Before and after
PAGE 2
Far too many bottles of Evian later, I'm still standing—now 64 pounds lighter and six dress sizes smaller. In total, I've cinched 37 inches from my five-foot-eight-inch frame—including eight inches from my waist, four inches from each thigh, an inch from each forearm, and three inches from my neck. I've altogether eliminated my daily 2 p.m. energy dip by overhauling my diet. And in just 18 months, I've gone from heaving after a one-lap speed walk around an indoor track (yes, really) to hoisting two 15-pound dumbbells up from my sides to perform four sets of lateral raises.

Michelle's Plan  
There's no one-plan-fits-all approach, but here's the blimp-to-babe routine that I attempted:
  • Six small meals between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. (post-Nightline binges are what mired me in this mess)
  • At least six 8-ounce glasses of water a day (to buoy me through intense cardio sessions)
  • Complex carbs only before 2 p.m. (leaving time to burn off pasta, rice and bread well before bed)
  • Raw fruit or veggies with almost every meal (hard to stay dumpy downing cucumbers)
  • No salt, sugar or fat added to any food (Mrs. Dash has become a frequent dinner guest)
  • Four 15-minute miles on the elliptical six mornings a week
Michelle's Menus
Here's a sample of my six daily mini-meals:

Meal One, 5 a.m.: Before the gym, a cup of dry granola. After the gym, a banana, some celery and an egg white. (I count pre- and post-gym as just one food hit.)

Meal Two, 8:30 a.m.: Container of nonfat yogurt and half a Snickers bar (I sin daily, but early).

Meal Three, Noon: Six ounces of grilled mahi-mahi, a tomato and a cup of roasted potatoes (plus some raw carrots if I'm still hungry).

Meal Four, 2 p.m.: A fistful of grapes, four ounces of low-fat Swiss cheese spread, and seven whole-wheat crackers (my last carbohydrate fix for the day).

Meal Five, 4 p.m.: A can of plain tuna in water and a cup of steamed kale (it's a daily fight to get in enough veggies).

Meal Six: 6:30 or 7 p.m.: Four ounces of grilled chicken, salad without dressing and a peach.

Rest of the night: Nothing, or as much Crystal Light drink mix as I can hold.

Get more inspiration and Michelle's "words to lose by"!

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