Aug 25, 2014

New Series #MomsWhoShine Rachel L. Pires

#MomsWhoShine is a series about moms who have some kind of talent.  The series was inspired by Dad of Divas Dads in the Limelight.  

Rachel L. Pires is the author of "Diet Enlightenment: The Real Secret to Weight Loss".  

Tell me about yourself.

I’m a new mom and a new author. My book “Diet Enlightenment: The Real Secret to Weight Loss” just released this past April. It’s available at Barnes & Noble and You can find more information at and I’m also a full-time working mom. I’m a writer at Educational Testing Service (ETS) and a contributing writer for Weight Loss Blogs. My son is ten months old, and I’m still breastfeeding and pumping, and going strong. I know how challenging being a new mother can be, especially when it comes to losing the post-baby weight. So I’m excited to share my secrets and help other moms get back to their ideal weight as quickly and painlessly as possible.  

Tell me about your family.

My family consists of my husband Andre and my son Lucas. Lucas was born in October of 2013 and just turned 10 months old. My husband and I have been married since October 2011. Our son was actually due on our two year wedding anniversary; however, he came two weeks early. My husband is Brazilian so we’re trying to raise Lucas with both languages. I’m doing my best to learn Portuguese myself. We think it would be fantastic for him to grow up speaking both English and Portuguese. My husband and I both work-fulltime; we’re lucky because my mother-in-law watches him full-time with help from my parents. My husband is a Civil Engineer for Toll Brothers. In addition to working full-time as a writer, my book released six months after my son was born. I’ve been pretty busy.

Can you tell me a little more about how your book “Diet Enlightenment” came to be? 

I had struggled with weight loss and yo-yo dieting for a period of ten years. My weight was constantly fluctuating, and I was always trying the next new diet. It was only when I reached a point of “diet enlightenment” about five years ago — a complete change in how I looked at food and approached dieting — that I finally discovered the key to keeping the weight off for good.

I decided to write this book because I knew I had to share this knowledge with anyone who has ever struggled with weight loss. I had figured out the key to easy weight loss and realized why the majority of people fail. I found that the multibillion-dollar dieting industry is wrought with misinformation and misconceptions. I also made some insightful observations about ‘naturally thin people’ and realized that they were all doing something that most dieters lacked. Recently, I was able to put my techniques to the test again when I gained the recommended 25 pounds of pregnancy weight, and then lost it all within the first four months.

Most people are brainwashed by the dieting industry into believing that if you are not thin, it’s because you weren’t born with a great metabolism, you don’t eat healthy enough, you don’t exercise enough, you don’t have a strong enough willpower, and so on. But, this simply isn’t the case — there is an enlightened way to lose weight and anyone can do it. The truth is you don’t need to sacrifice the food you love or go hungry in order to be thin. You can have your favorite food and have you ideal shape if you know how to lose weight the right way.

Diet Enlightenment is not a book that offers the latest diet fad. Instead, it offers a modern spin on calorie counting, and equips readers with techniques that are easily adaptable in today’s world. Additionally, it helps readers learn how to get the most for their calories, how to listen to their body, and how to free themselves from the bondage of emotional eating. Having struggled with binge-eating and emotional eating myself, finding peace with food was just as important as losing the weight itself.

Shortly after I had my son in October of 2013, I came across an article about Maria Kang, the “What’s Your Excuse?” fitness mom, who had posed with her three young children and essentially asked other Moms what was their excuse for being overweight. One thing I can tell you is that fat shaming does not work. As women, and especially mothers, we need to be there to support and build each other up, not be critical of one another. I decided to respond to the conversation she started by posing for my own photo with my 8-month old son at the time to which I said, “My excuse was a multibillion-dollar dieting industry that wanted me to fail. Now I’m an enlightened dieter.” So I’m trying to spread the message to dieters — especially new moms — that the multibillion-dollar industry is the problem, not their discipline or lack of willpower. And that if I can do it, anyone can do it. They just need the right approach and knowledge, and an eating philosophy that they can stick to for life.

