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I gained 60 pounds during my pregnancy with my daughter. I was 38 years old, but an avid exerciser so I didn’t think to much about it. After my daughter was born I lost all of the weight. However, a year later, Autism hit hard in my little family. I was stressed and emotions were high. My daughter would not eat anything so I found myself eating the foods I would cook for her that she refused. My weight that year went up 40 pounds. I was still working out, but not eating right. At that point I realized that I didn’t want to be like this and continue down this path. I needed to fuel my body better and say no to finishing off her plate. I needed more self control and self confidence that I could do this. I couldn’t control the Autism meltdowns, but I could control what I put in my body.

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First of all, make a plan. You must visualize where you want to be in a month, six months, a year and five years. Set realistic goals! Write your goal weight and when you want to achieve it, but then write down the details of how you will get to your goal. For me, it was six pounds a month. Eat five to six  meals a day. Have a protein and healthy fat with every meal and snack, and stay within 1400-1800 calories. If you eat too little, your body keeps the fat and loses the muscle. Eat fruits and veggies! I also put my exercise on a calendar and started my workouts at 5 a.m. in the morning, so there were no excuses! If I slept in I would make sure to get in mini workouts throughout the day, power walk at lunch, small circuit on my breaks, etc.

>> Read more: 7 Best Multitasking Exercises

Keep a journal. Not only of the food you consume (every bite!), but also about your exercise and how you feel. I love using My Fitness Pal for food and exercise. Be honest with yourself. You are only cheating you. Be kind to yourself. I did allow cheat meals, but kept my food 80 percent clean. Remember, abs are made in the kitchen! If you can’t get in a scheduled exercise time, improvise! Many times I would put Marci in a baby carrier and vacuum with her, do squats while folding laundry, pushups and sit-ups while she watched a show, etc. Run your stairs, jump rope! Five minutes, five times a day adds up! Just do it!

>> Read more: Barre Exercises You Can Do At Home

Over the year, I managed to drop all the weight and get below my pre-baby weight! I felt energized and confident. I do slip up and need to clean up my eating on occasion, but I always go back to the same plan and hold myself accountable. We didn’t gain all this weight in one day or one meal. It will take time but stay the course; it will happen!