How Caring for Her Parents Inspired Lorraine Bracco to Lose 35 Pounds

PHOTO: Left, actress Lorraine Bracco attends the HBO premiere of The Sopranos at Radio City Music Hall in this March 27, 2007, file photo, right; Lorraine Bracco attends the Museum Of Moving Image Salutes Hugh Jackman on Dec. 11, 2012.

Lorraine Bracco had a very personal reason for wanting to lose weight.

Like many people, the former "Sopranos" star, 59, found herself caring for her aging parents. Seeing their health failing changed her outlook on being in shape. After their deaths three years ago, Bracco said she knew she needed to make a change.

"We were sitting there, dividing these medications, who gets what when. It was insane. I watched and realized, 'I don't want to go like that,'" she told ABC News. "I said, 'I want to be the best I could be.' I want to live every day the best I can be."

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So, Bracco, who at the time weighed 183 pounds ("The last person on the take care of list was me. I let myself go," she admitted), sought the help of a life coach friend who helped her put together a weight loss plan.

Now, the "Rizzoli & Isles" actress is putting those tips into a new book, "To the Fullest," which will be published by Rodale Books in 2015.

"The book will have recipes, a liver cleanse and ways to manage [one's weight]," she said. "It's a body-mind-spirit thing."

For the actress, it's important to eat balanced meals devoid of sugar and dairy. She also substitutes most grains for quinoa and watches her portions. To satisfy her sweet tooth, Bracco will indulge in fruit, gluten-free cookies and Kind bars.

"I was a huge Twizzler eater. I love licorice," she said. "The other day I said, 'I haven't had this in three years,' and I had half a piece. I ended up spitting it out because I no longer have a taste for it. It was so sugary, it was almost like poison to me."

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As for exercise, Bracco relies on Pilates to stay in shape. Having a class of people who are working out with her helped her stay motivated.

"I started off very slow. My feeling is also, you sign up to go to the gym and you go to two classes and then you can't walk. It's just not the way to do it," she said. "Now, I go to Pilates class three times a week. I love that there are women who are in their 80s in my class and there were kids who are 23."

Bracco is happier with what she sees in the mirror and more importantly, she has more energy to play with her grandchild.

"I am still a vibrant, contributing human being and I am not dead yet," she said. "I laugh because I used to wake up and everything ached before I got out of bed. Now I jump out of bed! I'm doing something right."

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