What does a normal day of meals look like in your home?
Because I know the art of choosing my calories, I eat a lot of food. After all just because you need to eat fewer calories doesn’t mean you need to eat less food. I try to eat healthy, but I don’t put anything off limits. One of my favorite meals to make is homemade pizza pies. You take a low-calorie flatbread and add organic tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, fresh garlic and diced grilled chicken. My philosophy is that you should try to have meals that are super delicious, really filling and low-calorie.

What have you done to make sure you are passing down healthy eating habits to your children?

My son is only 10-months old and doesn't have any teeth yet, but we are starting to give him some table food. We feed him a combination of organic baby food and home pureed foods. I like feeding him really slowly. One of the qualities that naturally thin people have is they know when to eat and when to stop; they listen to their body and they don’t’ overeat. I rather my son eat slowly and more times throughout the day than to overstuff him at meals. My philosophy is that you should always eat when you’re hungry no matter what, but you also shouldn't eat when you’re not hungry. I want him to have a healthy and good relationship with food from day one. I try to make feeding time a fun experience.

What is your biggest challenge of being a parent?

Listening to what others have to say, but making your own choice even if people don’t agree with it. I think as a new mom, especially in the beginning, you’re always questioning and second guessing everything. There is so much information out there. Everyone you meet has an opinion. How long should you breastfeed for. Should you let them cry it out or not? Should you co-sleep? There are a lot of different opinions and a lot of extremes. But, my Mom gave me the best advice which was at the end of the day to always listen to your own intuition as a mother. For me, I’m still breastfeeding and going strong. Also because my son is not the best sleeper, I co-sleep with him. I have a mattress set up in his room. Some nights he’ll sleep seven hours straight in his crib and other nights he ends up in the bed with me. I’m really not sure if crying it out is truly harmful or not, as there is a lot of conflicting information out there; however, my husband and I decided it was something we weren't going to do for personal reasons. Since I’m pretty open and honest about it, I definitely received a mix of negative feedback and support. You have to do what’s right for you and your family. As a Mom, I’ve tried to share my experiences without being judgmental about what other people do.

How do you find balance between being a mom, working and having time for yourself?

Somehow you just make time for it. In addition to being a new mom and working full-time, my book Diet Enlightenment released six months after my son was born. I’ve been really busy to say the least. I still think my career and personal aspirations are important, but after having my son things changed. He has become my number one priority. I started having to be a lot more efficient with my time. It’s amazing what you can get done when you do things efficiently. You know the saying “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.” I want to do well and succeed in my career, but I don’t’ want to give up my free-time with my son in order to do so. I also think a big part of it is the help and support I get from my husband, my parents and my in-laws.

When it comes to having time for myself, the one thing I do is that I watch Netflix on my phone while I pump. I always joke that Netflix saved my breastfeeding and pumping. The truth is that it’s nice to have 20 minutes a few times a day to pump, relax, and watch a TV show. I’m currently watching the show Revenge. Being a mother is a 24/7 job, and I knew that I was going to be giving up my free time and hobbies at least for a few years. I will say that the grandparents do push my husband and I to have a date night at least once every few months while they watch the baby.

What are some of the lessons you've learned since becoming a Mom?

Every child is different. What may work for one person, may not work for you. At the end of the day, follow your mother’s intuition. 

What is the best advice about being a parent you have received and who gave it to you?

The best advice I received was from my Mom, which was “at the end of the day to follow your intuition as a mother.”

What advice would you give to other moms?

The first three months are really challenging. No one seems to talk about it. It definitely kicked my butt. Major sleep deprivation, plus healing from a c-section, plus adjusting to breastfeeding, plus not knowing what you’re doing as a new mother is enough to make it one of the most challenging times of your life. It will get better though. You will get more confident. It’s okay to feel exhausted and that you didn't know it would be this hard. I think a lot of women feel like they need to put on this perfect front, but being a Mom is the hardest job I’ve ever had. It’s true that nothing can prepare you for it. It’s also true that you didn't know how much you could love something until you have a child.

Have a question for Rachel?  Please leave a comment below and I will make sure I forward it to her!  

Thank you Rachel for taking the time to answer our questions:)  Are you a Mom Who Shines or know a mom who would be great for this series?  Email me their contact info at

Metro Detroit Mommy Writer:

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