It's been exactly five months since I had my baby boy Cash, and I've officially lost the 45 pounds I gained during pregnancy. But the weight didn't just "melt off" like celebrities often claim. (Liars!) It was hard work, and here's how I made it happen.
The most important part of losing your baby weight, I found, is being patient. The scale wouldn't budge for weeks at a time, but I kept reminding myself that it took nine months to pack on the pounds, and it wasn't going to come off in a day. I had been advised that eating healthy and working out while pregnant helps avoid gaining excessive amounts, but I was too nauseous and in pain to do either. Plus, come on -- it's the one time you're allowed to pig out and nobody harps on you! (Except maybe your mother.)
So I ate a lot of pizza. And I mean a lot of pizza.
One thing that helped me keep motivated on getting back to my former self was to set a date to aim for. It can be a friend's wedding, a beach vacation, or your first day back at work, which was my big incentive.
Next, you've got to watch what you eat, and I hatedieting. I dabbled with Weight Watchers and Lo-Carb, but ultimately I just tried to eat healthy and cut out the crap. If you're bored with eating grilled chicken salads and fish, think about tyring these staples of mine.
-- Oatmeal Eggwhites. Instead of milk or water- mix half a cup of egg whites (for added protein) with a standard size packet of oatmeal and microwave for 90 seconds.
-- Scrambled eggs topped with a scoop of fat free whip cream. It's the perfect blend of salty and sweet.
-- Healthy chicken salad with chopped onion, celery, pickles, hard-boiled eggs, and craisins (optional). Instead of mayonaise, mix with spicy mustard and light Italian salad dressing.
-- Faux pasta! Spaghetti squash and marinara sauce. I mix in garlic and light ground turkey.
-- Sliced apples dipped in Light and Fit caramel yogurt tastes like a candy apple!
-- Grilled pineapple or frozen grapes.
-- Sugar free vanilla pudding with berries or Jello w/ fat free Cool Whip.
And of course if you are going to lose serious weight, you need to exercise, exercise, exercise. Some new moms say there isn't any time to fit in a workout, especially if you're breastfeeding, which I did for the first two months. It is definitely a challenge to find time, and I was there for my baby 23 hours a day, but I made sure that I had one hour to work out, 6 out of 7 days, either to go to the gym or have my trainer come to my apartment.
When at the gym I only had time for cardio: 30-45 minutes of intervals on the elyptical or power walking on the treadmill, and maybe a yoga class here and there. I also worked with NYC personal trainer/Crunch instructor Nicole Glor and she is all about multitasking to cut the workout time in half and boost your metabolism.
To make most of the hour we did combo moves that hit my arms and legs at the same time while putting me a little off balance so that my core was forced to work and tone as well. A few exercises made a really big difference. Now you shouldn't try these without consulting your doctor, but this is what did it for me:
-- Push-ups! Eventually I worked up to 100-150 each session (10-20 at a time). Nicole loves push-ups because they work many muscles in the arms and chest at the same time as the abs.
-- Biceps thigh lift. Stand with your weight on your right leg and a heavy weight (10 pounds) in your right hand. Curl the weight up in a biceps curl and at the same time abduct your left leg out to the left and away from the body. Do 15-20 at a time and switch sides.
-- Starfish crunch. Lay on your back with medium weights (5-8 pounds) in each hand. Straighten legs directly over hips, feet flexed. Hold weights so that palms face each other, arms straight, directly over your chest. Open your legs by dropping your feet out to the side as you open your arms into a chest fly. As you bring the feet and hands back together, crunch the weights toward your shoelaces by engaging the abs and lifting the shoulders off the floor. Do 20 reps.
-- Thread the needle. Get in a side plank on your elbow and keep hips off the floor. Take the opposite arm to the ceiling and scoop it under your body toward the back of your mat, then bring arm back to sky. Do 15 reps and switch sides.
-- Rainbows. Get in a plank position with elbows on the ground. Cross one leg over the other side to side as if you are drawing a rainbow over your shoe. Works the butt and core. Do 20 and switch legs.
Nicole also taught me how to work out without having to leave Cash for one second! Check out our my segment on our baby workout exercises.
Finally, don't worry if you're having a puffy day. My #1 tip: just slap on some fake tanner and a pair of Spanx and you're good to go!
For more of Nicole's moves, check out her newsletter and fitness DVDs.