Let’s face it, every woman is a bit worried going into pregnancy about whether they will be able to lose their baby weight. I definitely was. Having been a tri-athlete and general workout junkie before my pregnancy, I made a spreadsheet to track my weight gain with the goal of only gaining about 2 stone or (25lbs). I was completely neurotic and for the first four months my weight gain stayed on track, but you know, it was getting to the point where I was always hungry.
I watched my diet but was still eating about five small meals a day. Anyway, let’s just say that instead of putting on 25lbs during my pregnancy, I put on about 45lbs. I also found out that the pregnancy had triggered the onset of rheumatoid arthritis (“RA”) and while the medication enabled me to walk and use my hands effectively, I still struggled with my joints and pain. It dawned on me that maybe running 6 miles a day, doing spin workouts, pounding laps in the pool and doing weight lifting at the gym wouldn’t be possible anymore for keeping fit. Not to mention the lack of personal time once your new born baby arrives.
Nevertheless, I was elated when my son was born, there seemed to be some sort of peaceful serenity that swept over me for the first few months. It had to be seriously hormonal because I have never been so chilled. I was focused on him and the worries of the world seemed far away. With my RA, I didn’t even try to run, but I walked everywhere, often choosing to go to Hampstead Heath and walk up and down the hills with my son in his Buggaboo, sometimes stopping to read a book or the newspaper while he napped. I put a cup holder on the buggy and never went without my skinny cappuccino. Ok, and on a warm summer evening sometimes I used it to hold my beer.
Now walking a couple miles a day pushing a baby buggy up and down hills is great exercise, it will build muscle and help reshape your legs and bum, more importantly, it also burns calories. But let’s get real, what about our stomachs and the baby fat love tire that hangs over your pants that just about makes you want to cry. While we’re at it, wouldn’t it be nice if we could also lift and tone our bums, thin out our thighs and have tiny sculpted arms instead of bat wings?
Believe it or not, I found the answer, and it really is so straight-forward. Knowing that a hard-core approach to working out wasn’t going to work with me anymore, I needed to think outside the box. So I bought two Tracy Anderson DVDs. She’s the one who gave Madonna her ‘Hard Candy’ body, she’s sculpted Gweneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, numerous other stars, and I have read that she is even working with Victoria Beckham to get her amazing body back in shape. I figured if she can make a 50 year old woman’s body look better than 95% of the 20 year olds out there, it would be worth a try. So I bought her post-pregnancy DVD and her mat workout DVD. The results have been nothing short of amazing.
What Tracy Anderson has done is put together two workouts that strategically target your muscles to reshape your body by first exhausting your large muscle groups and then picking rotations that energize your smaller muscle groups which help to reshape your muscular structure with a focus on key problem areas to create a firm shapely feminine physique.
The post-pregnancy workout focuses on the abdominals which you should start working on getting back into shape as quickly as your doctor releases you. If you have had a C-section, it is imperative that you make sure you have properly healed before beginning to work on your abdominals. At first the workout was difficult, in fact, I couldn’t do half the exercises and frequently took breaks, but within two weeks I was already beginning to see significant changes. After a month of doing the workout, I was doing all of the exercises with five pound weights on my ankles and every day my stomach was becoming more and more svelte. My son is now almost two and I still do this workout on a regular basis to keep my waist toned and trim.
The mat workout focuses on all the ‘other’ problem areas like your hips, bum, thighs and arms. Again, I have been very pleased and overly impressed with the results. My mother who has always, with blunt honesty, referred to my bum as a “Nefertiti ass” asked what I had done to reshape it, and a friend’s husband one evening blurted, “that’s not the arse of a woman who just had a baby!”. So, apparently, these ‘rotations’ that I would have once looked down upon as a ridiculous waste of time, very clearly have had a positive impact, with better results than all of the time I spent training for triathlons and I could do it all in the peace and privacy of my home. Even better these exercises actually do tone your arms and you never have to lift more than a three pound weight! I will admit though, once my stamina was built-up again I did all the leg exercises with five pound weights on my ankles.
To get your body into shape you do need to work at it and you do need to be disciplined. It doesn’t come for free and the calories in the chocolate cake at Starbucks do count. Indulging in meeting your girlfriends for lunch a couple times a week probably means the consumption of unnecessary additional calories. Try meeting up for long walks and a coffee instead or organize social outings that aren’t focused around cake and sweets. Even better, leave your new born with Dad and get your girlfriends together once a week for an exercise class or Zumba.
Tracy suggests doing her workouts 4-6 times a week and with this frequency, you will, without a doubt, see quick and significant results. I was pleasantly surprised that with a simple combination of a healthy diet, lots of walking and the Tracy Anderson workouts, I was able to lose all of my baby weight and then some as well as tone and reshape my body better than it ever was prior to my pregnancy and I didn’t have to run 6 miles a day, go on a starvation diet or be a tri-athlete to do it. There is nothing better than being able to look in the mirror and know that you look good. If I could do it, then I know that you can do it too. So go on, get out there, and be the sexy mum that you are!
Here are a few things to keep in mind when, after your baby is born, you are ready to begin working at getting back into shape:
One pound is equal to 3500 calories. On a high level, weight loss can be thought of as a mathematical equation of burning more calories than you consume.
Your basal metabolic rate, the rate at which the body uses energy while at rest to keep vital functions going, can generally be determined using the following equation: BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years). Your actual caloric needs will ultimately depend on how active you are, your size, your age, the amount of muscle on your body and whether you are breastfeeding.
Running an 8 minute mile burns about 100 calories, walking a mile burns about 100 calories. A Starbucks grande skinny cappuccino is 82 calories, a grande skinny mocha frappuccino is 346 calories.
It is estimated that the production of 1 oz. of breast milk burns about 20 calories and breastfeeding a baby may burn on average about 500 calories a day. If you are breastfeeding, avoid a sudden drop in calories which may reduce your ability to produce milk.