It wasn’t until I became a personal trainer and got pregnant that I started to learn about nutrition. I studied all throughout my pregnancy to eat well for my baby and when had my son, I set a goal for myself: to lose all of my baby weight in 4 months. I had read about all these celebrities and how fast they lost their pregnancy weight, sometimes losing it in 3 to 4 months.
I had to have an emergency C-section with my son, so that put me behind the eight ball with my goal. I couldn’t even walk much for 6 weeks. That meant I had to be even more diligent about my nutrition. I didn’t cut calories—I couldn’t because I was breastfeeding. I didn’t deprive myself, I just made small changes—like those detailed in my book Lose Weight like Crazy Even if You Have a Crazy Life! which has just been released in audiobook and is read by yours truly! You can order from Apple Books, Audible, or Google Play.
I wasn’t perfect. There were good days and hard days. There were times where the scale didn’t budge, and I felt like it was hopeless. I celebrated the small victories and I cried when I was frustrated, but ultimately, I trusted the process and the path that I was on. In the end, I lost all 36 pounds that I had gained in pregnancy plus 3 more for a total of 39 pounds. And I did it not in my 4-month goal but in 3 months and 4 days. It can be the same for you. Here’s how I did it. You can use these same tips no matter what kind of weight you want to lose.
I gave up my sugar-packed cereal in favor of eggs, whole-wheat toast, and sometimes veggies for breakfast. I cut way back on the amount of sugar I put in my morning coffee. I read food labels, and I was especially diligent about avoiding high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). HFCS increases inflammation and can raise your blood sugar, eventually putting you at risk for insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
For more, read What Cutting Out Added Sugars Does to Your Body.
Clean out your pantry.
Clean the house of unhealthy foods that tempt you. Start with the boxes and bags. Get rid of all that processed food. And double-check those foods that you think are healthy by checking the ingredients list and nutrition facts. Look for sodium, sugars, processed flours, and a whole bunch of ingredients (i.e. chemicals) that you can’t pronounce. I stopped eating granola bars 2 to 3 times a day as a “healthy snack” and instead ate fruit or vegetables.
Or turn to one of these Healthy Snack Foods Dietitians Say You Should Be Eating!
Plan your meals.
When we don’t have a plan, when we don’t have a go-to option, we often default for the easy and most comforting thing to do when we’re frustrated or stressed—um, open the fridge or cupboard and grab some edible relief. So, plan for those challenging times. Plan your meals! It’s one of the best things you can do to eat healthier and lose weight. I started cooking healthy dinners by planning them out and shopping specifically for those meals.
Here’s Your Ultimate Meal Plan for Eating Healthier All Year.
Practice portion control.
If you master this, you’ve won the battle because we tend to overeat every day. Post-pregnancy, I didn’t cut calories but I made sure I ate practical portions. Planning my meals and cooking at home made that easy.
Here are 18 Easy Ways to Control Your Portion Sizes.
Drink lots of water.
After my pregnancy, I drank only water other than some coffee without sugar. Water is critical for health and fitness. As I say in my audiobook, your goal should be to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water per day. Keep a bottle of cold water at your side all day long.
Begin your meals with veggies.
When you sit down for lunch or dinner, start with veggies. If you are looking to lose weight like crazy fast, I want you to fill up on vegetables first before moving to the proteins. It will help you from overeating other stuff.
Make time for exercise.
After I was cleared to begin light exercise, I started taking my son on two walks a day. I would put him in the stroller and we would go for a 3-mile walk after breakfast. Then I would take another walk in the late afternoon. If the weather was bad, I used the treadmill. If my son was on the floor doing tummy time, I would get down and do crunches or hold a plank. I fit in what I could when I could. But I did it every day. The key is to make it a routine part of life and recognize how good it makes you feel.
Related: This Simple Walking Workout Is an Amazing Fat Burner.
Autumn Calabrese is Beachbody’s top Super Trainer, author, and creator of the 21 Day Fix, and Ultimate Portion Fix, and host of the online cooking show FIXATE.