How I’m Losing 50 Pounds After Two Pregnancies Without Counting Calories 

In the last two years, I’ve been pregnant twice, and at my highest point this past May, I was 50 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight. I gained 40 pounds in my pregnancy with James (despite eating whole foods, balancing my blood sugar, and limiting added sugar) and started the pregnancy 10 pounds higher than my pre-pregnancy weight. Now, two months postpartum, I’m about 25 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight. 

As a functional medicine dietitian, I preach that your internal health matters more than your weight. Don’t think of nutrition solely for weight loss because it completely undervalues how food can heal your body, directly impact how you feel, and reverse disease. But there’s also nothing wrong with wanting to fit into your jeans again. And no matter how much weight you have gained, your body is 100% capable of achieving your desired results! 

How I’m Currently Approaching Weight Loss 

  1. Keeping my deficit small: I’m exclusively breastfeeding and prioritizing keeping my milk supply up, which means avoiding large caloric deficits and eating enough whole-food carbohydrates. Your milk supply should be stable before making changes.
  2. Improving body composition (the percentages of fat, bone, and muscle): this is more important than weight loss. This is one of the many limitations of basing your progress solely on the scale. You can gain muscle and lose fat but stay at the same weight. This is why my dietitians and I recommend Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis like Inbody. 
  3. Thinking about health holistically: meaning taking an approach that supports overall health. This includes blood sugar balance, muscle mass, energy levels, hormonal health, and less inflammation. This also means focusing on nourishment above all else and avoiding any extreme quick fixes.
  4. Not tying my worth to the scale: Healthy body composition is important for metabolic health and overall confidence. I cannot wait to fit into my jeans again after two years of not being able to. But don’t tie your worth to the number on the scale. I personally have only used the scale at my doctors appointments. If owning a scale helps you, that’s great, but I do not recommend weighing more than once per week. 

Do I Need a Caloric Deprivation? 

It is true that in order to improve your body composition, you need to be in a caloric deficit which means eating less calories than you burn in a day. Calories burned comes from not only physical activity, but also the daily functions of keeping you alive. I do not recommend large caloric deficits because they slow down your metabolism long-term. It’s best to be in a slight caloric deficit (if you were counting calories, that would be about a 100 calorie deficit) that makes weight loss slow and gradual (less than one pound per week). In my experience of working with more than 20,000 clients, many people don’t need to rigidly count calories to achieve a slight caloric deficit if they focus on foundational habits and pay attention to their hunger and satiety cues. 

There are limitations to calorie counting. Just because you are in a caloric deficit does not guarantee you’ll see changes in your weight if your gut microbiome, hormones, cortisol, nutrient deficiencies, or other aspects of health are out of balance. If you aren’t seeing results, it’s worth investigating further, which my team of dietitians can help you do in our August My Food is Health.  

11 Ways to Optimize Body Composition Without Counting Calories 

1- Focus on the Quality of Your Calories

Quality calories help to decrease cravings and help you feel in control of your choices. This study found that those who ate ultra-processed foods over two weeks gained more weight than the unprocessed whole foods group (all meals were matched for calories, energy density, macronutrients, sugar, sodium, and fiber).

You want to pay attention to the quality of your food, your macronutrient intake, your micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and phytonutrients (lots of color). Do this by reading the ingredient list and looking for high-quality ingredients, prioritizing whole, real foods, cooking at home as often as possible, and eating a combination of healthy fats, lean proteins, and fiber. 

2-Eat Enough Protein 

If you want to build muscle and improve insulin sensitivity/blood sugar balance, you have to have enough protein. Protein is also the most satiating macronutrient. My dietitians and I typically recommend a minimum of 1.2 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight each day for the average adult. That means if you weigh 150 lbs, you would aim for a minimum of 82g of protein daily. And if you are postpartum, I would recommend closer to 1.5 grams of protein for every kilogram of weight which is 102g of protein daily.

