After losing 40 lbs., the actress and mom of three shares her bikini reveal with PEOPLE

By Aili Nahas
Updated April 02, 2015 08:00 AM
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Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty; Nutrisystem

For years, actress Soleil Moon Frye covered up at the beach. Now, the mom of three, who has lost 40 lbs. on Nutrisystem, is sporting a bathing suit for the first time in decades – and loving every minute of it!

“My husband said to me, ‘You’re the girl who always wears surfer shorts and rash guards [on the beach], so I didn’t even know what you looked like in a bathing suit until now!'” Frye tells PEOPLE.

So what does she think of her new body? “This is my best version of me,” says Frye, whose third child, son Lyric turned 1 in February.

Frye admits she was struggling with her body image last year after giving birth to Lyric. “I had the baby, and I was waiting for it to start coming off,” she says. “The frustrating thing for me was that one day I would lose a pound, but the next day I’d be back up two pounds. I needed help kicking it into gear.”

And after a serious low point – “when Lyric was four months old, four people in one week asked me when I was expecting” – Frye reached out to a friend who told her about Nutrisystem. “I haven’t felt deprived at all,” she says of her time on the program, which she started in May 2014. “It has something for every one of my cravings. And it’s just about making smart choices. I don’t want to go on a crash diet. I want to sustain this. I needed something that I could actually do and stay healthy.”

Finding body confidence is even more important to Frye in terms of setting a good example for her daughters, Poet, 9 and Jagger, 7. “I really want my girls to have a healthy image to look to,” she says. “I don’t want to be the mom that’s like, ‘I can’t have any ice cream.’ So the girls eat their ice cream sandwiches and I eat my Nutrisystem ice cream sandwiches. It’s been fun!”

An added bonus? Fitting into some pre-pregnancy fashion. “I have these really great rock and roll leather pants,” says Frye. “I put them on and it was amazing!”