Star of her own reality TV show as well as co-host of "Extra," Maria has written a book about her journey from overweight and fatigue to slender and energized: "The EveryGirl's Guide to Diet and Fitness: How I Lost 40 lbs and Kept It Off-And How You Can Too." She emphasizes that she chose to focus on her health rather than obsess about a number on the scale.
"If you're focusing on your health, it gives you a different perspective. I'll think, 'I'm going to choose to feel better about myself next week by making a better decision now,'" Maria revealed.
When it comes to diet, Maria kept a detailed food journal to determine her weakness. "I just wrote down everything I ate for a week and assessed my problem—it was carbs," she admitted. So by cutting foods such as pizza down to an occasional treat, she created her own weight loss plan to take off the pounds and keep them off.
In addition, Maria turned to an inexpensive solution for fitness: Walking. In an exclusive interview on Wednesday, Maria, who also authored "The Every Girl's Guide to Life," told us why she feels that it's the best way to burn fat for weight loss and health.
"There are so many ways to exercise without having to spend a lot of money," Maria told me enthusiastically. And the recommendation to use a pedometer to take her steps came from a celebrity trainer.
"The pedometer was introduced to me by Harley Pasternak. Harley is a big believer in walking, and in striving to get in 10,000 steps a day and that's what I shoot for," she revealed in our interview.
Harley, author of "The Body Reset Diet: Power Your Metabolism, Blast Fat, and Shed Pounds in Just 15 Days," also trained Jessica Simpson. She's another "pedometer power" believer, who used walking to shed her own excess pounds.
Both Maria and Jessica have shown you don't need a trainer or even a gym membership to win at weight loss. Maria told us that she makes a point of using her regular activities to exercise.
"I don't strive to get those steps in on a track. My goal is to achieve them in my daily activity - walking to do errands and around the office, forgoing escalators for stairs, etc," she advised us.
If you're just starting out, begin with 5,000 steps a day. Maria recommends "the type of step counter you can wear on your wrist. It's a convenient and constant reminder to stay in shape."
Also included in her book are insightful interviews with celebrities and famous health experts. In addition to Harley, Maria praised the tips she received from Yogi Cameron, author of "The One Plan: A Week-by-Week Guide to Restoring Your Natural Health and Happiness."
The yoga expert, who has worked with Ellen and Oprah, "turned me onto drinking hot water throughout the day as a healthy means to suppress appetite, calm you and aid digestion. He also gave me great yoga exercises," said Maria.
For those who think that dieting means giving up your favorite foods, Maria has included a variety in her book. We asked her to reveal her favorite: "My healthy nachos are insane!" she announced.