Laurel House shares her secrets for shedding baby weight
Is it vain? Well, maybe, but I admit that one of my fears before, during, and after my pregnancy was that I would not be able to lose my baby weight.
Six months post birth and I now weigh less than I did before becoming pregnant. What’s my secret? Simple: smart eating and a healthy, fitness-based lifestyle.
Before I became pregnant I struggled with my weight and was constantly aware of it. Every day I woke up too early so I could run along the Santa Monica boardwalk for an hour or hike the Kenter Canyon trail for an hour and a half. Every day. I never allowed myself to eat chocolate chip cookies (my favorite) until I did—which led to overdoing it in the cookie department. The preoccupation began when I was a six-year-old competitive ice skater and then a college dance major. Body image was always an issue. Then I get pregnant.
Suddenly my diet, fitness, and mindset shifted from my body image to my baby’s body. Aside from my cravings (first trimester sandwiches, second trimester meatballs, and third trimester chicken quesadillas) everything I put in my mouth was purpose-driven. For breakfast I ate sardines with avocado on toast because of the omegas in the sardines and folate in the avocado. For lunch I ate spinach for the iron, eggs for the choline, and bananas for the potassium. Crazy? Maybe. Before any meal I thought, “What does the baby need today?” Of course, this mama-to-be also craved chocolate chip cookies, which I indulged in daily.
I also changed my fitness regimen to benefit both my baby and me. When I began to experience back pain, I went to a chiropractor, then a personal trainer. Kevin Atkinson is a performance coach who has trained everyone from actors to chefs to pregnant women. He designed a program with the goals of managing body aches, sustaining my waning energy, increasing overall strength, and supporting physical confidence in my changing body. We focused on exercises like planks that required me to support my spine with my core/abdominal muscles. We also chose routines with free weights and body weight exercises that maintained a neutral spine position. We trained for an hour twice a week and Kevin helped me continuously surprise myself by just how strong and capable my growing body really was. On days I wasn’t training with Kevin, I walked for 45 minutes. Beyond my fitness, Kevin monitored my diet and me-time, making sure that I was staying balanced in both mind and body.
Thanks to this combination of fitness and healthy eating, I gained weight exactly as prescribed by my doctor. I worked out until I was 38 weeks pregnant. Then, three weeks after Finley was born my stomach was well on its way to flat. Six months later I have done the unthinkable: I am below my pre-baby weight.
My secret sauce had a few ingredients including training with Kevin while pregnant, breast feeding, and slowly getting back into my workout routine two months after birth. I started with stroller walks, added plank pose to tend to my abs, and started working with Kevin again. While my hips are wider and my breasts are huge and full of milk, my legs have leaned out, my stomach is flat, and Kevin has been helping me to “sew” my rib cage back together with exercises to engage my core. I never would have thought I would be more confident about my body (albeit C-section scarred and stretch marked) post-pregnancy. It affirms for me that my commitment to eating for a purpose and engaging in daily fitness activities serves my body—and my baby.
Body Boost Cold & Thirsty in Culver City
While a juice cleanse isn’t a good idea while breastfeeding, supplementing my pregnancy-induced habit of Starbursts with bright nutrient-rich juices helped increase my vitamin intake while satiating my sweet tooth. Making breakfast solo with a baby on my hip and a dog at my feet is a challenge. I quickly became attached to Glow—a juice with pineapple, cucumber, spinach, kale and apple. Pineapple was a regular fixture in my diet as of my second trimester, a craving that never quit. Radiant Skin with chia and pearl powder was also a weekly treat; I swear my skin glowed.
Cryotherapy shocked my system into submission. Two minutes in the negative 250 degree Fahrenheit cold sauna upped my daily calorie burn and helped my body heal. The frigid temp also woke me up, combating the sleepiness that, as a new single mom, is a common daily experience.
The good news for me is that Cold & Thirsty is mere blocks from my house, allowing for instant gratification. coldandthirsty.com
Laurel House is an international dating coach and the cofounder of MomDadDating, a single parents dating community offering mingling events and dating coaching. Watch her coaching single celebrities on the new E! television series Famously Single airing in May. laurelhouse.com