I Didn’t Get This Way By Starving Myself

June 3, 2013

in Blog, Kristine's Best Tips, News, Facts, Fitness

As mentioned in my last post, I wanted to get into more detail about how I’ve gotten back into shape after baby #2. Clara is 9 months now, and thankfully I was able to start working out 4 weeks post-baby due to an uncomplicated birth, and quicker recovery. Don’t get me wrong, my workouts weren’t the most consistent at first due to lack of sleep. I’ve always found I can’t function too well on less than 6 hours of sleep, so once she starting waking less in the night, I had the energy to be more consistent. This time around, that was when she was around 3 months old.

I really wish I took more pictures post-baby, but I wasn’t too keen on squeezing into one of my old bikini’s 😉 But this is the last photo I took while preggo…I gave birth the next day.

38 weeks (Copy)

I tend to not gain much weight in my upper body. Most of it goes to my hips, butt and thighs.

Here’s the most recent picture I have, taken a couple of weeks ago on vacation…

bikini (Copy)

Here is one of just my abs from about a month ago. Thought I should show this area as that’s what stretches the most!

8 months post-baby. Still have the dark line...

8 months post-baby

To get to this point, I first wanted to explain my philosophy on the whole concept of “dieting”.

Me? I don’t even use the word “diet”, so I don’t consider myself on a diet. As soon as I lost that word in my vocabulary, getting fit was was easier and less complicated. In my opinion, restriction, and using the word “diet” causes cravings. Unnecessary cravings that wouldn’t even exist if you weren’t on a “diet”.

I don’t count calories either. For me, it leads to an unnecessary obsession and makes food a lot less enjoyable. Could I get a bit better results if I counted every calorie? Probably. But I’m more concerned about being comfortable in my skin and feeling confident in a bikini. I no longer compete, so I’m not following a specific diet plan.

Years ago, my old mentality for getting in shape was, “Eat less and do more cardio”. I’ve definitely flipped that, now that I’m more educated on nutrition and exercise. I now follow the method of, “Eat more, do less cardio”. Not saying I don’t do cardio, because I do. But I focus more on weight training, and do interval cardio that gets my heart rate high (heart rate of 175+) and for no longer than 25 minutes per session.

My formula is simple. Get to the gym 5 days a week (sometimes 4), and bust my ass. I’m never at the gym longer than 1 hr 15 minutes.

An example week might look like this:

Monday – Legs (no additional cardio)

Wednesday – Shoulders & Abs (25 min interval cardio after)

Friday – Back & Abs (25 min interval cardio after)

Saturday – Legs Part 2

Sunday – Biceps/Triceps & Abs (25 min interval cardio after)


I find the leg workouts the longest, and usually my legs are toast, so I don’t do additional cardio after. I do my own routines that I create myself, but more recently, I’ve been following workouts on http://www.joeydfitness.com/ through his basic membership. Challenging, but great! If you’re looking for something free, LiveFit Trainer on Bodybuilding.com is awesome.

As for my eating, this is what a typical day looks like:

Breakfast – 6 egg whites with kale & 1 turkey sausage, 2 slices gluten free toast (lately, Silver Hills GF Omega Flax) OR 1 whole egg, 4-5 whites with 2 slices toast or oatmeal. OR Sometimes it will be a protein pancake.

SnackHomemade protein bar, or if I’m in a pinch, store-bought. Quest bars are great, and I also get these from Costco sometimes even though they aren’t the healthiest.

Lunch – Different everyday. Usually a salad with chicken, or some yam, chicken & veggies, or leftovers from dinner the night before.

Snack – Whey protein shake with a bit of frozen strawberry or other fruit thrown in.

Dinner – Protein and veggies. Usually some sort of dinner recipe. I usually don’t have extra starchy carbs here. But I do sometimes. I love pizza, but usually I have it on a tortilla.

After-Dinner Snack – Non-fat greek yogurt, stevia drops added, with a spoonful of granola on top. Or protein pudding (1 scoop protein mixed with a bit of unsweet almond milk, and a tsp of peanut butter). Sometimes,  I like to have popcorn. Air popped with a bit of organic butter on top.

My Other Tendencies:

– I don’t have cheat days. I don’t believe in them.  If I want something, I just have it. I don’t eat an entire chocolate bar, but I’ll have 3-5 squares. I definitely choose healthier foods over fat laden, rich meals, and creamy sauces, but I’ve always been that way.

– I take in more protein now than I used to. I make sure I have protein with every meal/snack. *FYI, I consider beans a carb, not a protein. From most women I’ve worked with, most are seriously lacking protein. You don’t need a bunch of starchy carbs like bread/pasta all the time. I also get adequate healthy fats. Low -fat everything will just leave you hungry.

– When I’m hungry, I eat something! I don’t starve myself at all. I may even eat more in a day than listed above, it just depends on how my hunger is. If I need an extra snack, I may just have an apple cut up and dip it in a bit of peanut butter.

– Eating at a restaurant, I typically choose seafood, chicken, a salad, but I never choose pasta. Pasta totally bloats me, so I never eat regular pasta. If I do, its brown rice pasta.

