How Debra Messing Lost 20 Lbs. – Unintentionally

04/24/2014 at 09:30 AM EDT

Debra Messing's Weight Loss: How She Did It
Debra Messing in 2011 (left) and 2014
John Sciulli/Getty; MediaPunch Inc/REX USA
Debra Messing says she's 20 lbs. lighter, even though she wasn't trying to lose weight.

The actress, 45, tells ABC News that she switched to a healthy diet because she had low energy, and the weight just fell away.

"About two to three years ago, I made a very, very big change [to] the way I approach nutrition. I think it made a big difference in how I look or at least how I'm perceived to look," says the mom to 10-year-old son Roman.

"I lost like 20 lbs. – it wasn't my intention, that wasn't why I made the change. I made the change because I was just tired all the time," she says.

The former Smash star says she was raised on a poor diet and continued with those bad habits.

"I grew up on fast food and candy every day," she said. "Pizza and french fries and burgers – I love food and I've always loved food. Vegetables were not part of my life at all!"

But Messing became good friends with veggies when filming a new pilot, The Mysteries of Laura. Each morning, she would have a green juice made of kale, spinach, celery and cucumber – plus ginger and lemon for taste.

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