Melissa Joan Hart: The Celeb Mom's Weight Loss Secrets!

By Paulette Cohn

It is hard to believe that Melissa Joan Hart is all grown up, but the star of "Sabrina, The Teenage Witch" and "Clarissa Explains It All" is married and the mother of two little warlocks of her own: Mason, 3, and Braydon, 17 months, with husband Mark Wilkerson, the lead singer and guitarist for the rock band Course of Nature.

Unlike a lot of celebrity moms, Hart took her time -- more than a year -- losing her baby weight. The actress gained 55 pounds, which put her at 170 pounds -- and she is a petite 5-feet 2-inches. Now she weighs 113 pounds and she showed off her bikini body on the June 8 cover of People magazine. She will be reaching new levels of fitness now -- as it has just been announced she will join the next installment of "Dancing with the Stars!"

Despite eliminating sugar from her diet to reclaim her bikini body, Hart and her mother, Paula, went ahead with their plans to open a dessertery, appropriately named SweetHarts. The Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based store sells frozen yogurt, gelato, candy and an assortment of baked goods.
Now the 33-year-old actress and mother talks to about how she does it all: wife, mother, actress and business entrepreneur.
Justmommies: You grew up the oldest in a large family -- one brother and six sisters. Did that teach you anything you use to raise your own kids?
Melissa Joan Hart: The thing is, sometimes with my kids, I act like the big sister as opposed to the mom. I am a little inappropriate with them sometimes. I have to be careful because I am the mom now, so the discipline has to come from me. That is the hard part instead of, "Mom, take care of this. He hit me." Now, I am in charge. I definitely learned from my mom how to be a good mom. From taking care of my siblings, I knew how to change a diaper and how to strap a kid in a car seat, but I didn't know when they switched from formula to food, or when you switch to food, how to get them off the pacifier. Things like that. I definitely have had to learn along the way. When you have your own, there is so much more attention required. It is not like having a sibling. But I was baby savvy, so that was good.
Justmommies: You wrote a diary for Kimberly-Clark's Pull-Ups brand diapers on potty training Mason, so what advice do you have for other moms on the subject?
Melissa Joan Hart: First, you have to know if your baby is potty ready. Signs are if they wake up dry, they are uncomfortable with a mess in their pants and if they show an interest in using the potty. My 16-month-old is already showing an interest in the potty, but I don't want to push him at all. I want to wait until he is really ready. With Mason, we started a little early and it made it more difficult. If he was ready, it would have been so much easier.
Justmommies: Isn't the second faster sometimes because they see what the older one is doing?
Melissa Joan Hart: Right. Braydon wants to sit on the potty because he sees his big brother sitting on the potty. That is definitely a thing. Yes, I think Braydon will be faster, but Mason had a hard time. He took two steps forward and one step back when it came to potty training, so it was difficult, but I would say you have to have patience and they have to be ready. Those are the two things.
Justmommies: Speaking of diaries, you kept a food journal as part of your weight-loss program. How hard was it to get off the baby weight, following the birth of Braydon?
Melissa Joan Hart: It was a lot of effort.
Justmommies: Did the offer for the People magazine bikini cover come first, or the weight loss?
Melissa Joan Hart: I had already started losing weight and they wanted to do a "Body after Baby" story, so after some discussion, they decided to do it as a cover. That meant I had to kick it into high gear.
Justmommies: What kind of diet did you follow?
Melissa Joan Hart: I cut out sugar. I started doing that sometime last year. Then, when I was done with breast feeding, I cut out dairy. Starches come and go for me. When I really want to step it up, I cut out starches. Then I started drinking more water, I made sure I got my rest, and fine tuned it: Getting rid of Ketchup and using salsa instead and making sure I didn't eat fruit after 4 p.m. I also ate a lot of fish for dinner and protein shakes for breakfast.

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