– Eat until you’re satisfied, not full. If you feel like you could go for a walk immediately after eating, you’re good. If you feel like you want to just hit the couch, you’ve probably eaten too much.

– We eat red meat once a week (organic ground beef or organic steak), pork rarely (it bothers my stomach)

– We eat fish 1-2 times a week, the rest of the time its chicken and ground turkey, and we go meatless 1x per week (usually tofu).

Well I guess those are my secrets….if you can call them that. I just call it eating, working hard and not over-analyzing!

No magic formula, so don’t bother wasting your time and money on diets that don’t work, or ones you can’t stick to!  

It really bothers me when I see new moms getting taken advantage of, and promised incredible results. You really have to make sure you will put the time in for yourself, and stop making excuses. You will always be tired and short on time. Find a gym with childcare and use it, or ask for help with babysitting if you have family nearby. Go to the gym when your partner is home, and go every weekend. Heck, my husband travels a lot with work, so much of the time I’m a solo-Mom, but I still manage to get in workouts 4 times a week when he’s gone. I take both girls to the gym daycare 3x a week, or workout in the evening when my husband is home. If you’re a full time working mommy, you can still do it…you just have to plan it out.

Hope this inspires some of you to keep at it, or to help get ya going!

As always, leave a comment with any questions 😉



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I'm Kristine Fretwell, busy mom of 2 little girls, author, blogger, and former pro fitness competitor. I love almost any kind of cookie, anything coconut or pumpkin flavored, and Thai food. A perfect day for me is enjoying my family, getting to the gym, and whipping up a new healthy recipe. I've got a collection of over 300 healthy recipes, and other tidbits like fitness and health tips. My recipes have been featured on websites such as Huffington Post, Savvy Mom, Shape and Skinny Scoop.
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Latest posts by Kristine (see all)

  • SB

    LOVE THIS! You are an inspiration :]

  • Reintegrate

    Thank you for this great post! It’s so important that healthy and fit role models get a voice in these days of instant gratification with “super diets”, liposuction and other BS and talk about how to get real lasting results!

    We loved this post so much we included it in our Top 10 posts of 2013 to help you Eat Clean, Move Freely and Live Consciously!

    Thanks and all the best for the new year!

    • https://busybuthealthy.com Kristine Fretwell

      Thanks! Glad you enjoyed reading it! 🙂

  • Hanna Lippinkhof

    Thank you for sharing. Im looking for motivation and a way to get rit of the snacking. This helped me a lot. Thanks!
    Regards from holland 🙂

  • Camcam

    How often do you indulge in drinking? Anything specific you eat before/after a workout? Thanks!

    • https://busybuthealthy.com Kristine Fretwell

      I don’t drink often, maybe once every couple weeks or once a month. Even then, its like a glass of wine. Not a big drinker, but that’s probably good. I imagine that if you drank a lot it would totally hinder your results. I personally don’t eat specific pre/post workout meals. I just eat my 3 meals and 2 snacks, and the timing can fall where it may 😉

  • Kristi

    May I ask what your biggest downfall was before your started eating balanced meals? Refined foods? Low fat? Artificial sugars? Baked goods? Fried foods? I’m always curious. We all have food vices!

    You look amazing. Congrats to you for your discipline. Your hard work shows. You are a great role model to your girls!! 🙂

    • https://busybuthealthy.com Kristine Fretwell

      Sorry, didn’t see this till now. My biggest downfall before was eating all carbs and barely any protein. Then I wondered why I was spiking and crashing all the time. Well duh! lol. I did buy in to the whole “low fat” thing too.

  • Jenn

    Your 9 months post baby….when did you feel you were pretty much back to where you wanted to be?

    • https://busybuthealthy.com Kristine Fretwell

      I always see room for improvement of course..haha. But I felt I was pretty close at around 7-8 months post baby.

      • Jenn

        Thanks Kristine!!

  • http://erinatlarge.com/ Erin

    Do you do your interval cardio at the gym as well? What does that involve? I’m a bit clueless about these things!

    • https://busybuthealthy.com Kristine Fretwell

      Yes, I do my cardio at the gym. Usually its on some sort of machine like the stairclimber. Basically you just do as hard as you can for 1 minute, then go at a slower pace for 30 seconds to recover. You can increase work time, or rest time, depending on your fitness level.

      • http://erinatlarge.com/ Erin

        Thanks Kristine! I always get a bit flustered on those machines. Will have to go in the afternoon when no one else is around…

  • Ashley Semesky

    Are you nursing? I am almost 4 months out from baby#3 and it looks like we eat very similarly, but I am sure I consume a few more calories while nursing my big boy. Do/did you eat additional while nursing?

    • https://busybuthealthy.com Kristine Fretwell

      I’ve had issues with breastfeeding, so this time around I did it for the first 3 months. My last child I did for 6 months. You will probably have to eat a bit more when nursing, I always found I was hungrier. Just listen to your body, and eat when hungry. As mentioned, you may need more food than I listed…esp if you’re nursing.

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