3-Eat Non-Starchy Vegetables with Lunch and Dinner 

This is key! I fill half of my plate with non-starchy vegetables at two meals per day (about 2 cups per meal) and sometimes get veggies in for breakfast as well if I’m making egg scrambles or smoothies. This is the most effective way to get more fiber-filled foods in your diet that will keep you feeling fuller for longer. Aim for a minimum of 28g of fiber per day. You’ll also get micronutrients and phytonutrients to help you feel your best. A few very easy ways to achieve this:

-add frozen cauliflower rice to smoothies

-add baby carrots, cucumber slices, or sliced peppers to meals and snacks

-swap out rice for cauliflower rice

-add zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash at the base of your meals

-put your meal on top of a bed of greens

-buy pre-made coleslaw mix and top with your favorite dressing

-roast your favorite veggies at the beginning of the week and toss them in sauces such as buffalo sauce, peanut sauce, or your favorite avocado oil based dressing 

4-Measure Healthy Fats

Eating enough healthy fats from extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds is important for every aspect of health. But, these foods can be easy to overdo. They have more calories per gram than carbs and protein, meaning they will provide more calories for less volume of food. When eating extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil mayonnaise, nuts, seeds, trail mix, grainless granola, etc., measure out your serving size to avoid getting more than you need.

5-Avoid Eating Directly from the Bag 

It’s easy for food to mindlessly find its way into your mouth when snacking directly from the bag of crackers or nuts. Even when I pre-portion food onto a plate, I am sometimes tempted to grab an extra handful of nuts before closing the bag. Set a rule that you won’t eat directly from a bag. 

6-Plan Meals in Advance 

I set aside 30 minutes to an hour at the start of each week to plan and prep several dishes that I can have handy. As a business owner, wife, and mom of two babies, I have no extra time. Having chia seed puddings, smoothie bags, 2-3 dinners, and chopped vegetables is essential for my success. I have been using The Being Collective, my membership program, every week to easily prep my meals for the week and create an automated shopping list, saving me hours. 

7-Limit Added Sugar 

Eating too much added sugar can lead to blood sugar spikes, which can increase insulin resistance and inflammation. It can also lead to more cravings and feeling like you aren’t in control of what and how much you are eating. How I limit added sugar: 

-Condiments with zero added sugar from Primal Kitchen

-Smoothies with Be Well By Kelly protein powder (sweetened with monk fruit) 

-Drink coffee or matcha unsweetened (use original Nutpods or organic cream)

-Avoid sweetened drinks at all costs 

-Limit desserts to 1-2 times per week (and choose low glycemic desserts like you’ll find in The Being Collective) 

8-Drink Enough Water 

Being properly hydrated is crucial to obtaining a healthy body composition. Often thirst can be misinterpreted for hunger. So, I aim to fill my  30 fl oz water bottle at least three times per day, minimum. I recommend investing in a large, 30+ oz glass or stainless steel water bottle and try to fill it at least three times daily. Adequate hydration also means prioritizing electrolytes, which can help decrease cravings and support milk supply if breastfeeding. My favorite electrolyte is LMNT because it is a clean formula and has no added sugars. 

9-Invest In Your Health Without a Payout

Here’s the key: eat well and work out without any expectations. After being consistent with my 60-minute walks in the last 9 of 10 days, I’ve noticed that I have a “why isn’t this working faster?” mindset. Having an expectation around a specific outcome will lead you to give up on yourself when it’s not happening as fast as you want it. Stay consistent. Results take time. Train yourself to celebrate small wins. Stop expecting a payout. 

10-Movement is Essential 

Don’t underestimate the benefits of walking! Walking is one of the most effective ways to lose fat. My goal is 10,000 steps per day, and every morning that my babies are still sleeping and my husband is in town, I wake up at 6 a.m. for a 60-minute walk. Next, I will layer in strength training 2 to 3 days per week. 


As a mom with two babies under two, sleep can be difficult, but I am trying my best. Adequate sleep makes weight loss much easier and is essential for healing, brain health, and hormonal balance. Sleep deprivation increases your desire for unhealthy foods because it creates hormone imbalances that regulate both hunger levels and appetite. Prioritize sleep whenever you can. If you don’t have young kids, aim for getting in bed at a consistent time and sleeping for eight hours. For me, as a mom of a 14 month old and a 2 month old, it means sleeping for a few hours after dinner before breastfeeding again, taking a nap during the day, and choosing sleep over watching TV. 

Looking for More Support?

If you feel like you are doing all of these things and still not seeing results OR you need more accountability, I highly recommend looking into joining our August My Food is Health program. This is my 10-week virtual program where you’ll get comprehensive at-home lab tests, a personalized nutrition and supplement plan developed by your dietitian specific to your needs and goals, a private supportive community, weekly nutrition coaching, educational modules, and Q&A calls with myself and my team of expert functional nutrition dietitians. 

Your body can only be as strong as you allow it to be. If you don’t feel strong in your body, commit to making it stronger. You are capable of anything that you set your mind to. And by showing up for yourself and getting stronger, you give others permission to make that same investment in themselves. 

In Health,