Kelly
co-host, 37, recently began exercising with a vengeance, and says her vanity is what kept her motivated to stick with it.
"A month or two after I started working out, I wore a sleeveless turtleneck to work. Regis was like, 'Pipa, your arm muscles look incredible!' " she says. "It was the first time anybody had ever said anything to me about my muscles. And because I am a vain person, that's all I needed to hear to stay with it."
Ripa certainly knows what it's like to feel tired and out of shape. When she was pregnant with her and Mark Consuelos's first child, she gained 68 pounds. Back then, it fell to her husband to make her feel good.
"Mark made me feel like the Queen of Sheba every day – 'You're so beautiful, you're so gorgeous,' " she says. "At this point, we've been married too long for him to say, 'Oh, you look so hot in that!' "
Ripa's commitment to a healthy lifestyle goes beyond her personal workout routine. She's currently supporting HEART for Women, a bill before Congress that requests funding for and education about gender-related aspects of cardiovascular health.
But, she does admit to one major health fear. "I used to smoke, so lung cancer is the thing that keeps me awake at night," she reveals. "I worry, 'Did I quit in enough time? Did I do it for too long?' It's one of those things where I think, 'Boy, what a foolish thing I did.' "