I gained more than 60 pounds during my pregnancy because I mistakenly believed that I had to "eat for two." I ate boxes of cookies in one sitting and gave up exercise altogether. After giving birth to my son, my weight settled at 190 pounds, and I was still 50 pounds overweight. I thought the rigors of being a new mom would take the weight off, but as the weeks went on, the scale didn't budge. A month later, I tried on a pair of shorts that fit me perfectly before I became pregnant, and I was depressed when they wouldn't even go up over my hips. From that moment, I was determined to regain my pre-pregnancy body.

I knew I had to be more active, but since I just had a baby, I also knew I had to ease into it. My solution was to invest in a postnatal exercise video. Since the tape was divided into 10-minute segments, I could easily fit in two or three workouts a day, as time permitted. After just two weeks of working out, I started feeling better about my body and had more energy.

As I became fitter, the postpartum video became less challenging, so I strapped my son into his stroller and we took walks around our neighborhood. I also bought more challenging exercise videos that included weight training and, to my surprise, I found that strength training actually accelerated my weight loss.

I also started eating smaller meals and snacking more often, instead of waiting until I was starving and then overeating. When I gave my son a meal or snack, I ate a healthful snack like a handful of peanuts or fresh fruit. I made healthier food choices, like baked potato chips or lowfat cookies, and learned to cook food in heart-healthy olive oil instead of butter. I bought fruits and vegetables, which I washed and cut up immediately so they were on hand when I wanted a snack. In addition to watching my portion sizes, I kept a food journal to record everything I ate. After a few days, I was surprised to realize how often I was snacking and that most of the time I wasn't even hungry. I just munched without thinking. The snacks added up to a lot of extra calories, and seeing that in writing gave me the motivation to stop.

By the time my son reached his first birthday, I had lost 50 pounds and fit into size-10 jeans. I feel better than ever and I have the energy to keep up with the demands of raising a young child. My husband and I are planning to have another baby in the near future, but now that I'm armed with the right information about nutrition, I'm confident that I won't have to deal with the frustration of post-baby weight gain. Instead, I'll appreciate and love what my healthy body has given me.