By Michelle Edelbaum , June 11, 2010 - 11:48am
As a new mom, it is a big accomplishment for me to fit back into my skinny jeans again. After I had my son I was ready to say bye-bye to maternity clothes and then after a few more months, happy to pack up my transition clothes and roll out my pre-baby wardrobe. Unpacking each item, I felt like I was reconnecting with an old friend again, a piece of myself that I hadn’t seen in over a year!
Now more than a year postpartum, I finally (mostly) have my old figure back (I’m still not quite ready for my bikini ☺). But it took more than nursing and exercising, which I’ve finally found time to fit in. I’m also paying attention to what I eat. (What does a 1,500-calorie day look like? Find out here and get recipes. )
My colleague Nicci Micco is a fellow new mom of two. She is co-author of EatingWell’s book 500-Calorie Dinners  and EatingWell’s Content Director, Custom Publishing & Licensing. She says the latest science shows that when it comes to losing weight, what’s most important is how much you’re eating. You can lose weight eating whatever you like—so long as you limit calories. Since I’m trying to maximize my nutrition and make the most of my calories, I plan meals and snacks that will leave me feeling satisfied. This helped me lose the weight in the first place and will help me keep it off.
So even if you’re not trying to lose baby weight, but just want to be your hottest self in a great pair of jeans, try these satisfying recipes:
For breakfast: Scandinavian Muesli and 9 More Breakfasts That Fight Fat 
Eating a breakfast made with “slow-release” carbohydrates, such as oatmeal or bran cereal, 3 hours before you exercise may help you burn more fat, suggests a recent study in the Journal of Nutrition. Since I work out in the morning, I eat one of these recipes first thing after I get up.
For lunch: Parmesan Spinach Cakes and More Low-Cal Lunches to Grab and Go 
Lunch can be a big challenge for me—not only taking the time at home to make something good for me that I’ll actually want to eat when the time comes, but also trying to squeeze in time to eat it between meetings. These light lunches quell my midday hunger and are easy to pack and go.
For dinner: With both my husband and me working, we need dinner to be cheap, fast and easy (on the waistline too) during the week. This Green Pizza , which clocks in at 323 calories and less than $3 per serving, is an option that’s sure to please my husband, me and our son. Get more $3 Diet Dinners here. 
For dessert: Since I have a sweet tooth, I need all the help I can get to curb my after-meal cravings for sweets. And I don’t have to feel guilty: research shows that it may be easier to stick to your diet if it includes a little sweet treat! According to a new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, banning sugary foods could lead to overeating. So the take-away message is: when you’re on a diet it’s OK to eat just a little bit of those foods you love every day. (These 100-calorie chocolate treats, like Chocolate-Covered Brownie Bites, help in that department! )
Have you had success losing weight and keeping it off? Share your secrets with the rest of us! Tell us what you think below.