New Moms Who Lost 100 Lbs. Before Getting Pregnant Open Up About Shedding Weight – for the Second Time
Amy Gillespie and Sharda Smith-Stevens posed in bathing suits in PEOPLE's We Lost 100 Lbs. issue in 2015
When Amy Gillespie found out she was pregnant with her first baby, she had mixed emotions.
A few years prior, she had lost more than 100 lbs. through healthy eating and exercise, and had bravely posed in a swimsuit for PEOPLE’s How I Lost 100 Lbs. issue in 2015. Although elated to grow her family, she struggled with the thought of gaining the inevitable pregnancy pounds.
“I gained close to 100 lbs. during my pregnancy, but I’m not 100 percent sure because I would step on the scale backwards at the doctor,” says 29-year-old Gillespie in PEOPLE’s collector’s edition, Half Their Size: The Ultimate Get-Fit Guide. “I knew watching the numbers rise would upset me. But I really tried not to beat myself up about it.”
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After giving birth to her son Eli in August 2016, Gillespie made him her partner in getting back in shape. “As soon as I gave birth it was like a switch,” she says. “I was ready to get back to my healthy habits. I track my calories on MyFitnessPal and go to the gym every day before work. I even started running 5ks and 10ks with Eli. Our jogging stroller probably has 125 miles on it.”
As for her routine now, Gillespie says she and her fiancé make their meals for the week every Sunday. “I also find support on Instagram (@amydown100),” she says. “It helps keep me on track. So far I’ve lost 70 lbs.”
Sharda Smith-Stevens — who also lost more than 100 lbs. and appeared in a bikini alongside Gillespie in PEOPLE in 2015 — had a similar struggle when she found out she was pregnant. She admitted she was “worried” that she might not snap back. “My family tends to gain so much when we have babies. I thought, ‘What am I going to do?’ ” she says in Half Their Size: The Ultimate Get-Fit Guide. “I kept working out until I was five months pregnant, but then my doctor told me I had to stop. I gained 63 lbs. I felt like I was starting over.”
As for the pregnancy cravings? “Everything healthy went out the window; 2 a.m. tacos, that was me,” says Smith-Stevens, 30, who welcomed daughter, Nia, in November 2016. “Good foods made me nauseous. I thought, “It isn’t fair! This baby wants junk!”
To get through it, she says, “I’m thankful I had support. My husband was like, ‘You can do this.’ After seven weeks, I started doing yoga videos at home; then I did an online nutritional plan after I stopped breastfeeding. I was losing weight, still eating five times a day.”
These days Smith-Stevens works out with her trainer and is almost at her pre-pregnancy weight. “I can tell Nia that in life things happen that are out of your control, but you can overcome them.”