Through several seasons of Teen Mom, we remember Amber Portwood struggling to lose weight. When with her ex-fiancé, Matt, we recall episodes of her eating junk food and failing to follow a strict regimen designed for getting fit. But now with those years behind her, it seems Amber is more committed to her healthy lifestyle than ever before.
Let’s take an inside look at how the young mom initially lost nearly 40 pounds, and her secrets for keeping it off.
She cut down significantly on sugar and empty carbs
According to Entertainment Tonight, Amber was able to lose fat by altering her diet in a huge way. The young mom says she started her weight loss journey by slashing “bad carbs” like sugar and pasta from her diet.
Here’s the trouble with the simple carbs in your favorite candy bars and pasta dishes — they spike your blood sugar when you eat them, which Livestrong.com notes can contribute to storing excess fat. And insulin is also released when your blood sugar spikes, which can prevent fat cells from breaking down the fat that’s already stored in your body. Do yourself a favor and choose complex carbs, like quinoa or brown rice.
Next: She stays away from this deadly food.
She steers clear of trans fats
Entertainment Tonight also notes Amber stays far, far away from trans fats. While calories in versus calories out is a simple, generally tried-and-true method for weight loss, WebMD notes eating trans fats can actually contribute to an expanding waistline. And researcher Lawrence L. Rudel, Ph.D., says a diet rich in these types of fats can lead to weight gain even if you’re religiously counting your calories.
Wondering where trans fats are lurking in your diet? Your vegetable shortenings, heavily-processed baked goods, and fried fast food favorites typically contain them.
Next: A different kind of workout
Mixed martial arts training is her go-to workout
If you’re struggling to find a physical activity you’re totally in love with, you might want to try mixed martial arts. Since beginning her training, In Touch Weekly shows Amber’s body looks more toned and stronger than ever. She reportedly has tried different training methods, like krav maga and jiujitsu.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the benefits of martial arts, Livestrong.com explains a 160-pound person can expect to burn around 500 calories during a one-hour session. And in just one class, you work on both cardio endurance and strength training, making it a well-rounded workout.
Next: Here’s how jail helped her lose weight.
Jail time helped break her addiction
Portwood spent 17 months in jail for drug abuse and domestic violence charges. This time helped her break her addiction to pills and lose 35 pounds.
“What I had to do when I first got out [of jail] was focus on staying sober,” Portwood, 25, told Cosmopolitan. “But I always wanted to lose weight and get healthy again. That was my next step.”
Next: She’s also a big fan of this to help keep the weight off.
She’s a big fan of cardio
When Amber was just starting her workout routine, she said the gym intimidated her, Women’s Health reports. But once she hopped on the cardio machines, all her gym jitters went out the window. Amber loves the elliptical or the standup bike, as she says she likes the feeling of sweating and a rising heart rate while working out. “It feels like I’m contributing to my weight loss,” she says.
If you’ve been told steady-state cardio is overrated, don’t listen. While some people prefer the intensity of a HIIT workout, any exercise that raises your heart rate for an extended period of time is helping you burn calories and achieve your goals. And these cardio exercises are known for being particularly beneficial.
Next: Not one food group is completely off limits.
She doesn’t cut out any food group completely
Amber has tried cutting out food groups completely in previous weight loss efforts, but now, she enjoys variety. As Women’s Health says, it’s all about moderation for her. When she tried to stick to a no-carb, no-sugar diet, she realized it just wasn’t sustainable — so she focused on eating mostly fresh foods and controlling her portions.
Now during her pregnancy, she says her boyfriend makes sure she eats mainly fruits, veggies, meats, and organic foods. But nobody’s perfect, and she gives in to her Taco Bell cravings from time to time. After visiting the Mexican fast food place, she says, “It was horrible afterwards … but I was like, ‘You know what? I had to do it!'”
Next: This disorder contributed to her weight gain.
Borderline personality disorder contributed to her weight gain
Amber was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, which can cause unstable moods, behavioral issues, and an impulsive nature, Women’s Health reports. Doctors prescribed her mood stabilizers to help with this new diagnosis — but they left her with crazy food cravings. As Amber says, “I was craving food like I was pregnant — it was insane.”
She gained about 30 pounds thanks to the meds. But she was determined to remain both mentally and physically healthy, so despite the cravings and the tiredness associated with the prescription, Amber focused on getting her diet under control. The weight then started melting off.
Next: Here’s what she did after losing all that weight.
After her weight loss, she went under the knife
Unlike most celebrities, Amber was actually quite open with her plastic surgery — or as she calls it, her “mommy makeover.” People reports the MTV star had a breast lift and liposuction, since having a child and fluctuating in her weight left her lacking confidence. “I used to have an hourglass figure back in the day, but I didn’t really have it anymore. So that’s all I really wanted was to get my body back to where it was from losing and gaining weight,” she says.
As for more plastic surgery, Amber says she definitely won’t be going under the knife for her face, and she doesn’t believe in extremes.
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