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My 8-Week Mission to Shed 15 Pounds

Ah, weight-loss stories. You've seen a hundred tabloid covers like it: Celebrities post-baby in bikinis, their stretch marks carefully airbrushed away. But how's a normal mom like myself, who has gone up and down weight throughout her adult life and especially since I started having kids, supposed to relate to that level of perfection? I also have a little secret … I love to eat. You're not going to see me sucking on a frozen carrot and calling it dessert. And yet I have this dream I just can't shake of finally losing the 15 pounds hanging around my middle since I gave birth to my second son a year ago.

I put on 70 pounds with each pregnancy (the recommended weight gain for an average size woman is 25 to 35 pounds), I am 5'4" and a former size 8. I weighed 130 when I got married. I now weigh 145 and am a size 12. I've kept up a consistent cardio schedule of walking whenever possible, but the only thing I changed about my diet now that my stomach is vacant again was to stop having ice cream every night like I did when I was pregnant. (I really did!)

My turning point came recently when I found myself still wearing maternity leggings. Oh, how I love maternity leggings. They're so comforting, so understanding, so stretchy. I'd happily pull them on, then dart outside, frantically craning my neck for the fashion police. I kept buying clothes in smaller sizes for "when I lost the weight." There's a particularly lovely pair of bright blue size 8 pedal pushers, sadly lying in the back of my closet, and which I'd give up my firstborn to fit into.

My problem is I have no idea what to eat. Most days I end up sharing my kid's food: a plate of mac and cheese here, a handful of goldfish there. I know carbs are bad, but I don't really know what's good. I draw a blank when I'm at the supermarket, and end up throwing lettuce and plums in my cart with the best of intentions, only to watch them later rot in my fridge. My husband does the cooking in our casa, and we both enjoy a lot of pasta dishes. I don't want to hurt his feelings by not eating his meals, but when I try and only eat half I still feel hungry.

I needed help fast, so I booked a training session with fitness instructor to the stars David Kirsch at the Madison Square Club in NYC, who's been helping fellow moms Heidi Klum and Faith Hill look red-carpet ready for years. I entered his swanky gym (pictured) with a big bout of insecurity, but after getting changed in the private client bathroom I emerged to meet David, who told me to close my eyes and take 10 deep breaths. "When you work out, it's your time," he explained. Oh right … me. I'd forgotten about her.

Together we devised an 8-week plan using nothing more than an altered grocery list and simple workouts you don't need a gym membership for. Each week will include one workout move, recipe, snack ideas, motivational quote and a fun workout song. If you want to go on this journey with me, David has more workout ideas, meals and exercises on his YouTube page, as well as on his blog.

"Your body is about how you feel spiritually and physically, not just a number on a scale," David reminded me at the start of the first session. "It's more important that you can fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes."

Cute blue pants, here I come!

NEXT: My Week 1 Plan

Week 1

Current Weight: 145

Motivational Quote I Used to Get Me Through: Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be?" –Marianne Williamson

Workout Song: "Blue Highway" by Billy Idol

Snacks: Kale chips, almonds

Meals: On the night my husband grilled hamburgers, I swapped it for a turkey burger. I can't say it tasted as good as a regular beef patty, but I felt less tired afterward and had more energy. Another night, I made Paula Deen's Black-Eyed Pea Greek Salad recipe, but it wasn't a very filling dinner. If you try it, I'd recommend it as a lunch.

Exercises: One of the first exercises David had me try were counter-balance squats (3x10). David encourages mixing up workouts so as not to get bored, so after doing the squats at home I tried a little cardio. I turned on the radio and danced with my 1-year-old for 20 minutes (which had the added bonus of helping him get over a bad teething/crying bout) then did sets of jumping jacks every time my picky-eater toddler took a spoonful of lunch. Another day I tried step aerobics on my back steps while the kids slept. I felt a little silly at first since our neighbors are so close, but then I remembered how many times I picked up their cigarettes out of the grass. I don't own any free-weights, so I used soup cans for strength training my arms. I ended up working out four times this week. I don't know if I can keep that pace up, but I can try.

Click here to read Week 2

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