Losing the Baby Weight: What It Takes

Mom #2

Michelle Rimland's Story

5'6", 35, mom to Ella, 6 months. Starting weight: 162 lbs. Prepregnancy: 146 lbs. Ultimate goal: 125 lbs. Ending weight: 137 lbs.

"I've just gone back to work after being home with Ella for six months. Other than the initial weight I dropped right after I gave birth, I haven't lost a pound. What with entertaining everyone who's come to see the baby, and just plain emotional eating, I'm finding it difficult to make a dent in the 40 pounds I want to lose," she says.

What her food diary revealed: Michelle's tendency is to be good for three-quarters of the day, but by late afternoon, things start going downhill. "She has a real sweet tooth. She loves cookies, ice cream, and chocolate," says Bauer.

Nighttime is the biggest challenge. She gets home at 6:15, looking forward to hanging out with Ella until her 7 p.m. bedtime. Dinner, which Michelle's husband prepares, isn't ready until 8:30. This hour and a half tends to be a snacking free-for-all, with a handful of cereal here, a spoonful of peanut butter there. "Then I'm not in the mood for dinner," she laments.

The Food Plan

Michelle needs to beef up her breakfast of oatmeal made with water by adding protein and fruit. Her revamped breakfast is one tablespoon of peanut butter divided between two Light Thomas English muffin halves with half a banana. Michelle's salad lunch just needed a little tweaking. Bauer's theory on salad is unlimited vegetables, two tablespoons of light dressing, one to two scoops of lean protein (chicken or tuna), and one "fun high-fat thing like nuts, cheese, or avocado. Michelle was having avocado and feta -- one of them had to go," Bauer says. "She should try to have fruit as a snack, or eat an energy bar for protein."

To combat mindless nighttime snacking, Michelle needs to plan ahead so she's got the ingredients for lean meat, vegetables, and salad. Because Michelle loves sugary desserts like ice cream, Bauer took the starch out of Michelle's dinner in favor of a sweet snack in the 200-calorie range.

How it went: Michelle lost 3 pounds her first two weeks. Tweaking lunch and breakfast was easy, but she's still struggling with setting limits in the evening. "After a stressful day, I can get into this It's been a long day -- I deserve this mind-set. But even on a bad night, I'm still more in control than I was."

Worst moment: "I went to a nutritionist appointment expecting a big weight loss, and only lost a pound. Turns out those takeout turkey burgers I had several times during the two weeks were twice the size of what I should be eating."

Best moment: "On vacation, I went to the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory where we were going to have ice cream. I didn't want to leave feeling deprived, or mad at myself because I overdid it. I thought about it, I planned for it, and I only ate a couple of bites."

The Exercise Plan

Michelle has always been active and was in good enough shape to exercise pretty intensely on both the cardio equipment and weights right from the start. At home, Norcini suggested that she replicate their gym workouts at home in her apartment complex.

How it went: Exercise was a big factor in Michelle's success. She followed Norcini's advice for home workouts religiously, going to the gym after dinner, around 9:00. On weekends she'd work out during Ella's nap, for a total of four to five times a week.

On Her Own

After 12 weeks, Michelle had lost 10 pounds. But after a month going solo, she had lost only 2 more pounds. She had slacked off a little on working out. To get the structure she felt she needed, Michelle joined Weight Watchers. By press time, she'd lost another 15 pounds.

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