A Better Body After Baby

Erin Bowman, 35, 5'7"

Before: 204 lb.
Dress size: Maternity/14 I thought pregnancy gave me license to eat whatever I wanted—and so I did. My downfall: Mexican food, along with whatever fast food my husband brought home. Since I'm a surgeon who spends my days in elastic-waistband scrubs, it was hard to gauge my gain. During my last trimester, I noticed that my face, arms and legs had expanded along with my belly. By the time I gave birth to my daughter, Ava Gabrielle, at the end of March 2012, I had put on 58 pounds.

Good-bye, muumuus

Two months after giving birth, I signed up for Weight Watchers online. Its point system (I allowed myself 26 daily points) helped me make better food choices. I stopped scarfing down plates of 11-point fries in favor of healthier picks, such as zucchini tots (3 points) and shrimp-and-avocado salads (5 points). With my new eating habits, the baby weight fell off. By November, I had reached my 146-pound goal. Being a size 8 again felt amazing, but I wasn't satisfied. So I set a new goal: getting back to my wedding weight.

Next up: bikini

Until I stopped breast-feeding one year after giving birth, exercise had been nonexistent. When I was finally ready to sweat, I forced myself out of bed at 5:30 a.m. four to five times a week to run. My first few were horrible. But I stuck with it, eventually trading my run-walk intervals for steady 45-minute jogs. I also began working with the trainer who had whipped me into shape for my wedding. By summer I had erased 11 pounds, was at my 2010 "I do" weight and even fit into my wedding dress! A few weeks later, on our childless Caribbean vacation, I rocked my bikini. It was like being on our beachy honeymoon again—bridal body and all.

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I am completely addicted to this website. The blogger, Gina Homolka, posts healthy recipes daily and even includes the number of Weight Watchers points for each meal. Some of my favorites: Garlic Shrimp in Coconut Milk with Tomatoes and Cilantro, Turkey-Stuffed Peppers and Pumpkin Cupcakes. It shows that you can enjoy good food and still eat well.

My Exercise Mantra: Get Fine, Stay Fine

My trainer said this to me during a training session once, and I thought it was so corny, but it kind of stuck with me. Plus, it's the truth—you don't do all this work to just fall off again.

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