Back in January of 2010, Gerard Butler shocked his many fans by shedding his shirt — and showing what one site described as his "gut and moobs" to the world. The look was uncharacteristic for the actor, who stole the hearts of women everywhere with his ripped physique as King Leonidas in the film "300."


"Sure, he's out of shape," defended one writer. "But it's not the end of the world. He's still lovely, right? Or he will be when he stops sucking down pasta and chocolate and actually steps inside a gym for a few days."


Fast-forward a year and a half, and Butler has done an amazing job of dropping the weight and getting back into shape. So dramatic was the change from 2010 to 2011 that many feared there was something actually wrong with him. 


"I ate my last meal in October and I run about 40 miles day," he recently told US Weekly. "I'm joking! It's just doing a lot of cardio and extremely watching what I eat. I stopped lifting big weights and I'm doing yoga."


"It's not hard to stay in shape," he added. "It's hard to be in really good shape!"


The 41-year-old's slim-down can also be credited to surfing — something he's taken up in preparation for a currently unnamed film about the sport. 


"I just used to be a lot bigger," he said. "But now I'm surfing. I'm doing a surf movie, so I have to slim down. I don't know, maybe I'm sick or something!"


In another interview, Butler also credited more vegetables and lean meats — instead of his preferred burger and fries — as a big player in his new look. That's a recurring theme for other celebrities who have shed the pounds like President Bill Clinton, Jerry Ferrara, Jonah Hill, Carrie Fisher and Megan Fox.


Butler will next be seen in "Machine Gun Preacher," the story of a former criminal turned crusader who founded an orphanage in Africa. You can check out a trailer for the film, which is based on true events, here

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Gerard Butler credits healthy living for slim look
Actor says diet and exercise have enabled him to get a 'surfer's body' in preparation for new role.